By Kori ~ May 2nd, 2011.
The late Charles Lill and his son Greg, along with former wine broker Jay Soloff and winemaker Chris Upchurch, founded DeLille Cellars, located in Woodinville, Washington, in 1992. It all started with three friends sitting around talking wine and then writing up a business plan for a winery on a napkin. Their discussion was about how to produce the very best handcrafted, old-world style red and white wines made in the state of Washington. Since the three friends needed financial backing for their winery venture, Greg Lill met with his father, Charles, by then retired, to ask him to invest in the new business. Charles liked the idea, and the family agreed to give it a try. As they say, the rest is history.
DeLille Cellars sources their grapes from some of Washington’s finest vineyards including Boushey, Ciel du Cheval, Klipsun, and Red Willow. They renovated an 800 square-foot farmhouse on land owned by the Lill family in the mid-1990s, and opened their state-of-the-art 7,000 square-foot chateau for business in 1998. As the winery expanded, the partners added their own 20-acre vineyard on Red Mountain called Grand Ciel.
Doyenne is DeLille Cellars’ Rhone and Provence-style line of wines. We recently had the opportunity to taste the 2007 Doyenne Syrah and the 2009 Doyenne Roussanne in a blind samples tasting. We especially enjoyed the Doyenne Syrah. It is always a treat to get a little taste of Rhone right here in our own backyard.
DeLille is an icon of Washington wine, and I encourage you to visit their Carriage House tasting room the next time you are in Woodinville.
2007 Doyenne Syrah (Yakima Valley, Washington): 98% Syrah and 2% Viognier. Deep, dark purplish red in color. Nice nose with gorgeous black fruits and licorice aromas that lead to blackberry, black cherry, licorice, spice, and black pepper flavors. Full-bodied and lively with high, drying tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $39; Available elsewhere, $38 to $42
2009 Doyenne Roussanne (Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington): Pale, greenish straw yellow. Aromatic with petrol and floral notes on the nose. White peach, petrol, lemon, lime, and a hint of honey come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity 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 $32; Available elsewhere, $32
Filed under: American Wine, Red Wine, Roussanne, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25