Guardian Cellars 2012 Angel sauvignon blanc

One of the joys of this Washington wine blog is the annual visitation to Washington’s consistently top-dawg sauvignon blanc. Say what you will about the cabernets, the syrahs, and even the red blends, but local wine guzzlers who appreciate a fine white wine know that we can produce a killer sauvignon blanc also. We are not rabbits like the New Zealanders and their preference for grassy sb’s, and our climate is not sizzling Moroccan hot so we tend to skip the full melony flavors. No, my little urchins, Washington sauvignon blanc is all about the early September 2400 heat units, the dusty soil, and heady winds that can only be found at one site… Klipsun Vineyard in the prestigious Red Mountain AVA. This is where legends are made with many cabernets and merlots; however, still a well-kept secret is that little plot in the southwest section of the AVA where the grapes reside for this year-in, year-out outstanding wine.

Fast forward to what has been a monumental twelve months for the Reiner family. The first major milestone was Jerry’s ring-in-hand proposal at the end of Jennifer’s run at the San Francisco half-marathon. Of course, she said yes! Then, the defining life event was the birth of Josephine Isabelle Reiner on March 25. While still on the bottle (milk bottle, that is), Josephine has been impressed into service at the winery, mostly tagging along as Jerry’s assistant. Say what you will, but this blog has been following this wonderful couple since they first opened an offshoot tasting room shouldering fellow grape-killers’ confidant Mark Ryan Winery in 2007. This has been one of the more joyous stories to ever emerge from the warehouse district! They are a powerful, yet humble couple and their tasting room is a must-visit for any first-timer to the cluster of wineries in the warehouse district. Strongly recommended.

Keep in mind, Guardian Cellars has maintained its focus on making Washington’s finest red wines. So, it speaks volumes when such a winery produces only one white wine annually, and that just happens to be this baby. ‘Angel’ has always been a very special white wine, and not just for Guardian Cellars, but for the entire state, in general. With very few exceptions (Flying Dreams Winery and Mellisoni Vineyards), Washington sauvignon blanc continues to be treated like an afterthought by many wineries. Flaccid. Flabby. Flimsy. Lumpy. Wimpy. Disjointed. Overly acidic. Lacking complexity. The following hint explains the importance of sauvignon blanc in Washington: as goes sauvignon blanc, so goes the entire vintage of Washington’s wines. Yes, you can also say that about Washington’s rose wines, but not everyone can dig a sweet, pink wine. Sauvignon blanc is muscular enough to appeal to the macho wine drinkers, yet telling enough to give a peek into what to expect of forthcoming red wines from the same year.

While several previous vintages of ‘Angel’ have included a 20% blend with nearby (but not Red Mountain AVA) Spring Creek Vineyard, this 2012 reverts back to its roots of being a pure, 100%-sourced Klipsun Vineyard gem. This goes back to 2012 being evenly warm enough to merit comparisons to the outstanding 2005 and 2007 vintages. So, should anyone need a “seeing-eye dog” to sniff out the merits of what will be a remarkable 2012-vintage year of wines, this is your first, indisputable clue. Save your money, kiddies.

Food pairing was Lay’s sour cream and onion potato chips and Costco Crunchy Snack Mix. Boh-no, bitches!

Tasted at 55-67 degrees on the IR temp gun. Shining, brilliant, luminescent yellow gold in the Riedel with hypnotic notes of guava, mountain apple, pink grapefruit, and lemon zest. Tangy, sharp acids on the palate lead to a long residence and additional sensations of cracked granite, pear, lime, underpinnings of bitter lemon, white pepper, and a splash of peach. Sizzling with some snap!

Alcohol: 14.1%. Klipsun Vineyard. Red Mountain AVA. Fermented in 100% new French oak for six weeks before transferring to stainless. Bottled March 13, 2013. 550 cases. Power: 3/5. Balance: 4/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 4/5. Rated: 94. Value: $38. Paid: $20. Music pairing: “Hey Baby” by Bruce Channel. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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11 Responses to Guardian Cellars 2012 Angel sauvignon blanc

  1. csabernethy says:

    I’m just starting to jump on the Sauv blanc band wagon, so this blog really drew my interest! I’m one of “those” that uses Kim Crawford as a “benchmark” because it is one of the first Sauv Blancs that I really liked and that seems to be readily available in restaurants (and also the local Costco) at a reasonable price. Now that I’ve jumped in, I compare almost every WA Sauv Blanc I taste to that standard. In fact, I will be headed to a Prosser winery today to taste another one. The only Red Mountain one I have tasted is Spilya, second label for Tapteil, and it was a few vintages ago. Things have probably changed.

    I have tasted several Sauv Blancs that my son picked up in Napa and I was not impressed with anything but the prices. Pretty “typical”, and all had a little bite, but they were chilled. Maybe they would have been smoother if served warmer. But I generally DO like my whites on the cool side.

    Since Guardian only has a tasting room in Woodinville, I likely will not find this one over here. But I would love to try it, so if you ever feel like sharing a bottle, let me know! I noticed that you drank this at 55-67 degrees – was that because you were impatient or do you like your whites that warm? Your rating and value show that it hit your sweet spot.

    Still waiting to get my hand on some Cooper Riesling – it has a very unique and interesting flavor profile, too. But grapes are not from Red Mountain.

    Keep ’em coming, and don’t run over any bloggers in the parking lot.

  2. wawineman says:

    There’s plenty of space on the sauv blanc bandwagon, Ab! I had a glass of Kim Crawford a couple years ago and it was alright. I agree that is a decent standard to judge other sauv blancs but it is a rather fastidious version that cannot be duplicated here.

    I just finished a Napa Valley sauv blanc and it is as expected… un-notable. Review to follow soon.

    Red Mountain AVA, I am sure, is the source for some decadent sb’s. JM Cellars also makes a Klipsun Vineyard sb and I may do a review on that one but it is with some difficulty to spend time rambling about a comparator. Not that it is a bad wine; it is just that the wine will lack a “discovery” that is an expectation of wines on this blog.

    I have a bottle of the 2012 Angel with your name on it. Just drink it by the end of 2015. The sooner, the better.

    I am glad, actually, very satisfied that Guardian Cellar’s wines are mostly available only out here. You guys in the TC have way too much good wine to know what to do with. Yes, quite envious, we are.

    The rather wide latitude of the drinking temperature was due to the curiosity of what the wine would do at different temps. 60 degrees appears to be the dividing line in profile. Honestly, I would have rather thrown the bottle into the freezer so I could taste this from 33 degrees on, just to experience the chameleon-like evolution of flavors.

    Sauvignon blancs deserve a tasting between 55 and 62 degrees. This one displayed all the usual expectations of its lineage with some pluses. A beautiful wine. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did here.

    Wait… Coop made a phreakin’ riesling? He hid that from me. I’m gonna have a few words with him about our deal.

  3. csabernethy says:

    I’m going to have words with Coop tomorrow. Apparently, his corker has gone AWOL. It is a long story that only HE can tell you.

  4. wawineman says:

    Can’t wait to hear this one!!!

  5. Alina says:

    I always end up spending waaaaaaaay too much money when I go to Guardian! But for good reason! πŸ™‚ I love going there and always recommend them whenever I get to talking with people about the wineries & tasting rooms in Woodinville.

  6. wawineman says:

    That E-wing in the warehouse district is something else! Barrage Cellars, Guardian Cellars, and Sparkman Cellars. The best neighborly trio of wineries anywhere.

    • Alina says:

      I haven’t tried Barrage or Sparkman. I think they were both closed when I was in Woodinville in March. I did, however, go to Patterson. My cousin and I were the talk of the tasting room, since I had made arrangements for us to have a towncar and driver. πŸ™‚

  7. wawineman says:

    Oh! You cruise in styyyyyle!! Suh-weet!

    I went to Patterson in March also. Good time to go. A lot of good wineries in the D- and E-wings, along with some stinkers.

  8. Alina says:

    LOL…Yeah, it was my cousin’s birthday weekend, so I figured I’d go all out! πŸ™‚

  9. wawineman says:

    Good idea! I should have my team dress up and do anime cosplay after arriving in a bling’d up stretch magic bus!

    Then again, Jerry would bust out his badge and get us arrested then we would end up in Jennifer’s blotter!

    • Alina says:

      Hahahaha! I’d pay to see that! πŸ˜€

      And that’s *exactly* why I got us a driver. We didn’t need to have the po-po’s bustin’ out badges and us being in the police blotter!

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