Weekend in Walla Walla Valley



By Kori ~ July 28th, 2008.

Even though Mom (LaGayle) and Dad (John) were recently in Walla Walla as a part of their two month cross-country road trip (see Dad’s previous Walla Walla posts: Day 1 and Day 2), all of us Wine Peeps recently spent a weekend in the Walla Walla Valley visiting some wineries that Mom and Dad missed and getting tours of a few as well.

In our three days there, we visited 14 wineries and tasted 70 different wines. We rated 17 wines as being 4-star quality or higher. Six wineries had two or more wines that received a 4-star or higher rating. Those top six wineries are, in alphabetical order: Cougar Crest, Dunham, Dusted Valley, Long Shadows, Saviah, and Watermill. You will find a complete list of all the wines we tasted at the end of this post.

We had the pleasure of touring three wineries on this visit—Long Shadows, Watermill, and Saviah.

Long Shadows does not have a retail tasting room and is not open to the public. Tours are handled on an appointment only basis. They have a state-of-the-art facility where some of the most highly acclaimed winemakers from around the world come to make world-class wines from Washington grapes that are comparable to the wines they make in their native wine regions.

When Mom and Dad were in Eastern Oregon on their road trip, they visited and absolutely loved Watermill Winery in Milton-Freewater which is located just across the Oregon border, only 10 miles from downtown Walla Walla, Washington. After their rave reviews about the Watermill wines and the people behind the wines, Colby and I were excited to visit. Watermill did not disappoint; they are making excellent wines and are truly wonderful people. We had a fabulous visit with Kelli and Nancy in the tasting room and then Nancy took us on a tour of their barrel room and production facility.

Our third tour was of Saviah Cellars. If you read Dad’s Day 1 post from their previous Walla Walla visit, you may remember that Mom and Dad’s first attempt to visit Saviah did not work out as they had hoped. However, Rich Funk (owner/winemaker) contacted us to apologize and ask if we would consider revisiting Saviah. Since we were already planning to be in the Walla Walla area soon, we agreed. And I am very thankful that we did. Rich is an extremely nice guy and that initial experience is definitely not indicative of how he runs his business. We had the pleasure of having Rich personally pour our tasting and share with us his winemaking philosophy. Incidentally, Rich is also the winemaker for Watermill Winery. After the standard tasting, Rich gave us a tour of Saviah’s facilities and treated us to numerous barrel samples. He is already making great wines and has some exciting projects in the works.

In coming weeks, we will be doing some “Spotlight On” posts to feature wineries that we believe are doing some exciting things.

Here’s a breakdown of the wines that we tasted. Under each Quality heading, the wine name and region will be listed along with price and QPR rating. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
2005 Watermill Reserve Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $35, QPR: 5
2005 Dunham Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon XI (Columbia Valley), $45, QPR: 5
2004 Dunham Cellars Syrah (Columbia Valley), $45, QPR: 5
2005 Sequel Syrah [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley), $55, QPR: 5
2005 Dunham Cellars Lewis Vineyard Merlot (Columbia Valley), $75, QPR: 2

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2006 Watermill Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley), $24, QPR: 5
2006 Dusted Valley Stained Tooth Syrah (Columbia Valley), $24, QPR: 5
2007 Cougar Crest Estate Grown Grenache Rose (Walla Walla Valley), $18, QPR: 4
2007 Poet’s Leap Riesling [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley), $20, QPR: 4
2007 Amavi Semillon (Columbia Valley), $20, QPR: 4
2006 Seven Hills Malbec (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 4
2005 Watermill Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 4
2006 Saviah Malbec (Walla Walla Valley), $30, QPR: 4
2006 Saviah Une Vallee Red Wine (Walla Walla Valley), $32, QPR: 4
2006 Dusted Valley Reserve Syrah (Columbia Valley), $35, QPR: 4
2005 Cougar Crest Cabernet Franc (Walla Walla Valley), $36, QPR: 3
2005 Dunham Cellars Lewis Vineyard Syrah (Columbia Valley), $75, QPR: 1

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2007 Seven Hills Riesling (Columbia Valley), $12, QPR: 5
2005 Three Rivers Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley), $21, QPR: 5
2005 Waterbrook Reserve Merlot (Columbia Valley), $22, QPR: 4
2006 Waterbrook Reserve Syrah (Columbia Valley), $22, QPR: 4
2006 Saviah Chardonnay, Stillwater Creek Vineyard (Columbia Valley), $25, QPR: 4
2005 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Seven Hills Vineyard (Walla Walla Valley), $30, QPR: 4
2007 Seven Hills Pinot Gris (Oregon), $16, QPR: 3
2006 Dusted Valley Walla Walla Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 3
2005 Beresan Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $29, QPR: 3
2005 Watermill Estate Midnight Red (Walla Walla Valley), $30, QPR: 3
2005 Saviah Syrah (Red Mountain), $30, QPR: 3
2005 Waterbrook 1st and Main Petit Verdot (Columbia Valley), $30, QPR: 3
2005 Cougar Crest Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $32, QPR: 3
2005 Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla Valley), $55, QPR: 3
2007 Saviah Star Meadows White Wine (Columbia Valley), $20, QPR: 2
2007 Va Piano Semillon (Columbia Valley), $22, QPR: 2
2007 Dunham Cellars Lewis Vineyard Riesling (Columbia Valley), $26, QPR: 2
2005 Morrison Lane Cinsault (Walla Walla Valley), $27, QPR: 2
2006 Three Rivers Tempranillo (Columbia Valley), $29, QPR: 2
2005 Beresan Malbec (Walla Walla Valley), $29, QPR: 2
2005 Cougar Crest Anniversary Cuvee (Walla Walla Valley), $32, QPR: 2
2005 Beresan Stone River (Walla Walla Valley), $35, QPR: 2
2005 Saviah Big Sky Cuvee (Columbia Valley), $35, QPR: 2
2006 Va Piano Syrah (Columbia Valley), $38, QPR: 2
2007 Dusted Valley Viognier (Yakima Valley), $24, QPR: 1
2006 Dusted Valley Malbec (Walla Walla Valley), $32, QPR: 1
2004 Chester-Kidder [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley), $50, QPR: 1

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2005 Watermill Chances R (Columbia Valley), $18, QPR: 4
2006 Saviah The Jack Red Wine (Columbia Valley), $18, QPR: 4
2005 Waterbrook Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley), $22, QPR: 4
2006 Dusted Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley), $26, QPR: 4
2006 Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 4
2005 Three Rivers Syrah (Columbia Valley), $24, QPR: 3
2005 Dunham Cellars Trutina (Columbia Valley), $26, QPR: 3
2006 Seven Hills Merlot, Seven Hills Vineyard (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 3
2006 Waterbrook Melange Blanc (Columbia Valley), $15, QPR: 2
2007 Seven Hills Viognier (Columbia Valley), $18, QPR: 2
2006 Beresan Semillon (Walla Walla Valley), $18, QPR: 2
2007 Poet’s Leap Carmina Burana Casked Riesling [Long Shadows] (Columbia Valley), $20, QPR: 2
2006 Dusted Valley Chardonnay (Columbia Valley), $22, QPR: 2
2005 Seven Hills Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 2
2006 Amavi Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 2
2006 Three Rivers Malbec (Columbia Valley), $29, QPR: 2
2004 Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley), $50, QPR: 2
2005 Morrison Lane Carmenere (Walla Walla Valley), $28, QPR: 1
2003 Morrison Lane Syrah (Walla Walla Valley), $32, QPR: 1

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2007 Three Rivers Estate Rose (Walla Walla Valley), $10, QPR: NR
2005 Waterbrook Melange (Columbia Valley), $15, QPR: NR
2006 Watermill Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley), $16, QPR: NR
2005 Pepper Bridge Merlot (Walla Walla Valley), $50, QPR: NR
2006 Dusted Valley Cabernet Franc (Columbia Valley), $32, QPR: NR
2006 Morrison Lane Viognier (Walla Walla Valley), $23 QPR: NR
2006 Dunham Cellars Four Legged White (Columbia Valley), $16, QPR: NR


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Grenache, Lesser Known Varietals, Malbec, Merlot, Oregon Wine, Petit Verdot, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Red Wine, Riesling, Rose Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Shiraz/Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Travel, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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