We started with the Gilbert Cellars Malbec. Owner, Sean Gilbert was in attendance and gave the group a brief history of the family winery and vineyard operations and spoke in detail about vintage variation as expressed in the wines.
2006 Gilbert Cellars Columbia Valley Malbec $26
This wine has a dark purple appearance with some lightening at the rim. Aromas of black fruit, black pepper, some violets, cherries, leather, plums and smokiness. On the palate there’s a good dose of black cherry, spice and bakers chocolate. Great balance and expressive fruit. Drink now.
Sean Gilbert noted that this vintage was great for balance in the wines.
2009 Gilbert Cellars Columbia Valley Malbec $26
This wine is a dense plum color. Inviting aromas of black cherries, tobacco leaf and spice. The tannins are intense on this young wine yet still complimentary to the notes of blackberry, black cherry and spice with a cocoa powder finish. Drink in 1-2 years.
2010 Gilbert Cellars Columbia Valley Malbec Barrel Sample (Not Yet Released)
The appearance on this still-developing Malbec is almost raspberry in hue. It opens with aromas of blackberry, black pepper and earthiness with some spice. On the palate it is still wound up tight and a bit rough around the edges but the wine is showing great potential to become a distinctive and delicious Malbec upon release and for the next few years.
We then moved on to the Tapteil Vineyard Syrah vertical.
2007 Tapteil Vineyard Yakima Valley Syrah $32
This Syrah is inky black with aromas of strawberry, white pepper, black cherry, eucalyptus and some spice. The palate is loaded with black cherry, plum and spice. Drink in 2-3 years.
Sean Gilbert loved this vintage calling it a “textbook vintage” in Washington.
2008 Tapteil Vineyard Yakima Valley Syrah $32
This wine is very purple with a peony hued rim. Captivating aromas of raspberry, blackberry, black pepper, spice and an earthy component. This wine opens with black cherry, leather and showy oak and is an easy drinker. Drink in 1-2 years.
Amy Mumma noted that 2008 was an outstanding “food vintage” for Washington wines.
2009 Tapteil Vineyard Yakima Valley Syrah $26
This wine is mostly brick-red in appearance with hints of purple. It leads with aromas of plums, blackberry, black cherry, black pepper and pencil lead. There is an explosion of dense black fruit and spice on the palate followed by a hint of bacon fat underlain by elegant tannins and an outstanding finish. Drink in the next 12 months.
As with any consumer tasting there are always a few laffs and with pen in hand I am always eager to document the debauchery! Some notable quotes from the evening include:
Food pairings. “I don’t eat lamb but I’d share a glass of this wine with some lambs.”
Closure discussion. “Don’t judge a wine by its closure!”
What does hot mean in a wine? “When you talk about a wine and say it is hot are you talking Paris Hilton “this is hot” or are you talking about the weather?”
The unfortunate unavailability of wines. “This is a library wine which means it is no longer for sale on the market. LIBRARY WINES, WHO INVENTED THAT?! HOW RUDE!”
I admit that as I initially sat down at my place with my 6 wines I started to sniff and speed taste before I realized…I am at a consumer event and I GET TO BE the consumer tonight! I took off my wine judge thinking cap and I truly enjoyed my evening tasting these outstanding vintages of Washington wine!
Cheers and Tootles,