By Kori ~ September 14th, 2009.
Dusted Valley Vintners, located in Walla Walla, Washington, was founded in 2003 by brothers-in-law Chad Johnson and Corey Braunel who are co-owners and co-winemakers. Both Chad and Corey are originally from Wisconsin and are proud cheese-heads. In fact, they bring a bit of Wisconsin to Dusted Valley by using barrels made from Wisconsin oak to age their wines. Their current annual production is over 15,000 cases. Boomtown is their entry level value brand, and the Dusted Valley label graces the bottles of their higher-end wines.
We first visited Dusted Valley on a trip to Walla Walla in the summer of 2008 and had the pleasure to meet Chad. Their Walla Walla tasting room is located in a converted garage below Coreyâ€™s house. They recently opened a new tasting room in Woodinville near the Hollywood Schoolhouse for those on the west side of the mountains who cannot make frequent trips to Walla Walla. I had the pleasure to visit the new Dusted Valley Wine Gallery in August when we stopped there during my best friendâ€™s bachelorette party. In addition to being a tasting room, the Dusted Valley Wine Gallery features the art of local artists.
Dusted Valley could never be accused of being a stuffy, uppity winery. Their wine club is known as the Stained Tooth Society with new members receiving a logoed toothbrush when they join. All Dusted Valley wines are closed with screwcaps. Both Chad and Corey have science backgrounds and based on their research, they believe that screwcaps are the best wine bottle closures.
While they source their grapes from vineyards around the state of Washington, Dusted Valley is especially proud of their estate vineyard, Sconni Block, located in the Walla Walla Valley near the Washington-Oregon state line. They practice sustainable viticulture and are members of VINEA, the Walla Walla Valleyâ€™s sustainable growing organization.
During my recent visit to the new Dusted Valley Wine Gallery in Woodinville, I had the opportunity to taste six of their wines. I would recommend all six but was particularly struck by the quality of their 2007 Walla Walla Valley Syrah. It is an outstanding wine. If you live near or are visiting either Walla Walla or Woodinville, I encourage you to make a point to stop at one of Dusted Valleyâ€™s tasting rooms. Not only are they making some great wines, but they are very friendly, welcoming folks.
Hereâ€™s a breakdown of the wines 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)
2007 Dusted Valley Walla Walla Valley Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $28, QPR: 5
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2006 Dusted Valley Columbia Valley Stained Tooth Syrah, Columbia Valley, $26, QPR: 4
2008 Dusted Valley Yakima Valley Viognier, Yakima Valley, $26, QPR: 3
2007 Dusted Valley Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley, $35, QPR: 3
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2006 Dusted Valley Columbia Valley BFM Bordeaux Style Blend, Columbia Valley, $38, QPR: 2
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2007 Dusted Valley Columbia Valley Malbec, Columbia Valley, $35, QPR: 1
Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Malbec, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Spotlight On, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25