Wine Tasting Dinner: Washington Semillon



By Kori ~ September 15th, 2010.

Well, it seems that fall has already arrived here in Seattle. Even though the official end of summer has not passed, the overcast skies and cooler temperatures tell us that summer is indeed over. Nevertheless, we wanted to have another tasting dinner featuring refreshing white wines before we turn the page on the summer of 2010. Last Friday, we hosted our 87th wine tasting dinner and featured Washington Semillon for the first time. As one guest noted, these wines are like “summer in a glass.”

Mom (LaGayle) outdid herself this time with an amazing meal, which paired extremely well with the wines. The menu included Thai creamy sweet potato soup, spinach, bacon, and apple salad, grilled pork loin chops, garlic cheese grits, roasted beets with sautéed beet greens, and peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The consensus favorite of the evening was the 2007 Latah Creek Semillon. Latah Creek Winery, owned by Mike and Ellena Conway, has been in business 28 years and produces about 17,000 cases per year. Latah Creek remains a family owned and operated winery with the Conway’s daughter Natalie serving as assistant winemaker since 2005. This wine is a great sipper, with or without food. Best of all, it retails for less than $9 and received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

The other wine in this tasting that deserves extra attention because of its high quality is the 2008 Chateau Rollat Ardenvoir Artist Series Semillon. In fact, the top five wines are all good choices to enjoy on a warm summer evening or any time you want to call upon that “summer in a glass” feeling.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2007 Latah Creek Semillon (Washington State): Very pale, straw yellow in color. Very aromatic with straw and floral notes on the nose. Tropical fruits, melon, cantaloupe, guava, and mango come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity. Well-balanced and refreshing with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $8.39; Available elsewhere, $8.64

2008 Chateau Rollat Ardenvoir Artist Series Semillon (Columbia Valley, Washington): 92% Semillon, 8% Sauvignon Blanc. Pale yellow and aromatic. Aromas of honeysuckle and straw lead to flavors of honeysuckle, lemon, and lime. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced and refreshing with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $21.99; Available elsewhere, $19

2007 Fidelitas Semillon (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, straw yellow in color. Nice nose with apricot and tropical aromas. More tropical fruits, apricot, and peach on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $14.99; Available elsewhere, $15 to $20

2008 L’Ecole Nº 41 Semillon (Columbia Valley, Washington): 89% Semillon, 11% Sauvignon Blanc. Pale, straw yellow. Straw and vanilla aromas lead to flavors of vanilla, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon. Dry, medium-bodied and lively with a long finish. A bit plain.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $12.79; Available elsewhere, $12 to $17

2009 Amavi Cellars Semillon (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 86% Semillon, 14% Sauvignon Blanc. Pale, straw yellow in color. Nose is a bit tight at first, then vanilla aromas come through. More vanilla, straw, melon, and pear on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $15.99; Available elsewhere, $16 to $20

2007 Beresan Winery Semillon (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Vanilla, melon, and floral aromas and flavors. Dry, medium-bodied and lively with a long, bitter finish.
Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $16.99; Available elsewhere, $18


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, Semillon, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. allen | September 30th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Hi, I agree with you. 2007 Latah Creek Semillon is one of my favorite wines. Though I have never tasted 2008 Chateau Rollat Ardenvoir Artist Series Semillon, I have heard lots of appreciation for that wine. Thank you for this blog.

  2. Kori | October 2nd, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Allen,
    Glad to hear you like the Latah Creek Semillon as well. Thanks for your kind words. Cheers!

Leave a Comment