Wine Tasting Dinner: 2007 Washington Red Blends



By Kori ~ June 22nd, 2011.

This month’s wine tasting dinner featured red blends from the 2007 vintage from Washington State. It was another fabulous evening of great wines, the company of wonderful friends, and LaGayle’s (Mom’s) excellent food. All six wines paired extremely well with our dinner of tomato basil soup, arugula peach salad, grilled steaks, sautéed mushrooms, cilantro lime mashed sweet potatoes, braised kale, and German chocolate dessert with whipped topping and garnished with dark chocolate.

The wines in this tasting, all of which sell for over $25, are premium quality Bordeaux-style blends. The consensus favorite was the 2007 Saviah Cellars Une Vallée Red Wine. Saviah Cellars is a family-owned winery located south of downtown Walla Walla, Washington, near the Oregon state line. Founded in 2000 by winemaker Rich Funk and his wife Anita, Saviah Cellars currently produces about 9,500 cases per year. The name Saviah is a family name from Anita’s great-grandmother. This classic Left Bank Bordeaux-style red blend is a consistent performer for Saviah Cellars from vintage to vintage.

The Saviah Une Vallée was followed closely by the 2007 Andrew Will Sorella and the 2007 Seven Hills Winery Ciel du Cheval Vintage Red Wine. As you will see from the quality ratings below, we felt that all six wines were excellent. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with any of these. Not only did all six wines receive a Quality rating of 4 stars or higher (out of 5), but all six also received a QPR rating of either 4 or 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5). Even though these wines are not inexpensive, they are well worth the money.

From 1st to last in the group consensus rankings:

2007 Saviah Cellars Une Vallée Red Wine (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc. Dark red in color. Aromatic with black currant, black cherry, spice, earth, and a hint of barnyard on the nose. More black fruits and earth come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $32

2007 Andrew Will Sorella (Champoux Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. Dark red. Nice nose with black cherry, cinnamon, and licorice aromas. Flavors of black cherry, black currant, licorice, and a hint of earth. Full-bodied and crisp with high, drying tannins, and a very long finish. Big and bold yet well-balanced.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $62; Available elsewhere, $57 to $80

2007 Seven Hills Winery Ciel du Cheval Vintage Red Wine (Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington): 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 14% Petit Verdot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. Dark red. Aromatic with black currant, blackberry, black cherry, spice, and a hint of licorice on the nose. Black fruits, spice, and hint of earth on the palate. Full-bodied and lively with medium to high tannins and a long finish. Well-balanced and smooth with good complexity.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $26; Available elsewhere, $28 to $30

2007 Chateau Rollat Sophie (Columbia Valley, Washington): 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc. Deep, dark red in color. Black fruits, chocolate, and a hint of petrol on the nose; black fruits, earth, and leather on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium, drying tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $26; Available elsewhere, $23

2007 Mark Ryan The Dissident Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 39% Merlot, 34% Syrah, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Petit Verdot. Dark red. Nose is a bit tight at first but opens up with nice black fruit aromas. Black cherry, licorice, and leather come through on the palate. Full-bodied and lively with medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle, Washington), $27

2007 Quilceda Creek Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Malbec. Dark red in color. Aromatic with black fruit, leather, and pencil lead aromas. Flavors of black fruit, leather, cocoa, earth, and a hint of smoke. Medium to full-bodied and lively with medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $35; Available elsewhere, $59 to $60


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wine Tasting Dinners, Wines Over $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Rick G. | June 22nd, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Over the weekend, I had the Maryhill “Winemakers Red.” It was on sale for $10 at Fred Meyer. I never had it before and enjoyed it. Apparently you didn’t, as last year you gave it a 2.5 with a tasting note of stinky feet or something! I’m wondering if you tasted the 2008 and I had the 2009; otherwise my palate is in a different place (though I’d like to think it’s not cozying up to any sense of stinky feet, yikes!).

    there’s some taste profile in WA red wines that is unique, and the the Maryhill had it. different than CA–a bit more smoke/earth, while CA is more fruit. hard to describe, but I can tell when I taste. not better or worse, just different.

    sorry–rambling.

  2. Kori | June 22nd, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Rick,
    Glad to hear you enjoyed the Maryhill Winemaker’s Red. It was the 2008 that I wrote about last year. If you just had it this past weekend, you may very well have had the 2009. You are definitely right about the differences in red wines from Washington and California. Just one of the things that makes the world of wine interesting. Cheers!

  3. Terry | July 6th, 2011 at 6:42 am

    Look forward to your next WA state red blend tasting, hopefully of rhone blends. You may have already had a WA state rhone blend tasting line up you can point me to. I think we have enough WA state producers blending rhone grapes, but maybe not. Rhone blends are what I look forward to trying when I visit the Paso Robles, CA area. It’s always great to see WA wine makers blending rhone, and hopefully we will catch up to the Paso folks.

  4. Kori | July 14th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Terry,
    Great suggestion! We had a private tasting of two WA Rhone-style blends a couple of years ago (http://winepeeps.com/2009/04/27/private-tasting-washington-rhone-style-blends/) but haven’t had a Rhone blend tasting dinner yet. We’ll look into putting that together in the coming year. Cheers!

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