Savage Grace
Part 6, Washington State: visiting one of North America's leading wine growing regions

Michael Savage is a music dude. He runs a recording studio. 'I love the audio analog world,' he says. 'The flaws that this brings are similar to wine. I want to learn about the accidents that happen; to learn what the vineyard is bringing.' He cites as his favourite wine influences Cru Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc and Burgundy. That's a good start!

He got into winemaking when he enrolled in the WSET wine education program, and is part way through his diploma. He took wine production classes at the NW Wine Academy in Seattle. 'I was becoming fascinated with winemaking,' he says. 'I met some people, then did some winemaking in a warehouse space with three other wineries, then expanded to this place.' He currently has a unit of his own in the Woodinville Warehouse district, just a stone's throw away from Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen of WT Vintners. Production is 2000 cases per year.

'I'm looking on the edges in Washington,' he says, taking grapes from places like the Columbia Gorge.


Sauvignon Blanc Red Willow Vineyard 2014 Yakima Valley
This has some musque clone in it, and 25% is fermented in neutral barrels. Lively, fresh and textured with a nice mineral edge to the citrus and pear fruit. Nice texture. 90/100

Gruner Veltliner Underwood Mountain Vineyards 2014 Columbia Gorge
50% stainless steel/50% neutral oak, early and late pick. Has some richness on the nose. Melon and pear fruit with nice texture and a hint of pepper spice. Nice focus and detail. 91/100

Chardonnay Celilo Vineyard 2013 Columbia Gorge
Planted in 1973, this is half stainless steel and half neutral barrel, native yeasts. Two picks, all Wente clone. Broad and textured with nice precision. Lovely pear, spice and citrus notes. This is precise but it also has generosity. Lovely. 92/100

Pinot Noir Underwood Mountain Vineyards 2013 Columbia Gorge
Dry farmed (in the Gorge there are 16 inches of rain a year), this is made from three clones. Sweet, fine, pure with fresh red cherry and berry nose. Very silky and smooth on the palate, and quite light with a hint of spiciness and nice finesse. 92/100

Cabernet Franc Copeland Vineyard 2014 Yakima Valley
Whole berry fermented. Lovely floral red cherry and raspberry nose. Vivid, supple with nice freshness and a spicy edge to the primary, juicy raspberry fruit. Juicy and fine. 92/100

Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Yakima Valley
From 7 Mile Vineyard in Rattlesnake Hills. Supple, juicy and bright with vivid pure blackcurrant and berry fruits. Supple and nicely textured with pure fruit to the fore. 91/100

Riesling Underwood Mountain Vineyards 2012 Columbia Gorge
Honeyed and limey with an enticing nose. Lively, taut high acid palate has sweetness and texture. Feels dry. 90/100

Riesling Underwood Mountain Vineyards 2014 Columbia Gorge
Fresh, lively and vivid with lime and honey, and good acidity. Lovely purity here. Quite floral with the acidity balancing the sugar. Slightly off-dry in style. 91/100

Columbia Winery
De Lille
WT Vintners
Savage Grace
Chateau Ste Michelle
Andrew Will
Airfield Estates
Milbrandt Vineyards
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
Col Solare
Powers/Badger Mountain
J Bookwalter
Pacific Rim
Gordon Estate
Long Shadows
Seven Hills
Charles Smith
Geology with Kevin Pogue
Woodward Canyon
Gramercy Cellars
L'Ecole No 41
Columbia Crest
Memaloose/Idiot's Grace
COR Cellars

Wines tasted 06/15  
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