Coyote Canyon Winery 2010 sangiovese

When it comes to “insider” knowledge about Washington’s grape growers, the first names that come to mind are Mike Sauer (Red Willow), Dick Boushey (Boushey), John Williams (Kiona), Alec Bayless (Sagemoor Farms), and Associated Vintners (Harrison Hill). While these visionaries define their respective regions, one name is almost always left off the ledger who is most deserving– Mike Andrews and his 1125-acre, south-facing Coyote Canyon Vineyard (elevation up to 1200 ft.) in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

The full history of the family can be found on the winery’s website, but in a soundbite, Mike’s grandfather, George W. Smith, homesteaded the property in the 1930’s and loaned a large part of the parcel the the Navy during World War II for use as a bombing range. Mike’s parents, Bob and Louise, grew wheat on the land and dug its first well in 1953. Mike himself returned to the farm after schooling to raise Hereford cattle and grow various crops. However, a 1985 trip to Jerusalem revealed that the land there was eerily similar to the Andrews’ land and that inspired him to build Tres cruces in the middle of his vineyard to represent his faith being in the center of his life.

In 1994, the first 20 acres of cabernet sauvignon were planted with help from Chateau Ste. Michelle and UC-Davis. Twelve years later, son Jeff joined the operation and expanded the vineyard so that Mike could start the winery after purchasing the assets of Selah’s Yakima Cellars. The first wine was a non-vintage (2003-04) 50-50 cab-merlot named Hereford Red. The first varietal was the 2004 syrah.

This past summer, Coyote Canyon’s winemaker changed from John Gabriel to Justin Michaud, 36. Justin’s resume includes a recent stop at Stone Cap wines under the Goose Ridge label.

Some 30+ wineries are contracted with Coyote Canyon’s 26 varietals. Most of the grapes go to Columbia Crest, and it is well-known that the famous 2005 Walter Clore Reserve cabernet from that winery included grapes from Coyote Canyon Vineyard.

Interesting wine notes: (1) first vineyard to grow albarino in Washington (2006) with a paltry 0.7 acres. Currently, over 300 cases of albarino are produced in order to meet qualifications for a major food and wine competition. (2) the 2011 rose is made from barbera. (3) This 2010 sangiovese is made from the romagnolo clone, planted in 1998. (4) The 2009 Bozak Red wine is named after a Calgary bull from the 1970s. (5) The 2010 GW Smith malbec is named after George Smith. (6) The flagship wine, the 2009 Michael Andrews Red wine is a blend of graciano, tempranillo, and grenache. And, (7) all his wines are labeled at ABV 14.3%. That kind of reminds me of a well-known Woodinville winery that likes to label all of its wines with the “Yakima Valley” designation.

What’s apparent is Coyote Canyon Winery makes wines not suited to a supermarket shelf. These wines apparently are crafted to suit the palate of Mike Andrews and what an interesting path he has laid forth!

Will we see a tasting room in Woodinville? Not likely, although like most curious wineries, the thought was explored. That will change with more exposure in the Puget Sound area as there is plenty of room for a wide portfolio of exciting wines that go from bare earth to bottle in one operation and at affordable prices that return good value.

Tasted at 61-64 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: dark magenta. Nose: candied black cherry, red flowers, fresh cracked black pepper. Mouthfeel: silky, soft medium-bodied. Tail trail: 10 seconds. Flavors: peppery black cherry, gritty spices, saline. A fine addition to the Thanksgiving table.

Alcohol: 14.3%. Coyote Canyon Vineyard (estate). Horse Heaven Hills AVA. 10% cabernet sauvignon. Aged in small French oak. 339 cases. “The Promise of the Land and Tradition!” Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 89. Value: $22. Paid: $25. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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14 Responses to Coyote Canyon Winery 2010 sangiovese

  1. csabernethy says:

    Nice write-up on Coyote Canyon! Now I know why you picked them to be a “dark horse” at our last Wine Festival. Mike always enters about a dozen wines and they always to quite well. Mike is an interesting character and very approachable. I’m not sure how his winemaker switch is going to work out – I hear that he had some issues this summer. You’re right about not finding his wines in many supermarkets. A few of our local stores carry them, and when we have or blind tastings, some of them usually make it into the lineup (because they are so affordable) and always do very well. This July, we (Wine Society) will be doing a progressive wine-tasting/dinner in Prosser’s Vintner’s Village, and since I am a co-chair, I will be helping coordinate wines and foods. Sounds like fun, eh?

  2. Winemaker of Mass Destruction says:

    Mike mentioned to me once that his spot in the village does a lot of business. So maybe he is fine with the sales and volume of product moved that he does not need to expand to another store front.
    The wines are nice and Justin is a good dude and he IS a smart winemaker..so the products should be same or better.

    If there are no more posts before Wed..
    Merry Christmas y’all
    W.M.D

  3. csabernethy says:

    Merry Christmas, W.M.D., whoever you are! Cheers to a great year for Coyote Canyon and Justin. Haven’t had a chance to meet him yet.

  4. wawineman says:

    This blog is a long-time supporter of Coyote Canyon wines and the quality keeps improving. The current lineup is darn good.

    Ab, you always get the plum jobs! Might I suggest some Spanish plates to go with that Michael Andrews Red Wine? The man has a bent toward Iberian grapes and I don’t blame him. Tempranillo always reminds me of one of my better gfs.

    Merry Christmas, WMD! And Ab! You dudes rock.

  5. csabernethy says:

    When I go talk with Mike or whomever is in the tasting room, I will keep your recommendation in mind. Thanks for the suggestion! How long have you been a CC aficionado? Do you remember a “Denise” in the tasting room? She worked there before working at Smasne and Gamache.

  6. wawineman says:

    Been on the wagon for almost four years now. I probably remember her if I see her face. Lots of “Denise”‘s working the tasting rooms. How do you remember all these things???

  7. csabernethy says:

    You know me – I know ALL the cute girls. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33629589/Denise.jpg

  8. wawineman says:

    Whoa! She’s cute.
    Ya know, I’m beginning to think you’re not some 60-something retiree. You got wine. You know all the hotties in the area. And you’re a beast. Maybe there really is hope for me…

  9. csabernethy says:

    Unfortunately, she is now married, living in Bellevue, and currently out of the wine business. Always a pleasure to spend time with her in a tasting room!

  10. wawineman says:

    Dang. That would have been reason enough to head to Prosser. I know of a few cuties in the area but they know this gig so I cannot introduce at this time. When you headed back here?

  11. csabernethy says:

    Merry Christmas! An oh, go back and check out that picture of Denise – the morning after when the booze wore off.

  12. wawineman says:

    Merry Christmas, Ab! Aaaaand… WTF??? Looks like that sweet picture turned into one of my one night stands where I had serious Coyote Syndrome the next morning.

    Amazing how Washington wine makes all the gals look prettier.

  13. csabernethy says:

    Wake up! It was just a bad hangover dream. I now return you to the real Denise (revisit link above).

  14. wawineman says:

    Ahhh. much better. You almost made me decide to become a priest…

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