terroir360

Location: Redmond, WA

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Terroir360.com Favorites

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Foundry Vineyards Chardonnay (2011)
Comments: This exceptional, and exceptionally priced, wine just received 92 points from the Wine Enthusiast Magazine (April 2013) making it one you’ll want to cellar up on. Aged in a twelve hectoliter oak tank handcrafted by a small cooperage in Burgundy, the fruit is held rather than overpowered. With 93% Chardonnay and 7% Maria Gomes -- a stunner of a grape -- this wine gives off notes of delicate florals and greenery and tastes of Granny Smith apple and sun-ripened pear. A touch of viscosity on the tongue and fine balance comes from aging the fruit on its lees. Drink with Seared scallops, fancy Grilled cheese & tomato soup, grilled vegetables and stone fruits, and, of course, friends. Foundry vineyards celebrates the art of the celebrated Walla Walla Foundry, which casts bronze pieces for world-renown artists ranging from Tom Otterness to Roy Lichtenstein, with the art of fine winemaking. Consulting winemaker Ali Mayfield left her job as a UPS truck driver to pursue her passion for winemaking and honed her craft at Long Shadows Vintners and Corliss Estates before joining Foundry Vineyards in 2010. If the scores from her inaugural vintage are any indication, she’s a winemaker you’ll want to add to your “watch” list.
Average price: $28.00 from 2 stores
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2 Les Cailloux Andre Brunel Chateauneuf du Pape (2009)
Comments: Andre' Brunel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2009 Maybe the first time you heard of Chateauneuf-du-Pape was when it was name-checked in a song by the Beastie Boys. But now that you've moved on from hearing about this legendary wine of France's Southern Rhone to drinking it, the 2009 Andre' Brunel is the perfect introduction to Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This Grenache-dominated blend (80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre and 5% Cinsault, the grapes permitted in the region) from an excellent vintage will bring out the Francophile in you. Not only is the wine impressive, rich and complex. The most distinct feature of the vineyards of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape are the stones that blanket the region. Not only do the stones provide for a dramatic landscape, they also function to reflect heat during the day and store it at night. So every time you pull a cork on a bottle of this gorgeous Chateauneuf-du-Pape, raise your glass for a moment to the hard-working stones that helped make this wine possible. 90 pt Wine Spectator
Average price: $59.95 from 1 store
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3 Bergevin Lane Chardonnay Wahluke Slope Linen (2009)
Comments: Scoring an 85 point “Best Buy” from the Wine Enthusiast this easy-drinking wine originated at the Wahluke Slope in Central Washington state. One of the warmest grape-growing climates in the state it is best-known for producing the Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon that Washington earned its wine chops on. The 2009 vintage was a cool one, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly without high sugar levels, giving this wine hints of Honeycrisp apple and a balanced minerality. Pairing suggestions include artichoke and spinach dips, dishes with lots of butter and garlic, and light pastas. Founded in 2002 Bergevin Lane has become one of the larger wineries in Walla Walla, producing about 11,000 cases annually. Owners Annette Bergevin and Amber Lane bring the strengths of their business backgrounds to assist in crafting playful, yet complex, wines. Together with winemaker Dave Harvey, they produce wines which span the spectrum from well-priced “everyday drinkers” to sophisticated small-lot releases perfect for cellaring.
Average price: $7.86 from 1 store
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4 Charles Smith Syrah Washington Boom Boom (2010)
Comments: Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah 2010 set the Washington State wine world on fire with his "House Wine" and continues that tradition with the explosive Boom Boom Syrah. As the name would suggest, this is no shrinking violet of a wine. (Though you might detect some violets on the nose of the wine.) If you like your wine unabashedly bold and a bit in-your-face, the 2010 Boom Boom Syrah is just the ticket. If you are interested in seeing what Washington can achieve with Syrah at a modest price, the Boom Boom is a wine to pick up by the case. It's nice to have a go-to wine that is going to give you exactly what you are looking for. And though the Boom Boom may have a brash personality on the outside and in the glass, it can certainly be tamed by some bold flavors, like a slow-cooked pot roast or any braised meat that's been sitting in a crock pot all day, just waiting for you to get home and pour yourself a glass.
Average price: $19.99 from 1 store
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5 Alves de Sousa Quinta da Gaivosa Lbv Port (1999)
Comments: Port wine hails from the Douro valley in central Portugal, a region connected by the Douro River to the (appropriately named) port city of Porto. The production and export of Port wine remains a pillar of the Portuguese economy, and its historical role was so crucial that the region of Douro was demarcated as the world’s first wine region in 1756 after nearly a century of production. The Douro region’s hot, dry summers and nearly vertical slopes are often terraced to hold the roughly 20,000 acres of vineyards. Domingos Alves de Sousa, a third generation winemaker, insisted upon only using grapes from his own estate to comprise his wines. This admirable legacy lives on to this day through his son, Tiago. Although not widely known here in the U.S., his winery has been repeatedly recognized for its excellence, and was most prominently awarded “Producer of the Year” in both 1999 and 2006 by Revista de Vinhos, Portugal’s premier wine magazine. Fittingly, Terroir360 proudly offers his 1999 Quinta da Gaivosa Late Bottled Vintage Port. Unfiltered and stored in oak for five years, this Port retained all its geographic originality. You’ll immediately notice its deep, rich color, and the hints of minerality add complexity to the earthy nose you’d expect from its origin. A distinctive berry taste adds just the appropriate amount of sweetness that Port enthusiasts will appreciate and those with a less-trained palate will thoroughly enjoy. While this Port could be aged for up to another five years, that is highly unlikely because it’s the perfect companion to a rich dessert or can be enjoyed alone any time your sweet tooth beckons. Best of all, Ports hold well even after they’re opened, especially if lightly chilled. Cheers!
Previously available for $29.99
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6 Apolloni Rosé Blend Oregon Rosé (2011)
Comments: Alfredo Apolloni artfully blends his trademark Pinot Noir with Viognier to create this beautiful Rosé, which typically sells out annually. Definitely fruit-forward, you’re immediately engulfed by notes of watermelon and strawberries complemented by its strong citrus finish. Rosés are the perfect choice for summer refreshment, and is itself nearly a bottled amalgamation of the warm sun and chilling breezes. This Rosé can be enjoyed alone or, if you choose, paired alongside an entrée of light fish or poultry; or you can highlight the wine’s strong flavor by simply adding a snack plate of hard cheese and crackers. Alfredo Apolloni comes from a legacy of Italian winemakers stretching back more than 150 years, originating in Tuscany’s Arezzo region, located near Florence. The family vineyard’s current location in the northern portion of Oregon’s Willamette Valley allows for slower ripening of the grapes due to an extended growing season, making it ideal for Pinot Noir—the primary grape included in their Rosé. All twenty southern-facing acres of vines dedicated to the noir variety are hand-picked from the leaves at the optimum time to active the perfect balance of sweetness with acidity. Apolloni Vineyards complies with all the requirements of both Oregon’s sustainable viniculture and Salmon Safe programs, which is not surprising since the family’s traditional crest adorns all the bottles’ labels as a symbol of both the history and future longevity.
Previously available for $15.99
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7 Barnard Griffin Sangiovese Columbia Valley Rosé of Sangiovese (2011)
Comments: Another impressive fruit-forward Rosé, the Barnard Griffin’s Sangiovese grapes produce amazing citrus and tart notes, slightly more fruity than you will encounter in the Apolloni, yet which remain delightfully enjoyable. But don’t take our word alone from those of us here at Terroir360: In addition to securing its seventh consecutive gold medal at the annual San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the Barnard Griffin 2011 Rosé of Sangiovese was recently selected best Rosé for the second straight year! This Rosé also sells out quickly so be sure to cherish its complexity or, better yet, buy another bottle to share with your friends and family as you play host this summer. The Rosé of Sangiovese is best enjoyed while relaxing on your porch and taking in the sun’s warm rays on a hot afternoon. Cheers. Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard founded their winery nearly thirty years ago in Richland, Washington, in the state’s south-central or “Tri Valley” region, as the locals refer to it. Barnard Griffin is located near the intersection of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia rivers, which offer plenty of water for irrigation during the area’s surprisingly warm and arid summer season. The region’s unique soil composition and drastic diurnal temperature variations create a truly distinctive harvesting environment for the vineyards situated in Washington’s wine country, which has grown consistently since the 1970s and absolutely exploded in popularity during the last twenty years.
Average price: $13.74 from 2 stores
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8 Grgich Hills Chardonnay Napa Valley (2009)
Comments: Although Grgich Hills produces a number of whites and reds, it is best known for Chardonnay—and remains one of the world’s best. They use oak barrels and skip the malolactic fermentation process completely, which differentiates them from most other wineries. Grgich’s 2009 vintage was awarded 91 points by Wine and Spirits and Connoisseur’s Guide gave it 90 points. It has some noticeable acidity and long finish that battles its citrus notes. The oak barreling adds an element of further complexity. While it is already an amazing white wine—that you can enjoy by itself or paired with shellfish and poultry—it will continue to grow over the next few years if you can keep your hands off it. But we bet you can’t! Winery: Winemaker Mike Grgich rose to fame when his 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay outshined some of France’s best varietals at the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, a blind competition. This seminal moment in American winemaking proved that the terroir of California’s budding wine region was on par with or perhaps even surpassed old-world Europe. Of course, having your wine selected as the best white in the world obviously brought him immediate critical acclaim and attention. While Grgich founded his winery just one year later on July 4th, 1977, it took another fifteen years before he could satisfy customer demand and eliminate the 3-case-per-year limit; in fact, his popular winery remains a regular stop on Napa Valley tours. Grgich Hills Cellars renamed itself in 2006 when they shifted to grapes that were exclusively estate-grown, and their production process is certified organic and biodynamic as well as entirely solar-powered. They produce world-class wines that make you feel great, and that you feel great about drinking.
Average price: $37.95 from 392 stores
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9 Saracco Moscato d'Asti (2011)
Comments: Have you ever drank a bowl of peaches and pears? Although it may not be physically possible to do so, the Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2011 will give you that sensation. It’s the ultimate brunch (or breakfast) wine. Light, low in alcohol, sweet (but not cloyingly so), and delightfully fizzy Moscato d’Asti is pure refreshment. Hailing from the Asti region of Italy’s Piedmont, where you also find fantastic red wines made from the Barbera grape, drinking the Saracco Moscato d’Asti gives you an idea why the popularity of this grape has exploded all over the world. Now wineries can’t buy Moscato grapes fast enough to turn into wine. But this grape has never been a fad in Asti; wineries like Saracco have been quietly making Moscato and making it delicious. Slice up some of the best seasonal fruit you can find, open a bottle, and enjoy.
Average price: $15.99 from 274 stores
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10 Chateau d'Arche Sauternes la Perle (2008)
Comments: 2008 Chateau Perle d’Arche Sauternes One of the world’s most famous wines happens to be a sweet wine. Chateau d’Yquem, from the Sauternes region of France, is a legendary elixir that can age for many, many decades. Alas, it also has a legendary price tag. Many hundreds of dollars...for a half-bottle. And while some day you may be lucky enough to taste Chateau d’Yquem, whether through the grace of a generous friend, a lottery windfall, or divine providence, in the meantime you can enjoy a bottle of 2008 Chateau Perle d’Arche Sauternes. Comprised of a blend of Semillon with a portion of Sauvignon Blanc, this golden, sweet wine is the perfect end to a memorable meal. Though it pairs well will classic desserts like creme brulee, and is also a wonderful accompaniment to fruit-based desserts and sorbets, I think the best match is with a savory bit. Try Sauternes with the best blue cheese you can find. The strong, salty flavors of the cheese are tamed by the rich sweetness of the Chateau Perle d’Arche Sauternes.
Previously available for $18.99
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11 Nicolas Potel Mâconvillages Blanc (2010)
Comments: You’ll immediately notice that the Mâcon-Villages Blanc lacks the manifest fruitiness of American Chardonnays, and whites in general. Potel has crafted a simple nose featuring notes of fresh honey and roasted almonds. It crosses the palate containing traces of limestone and chalk from the minerality of Burgundy’s soil, which brings a freshness that lingers on through the finish. This Chardonnay, like all French white wines, pairs well with food especially poultry and light seafood dishes, aged white cheeses, or perhaps even some grilled pork chops. But while you can complement it with savory food that doesn’t require the typical fruitiness, you may very well choose to enjoy it alone as a nice contrast to our more readily available American counterparts. The Mâcon-Villages Blanc is comprised of 100 percent Chardonnay grapes hailing from the southern portion of France’s infamous Burgundy region, one of the premier wine making regions in France along with Champagne and Bordeaux. Like our Grgich Hills offering from Napa Valley, Burgundy is another internationally renowned terroir. Maison Nicolas Potel has been carefully choosing his grapes from old vines (most are which more than 35-years-old) planted across many different microclimates and a variety of clay and chalk soil types stretching across the region. Winemakers draw upon generations of experience to blend the regional diversity within this authentic appellation to ensure amazing consistency across vintages. You’ll enjoy comparing the French and American Chardonnays for yourself.
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12 Gouguenheim Cabernet Sauvignon (2010)
Comments: Watching the explosive rise in popularity of Malbec from Argentina has been simply astonishing. Though you would think from what you see and read that there is precious little else produced in Argentina. Is the runaway success of Malbec for Argentina going to mirror that of Australian Shiraz? (In other words, are people going to think that Argentina makes nothing but Malbec?) Well, Gouguenheim is making a Cabernet Sauvignon that will broaden your perspective of Argentine wine. This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Gougenheim comes from the same high-altitude vineyards that produce their Malbec. And, like the Malbec, it is a bold yet easily accessible red that will be a welcome regular addition to your dinner table. Enjoy it with the famous Argentine counterpart to its red wines: beef. Channel your inner gaucho by grilling up a steak over an open fire or, ok, even a gas grill. After all, you’re not out on the pampas.
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13 Gouguenheim Malbec Reserve (2009)
Comments: How does a winemaker get his or her start? What sets them down the path towards this profession? We enjoy reading about the history of a place and its people provided by wineries, and Gouguenheim is no exception. As their website states, “Born in Argentina to French parents, [Winemaker] Patricio Gouguenheim's love for wine started at the age of 7 when he was given a little bit of wine (mixed with sparkling water!) with every meal. No doubt this was a catalyst for him entering the world of wine later on in life.” Patricio’s Reserve (Reserva) Malbec spends extra time in oak to produce a wine with even more richness and complexity. While Gouguenheim’s standard Malbec certainly isn’t a delicate red wine, the Reserve turns it up a notch or two. This is the bottle for red wine afficionados who crave power and substance, which the Gouguenheim delivers in abundance.
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14 Muscadet-Svre et Maine Sur Lie CuvŽe Prestige (2010)
Comments: Comprised of 100% Melon de Bourgogne, only the best cuvée is selected for their “Cuvée Prestige” varietal and Muscadet aficionados will immediately notice the difference. It maintains a slightly beady characteristic with some tiny bubbles, giving the mouth an added treat. Daffodils and wildflowers immediately tease the nose and draw you in; your first taste confirms the well-balanced combination of apple, lime and some river rock minerality that provides the wine’s dryness. It leaves the impression that there is just a bit more fruit to give, which the winemakers explain as its ability to be aged in your cellar for years to come—that is, if you have the patience. And, of course, Muscadet is renowned as one of the premier wines to be paired with local seafood, particularly oysters.
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15 La Piuma Pecorino (NV)
Comments: Sweet notes of apple and pear tease your nose and, coupled with lighter hints of jasmine, combine to make the perfect complement to a seafood feast of fresh fish and oysters. The mild acidity is enjoyable yet not overbearing. You will want to share with friends and family but will probably think twice before doing so with a limited release of; you may reserve this one for more special occasions. La Piuma Pecorino hails from the Abruzzo wine region of Italy, situated two hours east of Rome between the Adriatic Sea and the Maiella Mountains, where the vines enjoy a unique microclimate subject to varying temperatures featuring plenty of sunshine and rainfall. The region’s rich vinicultural history stretches back to the fourth or sixth century B.C.—depending on which story you hear—and, after a lengthy decline in production due to a thinning local population, the region has finally seen a dramatic resurgence over the last 40-50 years.
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16 Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay Columbia Valley (2011)
Comments: The hot days and cool nights of the Columbia Valley produce grapes of exceptional flavor -- the hot days inspire the development of complex sugars while the cool nights yield crispness and acidity. Rated “Excellent/Exceptional” by the Washington Wine Report, this blend of 94% Chardonnay, 6% Orange Muscat, aged in a blend of new and used French oak, boasts crisp flavors of Granny Smith Apple and Bartlett Pears (also grown in the Columbia Valley). The low alcohol and high acidity make this a perfect wine to enjoy with seafood, pasta and chicken dishes. Founded in 2001 on the site of a former blacksmith’s shop, Forgeron (French for, yes, “blacksmith”) is the magical laboratory of Marie-Eve Gilla. Perhaps one of Washington’s most pedigreed winemakers, Gilla mixes parts of her early experience in the vineyards of Burgundy with over 22 years of expertise earned in Washington wineries such as Argyle, Covey Run, Gordon Brothers and Hogue Cellars. Gilla’s winemaking skills have earned her a bevy of positive press and make her a winemaker you can count on for consistency, quality, and always, a little bit of surprise.
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17 Tablas Creek Red Rhone Blend Paso Robles Patelin de Tablas (2010)
Comments: A partnership in Paso Robles between the Perrin family from the legendary Chateauneuf du Pape winery Chateau Beaucastel and the founder of wine importer Vineyard Brands, Robert Haas, Tablas Creek is creating Rhone-style wines in California by way of France. They even brought the vines over from France and, after a three-year waiting and testing period, were allowed to begin planting the vineyard. When you taste a wine like the Patlin Rouge, you can understand how it was worth the wait. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise from Tablas Creek’s vineyards and other prestigious sites in Paso Robles, it’s a red wine with a little meatiness lended by the Mourvedre to go along with the bright Grenache and brooding Syrah. Certainly a wine that would pair nicely with lamb, as well as being from a winery with a great story behind it.
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