Garrison Creek Cellars Barrel Tasting

October in Walla Walla!

Let’s Get This Party Started!

Late October in Walla Walla is always beautiful!  On this cool Fall Saturday I sampled wines at three of my favorite tasting rooms.  I started the day at Woodward Canyon Winery and this quaint and iconic tasting room always delivers a fantastic experience.  They offer a diverse menu of whites and reds but I’m particularly fond of their Artist Series and Old Vines Cabernet Sauvignon.  As Terry Farley and Steve Burdick walked me through the tasting, their higher end reds continued to impress me!  At the end of the tasting I ended up with a 2016 Old Vines Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that will bottle age for years to come and is a special red, for a special occasion!  Thanks Terry and Steve – you guys always make me laugh and you always teach me something new about wine!

October at Walla Walla’s Long Shadows Vintners!

After a quick jaunt through the Old Frenchtown Historic Site, I headed straight for Long Shadows Vintners.  This tasting room exhibits class and exquisite Chihuly art, not to mention a host of outstanding wines!  Starting with a beautiful and crisp Rosé, two additional white wines included a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc. Then, a slate of delicious Reds were brought out.  They included:  a Super Tuscan (Saggi), a Bordeaux style blend (Pirouette), a Cabernet Sauvignon (Feather), a Red blend (Chester-Kidder), and a Syrah (Sequel).  As I sampled these wines the Pirouette jumped to the front.  But wait!  Once I tasted the Red blend, it was so amazing, I decided to forego the Pirouette and buy two bottles of the Chester-Kidder.  It was THAT delicious.  Maybe I’ll take a 2nd job at Walmart and buy the Pirouette before Christmas!

The Right Way to Cap Off a Great Day!

By this time, I was getting hungry and was craving some good Italian cuisine.  So I decided to go where all Walla Walla natives go, to Cugini’s Italian Imports & Deli!  After some delicious Tortellini, I drove to my 3:30 appointment at Les Collines Vineyards, where I had reserved a private tasting at Garrison Creek Cellars!  Located near the foothills of the beautiful Blue Mountains, this picturesque property embodies everything Walla Walla wine is about.  They focus on small production at approximately 1000 cases per year.  In addition, they offer intimate tastings with knowledgeable wine staff, exquisite wines, a beautiful atmosphere, barrel tastes and a charcuterie board as well.  Laura Detwiler (Assistant Winemaker) did a great job of leading my tour and tasting!   Brianna Wright (Winemaking Associate) and her “party-dude” colleague (Myk), added to the fun and enjoyment of my experience!  Look for Laura to eventually transition into the Head Winemaking position and for Brianna to transition into Laura’s current position in the next 12-18 months if all things go as expected.  They are both shining stars in the wine industry and I’m excited to taste the wines they will create!

Time for some Walla Walla Wine!

Now – for the wines!  My barrel tastes included Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and both were fantastic.  30+ months in new French oak barrels does some amazing magic to the already fabulous grapes sourced from Les Collines Vineyard.  I look forward to tasting these in the future after their barrel and bottle aging process is completed!  The four bottled wines offered, included a 2014 Syrah, a 2015 Malbec, a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, and their 2012 Estate Reserve Red Blend.  Each time I visit my collection of Garrison Creek wines grows, and this day was no different.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and the Estate Reserve red blend were simply delicious, smooth and elegant – both uniquely layered with amazing flavor, well balanced, and worth every penny!  I walked away with one bottle of each.  On this day, October in Walla Walla certainly delivered, and Aaronswinechronicles will return soon for more great experiences.  Cheers!!!

Aaron Diaz