Fall Release Weekend in Walla Walla

Music and visual art are exciting elements of some winery tasting rooms during Fall Release weekend.
Music and visual art are exciting elements of some winery tasting rooms during Fall Release weekend.

This was Fall Release weekend in Walla Walla – a semi-crazy time of year when wine lovers visit and taste through the new wines presented by each winery.  Most wine makers are present to rub shoulders with their fans and discuss their wines, various restaurant and catering operations work over time in the days ahead to create elaborate trays for the wineries; locally made specialty cheeses and chocolates are the other hot pairings. Musical and visual art are important aspects on offer as well.  There are few hotel rooms available, if any.  Reservations are difficult to get at any restaurant and those that don’t take them have long waiting lists by about 4:30 PM.  It is a big deal – but it isn’t the head-liner that Holiday Barrel is early next month, that will be an even bigger event!

I spent most of my hours working the Seven Hills Winery Tasting Room.  Newly released were two wines, McClellen Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and a Late Harvest Riesling.  I have tasted and am smitten with them, I made sure my partner in wine tasted them before the weekend was fully under way; we now have our stash.

Half-past closing and we still had several people tasting wines Saturday night of Fall Release.
Half-past closing and we still had several people tasting wines Saturday night of Fall Release.

We were also selling futures, by providing tastes, of the 2012 Pentad, a Walla Walla vineyard-based Bordeaux blend that isn’t made every year.  From the Seven Hills Winery webpage: “Pentad represents our highest achievement in winemaking, a wine of wholeness, balance, and ever-expanding complexity.  It is a wine bottled only in the most exceptional vintages.  The 2012 vintage is our first release of Pentad in three years, only our 8th vintage ever produced.”  All six of the Bordeaux varietals are fermented through barrel, as they develop wine maker Casey McClellan determines which five grapes are showing best to blend into this exciting wine.

I did get to do some wine tasting at both favorite and new wineries on Sunday with my favorite wine tasting partner, I’ll share those with you soon.

Cheers!

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