Seven Hills Winery: One of the Pioneers in the Walla Walla Valley



By Kori ~ June 28th, 2010.

Founded in 1988 by winemaker Casey McClellan and his wife Vicky, Seven Hills Winery is located in downtown Walla Walla, Washington. Casey was raised in Walla Walla and is a fourth-generation farmer. In fact, he helped his father plant Seven Hills Vineyard in 1982, one of the first three vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. He graduated from the University of Washington in 1983 and then spent time travelling in Europe. His farming experience combined with his exposure to some of the great winegrowing regions in Europe inspired him to study enology at UC-Davis. After completing his Masters of Science at Davis, he and Vicky returned to the Walla Walla Valley to open Seven Hills Winery. The winery was originally located in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, and moved to its current location in Walla Walla, just ten miles up the road, in 2000. Like many wineries in the two-state Walla Walla Valley AVA, Seven Hills sources fruit from vineyards in both Washington and Oregon.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste six wines from Seven Hills Winery in a blind samples tasting. These wines offer good overall quality, and we would recommend all six. Our favorite was the 2008 Riesling, an excellent expression of the variety. We also thought that the 2007 Syrah was very good.

Seven Hills Winery and tasting room are located in the historic Whitehouse-Crawford building, which also houses the Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant. The Seven Hills tasting room is bright and nicely appointed, and the barrel room can be seen from the tasting bar through a picture window. A trip to Walla Walla should definitely include a visit to Seven Hills Winery.

2008 Seven Hills Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish yellow. Very aromatic with petrol and peach on the nose. Peach, apricot, lime, and a hint of cinnamon on the palate. Off-dry and light to medium-bodied with lively acidity. Well-balanced with good mouthfeel and a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14; Available elsewhere, $9 to $16

2007 Seven Hills Syrah (Walla Walla Valley): Dark purple in color. Black cherry, smoked meats, and a hint of pepper on the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $22; Available elsewhere, $19 to $21

2007 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley): Deep purple. Aromatic with molasses and black fruits on the nose; more black fruits, particularly black plums, and pencil lead on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with crisp acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $32

2008 Seven Hills Pinot Gris (Oregon): Pale, greenish yellow. Very aromatic. Granny Smith apple and grapefruit aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied and tart with a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $16; Available elsewhere, $12 to $15

2007 Seven Hills Merlot (Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley): Deep, purplish red. Aromatic with cherry cola and red and black fruits on both the nose and palate. Medium-bodied and lively with medium tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $28; Available elsewhere, $25 to $26

2005 Seven Hills Pentad Vintage Red Wine (Walla Walla Valley): 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 18% Petit Verdot, 9% Carmenere, 9% Malbec. Deep, purplish red in color. Moderately aromatic with some petrol aromas. Red fruits come through on the palate. Medium-bodied and lively with soft tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $50; Available elsewhere, $45


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Merlot, Oregon Wine, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Red Wine, Riesling, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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