First of all, everyone who knows me and reads this blog, knows I am nicknamed “Captain Washington”. I do favor the quality to price ratio and less sugary style of wines coming out of the Evergreen State. One of the 2 new additions to our Washington State Lineup at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in Florida is from the State. I am going to review the Proprietary Red Blend from Desert Wind Winery (Same Family that Owns Duck Pond in Oregon).
RUAH.. (Latin word for Breath Or WIND which is appropriate for this winery’s name). I would like to extend a challenge to any Sommelier, Any Master Of Wine, to be able to blind taste this wine and tell me this is from anywhere in America. This is like drinking a Saint Emilion Grand Cru but for $17.99. I judged this wine over a 4 hour period with 2 hours of breathing time. This vintage, a 2015 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and a dollop of Syrah (Non Bordeaux Varietal). Rich, Dark, Aromas of Dark Cassis and Dark Berries with A Sandy, French Style Earth Coming through. On my palate, I got close to zero sweetness, but a very dark plum and dark currant and blackberry on my mid-palate with not over the top weight and and finishing with ripe tannins ,a hint of spice and that Right Bank Bordeaux, Lead Pencil and Graphite finish. I also tried it with some 90% Dark Bittersweet Chocolate and it was a $50.00 Quality Experience for me that cost me $17.99 (Chocolate not included) This was BORDEAUX but from Eastern Washington State… The Wahluke Slope. Let me mention the family who just doesn’t own this winery but works the land and does the farming and oversees the wine operations from start to finish.
Meet The Fries (Frees) Family
Greg Fries in the front shadowed by his father Doug Fries in the vineyards. The Fries family has always been passionate about full-bodied red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. This love prompted their 1992 acquisition of a 540-acre parcel of land on Eastern Washington’s Wahluke Slope, an area particularly suited to growing hot-climate varietals. The family dubbed the site Desert Wind Vineyard and spent three years planting Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and a handful of other varieties.
In 2001, they launched the Desert Wind brand to showcase their handcrafted wines from these vineyard sites. The Desert Wind facility in Prosser, Washington, is a destination unto itself. Perched on a bluff overlooking the Yakima River, its Southwest-inspired exterior houses a tasting room, event space, restaurant and four overnight guest rooms. Even the hard workers, family members were very involved throughout the entire process of designing and building the facility.
Today the family remains active in all winery operations. Although they say they are semi-retired, Doug and Jo Ann oversee much of the vineyard operations, often putting in long hours during the growing season. Son Greg is president of the company and oversees the winemaking team, cellar crew and vineyard workers.
The Wahluke Slope
The Wahluke Slope is located in Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley. The site is considered Zone 3, the HOTTEST IN THE REGION Their 480-acre vineyard is a southern facing block with a 2 % slope and shallow, rocky soil. The vines are irrigated with an underground drip system. This is DESERT CONDITIONS and a Stress on the Vines and as the label says a “Stress on the People Who Manage Them”
If you are looking for a Dry Red Wine with less than .25 Residual Sugar that tastes like Bordeaux but doesn’t cost you Bordeaux Prices, find this wine by coming to see me at ABC FINE WINE in Sunrise, Florida, Or in Florida Any ABC Wine Specialist can assist you Or Order Online from the Winery...JUST FIND IT at $17.99 give or take a few dollars. Try it with Dark Chocolate after dinner like I did as well.
Winemaker Greg Fries
Greg, you and your family produced a #WineofAKindExperience” For me and my guests and blog subscribers who will appreciate this RUAH Proprietary House Red Blend. BOOYAH FOR RUAH!!
Grape-fully yours, Larry