Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Watermill Winery A Good Reason To Visit Milton Freewater

Over the last few weeks I have been sharing on a recent day trip that I took to Walla Walla Valley. These articles are being punctuated by other articles as they arise.

It had been quite a while since I had been to Milton Freewater. As much as I enjoy the little town, it is not exactly a straight shot from my home in Kennewick. But, I was on a mission with my friends Phyllis and Becky Fergueson who run the annual Savor The Flavor event in the Tri-Cities.

After a quick visit to Petit Noir on the main drag through town to quench everyone’s need for the region’s most delicious handmade truffles, we headed back into the older section of town to visit Watermill Winery and its twin sister company Blue Mountain Cider.

It had been at least two years, if not closer to three, since I had been to the old Watermill building, and the now beautifully renovated tasting room that sits on the front of the property.

The Brown family established Watermill Winery in 2005 in conjunction with Rich Funk of Saviah Cellars fame. Rich and Andrew Brown set forth to produce wines together with the understanding that as Andrew’s skills honed, Rich would take more of a back-seat consulting role. That has happened, and now Brown is taking on the lion’s share of the winemaking tasks with Funk offering support. I was excited to see what Andrew has done with the reigns he’s been given.

I had to try the 2008 Viognier. I think I can openly say “scrumptious”. This is a really good Viognier. An English flower garden on the nose, with floral, apricot, and peach flavors. It finishes with creamed honey and minerals on the finish. I took a bottle home, and now I wish I had taken a case.

Next, I jumped to the Chances R Red Blend. A few vintages ago this was one of my favorite red blends from the region. Very affordable and rich. The 2007 has more of a grown up taste than the label suggests. After some air this wine offered up dark jammy nose and flavors, mixed with hints of leather, pepper, and spice box. At $15 it is definitely worth it.

The 2007 Midnight Red is an Estate Blend from the McClellan Estate. It offers 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, mixed with equal parts of Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. This wine is quite complex and elegant with bright cherry up front, leading to tobacco, leather, and berry pie as the wine slips across your palate.

I’m a sucker for a good Cabernet Franc, so I had to try Watermill’s 2007 vintage. This wine offers cloves and pepper on the nose. The flavors are rich with black cherry cola, pepper, and wonderfully silky tannins on the finish.

The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from several acclaimed vineyards reaching from Walla Walla to Kiona on Red Mountain. With a balance of 25% merlot, this wine hits all the corners of your palate. Dark fruit on the front, leading to dark cocoa, figs, walnut, and finishing with vanilla and a light smokiness this wine is one to have with a nice grilled rib steak.

One of the best parts about Watermill is once you’ve tasted through the wines, which I’ve only given a short list of, you can walk across the room to the Blue Mountain Cider tasting counter. I’ll leave that for a later article though.


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