Current Releases

2014 Rhone Style Wines

The 2014 vintage represents the third season in a row shaped by an early start followed by a warm growing season. Each of these seasons were successful, yet the wines from each were influenced by unique conditions.

In 2014 flowering, a crucial period in the vines annual cycle, took place under ideal weather conditions. The warm, calm weather resulted in one of the most compressed flowering periods in recent years, and very even berry size. .... read more
Bob and Louis give you the 2014 Vintage Overview
La Côte Patriarche, Syrah La Côte Rousse, Syrah Réserve du Soleil  La Serenne, Syrah Bésoleil

2014 La Côte Patriarche, Syrah

The story of La Côte Patriarche is intimately linked to the story of the Syrah grape in Washington. When Mike Sauer (Red Willow Vineyard) and David Lake (Columbia Winery) made the prescient choice to plant the State’s first Syrah vines at Red Willow in 1986, neither of them could have imagined the far-reaching impact of their decision. Washington produces some of the most profound Syrah in the world and approximately two-thirds of the state’s plantings trace their origins to this original block. We’ve been fortunate enough to use this original planting as the sole source of La Côte Patriarche since 2007.

Red Willow Vineyard’s location is unique, with no other vineyards nearby, down a lonely road in the far western reaches of the Yakima Valley. The Sauer family share a dedication to their craft that is clearly displayed in the quality of their grapes and the meticulous farming methods they employ. Over the past eight seasons, the character of this block has been remarkably consistent: blackest purple in color, brooding aromatics and a vibrant, deep flavor profile. In 2014, the arrival of our first concrete tanks offered us the chance to experiment with a new fermentation vessel for La Côte Patriarche with the goal of adding new dimensions of texture and aromatic profile.

The 2014 La Côte Patriarche shows the wine’s hallmark traits: a deep black-magenta color, a palate of vibrant blue fruits and subtle aromatic notes of thyme and lavender. For the second season in row, 500 liter barrels were used to maintain fresh fruit character and lower oak influence. The new concrete fermentation vessels lend roundness to the blend and length to the finish. The result is a brooding and youthful La Côte Patriarche with superb structural integration and fine texture.



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
 Blending Detail:
  • 100% Syrah 

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2017 through 2026+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail:
  • 100% Red Willow Vineyard, west end of the Yakima Valley
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 98 Points: One of the wines of the vintage is the 2014 La Cote Patriarche, and it’s the finest vintage of this cuvee ever made. All from the Red Willow vineyard and some of the oldest Syrah vines in the state, this incredible Syrah yields a layered, awesomely pure bouquet of black and blue fruits, violets, herbes de Provence and graphite, with cool climate notes of olives and violets emerging with time in the glass. Big, rich, layered and more sexy and seamless than the Cote Rousse, it needs 3-4 years of cellaring and will keep through 2034.
 
While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines." - Jeb Dunnuck

2014 La Côte Rousse, Syrah

La Côte Rousse hails entirely from Red Mountain and reflects its origins: bold, dense, structured and profound. In a very short period of time, Red Mountain has distinguished itself among Washington’s AVAs as the source of many of our states most compelling, age-worthy red wines. The origins of La Côte Rousse date back to 1999 with a single block of Syrah farmed at Scott Williams’ Ranch at the End of the Road Vineyard. This hillside vineyard (planted entirely to the Phelps clone of Syrah) consistently yielded one of our densest, most texturally convincing Syrahs.

In the early 2000’s, three additional vineyard blocks were added from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, a literal stone’s throw from Ranch at the End of the Road. Each block is planted to a different Syrah clone and each brings something unique to the blending table: Clone 383 provides the delicate perfume of cut flowers along with soft tannins; Clone 99 brings color, tension, and meatiness; Clone 174 adds hedonistic fruit flavors and spicy aromatics.

We picked these four blocks over a three-week period in 2014. Ideal weather conditions during the vines’ flowering period and the warm growing season resulted in even ripeness throughout each grape cluster, yielding berries remarkably even in size and color. As with La Serenne, the high level of grape and stem maturity in both clones 99 and 174 led to the decision to include 25-50% whole clusters during fermentation.

The 2014 La Côte Rousse displays the youthful, brooding, dark character we’ve come to expect from these Red Mountain sites. The superb ripening conditions are evident in its deep, penetrating core of blue and black fruits. The use of whole cluster fermentation has added additional spicy aromatics along with smoked meats, crushed herbs and wood spice.



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 100% Syrah
  • Clones: 99,383,174

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2017 through 2024+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
 AVA & Vineyard Detail:
  •  Ceil du Cheval, Red Mountain 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 96 Points: From the hot, windswept slopes of Red Mountain, the 2014 Syrah la Cote Rousse is a serious, tight, backwards effort that won’t be for those looking for instant gratification. Possessing classic Red Mountain red and black fruits, dried earth, pepper, dried spice and black olive characteristics, it’s full-bodied, beautifully textured, has flat out awesome purity and impeccable balance. Give it 4-5 years of cellaring and drink it over the following decade or so.
 
While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines." - Jeb Dunnuck

2014 Réserve du Soleil

LIMITED PRODUCTION.   Each spring our winemaking team begins tasting the wines of the previous year’s harvest barrel by barrel. The goal is to make detailed notes about each barrel, which are then used to guide us as we begin blending. Sometimes a certain vineyard block or barrel catches our attention during this process, raising the possibility of assembling a unique blend to highlight it.

This was the case in 2014 with our Mourvèdre from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard on Red Mountain, a wine typically blended into Bésoleil. From the first day of crush, we couldn’t help but notice the intense aromas of white and black pepper, fresh-picked boysenberries and plums. We knew immediately that we had something special on our hands (literally)!

Throughout our blending trials this Mourvèdre continued to shine, exhibiting smoky black fruits and that precious, earthy “garrigue” character of the southern Rhône. It eventually formed the core of the first-ever Réserve du Soleil (51% Mourvèdre, 27% Cinsault, 18% Grenache, and 4% Counoise) and the wild character of Mourvèdre is predominant in the wine: smoke, fresh boysenberry and thyme. Cinsault brings accents of Bing cherry, strawberry and baking spices; Grenache contributes suppleness and fine tannins; Counoise adds its tell-tale white and black pepper.



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 51% Mourvêdre
  • 27% Cinsault
  • 18 % Grenache
  • 4% Counoise

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2017 through 2022+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail: 
  • Columbia Valley 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's WIne Advocate 92 Points: "Incorporating a big chunk of Mourvèdre, the 2014 Reserve du Soleil offers lots of gamey, truffle, white pepper and spice in a medium to full-bodied, polished, beautifully elegant style. While the 2014 vintage yields ripe, exuberant wines, this has a pretty, elegant, polished style that makes it already hard to resist. It should drink well for a decade.
 
While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines." - Jeb Dunnuck

2014 La Serenne, Syrah

Boushey Vineyard, which has been the source of La Serenne since 2000, is one of the stars of the mid-Yakima Valley. Farmed by Dick Boushey, a proponent of Washington Syrah since the 1980’s, this site has gained notoriety for its unique varietal expression and supple texture. The word Serenne is an affectionate name for Syrah in the local dialect of Ampuis, a town in the heart France’s northern Rhône valley. We find this to be a fitting name for our Syrah from Boushey, as it reminds us of the wild (or as the French say “Sauvage”), Rhône-esque character of the wine.

The fruit reflects the sum total of conditions here: location in the mid-Yakima Valley, higher elevation, cooler climate, soils undisturbed by the Missoula Floods and Dick’s exemplary farming practices. Harvest is typically 2-3 weeks later than our Syrah vines planted elsewhere, indicating the uniqueness of its position.

In 2014, the arriving fruit from Boushey showed exceptional maturity of not only berries, but stems as well. Because of this, the decision was made to leave between 25-50% of the stems (also called whole clusters) in the fermentations. This technique is often used in the Rhône and can provide additional tannic structure as well as interesting aromatic complexity.

The character of the 2014 La Serenne is one of density and plushness, combined with fine tannins and wild, gamey aromas. Although Boushey Vineyard experienced record heat in 2014, the cooler night-time temperatures of the site resulted in a vibrant acidity in the finished wine. The addition of whole grape clusters during fermentation contributed a nuance of green olive alongside a distinct floral character.



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail: 
  • 100% Syrah

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2017 through 2024+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail:  
  • Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley
Acclaim
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 93 Points: The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity.
 
While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines." - Jeb Dunnuck

Bésoleil

Bésoleil is our Spanish/French whimsy for “kissed by the sun”. It alludes to the warm, sunny days in the south of France that impart an intensity of character to the Grenache grape and its southern Rhône relatives. Imagine the windswept vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the inspiration for this wine, where Grenache thrives alongside a dozen or more other grape varieties.

The story of Bésoleil begins with our long-held belief that a precise marriage of soil and site can produce a profound expression of Grenache in Washington. We put that belief to the test with Bésoleil’s first vintage in 2003. While the Grenache in the earliest vintages of Bésoleil was sourced from various vineyards throughout the Columbia Valley, two sites in particular (Olsen Vineyards in the Yakima Valley and Upland Vineyards on Snipes Mountain) have excelled as uniquely distinctive for Grenache. These two sites are the sources for the entirety of the Grenache in Bésoleil today.

Grenache is the star of Bésoleil, but it’s not the whole story. Additional southern Rhône varieties have found their way into the blend and today the wine includes Counoise, Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Our cellar treatment has also evolved in several ways in order to promote additional nuance from these southern Rhône gems. Larger, neutral oak cooperage of 300 and 500 liters provides less surface-to-volume ratio, resulting in slower evolution and less oak influence in the final wine. Aging up to two-thirds of the blend in concrete vessels helps maintain a bright, fresh fruit character. This year’s blend (33% Grenache, 24% Counoise, 20% Syrah, 17% Cinsault, and 6% Mourvèdre) represents the highest proportion of Counoise in Bésoleil to date and reflects the success of the variety in 2014. The typical ruby-red color of Bésoleil is deepened by the vibrant blue of Counoise, which also imparts notes of white and black pepper alongside an earthy, dusty expression so reminiscent of the southern Rhône.



Blending Detail and Aging Profile
Blending Detail:
  • 33 % Grenache
  • 24% Counoise
  • 20% Syrah
  • 17% Cinsault
  • 6% Mourvêdre

Aging Profile:
  • Best from 2016 through 2022+
  • Serve cool, 60-62°F
AVA or Vineyard Detail
AVA & Vineyard Detail: 
  • Columbia Valley 
Acclaim
Robert Parker's WIne Advocate 91 Points:  Always an enjoyable, outstanding effort, the 2014 Grenache Besoleil offers classic notes of cherries, herbes de Provence, red plums and pepper in a fine, elegant, medium to full-bodied style. Drink it over the coming 7-8 years.
 
While there's a long history of terrific wines from this estate, I think they've hit another level in the past few vintages, and these latest releases show a purity, elegance and textural quality not found in early bottlings. I'm sure this is in part due to the creation of a second wine, and even a stricter selection for all of the top cuvees. In short, don't miss a chance to try these wines." - Jeb Dunnuck
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