This is the second post in a two-part series about our recent trip to Barrister Winery in Spokane. The first post tells the story of Barrister’s unique “train-settling style” of winemaking, the signature style of soft mouthfeel and gentle tannins, and other information. Now here are some details about the beautiful wines that we tasted at Barrister.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Klipsun Vineyard ($19)
This single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing, with notes of citrus and the minerality that you might expect from wine fermented for two months in 100% stainless steel. We’ve always said that we never met a grape from Red Mountain that we didn’t like, and this is no exception. This Sauv Blanc captures the power of Red Mountain fruit, which comes from old vines planted in 1982. A true summer sipper!
2014 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley ($31)
As mentioned in Part 1, the stunning success of Barrister’s Cab Franc helped elevate the popularity of the grape in Washington state, and enhanced the winery’s reputation. The 2014 vintage is another beauty – 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon with complex aromas of spices, cedar and dark cherry, followed by elegant flavors of black cherry, blueberry and vanilla. It is no wonder this wine is a hit at international, national and regional competitions.
Barrister’s Block IV Red Blend ($39)
The Barrister’s Block IV is a compelling, complex, creative blend that is big, bold and beautiful. It hits you with intense aromas of dark fruits, black tea and spices, leading into delicious flavors of black cherries, raspberries and a hint of anise and smokiness; mocha lingers on the finish. The non-vintage blend consists of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), plus 7% each of Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah.
Rough Justice Red Blend ($23)
An excellent value, this delightful blend is really popular and delicious. Rough Justice features Merlot (39%), Syrah (24%), Cab Sauv (18%) and Cab Franc (16%), with a touch of Sangiovese (2%) and Petit Verdot (1%). This is a lovely wine with aromas and flavors of rich red fruit and spices. Bring on the barbecue for this easy-drinking, food-friendly wine this summer.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pepper Bridge Vineyard ($39)
Wow. This is a smooth, elegant, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon that opens with pretty aromas of roses and raspberries, and then belts you with deep flavors of black and blue fruit, along with hints of vanilla, cocoa, anise, cassis and a touch of earthiness. With 95% Cab Sauv and 5% Merlot, this is heaven in a glass. Pair it with a big juicy steak.
2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley ($33)
If you are a big fan of Merlot, you will enjoy this wine — 100% Merlot from four vineyards: Weinbau, Dwelley, Bacchus and Artz. The nose shows blueberries and blackberries, along with hints of cinnamon and cherry. More cherries are on the palate, followed by a dash of white pepper, coffee and spice. Drinkable now, the wine will be even better after a couple of years in the cellar.
2014 Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($33)
Is Malbec your favorite red? If so, be sure to try this lush, plush, luxe wine. Coming from Summit View Vineyard, 97.5% Malbec is topped off with 2.5% Merlot. The use of French oak provides aromas of dark berries, cherries, spices and espresso. The juicy palate offers lots of berries – huckleberry, blackberry and blueberry, with a long, lingering finish. Pair it with lean cuts of meat such as sirloin or grilled tenderloin, barbecued chicken or pasta with pesto sauce.
2013 Petit Verdot, Dionysus Vineyard ($39)
We first tasted this deep, rich 100% Petit Verdot at Taste Washington and loved it. A few months later, and it’s drinking even better. Aromatics of red cherry, plums and molasses lead to beautiful flavors of caramel, black cherry and blackberry pie. Elegant, soft and smooth with a rich finish – what’s not to love?
2014 Sangiovese, Kiona Vineyard ($31)
You can’t go wrong with Sangiovese from Kiona Vineyard — 95% Sangiovese, to be specific, with a touch (5%) of Cabernet Sauvignon from Bacchus and Pepper Bridge. The earthy aromas open up into a smooth wine with fresh fruity flavors of cherries and strawberries, and a hint of spice.
2015 Carménère, Weinbau Vineyard ($33)
Recently released, Barrister’s Carménère (92.5%) is blended with 7.5% Petit Verdot to add extra strength and power to this medium-bodied wine. The nose is full of red fruits, spices and berries, with flavors of red and black berries, cherries, dark chocolate and smoky, spicy, earthy notes. This is a young red, but unlike Cab Sauv, many believe that Carménère is best to drink while it is young.
Not surprisingly, we highly recommend a trip to Barrister Winery if you are visiting Spokane. There are two locations – the downtown tasting room at 203 North Washington Street, and the winery at 1213 West Railroad Avenue. In addition to the full-production winery, we enjoyed their art gallery showcasing local artists.
We know we’ll go back!
Margot and Dave