Our wines were featured in the June issue of Rand Sealey’s Review of Washington Wines! Although we are an Idaho winery, our grapes are grown in both Idaho and Washington. Below are the reviews that Rand did on some of our Spring releases. The rest of our Spring releases will be featured in the July issue. To subscribe to the Rand Sealey’s Review of Washington Wines, click here.
From the Newest AVA: Clearwater Canyon Cellars
On May 20, the Lewis-Clark Valley became Idaho and Washington’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA). The 306,658-acre AVA straddles the Washington-Idaho border, comprising an area surrounding Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington. Karl and Coco Umiker’s vineyard near Lewiston is among those that are now allowed to use the Lewis-Clark appellation.
2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Malbec, Washington, Verhey Vineyard ($28)
From a vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills, this Malbec (95%, with 4% Petite Sirah and 1% Carmenere) offers a deep crimson-ruby color and enticing aromas of wild fruits – blackberries, blueberries, black currants – with scents of black roses, mulberry, pipe tobacco and smoldering incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with thick black and blue fruits that are imbued with licorice, bittersweet chocolate, Sumatra roast and alluvial minerals. The saturation continues on the back with sensations of macerated berries, roasted chestnuts, crème de cassis and graphite, all leading into a savory ripe tannin finish. 18.5/20 points.
2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Carménère, Washington, Phinny Hill Vineyard ($28)
This is a fine version of the “lost grape of Bordeaux.” It shows a deep crimson color and seductive aromas of raspberries, old tree cherries, black currants, crushed roses, mulberry, sandalwood, sweet tobacco, violets and oriental incense. The medium bodied flavors are alluring, with lavish fruits that are interwoven with black licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and Horse Heaven wind blown earth. The back reveals sensations of pressed berries, framboise liqueur, crème de cassis and semi dried cherries. The alcohol registers at 15.1% but is balanced by bright fruit acids on the lingering, slightly nutted sweet-dry tannin finish. The lovely aromatics give it a plus. 18.5+/20 points.
2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Estate Syrah, Lewis-Clark Valley, Umiker Vineyard ($28)
Deep ruby colored, this wine emits intoxicating aromas of blackberries, blueberries, black currants, crushed roses, mulberry, pipe tobacco, lavender and spiced incense. The flavors mirror the aromatics with black and blue fruits that are imbued with licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and Clearwater River minerals. On the back, the wine turns thick and chewy, with notes of macerated berries, roasted nuts, kidskin leather, mocha and lanolin (“legs”), followed by a lingering, savory (nutmeg, clove, coriander) ripe tannin finish. All this suggests that the Umiker Vineyard is a prime source of Syrah. 19/20 points.
2014 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Petite Sirah, Washington ($28)
From the Roosevelt Vineyard, along with 7% Phinny Hill Carménère, this shows an opaque purplish color and a highly aromatic nose (both traits of Petite Sirah). Scents of blackberries, cherries, black currants, crushed roses, lavender, cracked pepper and incense jump out of the glass. The flavors are thick and generous, loaded with dark fruits that are replete with licorice, dark cocoa, campfire coffee and scorched earth. The saturation continues on the back with sensations of roasted berries and walnuts, semi dried cherries, toffee and burnt charcoal, followed by a chewy, slightly grainy ripe tannin finish. 18.5+/20 points.
2013 Clearwater Canyon Cellars “Selway” Red Wine, Lewis-Clark Valley ($38)
Named for a river that flows freely into the Clearwater River, this is a tasty blend of 45% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc, 12% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Malbec from the Umiker, Rockn’J and Arnett vineyards, barrel aged for 30 months, it shows a deep ruby-garnet color and and a rich, smoky nose of blackberry, cherry, plum, crushed roses, mulberry, pipe tobacco, cedar, rosemary and spiced incense. The medium bodied flavors mirror the aromatics with suave yet deep cored ripe fruits that are imbued with cocoa powder, Sumatra roast and alluvial minerals. The back picks up notes of macerated berries, roasted chestnuts, toffee, dried cherries, leather, graphite and seasoned oak, on the way to a lingering spiced (cardamom, clove) and herbed (rosemary, sage) smooth tannin finish. 19/20 points.
Photo Credit: Rand Sealey’s Review of Washington Wines Facebook page