Thursday, April 16, 2009

Woodward Canyon: Revisited

Of course, it is only natural that tourists and locals sometimes get very focused on visiting the newest wineries in town. However, it’s just as important to revisit the “pioneer” wineries who were the first ones on the Walla Walla wine map. After all, they are the “heart” of the Walla Walla wine industry and possibly without them, we wouldn’t have the succession of exciting new wineries in our valley today.

Woodward Canyon is one of those “pioneer” wineries. It got off the ground in 1981, by Rick Small and his wife, Darcey Fugman-Small. From the beginning Rick decided that quality was more important than quantity and to this day Woodward Canyon has remained "humbly" small starting from 1,200 cases to it's current production of around 17,000 cases.

Last Saturday, I revisited Woodward Canyon. I love this tasting room and it's possibly one of my favorites in the valley. No "flash." No "frills." The old 1870's farmhouse with the walk-way through the colorful flower gardens and old trees standing guard, it seems the perfect setting considering their history in the valley. As soon as I walked into the door, I was immediately greeted by Bob, one of the members of their tasting room staff and Shari, in charge of guest services. When it comes to tasting room staff in wineries, I always pay this little game in my head. Would I hire them if I owned a winery? And the answer is: most definitely yes. And adding to the highlights and what I came for:

Woodward Canyon Dry White Riesling - 2007: I have tasted past vintages of their dry Rieslings and they never disappointed. Get in line of the "never disappointed" vintages, because - ding-ding-ding - we have another winner! This is like sipping the juice of pure stone fruit. It's crisp. It's clean - - with just a bite of mineral. If you can leave your mitts off it and give it some proper storage, there is no doubt it will age like a fine old Riesling from Germany.

Woodward Canyon "Artist Series" Cabernet Sauvignon - 2006: Mmmm...a nose of spice and cigar box. A bold wine with a long finish. Up front you really catch the dark berries and cherries and it slowly evolves to flavors of dark cocoa and creamy coffee. What I enjoyed about this red, was just the perfect touch of oak but still allowing all of the fruit to shine through. And besides being an age worthy and a classy Cabernet, you get a "purdy pi'ture" on the bottle, too.

Woodward Canyon Dolcetto - 2007: The timing of this release could not have been any more perfect. With summer entertaining around the corner and victory gardens being planted, this is a red that is going to stand up to those endless tomato dishes. It's light, fruity and spicy! And yet for a red, it's light enough to add a bit of a chill to the bottle to assist in combating the summer heat or even the spiciest bbq sauce.

After my "revisit," Shari and Bob helped me to my car with my purchases and I left with a smile on my face. Revisiting Woodward Canyon was a wonderful way to start my day of wine tasting.

1 comment:

Kimberly said...

The Dolcetto Sounds fantastic. I am quite jealous.