I was impressed by a number of new releases from Seven Hills Winery in Washington’s Walla Walla Valley. Seven Hills grows grapes in its own vineyards and sources fruit from other growers in five Washington state appellations and, in the case of an excellent pinot gris, from a vineyard in the Umpqua Valley in southern Oregon.
The 2008 Oregon Pinot Gris is made in a crisp, mineral-driven style (just 10 percent of it has oak contact) and is well priced at $16. Another real value is the 2008 Columbia Valley Riesling, $12, a lovely, off-dry wine with “wet pebble” aromas and pear, apricot and lime tastes. Among the reds, the 2006 Columbia Valley Tempranillo, $22, is an exciting interpretation of the Spanish variety that is gaining a foothold in Washington. It’s fruit forward with concentrated blackberry, blueberry and herb tastes. The 2006 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon “Seven Hills Vineyard” is accessible and bright with sweet tannins and blackberry and vanilla notes. It’s $32 and drinks well now. Do I smell a steak?