Here are the white wines reviewed in our Recent Releases section of the Fall 2009 issue of Wine Press Northwest. Wines are categorized by variety and style.
Bodhichitta Winery 2008 Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, 30 cases, 13.4% alc., $30
Excellent. Wisconsin native Mark Proden sought a return to his farming roots, so the former Air Force pilot modeled his new nonprofit winery in Salem, Ore., after the Newman's Own line. This wine casts out aromas of Golden Delicious apple, pear and grapefruit aromas, but it's bone-dry with piercing food-friendly acidity on the palate. The apple goes Granny Smith and that citrus will serve it nicely alongside a fatty fish such as sturgeon or oysters on the half shell.
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Boudreaux Cellars 2007 Unfiltered Chardonnay, Washington, 175 cases, 13.3% alc., $35
Recommended. Rob Newsom's cult winery near Leavenworth, Wash., works with Celilo Vineyard fruit for the first time, and his use of neutral oak is key. Butterscotch, lemony citrus and apple aromas jump into that first bite of a Granny Smith apple. A mix of citrus and creaminess on the back will play out nicely with Alfredo sauce over pasta.
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Canoe Ridge Estate Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, 12,000 cases, 14.4% alc., $22
Excellent. Bob Bertheau champions this style of Chardonnay, and fruit for this richly colored drink comes from near sister winery Columbia Crest in Paterson, Wash. It's unmistakable as aromas say Chard with copious notes of toasted French oak, buttered popcorn and butterscotch. There's not as much oak on the entry. Instead, lots of enjoyable creaminess with apple and pear flavors build along with acidity. It's well-balanced for food, so try with grilled chicken, ginger/teriyaki-glazed salmon, pork or crab cakes.
David Hill Vineyards & Winery 2007 Estate Reserve Chardonnay, Willamette Valley, 488 cases, 12.9% alc., $18
Recommended. Subtle aromas of apple, pineapple, starfruit, dill, straw and artichoke are overcome by a wealth of fruit of the palate. The pears, apples and creamy pineapples jostle in the mouth before a squirt of lemonade arrives in the finish. Serve with seared scallops.
Desert Hills Estate Winery 2007 Unoaked Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, 700 cases, 13.75% alc., $17 CDN
Excellent. Ripening grapes on the Black Sage Bench is no problem as this winery near Oliver, B.C. shows. Pineapple, apricots and lemon/lime aromas include a kernel of popcorn. There's supreme richness among the tropical flavors, emboldened by orange and grapefruit acidity.
Gilbert Cellars 2007 Estate Chardonnay, Wahluke Slope, 217 cases, 14.1% alc., $20
Recommended. Doc Stewart Vineyard shows off notes of citrus fruit, apple and lemongrass, then there's the hazelnut and barrel aging accents. The acidity and trailing grapefruit pith should pair well with poached tilapia.
JoieFarm 2008 Un-Oaked Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, 1,254 cases, 12.9% alc., $21 CDN
Excellent. Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble added "Farm" to their winery brand and strive to make this in a style similar to the Macon region of France. Hugely fragrant is the nose of Golden Delicious apple, pineapple, starfruit, jasmine and honeysuckle. The drink is a quintessential oyster wine - dry and tart as apple transitions to lemon. Try it also with a fruit plate featuring pineapple, green salads or shrimp drizzled with a lemon chipotle sauce.
Spangler Vineyards 2008 Unoaked Chardonnay, Southern Oregon, 168 cases, 13.9% alc., $20
Outstanding! Patrick Spangler left the Midwest five years ago to make first-rate wine in Roseburg, Ore., and here's just his latest example. The nose isn't all about fruit as the pear accents are joined by fresh sweet corn, marshmallow and sandalwood. Fruit explodes on the palate in delicious, but not sweet, fashion as more pears, grapefruit and a bit of nectarine with the peel appear. And yet its greatest quality might be the beautiful acid balance.
Sparkman Cellars 2007 Lumiere Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, 14.3% alc., 450 cases, $32
Recommended. Brightly toned fruit from Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Frenchman Hills gives Chris Sparkman the chance to use native yeast fermentation, French oak and age on the lees. Aromas of Asian pears, starfruit, lemon peel and nice minerality transcend to sweeter fruit on the palate. Think of Bartlett pear, tangerine acidity and shaved coconut with toasted filberts and butterscotch in the farewell.
Cave B Estate Winery 2008 Riesling, Columbia Valley, 375 cases, 12.7% alc., $18
Excellent. Classic Riesling aromas of lime, apples in a harvest box and petrol ease into flavors starting with a spoonful of lime sherbet. It checks in as juicy, tasty and a bit off-dry (1.8% residual sugar), then finishes with a notes of tonic water with quinine. Serve with a mild chili relleno.
JoieFarm 2008 Riesling, Okanagan Valley, 1,071 cases, 11% alc., $21 CDN
Outstanding! Michael Dinn and Heidi Noble describe this as a "delicate vintage." Imagine what they will do with the next easy season. Their goal is a German Spatelese, so their sugar measures in at 2.3%. And they've nailed the sweet spot. It's not a Riesling for Grandma, unless her name is Helga, because its far from "brunchy." Instead, it's about minerality, river rock, lime and yellow grapefruit. The acidity is spritzy, and you'll sense some lime pith and spearmint gum in the farewell.
Kalala Organic Estate Winery 2007 Riesling, Okanagan Valley, 250 cases, 12.5% alc., $17 CDN
Recommended. Nearly 20 years ago, Karnail Singh Sidhu gave up his career in India as an electrical engineer to begin farming organically in the Okanagan Valley. Last year, he opened his winery and sold through this tasty introduction with accents of crème brûlee, Key Lime pie, apricots, honeydew melon, orchard blossoms and clipped artichokes.
Nodland Cellars 2005 Bebop Riesling, Columbia Valley, 33 cases, 12.7% alc., $25
Recommended. This Spokane couple sourced Riesling from Two Guns in Quincy and Pleasant in Prosser then did something atypical. They age it two years in stainless steel. It emerged with aromas of Juicy Fruit gum, petrol, butter and toast. The dry structure is laced with Golden Delicious apples and more petrol before lemon/lime acidity extends the palate.
St. Regulus Wines 2008 Reserve Riesling, Snake River Valley, 33 cases, 13% alc., $19
Outstanding! There's a new winery in the tiny town of Weiser, Idaho, and Dave Rule gained quick attention with this release. Lively is the nose of apples, pear, honeydew melon, lime, fresh-cut asparagus and minerality. It's delicious, luscious, refreshing and bright between the lips with apples and pears. There's good balance and a touch of sweetness as an underlying tone of river rock adds varietal complexity.
Trust Cellars 2008 Riesling, Columbia Valley, 224 cases, 12.4% alc., $16
Outstanding! Steve Brooks left his job as a CNN journalist to make wine in Walla Walla, and he knows how to balance his wines as well as his reporting. The story line for this production from CJ Farms, Pheasant and Evergreen vineyards starts with peach, tangerine and a hint of herbaceous in the nose. It's a peachy entry on the palate with succulent citrusy acidity to counter the pleasing sweetness (2% residual sugar). Enjoy as an aperitif or serve with peach cobbler.
Bodhichitta Winery 2007 Pinot Gris, Rogue Valley, 115 cases, 13% alc., $22
Recommended. This new and tiny nonprofit winery in Salem, Ore., recently donated $12,000 to school construction in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mark Proden styled this in food-friendly fashion with aromas of apple, starfruit, citrus and yellow popcorn, followed by a melding of Gala apple and Meyer's lemon juice flavors. That wealth of acidity should sidle up to a shrimp salad.
Davis Creek Cellars 2007 Pontin Vineyard Pinot Grigio, Yakima Valley, 63 cases, 14.1% alc., $16
Outstanding! Young Idaho vintner Gina Davis must have connections because this Prosser, Wash., vineyard annually produces some of the best Pinot Gris in the Northwest. And she knows what to do with it, displayed first by aromatics of Fuji apple, gooseberry, pear, lavender, Juicy Fruit gum and a whiff of sea breeze. It's juicy and bright on the palate with orange, grapefruit and lemon. Pears and apple return on the midpalate, and a slice of tart starfruit keeps it balanced.
Ponzi Vineyards 2008 Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley, 7,000 cases, 13.1% alc., $17
Excellent. Sustainable farming is important to the Ponzi family, and each contributing vineyard - Linda Vista, Lazy River, Gemini and Dion, as well as the three estate sites - achieves that. No oak gets in the way here as the theme is pineapple, grapefruit, gooseberries and Granny Smith apple. Warm and juicy it is on the entry, with fresh-squeezed lemon creating a substantial finish.
Lake Breeze Vineyards 2008 Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, 1,400 cases, 13.5% alc., $18 CDN
Excellent. Gary Reynolds worked the vines and Garron Elmes turned the fruit into inviting fragrances of Honeycrisp apple, citrus and a hint of fresh-baked bread. What awaits are bright and juicy flavors of pineapple and apple that finish with flourish of tart lemon.
Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery 2008 Pinot Grigio, Okanagan Valley, 700 cases, 13.1% alc., $19 CDN
Excellent. This family operation along the Corkscrew Trail near Okanagan Falls., B.C., ferments this in steel, then oaks it lightly. That explains aromas of pineapple and lime along with subtle notes of valerian blossom, vanilla and lemon pepper. Lime and orange dominate the structure, backed by tree-ripened Barlett pears and Honeycrisp apple. It's nicely finished with long citrusy acidity and guarded by screwcap.
Van Westen Vineyards 2007 Vino Grigio, Naramata Bench, 333 cases, 14.1% alc., $19 CDN
Recommended. The estate Home Lot Vineyard produced a Pinot Gris full of aromas of green apple, pineapple, vanilla and cotton candy, followed by a fruity mouthful of juicy pineapples and more green apples.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2008 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Steel Horse Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills, 800 cases, 13.6% alc., $20
Recommended. Hints of freshly sliced Fuji apple and pineapple from this estate site ride into more apple and pear flavors with a nice round mouthfeel, touch of nuttiness and citrusy finish of lime.
Cadaretta 2008 sbs, Columbia Valley, 6,000 cases, 12.5% alc., $23
Recommended. Huge notes of grapefruit, lemon and lime peel make this deliciously tart blend of Sauvignon Blanc (79%) and Semillon an astounding food wine. Enjoy with flaky halibut and lemon, deep fried calamari, raw oysters, green salads or Asian fare.
Cave B Estate Winery 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, 116 cases, 13.9% alc., $19
Excellent. Central Washington vineyards have produced vibrant wines from this grape, and this expanding George, Wash., showpiece offers the latest example. Gala apple, lemon, some grassiness and a touch of mineral fill the nose. It's a lively and juicy drink that features Granny Smith apples, a touch of sweetness on the midpalate and pleasing crispness on the back from lemony acidity.
Church & State Wines 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley, 432 cases, 14% alc., $20 CDN
Excellent. Bill Dyer made his name in the Napa Valley, but he no doubt enjoys working with the crisp whites in B.C. for this Victoria-based winery. Vin 117 in Oliver delivers the aromas of apricot, pineapple, apple, facial powder and grassiness that make it alluring. There's more Granny Smith and juicy Barlett pear flavors with grapefruit and underripe pineapple. Enjoy with broasted chicken.
Lodmell Cellars 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, 13.4% alc., 90 cases, $18
Recommended. Andrew Lodmell coaxed amazing complexity from this. Aromas include peaches, carmel corn, lemon Laffy Taffy, lime and quinine. The drink is refreshingly long and citrusy, akin to a gin and tonic, with some buttery oak notes. Serve with ceviche or, as the Lodmells suggest, Penn Cove mussels with buttered linguine.
Merry Cellars 2008 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Semillon, Columbia Valley, 59 cases, 14.6% alc., $18
Recommended. Dressed for cocktails rather than dinner, this first catches your eye with its rich honey color and whispers hints of banana pudding and butterscotch candy. Busty barrels and sur lie aging make it seductive in the mouth with pineapple. You'll also find moist apricots, pear and more butterscotch candy, then some Honey Nut Cherrios in the finish.
Novelty Hill Winery 2007 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, 1,311 cases, 13.5% alc., $18
Recommended. Mike Januik drops in some Semillon (10%) and the nose yields starfruit, dusty apple, tangerine, a hint of butterscotch and chalkboard dust. Think of semi-sweet citrus flavors as yellow grapefruit and tangerine acidity sits on the tongue. Apples and orange peel are found in the finish. Enjoy with steamed mussels.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2008 Crawford Viognier, Columbia Valley, 1,200 cases, 13.4% alc., $20
Recommended. This Prosser-based winery rarely goes outside of its estate for fruit. Here's an exception, and it's from a vineyard nearby. Look for tones of Rainier cherries, peaches, honeysuckle and nice minerality that slowly build and are capped by a hit of sweetness (0.75% residual sugar).
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2007 Mackay Epiphany Viognier, Horse Heaven Hills, 250 cases, 13.7% alc., $24
Outstanding! The omnipresent Jarrod Boyle makes this wine special for the Mackay family and its El Gaucho restaurants. Orange blossoms, grapefruit, diesel and Orange Julius aromas funnel into deeper tones of orange, honeysuckle, fresh lemonade and lime zest. Its creamy and long finish may make you long for coconut-encrusted shrimp.
Cave B Estate Winery 2008 Viognier, Columbia Valley, 245 cases, 13.9% alc., $20
Outstanding! Praise-worthy whites find themselves in your hands during social hour and also near your plate at the table. Young winemaker Freddy Arredondo delivers both with this Viognier. It's a refreshing and inviting nose of citrus, Wenatchee Valley orchard fruit and minerality in the background. That delicious fruit is found again on the palate with Golden Delicious apple on the entry and lemon pudding in the midpalate, setting the stage for a long finish of lime. Enjoy with Asian fare or black cod at Tendril's - the estate restaurant.
Novelty Hill 2007 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Viognier, Columbia Valley, 436 cases, 13.5% alc., $22
Recommended. Rhône varieties seem to thrive at this Frenchman Hills site, and this features dried apricots, pineapple, zesty orange and saffron. A touch of Roussanne (5%) adds notes of herbal tea and pear.
Van Westen Vineyards 2007 Viognier, Naramata Bench, 101 cases, 14.2% alc., $25 CDN
Recommended. Robert Van Westen taps into his Orlando parcel for this wine, all of which he guards with screwcap. Orange blossoms and strong citrus flavors are joined by nutmeg and butterscotch, which create thoughts of an orange sponge cake topped with whipped cream.
Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards 2008 Noah's Bloc Viognier, Umpqua Valley, 332 cases, 14.1% alc., $22
Excellent. Stephen Reustle names his plot for Biblical figures, and a menagerie of descriptors awaits, starting in the sweet aromas with cherry blossoms, apple, pear, candy corn, cotton candy and banana taffy. It's a serious drink though with juicy Asian pear and Rainier cherry leading the charge. Lemon-lime accents provide crispness and balance. Enjoy with scallops poached with a mixture of lemon and lime juice.
Zefina Estate Winery 2007 Alder Ridge Vineyard Viognier, Horse Heaven Hills, 250 cases, 14.6% alc., $20
Recommended. This wind-swept vineyard that overlooks the Columbia River produced a wine that includes Roussanne (14%) and features apple, fig, jasmine, grassy and smoky accents. The structure features refreshing lemon with a round and creamy finish.
Cave B Estate Winery 2008 Gewurztraminer, Columbia Valley, 117 cases, 12.7% alc., $22
Recommended. A number of folks in Washington made this Germanic variety off-dry, and this sits at 2% residual sugar. Leading with aromas of grapefruit, gooseberry and orchard fruit, it's a nice sipper for those who prefer sweeter wines. Very flavorful it is with pear, passionfruit and orange oil notes.
Lake Breeze Vineyards 2008 Gewurztraminer, Okanagan Valley, 800 cases, 14% alc., $18 CDN
Outstanding! Garron Elmes remains on the Naramata Bench and continues to produce some of Canada's top whites. He does this in a dry style with plenty of exotic aromatics, predominately passionfruit and fruit cocktail. Its charm contines with flavors of fruit cocktail in a very light syrup, which accents the attractive acidity. Enjoy it with lunch on a sunny day at the winery's Patio restaurant.
Cascadia Winery 2008 Mariposa Vineyard Roussanne, Columbia Valley, 94 cases, 13.5% alc., $18
Recommended. White Heron's estate vineyard near Quincy provided all the fruit to this young winery in Peshastin. The results are an off-dry offering (1.7% residual sugar) with notes of lemons, limes and sugar cane, that are joined grassiness and chased with just enough acidity.
Ponzi Vineyards 2008 Pinot Blanc, Willamette Valley, 744 cases, 13.7% alc., $17
Recommended. Thistle Vineyard in the Dundee Hills and the estate Aurora site in the Chehalem Mountains combine for aromas of peaches, oranges, petrol, honeycomb and toasted almonds. It's akin to a Riesling on the palate with juicy pear and green melon, citrusy acidity and minerality.
San Juan Vineyards 2008 Estate Siegerrebe, Puget Sound, 365 cases, 11.3% alc., $18
Excellent. Germans crossed Madeleine Angevine and Gewurztraminer to create this variety, and it expresses itself quite nicely in the Puget Sound. Grapefruit, gooseberry, pineapple and tangerine aromas also show up on the tongue with nice upfront acidity and a generous long flavors of citrus and pith. Pair this with a couscous salad that spotlights Mandarin oranges and scallions.
SuLei Cellars 2008 Roussanne, Walla Walla Valley, 75 cases, 14.1% alc., $18
Recommended. A new boutique winery in Walla Walla gains attention with its use of grapes from Cockburn Hills Vineyard. Pear, peach, kumquat, Orange Julius and oak accents come together for a zesty and clean drink.
Troon Vineyard 2008 Vermentino, Applegate Valley, 86 cases, 12.7% alc., $18
Recommended. It is believed that the Martin family and winemaker Herb Quady are the only folks in the Northwest to work with this Italian variety, which comes off the estate Grafted Block. This second commercial bottling yields aromas of apple butter, grapefruit, gooseberry and clean linen. It's built dry, and the palate focuses on yellow grapefruit and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Enjoy with a grilled brat on a hot summer day.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2008 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Shepherd's Mark, Horse Heaven Hills, 1,100 cases, 13.4% alc., $20
Outstanding! There doesn't seem to be a grape that Jarrod Boyle and Jose Luiz Yanez can't grow on the slopes overlooking Crow Butte Park and the Columbia River. Here's a blend of Rhône varieties - Roussanne (65%), Marsanne (24%) and Viognier - that's effusive in its aromatics, leading with gooseberry, Bosc pear, McIntosh apple, llme and toasted nuts. Complexity awaits with tons of acidity from flavors of sweet pineapple, more pear and lemon, then sweet figs on the midpalate. Buckle up for the big finish of lime.
Cave B Estate Winery 2008 SageCliffe 100 White, Washington, 511 cases, 12.9% alc., $19
Recommended. Ask for this at the Inn at SageCliffe and you'll find that it is unoaked Chardonnay. Granny Smith apples and citrus aromas are joined by hints of coconut milk and almond, though, it does show oak-free on the palate. There's a citrusy, mouthwatering and refreshing blast of orchard fruit, just a bit off-dry.
JoieFarm 2008 A Noble Blend, Okanagan Valley, 2,440 cases, 12.5% alc., $22
Outstanding! The Germans craft wines called "Edelzwicker," which translates to "noble blend." So Heidi Noble, and her husband, Michael Dinn, gather Gewurztraminer (36%), Kerner (17%), Pinot Blanc (16%), Auxerrois (13%), Pinot Gris (12%) and Oraniensteiner (6%) from eight vineyards. The results are stunning, and our space for description is limited. Apricot, grapefruit, women's facial powder and a hint of petrol only begin to tell what the nose knows. It's tongue-wagging, explosive and slightly off-dry with Texas pink grapefruit, Mandarin orange and lime. Lemons and apricot arrive in the finish. Serve with margarita chicken.
Twisted Tree Vineyards and Winery 2008 Trio White Wine, Okanagan Valley, 280 cases, 14% alc., $22 CDN
Excellent. Three Rhône varieties - Marsanne (50%), Viognier (36%) and Roussanne - were taken Oct. 1, Oct. 17 and Oct. 21 respectively off this scenic vineyard overlooking Osoyoos Lake. Newman's Limeaid, Granny Smith apple, gooseberry, grapefruit and some herbal notes dominate this drink with spritzy acidity that will be well-served with halibut or cod with lemon.
Anam Cara Cellars 2008 Nicholas Estate Rose of Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, 64 cases, 14.2% alc., $18
Recommended. A first-time production from this budding winery features Dijon clone 115, it's filled with notes of President plums, Cherry Coke, white strawberries and pink peppercorns. The dry angle, vibrant acidity and pinch of spiciness will find favor alongside glazed ribs and other barbecued meats.
DiStefano Winery 2008 Rose Amare, Columbia Valley, 85 cases, 13.8% alc., $19
Recommended. This saignee of Cabernet Franc (60%) and Merlot comes through with vibrant red pigment and tones of strawberry, cherry, rose petal, tobacco and bittersweet chocolate that would be delicious at a picnic or enjoyed with ham.
JoieFarm 2008 Re-think Pink Rose, Okanagan Valley, 2,300 cases, 12.5% alc., $19 CDN
Outstanding! Among the most eclectic pinks in the Northwest, it's also one of the best. Gamay (36%), Pinot Noir (30%), Pinot Meunier (24%) and Pinot Gris. Think mixed berry compote, ambrosia salad and rose hips in the nose. Delicious and just a bit off-dry (.9%), it's a veritable cornucopia of cranberry, cherry, raspberry, lingonberry, blueberry and strawberry/rhubarb. As far as food apps, it's difficult to go wrong. And for the Americans who complain we write too much about B.C. wines, Michael Dinn plans to export the 2009 vintage to Oregon.
Mission Hill Family Estate 2008 Five Vineyards Rose, Okanagan Valley, 1,381 cases, 13% alc., $15 CDN
Recommended. John Simes and his team take a serious approach to pink in this blend of Merlot, Gamay and Pinot Noir. Aromas of strawberry lemonade, a Fuzzy Navel, apricot, rhubarb and fresh-cut grass play out in similar fashion on the palate with a dry structure (0.8% residual sugar) and pie cherries in the finish. As with so many in B.C., this went out under screwcap. Enjoy with roast pork or Easter ham.
Sagelands Vineyard 2008 Dovel Vineyard Dry Rose, Wahluke Slope, 388 cases, 14.1% alc., $12
Excellent. Frederique Spencer grew up in Provence and trained in Bordeaux, and this drinks so nicely she must have made pink from Malbec before. Aromas of Van cherries, strawberry/rhubarb pie and peaches play out on the palate with more strawberry and cherry flavors. It's smooth, easy drinking and a welcome companion at backyard barbecues.
Willamette Valley Vineyard 2008 Pinot Noir Rose, Willamette Valley, 838 cases, 13% alc., $16
Recommended. Approachable and quaffable, it carries notes of strawberries, cranberries, tangerine, rose hips and pie cherries that finish with a drip of sweetness.
Noble Estate Vineyard 2008 Semi-Sparkling Muscat, Willamette Valley, 1,000 cases, 7.3% alc., $14
Outstanding! The world's oldest grape variety makes some of the most delicious sparkling wines in the Northwest. Orchard fruit aromas of Granny Smith, peach, apricot and grapefruit include rosewater, mint and fresh linen. They are matched on the palate along with accents of tangerine and a pinch of rosemary. Tingly lemony acidity balances the residual sugar (5%). Enjoy during Sunday brunch or any other night of the week.
Airfield Estates 2008 Late Harvest Riesling, Yakima Valley, 490 cases, 12.4% alc., $28
Excellent. Not often is a late harvest crafted in such as elegant way. Dried pineapple, apricot and honeysuckle are joined in the nose with hints of nuttiness and botrysis. It's a viscous drink, rich with dried papaya and reminiscent of a buckwheat pancake topped with apricot syrup. The residual sugar sits at 22%.
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2008 Destiny Ridge Late Harvest Riesling, Horse Heaven Hills, 470 cases, 12.5% alc., $16
Excellent. It's a tasty first venture into the late-harvest world for this Prosser winery, and it starts with dusty orchard fruit aromas, gooseberry, fruit cocktail and petrol. Rich and round, it's pleasingly sweet at 3.2% residual sugar, well-made and balanced with flavors reminiscent of peach cobbler and Dole fruit cocktail.
Upland Estates 2007 Vintage Muscat Ice, Yakima Valley, 90 cases, 10.2% alc., $25
Outstanding! Drink in some history here as W.B. Bridgman planted these Muscat of Alexandria vines in 1917. Ninety years later, Robert Smasne turned them into a masterpiece. Open the jar on glaceed apricots, clover honey, jasmine, sliced apple, canned peaches, butterscotch, apple blossoms and cocoa butter. What follows is a spoonful of orange marmalade with more apricots, honeysuckle and then slices of pears and apples. Mouthwatering acidity provides balance to this rich nectar (24.7% residual sugar).
DavenLore Winery 2007 Dr. Davenport Syrah Forte, Snipes Mountain, 55 cases, 18.6% alc., $25
Excellent. This is one of the first wines to display the new Snipes Mountain AVA on the label, and Gord Taylor names this dessert wine in honor of his wife, Joan, a soil scientist. Rather complex, it opens with a nose of blackberries, golden raisins, a Tootsie Roll, Flintstone vitamin and a pinch of leafiness for complexity. Inside are long cherry flavors with strawberries dipped in chocolate and chocolate-covered orange peel. Taylor's talent in managing alcohol shows in the syrupy smoothness.
Granite Creek Estate Wines 2005 Fortified Merlot, Okanagan Valley, 18.2% alc., $23 CDN
Recommended. The Kennedy clan winery in Tappen, B.C., opened five years ago on the northern edge of viticulture in North America near Lake Shuswap. They relied on French oak aging to produce a drink filled with fresh cordial cherries. black currant and sarsaparilla.