By Kori ~ September 21st, 2011.
Winemaker Sean Boyd founded RÃ´tie Cellars, located in Walla Walla, Washington, in 2007. As his wineryâ€™s name indicates, Boyd is dedicated to producing Rhone-style wines from Washington State fruit. Before pursuing a career in the wine industry, Boyd was a field geologist who worked in oil and gas exploration. Prior to opening his own winery, Boyd gained valuable experience working as the assistant winemaker for Waters Winery. He worked at both wineries until earlier this year when he left Waters to devote his full time and attention to RÃ´tie Cellars.
We first discovered RÃ´tie Cellars at the Rhone Rangers event in Seattle in 2009. Since then, we have kept a keen eye on this winery. Folks, RÃ´tie Cellars is the real thing. No beginnerâ€™s luck or sophomore slump here. The current releases represent the wineryâ€™s third vintage, and all three have been excellent. Recently, we had the opportunity to taste the current releases in a blind samples tasting. The 2009 Northern Blend, a Syrah that is co-fermented with Viognier, is outstanding. And the 2009 Southern Blend, a Southern Rhone-style blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre, is excellent as well.
Boyd is committed to making his Rhone-style wines from Washington State fruit while utilizing Old World techniques. That means less alcohol, less ripeness, and less oak, which results in beautiful wines. If you, like us, are a big fan of Syrah and other Rhone varieties, RÃ´tie Cellars is definitely a winery to have on your radar screen. And if you have the chance, I highly encourage you to visit their tasting room on Main Street in downtown Walla Walla.
2009 RÃ´tie Cellars Northern Blend (Washington State): 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier. Dark purplish red. Beautiful bouquet with black cherry, blackberry, spice, and a hint of perfume on the nose. Black cherry, blackberry, spice, perfume, and a hint of black pepper come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high, smooth tannins. Well-balanced with good complexity and a long, lingering 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 $40; Available elsewhere, $36
2009 RÃ´tie Cellars Southern Blend (Washington State): 68% Grenache, 16% Syrah, and 16% Mourvedre. Dark red in color. Nice nose with red and black fruit and spice rack aromas. Black fruit, especially blackberry and black cherry, spice, and earth come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a very 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 $40; Available elsewhere, $40 to $42
2010 RÃ´tie Cellars Southern White (Washington State): 50% Viognier, 30% Roussanne, and 20% Marsanne. Pale to medium golden yellow. Aromatic with pear, apple, and a hint of minerality on the nose. Pear, apple, minerality, and floral notes come through on the palate. A hint of petrol on the back end. Dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $28; Available elsewhere, $27 to $28
2009 RÃ´tie Cellars â€œLittle Gâ€ Grenache (Washington State): Medium ruby red. Nice nose with smoked meat, bacon, and red fruit aromas. More smoked meat, strawberry, and dusty notes come through on the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with medium tannins and a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $50
Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Grenache, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25