Chenin Blanc – Top 5 Whites
Compass Wines – Anacortes
Last year – with little fanfare – we released our very first Chenin Blanc. Of course, not having a tasting room dampens our ability to drop balloons and streamers when we release a wine but it does force us to focus on making the very best wine we possibly can.
Well, Compass Wines in Anacortes, Washington, noticed this. Compass selects their top winery and top wines every year. We are very excited that our 2014 Chenin Blanc from Roth Rock Farm made their top 5 whites of 2015.
Here’s what they said: “What was once one of Washington’s signature whites (back in the early 1980s) is making a comeback in a big way, and white wine master Tony Dollar has hit the nail on the head with this one. Rich and silky with lots of natural acidity. A real treat, even if hardly any was made.”
Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot
2014 Chenin Blanc, Roth Rock Farm, Yakima Valley – $21.99
This is not a sweet, Washington-state-style Chenin Blanc. This wine is an ode to the delicious French and South African-style chenin blancs. It opens with aromas of honey, stones and white blossoms. On the palate, it is rich and full with flavors of apricot skins, honey and lime. The wine was cool fermented in a 500-gallon tank, then aged on the yeast lees for 11 months. The tank was hand stirred every other week for four months then once a month for the next three months. At seven months, the wine was transferred by the bottom tank valve (a dirty rack) into smaller stainless steel tank and a 187-gallon concrete egg. We continued to stir the wine by hand until it was prepared for bottling in August 2015.
2012 Right Bank Blend, Lonesome Springs Ranch, Yakima Valley, $34.99
Our attempt, with this wine, was to deliver a classically fashion blend ala the Right Bank in Bordeaux, France. This Lonesome Springs Ranch blend is 71% Merlot and 29% Cabernet Franc, aged in 50% new French oak, for nearly two years. This wine delivers dark clay notes in the beginning then opens into a rich jammy nose with elements of dark cherries, dried raspberries, licorice and pepper. In the mouth, the wine has a full and rich mouthfeel, lingering well after the wine has been swallowed. Truly drinkable but exceptional in 2017.
2013 Cabernet Franc, Lonesome Springs Ranch, Yakima Valley – $29.99
Cabernet Franc is a magnificent grape – full of lean red fruit and herbaceous goodness. In making this wine, we discovered that the vineyard owner had removed some of the ancient (ice-age ancient) rocks from the vineyard. Well, we asked for them and we introduced them into the fermentation bins (well one of them). What we discovered, in our attempt to return terroir removed, was that the wine fermented on the rock was complex and multifaceted. This wine opens nicely with aromas of mint, white pepper, sweet strawberries and black tea. True to its cabernet franc nature, it’s not opulent and lush (look to our syrahs for that) but light, balanced and lingering. Oh – Cabernet Franc – we salute you.
2013 Petit Verdot, Stonetree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope – $29.99
Petit Verdot is very rare and hard to find as the predominant varietal of any Bordeaux red wine. Here, we have taken the carefully grown and maintained Stonetree Vineyard Petit Verdot and blended it with 7% Stonetree Syrah to create a richly balanced red wine capable of standing up to steak and gamey foods such as lamb. The 2013 Petit Verdot has a rich bouquet of blackberry, molasses, plum, tobacco and chocolate. On the palate, the wine is full and lingering with a splash of petit verdot’s trademark acidity.
Call 206-240-9009 to order our new releases.
2012 Sauvignon Blanc Named Best in State!
Only Winery to Win Such a Title Two Consecutive Years in a Row
The results from the 9th Annual Seattle Magazine Washington Wine Awards are here, and Lobo Hills’ 2012 Sauvignon Blanc was ranked as the best Sauvignon Blanc $20 and under, beating out some serious contenders, including Guardian, Efesté and Cedergreen. Overall, our Sauvignon Blanc ranked as the third best white wine in the state, following Chateau Ste. Michelle’s Eroica Riesling, Woodward Canyon’s Chardonnay and tying for third with Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling. As the relatively new kid on the winery block, we are humbled to have been so honored. Last year, our PGR White Wine was ranked as the Best White Blend, $20 and under. As the curious reader, you might say, “Wait, but you do not submit for awards or scores,” and you would be correct. We do not. Our wines were submitted to this competition by our dear friends who are wine stewards at several local prestigious wine shops. We, again, are humbled that they considered our wines worthy.
For more information, you can download this little SB Poster 2014 on the award or find a copy of the August 2014 issue of Seattle Magazine.
Winery of the Year – Compass Wines – Anacortes, WA
Doug Charles, owner of Compass Wines in Anacortes, Washington, huddles with his staff every year and together they rank their favorite wines and winery. One lucky winemaker will have their wine name “Wine of the Year.” Another lucky winemaker will have their winery named “Winery of the Year.”
No retailer is better equipped for such a task. Doug will not take offense if I say he is a veteran in the wine business. In January 2013, he was given the Walter Clore Honoriaum by the Washington Wine Commission in their annual “Washington Wine Awards.” In January 2014, Compass Wines received a Grand Award as one of our state’s top retailers.
Therefore, we were not a little shocked to learn that Compass Wines awarded us their “2013 Winery of the Year.” Their piece on us from their newsletter follows:
2013 Washington Winery of the Year
Tony Dollar from tiny Lobo Hills came to us out of the blue this year and we frankly did not know what to expect. What we got was a really serious selection of reds and whites that pretty much blew us away. He had 4 different wines nominated by the staff for this list, which is hands down the most we have ever seen from one winery. A really important discovery for all Washington wine lovers.
For more, see Compass Wines.
Lobo Hills is pleased to announce the release of our new vineyard line. The wines under this label are from single vineyards or from site-selected vineyards that are listed on the bottle. All were crafted for food and released in highly limited quantities. More information is on our wine page, but below is an example of the new label.
PGR White Blend News – Lobo Hills is pleased to announce that our 2011 PGR White Wine was selected as the Best White Blend from the Columbia AVA. Our 2009 Right Bank Blend was a finalist in the red blend category. Each August, Seattle Magazine ranks the Best Wines from Washington state’s Winegrowing Regions. This ranking is done blind by our region’s leading sommeliers and wine stewards. Please note that Seattle Magazine misprinted that the vintage year as 2010. PGR’s first release was 2011. Nonetheless, Lobo Hills is excited to see our PGR White Wine honored. Alas, our 2011 vintage is sold out; but, our 2012 vintage (same blend) is available for purchase through us directly or at various retail locations, including Pike & Western Wine Shop, PCC Natural Markets and other locations.
For more information on the awards program, please see: Seattle Magazine.
WHITE BLENDS, $20 OR LESS
Lobo Hills 2010 White Blend, Columbia Valley, $16
The Columbia Valley spans most of eastern Washington, from the southern tip of Lake Chelan in the north to the Columbia Gorge in the south, encompassing the Yakima Valley east to Walla Walla. There’s no one description that is sufficient for wines that come from this area. But one factor is consistent: The area has hot days, but nights are cool during the ripening period, which helps grapes keep their fresh flavors and acidity. Growers can control almost every drop of water with irrigation, which makes for more crop predictability and less chance of flavor dilution in the wines. This white blend of Pinot Gris (50 percent), Gewürztraminer (40 percent) and Riesling (10 percent) focuses on the cooler-climate grapes grown in the Yakima Valley area of the Columbia Valley AVA. Bright and aromatic, this blend of three Alsatian grapes mixes the sweet fruit and floral aromas of Gewürztraminer with lean minerality of Riesling and soft peachiness of Pinot Gris.
Columbia Valley White Blends, $20 or Less Finalists:
Bergevin Lane 2010 Calico White, Columbia Valley, $14
Eye of the Needle Harvest White NV, Columbia Valley, $9.99