Rasa Vineyards Continues to Wow Us



By Kori ~ July 6th, 2011.

Founded in 2007 by brothers Pinto and Billo Naravane, Rasa Vineyards has already become a superstar on the Washington wine scene. Their beautiful winery is located south of downtown Walla Walla near the Washington/Oregon state line. Both Pinto and Billo have engineering and mathematical backgrounds and worked in the computer industry. As for their official titles at the winery, Pinto is the managing partner and Billo is the winemaker, but the brothers collaborate on every aspect of the business. Currently, they produce around 2,000 cases per year.

We had the pleasure of visiting Rasa Vineyards and tasting through their inaugural releases shortly after they moved into their new facility last fall. We were blown away by the quality of their wines then. In fact, their 2007 Principia Reserve Syrah was our Wine Peeps’ pick for Best Washington Wine of 2010. On a recent visit to Walla Walla, we made it a point to visit again so that we could taste their new releases. There are no signs of a sophomore slump here. In fact, if it is possible, we were even more impressed with the overall quality of their lineup of wines this time.

We tasted eight of their wines, five from their primary Rasa label and three from their new second label, PB Wines. The PB Wines are made in an identical manner and get the same treatment as the Rasa wines but are just offered at a lower price point.

Their 2008 Creative Impulse, a Cab/Merlot blend from DuBrul Vineyard, which will be released this fall, especially impressed us. It truly is a “Wow!” wine. We also thought that their 2008 QED and 2009 Vox Populi Mourvedre were outstanding.

Rasa Vineyards offers their wines through their mailing list first. They are also distributed in 17 states. If you have not had a chance to try one of their wines, I encourage you to keep your eyes out for them on the shelf at your local wine shop or go ahead and put your name on their mailing list. Only open by appointment, Rasa Vineyards is definitely a must-visit if you are in the Walla Walla area.

For a more detailed write-up about Rasa Vineyards, the Naravane brothers, and their winemaking philosophy, please refer back to my Spotlight On: Rasa Vineyards post.

2008 Rasa Vineyards Creative Impulse (DuBrul Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 69% Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Merlot. Deep, dark purplish red. Outstanding nose with gorgeous aromas of black cherry, black currant, leather, smoke, licorice, and earth. Black cherry, black currant, leather, pencil lead, earth, and smoke come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and silky, smooth tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a finish that goes on forever. An absolutely amazing wine. Wow!
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $95 [to be released Fall 2011]

2008 Rasa Vineyards QED (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 83% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier. Deep, dark purplish red. Beautiful bouquet with aromas of blackberry, black cherry, licorice, and a hint of game and earth. More black fruit, licorice, and game, as well as vanilla cream come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high, silky 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: Winery, $50

2009 Rasa Vineyards Vox Populi Mourvedre (Columbia Valley, Washington): 100% Mourvedre. Deep, dark purple. Gorgeous nose with black fruit, smoked meat, game, white pepper, and floral notes on both the nose and palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity and medium, coarse tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $45

2008 Rasa Vineyards Principia Reserve Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Deep, dark beautiful purple in color. Nice nose with aromas of black and blue fruit, earth, game, black pepper, and spice. Black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, earth, spice, and black pepper come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and high, drying tannins. Well-balanced with a long, lingering finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $85 [to be released Fall 2011]

2010 Rasa Vineyards The Lyricist Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Light, greenish straw yellow. Very aromatic with white peach, pear, orange peel, mineral notes, and hint of pineapple on both the nose and palate. Medium sweet and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with good mouthfeel and a long, refreshing finish. Residual Sugar: 4.89%
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $30

2010 PB Wines Heritage Pinot Gris (Kilian Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): Medium greenish yellow. Aromatic with pear, lemon, lime, tropical fruit, and mineral notes on both the nose and palate. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and good mouthfeel. Well-balanced with a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $18

2008 PB Wines Yakima Valley Syrah (Yakima Valley, Washington): 100% Syrah. Dark, deep purple. Nice nose with aromas of black cherry, blackberry, spice, pepper, and a hint of chocolate. More blackberry, black cherry, pepper, and smoke come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied and fruit-forward with lively acidity, smooth tannins, and a long finish. Showing nicely with some bottle age.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $29

2010 PB Wines Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Light, greenish straw yellow in color. Nice nose with aromas of white peach, tropical fruit, and honeysuckle. White peach, mango, and floral notes come through on the palate. Off-dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, refreshing finish. Residual Sugar: 2.3%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $16


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

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