WeÂ recently had an opportunity at our favorite wine bar, Vino Bello, to taste some of the “opulent, voluptuous and concentrated” wines from O-S Winery and meet the knowledgeable, opinionated and entertaining winemaker Bill Owen: “Just call me Owen. I was Owen before Cher was Cher.” When Owen found that I’m a writer for Write for Wine, he opined thatÂ writers should not use cliches such as “boutique winery” or “world class wine.” I agree. Being opinionated is not a bad thing in Owen’s case. He is so knowledgeable … he has traveled and studied extensively … that his opinions matter to a lot of people, including me.
Back to the O-S wines: The current releases are aged exclusively in French Oak barrels. About 35% are in new barrels while the remainder is in barrels in the second, third and fourth years. The results, according to the winery, are “opulent, voluptous and concentrated wines that are immensely pleasing in their youth, yet possess the structure and balance to reward cellaring.”
Specifically, we tasted the 2006 Riesling–in my case, I must admit, reluctantly. I’m not much of a white wine drinker and Riesling has never been my cup of tea … er, glass of choice. But O-S Winery’s 2006 Riesling took me by surprise. This 100% Champoux Riesling was clean and crisp, with peach, pear and citrus flavors. It would be paired perfectly with lobster or scallops. Owen says his wine has the lowest alcoholÂ content (10 1/2%) in Washington state, and he promises that his Riesling will be twice as good next year. I won’t hesitate to drink it again.Â And you shouldn’t hesitate to spend $20 on a bottle, particularly if you like Riesling.
We also tasted O-S Winery’s 2004 Ulysses–my tasting notes have four stars next to this lush, elegantÂ wine! This big red is incredible–both jammy and silky, with complex black fruit flavors. This distinctive wine is a superb blend of 45% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Cabernet Franc from Sheridan Vineyard. Wine Spectator rated it 90.Â If you have $50, it is well worthÂ a visitÂ to the winery in Seattle.