It’s day 2 of the Wine Bloggers Conference, and we’re off on the little yellow school buses to explore some of the Walla Walla terroir. Fortunately for us Bay Area folks,who aren’t used to the heat, it was a warm but pleasant day for walking around the vineyards and our bus was off and ready to go. Armed with my trusty compatriots Lynnette, Ryan and Ward, we were joined by some new friends and headed off to taste some of Walla Walla’s wines.
Our bus was hosted by Walla Walla’s mayor, and we were off to Watermill Winery’s vineyards in Milton-Freewater. Juts over the Oregon border, this area was first settled with orchards and vegetable farms. Now, we were examining the hard packed cobblestone soil, which is the remnant of the alluvial fan. With 200 feet of packed cobblestone, the soil is well drained suited perfectly for the big reds that we were tasting. Saviah Cellars was founded in 2000, and Watermill first planted grapes in 2002. This is a Certified LIVE vineyard, which in Oregon is Low Input Viticulture and Enology – very similar to a sustainable certified vineyard here. They are only allowed one herbicidal spray a year, and believe that microbiological health of the soil and vineyard is paramount.
The 2007 Watermill Malbec tasted of blueberries and black berries with chewy plums and huckleberries. There was a hint of smoke and white pepper, and we were told that growing Malbec on the rocky soil was unusual. The result is a dense intense wine that I really enjoyed. next we tasted the 2007 Watermill Cab Franc. Being a girl who loves cab franc, I was a bit skeptical, but this was a lovely plummy red fruit example with spicy smoke. the rich & smooth wine was a Tansy treat. we also tasted the 2008 Saviah Cellears Malbec, which was a great companion to the Watermill verison. This wine comes from the same vineyard, but showed more earth, leather and tobacco, followed by cigar box.
From Watermill, we headed over to Waters for lunch. More on that in my next post!