Private Tasting: Washington Tempranillo

By Kori ~ March 8th, 2010.

In our inaugural tasting group meeting in January, we explored Spanish Reds from Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Those wines are made predominately with the Tempranillo grape. While only a small amount of Tempranillo is grown in Washington, it is beginning to show some promise here. So we were thrilled when we had what turned out to be a Washington Tempranillo showdown in one of our private tasting dinners pitting the 2007 Pomum Tinto against the 2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Tempranillo. We enjoyed both wines but all four of us preferred the Pomum Tinto. Both wines paired well with Mom’s dinner of pan-seared flank steak, long grain wild rice, broccoli Kugel, and a pineapple/raspberry fruit salad. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste.

Pomum Cellars, founded by Javier and Shyla Alfonso, is located in Woodinville, Washington. Javier was born in Sunnyside, Washington, but was raised in Ribera del Duero, Spain, the home of his father’s family. He returned to Washington to attend college. Now, he spends his days as an aerospace engineer and his spare time as winemaker for Pomum Cellars. Given his Spanish roots, it is no wonder that he has decided to try his hand at producing a Tempranillo blend here in Washington. Pomum’s vineyard sources include vineyards in the Yakima Valley and the Horse Heaven Hills.

Columbia Crest, located in Paterson, Washington, is the largest producer in the state. Regular Wine Peeps readers know that we have long been fans of Columbia Crest. Head winemaker Ray Einberger and his team continue to pump out great wines. Well-known for their Grand Estates, Two Vines, and H3 lines, it is their Reserve line that puts them in the league with the premier producers in the state.

This was a fun tasting. Both wines are very good, and the Pomum Tinto delivers the “most bang for your buck” as well.

2007 Pomum Tinto (Columbia Valley, Washington): 72% Tempranillo, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 12% Merlot. Deep, dark purple. Very aromatic with blackberry, licorice, and bacon coming through on the nose; black cherry and raspberry on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity that seems tart on the mid-palate, medium tannins, and a long finish. Well-balanced.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $22

2006 Columbia Crest Reserve Tempranillo (Wahluke Slope, Washington): 83% Tempranillo, 8.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8.5% Merlot. Deep, dark purple. Some funky, gamey aromas along with maple syrup lead to flavors of cherry cola, seaweed, and leather. Medium-bodied and lively with medium tannins and a long finish. Improves with food.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery [Fall 2009 Wine Club selection], $35

Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Tempranillo, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. gene - seattle wine blog | January 22nd, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Twice, now, Javier Alfonso’s 2007 Pomum Tinto has come out on top, once in a single blind tasting of Tempranillo’s from
    Washington, Oregon, California and Spain and and also, rated Best of Show in my tasting of Woodinville wines last fall – Gene The Seattle Wine blog

  2. Kori | January 22nd, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Gene,
    The Tinto is an excellent wine. Glad to hear you like it too. Cheers!