Lodmell Cellars

We were downtown Walla Walla with an hour to spare between appointments, enough time to do a bit of wine tasting.  We had visited the 2nd Ave tasting rooms at the base of the Marcus Whitman Hotel, so we took in Lodmell Cellars on Rose St.

Red and white tasting room, accessible from the street or the hotel, with a couple of colorful, fun paintings (done by Matthew McKern) and Tom, presiding over the tasting room.  No photos, sorry, we got to chatting and they slipped my mind.

Superbly nice weather encouraged us to start with the white and rose’ offerings: 2010 Sauvignon Blanc & 2010 Saignee, respectively.  I am looking forward to grabbing a bottle of the Sauv Blanc one weekend and savoring it after a day in the garden.  We compared the 2009 rose to the 2010, both using estate Merlots & Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, but different ratios.  I was pleasantly surprised that the ’09 with more Merlot was bolder with much deeper, earthy flavors.  The ’10, with a greater presence of the Cab Sauv was enjoyably light in flavor with high, bright notes.

The Lodmell Vineyard is by the Snake River in the southern Palouse hills, taking their cue from said river, their primary label is a curled snake.  Thirty acres of grapes, the original 15 acres planted in 1995 with Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon, the latter 15 acres, sometime around 2000, planted with Semillon, Syrah, & Cabernet Franc.

Onto the reds, 2008 red blend Sublime, bearing a label from one of the paintings hung in the tasting room, which is a 50% Merlot, 30% Carmenere, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, spicy, deep red that begs to be paired with a curry dinner.

From twelve-year-old vines, the 2007 Estate Merlot has 25% Cab Sauv grapes and still feels like a warm blanket on a cold winter day.  Notes of floral and honey reminding one of the promise of spring.

We tasted the January-released 2009 100% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon with its spicy nose and smooth finish and I wanted to say ‘Syrah’.  This is Lodmell Cellars first single variety Cab Sauv – nice work, look forward to more.

To cap our visit, Tom poured a bit of the 2008 Bend Sinister Port.  At 18.2% ABV this late harvest Merlot (picked at 33* Brix) with Pinot Grigio brandy from the Ellensburg Distillery.  The Pinot Grigio grapes were also Columbia Valley grapes.  Clover honey nose, raisin front and sweet, but not syrupy.  By the way, the story behind the name is on the bottle label.

Tom has his own enterprise for his hours away from Lodmell’s tasting room: Winecountry2go.  In your vehicle, Tom will chauffeur you and your group to wineries.  He knows the area and wineries well.  At the end of the day, he drives you back to where you originally met, be it your hotel, B&B, or your house.  Everyone can enjoy the tastings and participate while the designated driver gets you from tasting room to tasting room.


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