Three Rivers Winery: Good Wines, Great Value, and Gorgeous Setting



By Kori ~ February 7th, 2011.

Three Rivers Winery, founded in 1999, is located just west of Walla Walla, Washington. The winery is named for the three most prominent rivers—the Columbia, Snake, and Walla Walla—which feed the vineyards from which it sources grapes. Three Rivers sources fruit from some of the top vineyards in the state including Boushey, Champoux, and Sagemoor, among others. Three Rivers is owned by Foley Family Wines in California and produces 15,000 cases per year. Winemaker Holly Turner, who joined the winery in 2000, oversees all aspects of production.

We recently had the opportunity to taste five wines from Three Rivers Winery in a blind samples tasting, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2008 Riesling, the 2008 Merlot, the 2008 River’s Red, and the 2009 Chardonnay. We would recommend all of the wines, except the Chardonnay, and were especially impressed with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Three Rivers is a destination winery boasting an 18,000 square foot facility, which houses their tasting room, cellar and barrel room, meeting rooms, and a spacious deck. They also offer three short holes of golf for winery guests. I must admit that I have found their wines to be a bit inconsistent in the past. However, if these current releases are any indication, Three Rivers is on the way back up. And, best of all, these wines deliver some serious bang for your buck.

2007 Three Rivers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 5% Malbec. Deep, dark red. Very aromatic with black fruits and green bell pepper on the nose. Blackberry, black cherry, bell pepper, spice box, and earth come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a very long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $21; Available elsewhere, $18

2008 Three Rivers Winery Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Very pale, straw yellow. Nice nose with floral, petrol, and pencil eraser aromas. Fresh citrus and tropical fruits and orange blossoms come through on the palate. Off-dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity 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 $15; Available elsewhere, $12

2008 Three Rivers Winery Merlot (Columbia Valley, Washington): 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep, dark purplish red. Nice nose with plum, blackberry, and licorice aromas. Black fruits, plum, and smoky notes come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high, drying tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $19; Available elsewhere, $18 to $20

2008 Three Rivers Winery River’s Red (Columbia Valley, Washington): 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Malbec, 13% Merlot, 11% Tempranillo, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot. Deep red in color. Moderately aromatic with bright red fruits and licorice on the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively 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 $14; Available elsewhere, $15

2009 Three Rivers Winery Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, straw yellow. Nose is tight at first and then some lemon aromas come through. Flavors of lemon, green apple, pear, and a hint of vanilla. Medium-bodied and lively with a long finish. Very watery and plain.
Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: NR (not recommended)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $17.50


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Merlot, Red Wine, Riesling, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. RJ Bodah | February 7th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Another one of my someday wineries. Drove by so many times. May just have to check it out for monday thru thursday with all those under 20 wines.

  2. Catie | February 7th, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Just a quick question. Call me confused regarding the write-up of the Three Rivers Chardonnay. You state that it was “Medium-bodied and lively with a long finish. Very watery and plain.”

    If the Chard was medium bodied and lively with a long finish, then how can it also be watery and plain and then again vice-versa. To me these are two totally different expressions: from one extreme to the other. Or are these notes combined from several tasters? Thanks ahead of time in answering my question.

  3. Kori | February 14th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    RJ,
    Hope you do check out Three Rivers your next time in Walla Walla.

    Catie,
    Now that I’m back from vacation, I checked my tasting notes for the Chardonnay. What I stated above was exactly what I wrote down when I tasted the wine. To me, those characteristics are not mutually exclusive. While the wine was medium-bodied up front and had a long finish, I found the mid-palate and overall viscosity to be watery which made the wine seem plain. By the way, these notes are my own, not combined from several tasters. While the Wine Peeps team often tastes together, I am the one who takes notes, rates the wines, and writes the tasting notes.

    Cheers!

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