We had two more wineries to visit before leaving Walla Walla after the Wine Blogger Conference. Yes, we were officially on our sixth day of wine tasting, for those of you who insist on counting! (Note: “wine tasting” is not a synonym for “wine drinking.”)
Our first stop was Forgeron Cellars, the former site of a blacksmith shop, where we’ve visited on every single trip to Walla Walla. In fact, we have been such fans of Marie-Eve Gilla’s wines for so long that she and her husband, Gilles Nicault (the resident winemaker at Long Shadows), have become good friends of ours.
One of our favorite wines from Forgeron Cellars is the 2003 Vinfinity, an elegant, layered wine that is a beauty. We also favored the 2004 Boushey Vineyard Syrah, which won gold at Sexy Syrah at Salty’s in April (and then sold out). More recently, Forgeron’s ’06 Zinfandel has become a crowd pleaser, even moreso because Washington state Zin is a rarity.
Forgeron began growing Zinfandel in 2001, and has produced seven vintages. The ’06 combines fruit from three vineyards: Alder Ridge, Clifton and Les Collines. I like my wine big and bold, and Forgeron’s ’06 Zin meets my criteria. And I adore Marie-Eve’s comment: “Be sure to have an extra bottle or 2 of this Zinfandel on hand. You don’t want to run out of wine before you run out of food!” Pay heed!
Our next stop was Watermill Winery, which I promised to visit back in March, when Bob Silver introduced me to their 2006 Syrah. I renewed that vow in June at Seattle Wine Awards, where I met winemaker Andrew Brown and fell head-over-heels for Watermill’s 2007 Estate Cab Franc.
Watermill Winery is actually located in Milton Freewater, Oregon, only 10 miles from downtown Walla Walla, so it was an easy drive, and well worth the trip. Crystal was our charming host, and poured us through most of their superb lineup.
We really enjoyed the 2007 Estate Midnight Red, 2007 Cab Sauv, the 2007 Walla Walla Merlot and the 2007 Estate Malbec. Both the Merlot and Malbec won double gold at Seattle Wine Awards. But we left with the Syrah and Cab Franc to savor back at home.
(Disclosure: I help Marie-Eve with their Twitter account.)