Recycling some of my old blogs to fill in while I am still studying. This one is from October of 2012.
My background & interest in geology brought me directly to the rocks perched on tables and shelves in the tasting room of Seven Hills Winery, located on North 3rd in downtown Walla Walla, in a charming brick building on the same block as the Marcus Whitman Hotel. It was fairly quiet as they had just opened for the day. Tasting Room Manager, Julie Titus, addressed us to tell us why those particular rocks, from vineyards where Seven Hills wine grapes grow, were in the tasting room. Which lead to the conference room just off of the tasting room where Ian Boyden’s ‘Echos of the Earth’ series of paintings, using pigments from local minerals and burnt vines, hang. These abstract images produced with materials from the vineyards is sub-captioned ‘Landscapes Interpreting the Terroir of Eastern Washington’. For a few years I had the opportunity to work with many artists in a university setting; absorbing, by default of proximity, the conceptual nature and various mediums – I appreciate Ian’s work tremendously.
But we came in to taste wine, so taste we did. A Oregonian Pinot Gris with definite pear aroma and taste, from the Wahluke Slope a Viognier, more citrus in flavor, and a Riesling from mixed vineyards of the Wahluke Slope – sublime! But we are in Walla Walla, exciting, award-winning whites are available, but so many and all wonderful was a treat?
From the vineyard of the same name, but no longer an estate vineyard, twenty-two year old vines produced a Merlot with red currant, spice and more tannins than I expected for a bold but lovely wine. From the same vineyard the Cabernet Sauvignon, 91 & 94 points in Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast respectively, are true to variety and handled expertly by winemaker Casey McClellan – this is five wines into a taste and we both enjoyed all five wines – a true accomplishment.
On we tasted, Pentad, a 2009 Bordeaux blend winning 96 points in Wine Enthusiast and smooth as silk. A Malbec in its ninth vintage – practice has indeed brought perfection. Julie told us that Casey is the pioneer of Malbecs in the Walla Walla Valley. The finale is the Petit Verdot, from the McClellan Estate Vineyard, dark fruit forward with mineral and spice notes. A tour group came in about the time we finished or I would have applauded such a fine performance; every wine tasted was delicious.
In the same building is the Whitehouse Crawford Restaurant where Planing Mill Red, a Columbia Valley blend made by Seven Hills Winery is served by the glass. Our meal times and the restaurants hours didn’t jive this visit, but we look forward to another attempt soon.