Our Sauvignon Blanc is a wine made equally in the vineyard and in the winery. Jeff Popick and our students grow a big canopy and shade the delicate clusters so that they don’t get sunburned. In the winery, Tim Donahue and our students process the grapes under a complete blanket of inert gas, minimizing oxygen exposure. We add a pectolytic enzyme at the destemmer to break down the grape berries – which results in greater juice-to-skin contact and greater aromatics! The juice is then moved a stainless steel tank and innouclated with Torulaspora delbrueckii, a yeast which is very good at cleaving passionfruit, guava, and grassy aromatics. This combination of beautiful fruit and attention to detail leads to a fresh, vibrant, well balanced wine with a solid ratings pedigree.
Coming from one of the most famous vineyards in Washington, Sagemoor Vineyard – this wine started with a great pedigree. The fermentation of this wine was carried out under cool conditions in a tall narrow tank to maximize aromatics. The wine was fermented dry and sweetened back using some of the original grape juice which was separated and refrigerated. This Mutage process allows the wine to be `dialed in` resulting in a perfect sugar/acid balance.
Our Provençal-style rosé sold out in a heartbeat last year – so we’re not messing with what works! The grapes were destemmed to stainless steel bins and cold-soaked overnight to release their delicate color and aromatics. The next day we pressed the juice to a neutral oak tank and fermented to dryness. To retain aromatics this wine has not undergone malo-lactic fermentation.
We in the wine and vine industry live at the intersection of art and science – it’s part of what makes our jobs and lives so much fun! The production of our Sangiovese really exemplifies that idea. One of our mentors, name withheld, has been making sublime and highly awarded Sangiovese in the Walla Walla Valley for years. His suggestion was to throw a tiny bit of Malbec or Syrah into the ferment – less than 2%. He knew that it just made the wine better. And this year we hosted a seminar with Dr. Steve Price, an internationally renowned grape and wine phenolics expert. He said that Sangiovese is high in quercetin glycosides (grape sunscreen} and low in anthocyanins (color} and that this imbalance can actually result in a solid precipitate – not so nice looking! However, the addition of anthocyanins can stop that precipitate from forming. And what-do-you-know, Malbec and Syrah are very high in anthocyanins! Experts agree this method is a winner.
Winemakers: Juliann Bethke, Marcassin Vineyards; Jason Fox, Locati Cellars; Josh McCarthey, Va Piano Vineyards; Alexa Morlang.
Coming from one of the most famous vineyards in Washington, Sagemoor Vineyard, this wine started with a great pedigree. The fermentation of this wine was carried out under cool conditions in a tall narrow tank to maximize aromatics. The wine was fermented dry and sweetened back using some of the original grape juice which was separated and refrigerated. This process is called Mutage, and it allows the wine to be "dialed in" resulting in a perfect sugar/acid balance.
Our Malbec has recently become a cult favorite, selling out only 2 weeks after release. This year we knew we had to go big! And we sure did with two beautiful double barrel sized puncheons. Our estate vineyard, and our viticulturists, grow great Malbec – so our winemakers made sure to keep it simple. We fermented the whole berries in stainless steel bins with twice daily punchdowns. The wine was pressed at dryness and barreled for nine months in new American Oak puncheons. We bottled after only nine months in oak to retain the elegant aromatics characteristic of the Clarke Vineyard.
We like to joke that the vineyard beside our building is the worst vineyard site in Walla Walla. This tiny plot of Cabernet Sauvignon sits on 20 feet of backfill, and thanks to the great reputation of our Turf Management program – the surrounding grass is watered and fertilized nearly daily. The result is enormous vines that have trouble ripening fruit in a manner that you’d like to see in a fine red wine. So we’ve decided to get creative and make ice wine from it. These grapes were frozen on the vine and harvested at the beginning of the New Year. We pressed the juice to barrel and to halt fermentation we put the barrel outside in the cold! The result is a Cabernet Sauvignon ice wine with the aromatics of a Sauvignon Blanc – which makes sense considering the grape’s parentage of Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
*Winemakers Jacinta Jennings-Wahner, Kevin Masterman, Harmony Anderson — Class of 2012*
Story The grapes for this Chardonnay were generously do-nated by Chateau Ste. Michelle from their `Mother Block` in the Canoe Ridge Vineyard. It was love at first sight, our jaws dropped as we saw the perfectly plump, and beautifully clean fruit arrive on our crush pad. We whole-cluster pressed the grapes in our bladder press – half the juice went to new American Oak barrels and half went to neutral barrels. Bar-rel fermentation and barrel aging has given this wine creami-ness and structure.
*Gold – Tri-Cities Wine Festival, Silver – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Comp., Silver – Indy Int’l Wine Comp.* *Winemakers Kevin Steffanson, Adam Toliver, Blake Hintz, Chuck Hundley, Gary Brumfield —Class of 2012*
The 2011 vintage in the Walla Walla Valley was the coldest we’d experienced in the last decade. Many varieties struggled to ripen, and this Syrah was the ripest fruit we received that year! We co-fermented the fruit with 5% Viognier in the style of Côte-Rôtie AOC. However, the flavors of this Syrah could be considered more `new world` but slightly tempered by the cool growing season. Cooler seasons generally mean more raw and ripe fruit flavors, and this is exactly what we got. Ripe raspberry and red cherry flavors from the grape mingle with game meat and cinnamon spice flavors from the 18 month oak ageing. The bright pomegranate acidity pairs well with steak tartare and ensures ageability. Enjoy over the next decade!
*Blend: 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, 8% Carménère, 2% Malbec*
*Clarke and Gibbs Vineyards, Walla Walla Valley*
*Silver – Seattle Wine Awards, Bronze – San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition*
This wine contains all six primary Bordeaux varietals, and it is every bit as rich and dense as the label would lead you to believe. The 2010 growing season was extremely long and allowed the fruit to reach remarkable maturity with moderate sugar contents. Thus, we have been able to craft an extremely full bodied wine with moderate alcohol and great acidity. This wine is rich, robust and full of ripe chocolaty tannins that have polymerized beautifully during 22 months in 75% new American oak. Enjoy now or easily through 2020.
College Cellars of Walla Walla, 500 Tausick Way, Walla Walla, WA. 99362 USA, 509-524-5170