Sunday, August 30, 2015

Saving the Best for Last: My Visit to Seven Hills!

So I've saved the best for my last post on my summer vacation to Walla Walla, my visit to Seven Hills Winery, which is on Third Street, in the same building as the Whitehouse Crawford restaurant.  Seven Hills has long been a favorite of mine, ever since my first visit to Walla Walla back in 2002, and it seems to me they just keep getting better with time.

The entrance to the Seven Hills tasting room.

I was glad to finally be able to meet Julie Titus in person (we've been e-mail friends for a long time!) and I had the chance to meet Vicky McClellan who along with her husband Casey, founded the winery.  I also met Erik, who is in charge of marketing and Jackson, which was kind enough to give me a tour of the winery.  All of these folks are just terrific, the kind of people that you'd love to just spend an afternoon on the patio sipping wine.

That's Julie in the bright, beautiful tasting room!  She was also the broker
in arranging for me to buy a couple bottles of Cayuse!

Like many other wineries, the talk of the week was how early harvest was this year, as well as what potential impact all the smoke from the western wild fires might have on the 2015 vintage.  I imagine last week was a week full of action at the winery as grapes started flooding in.

The very first vintage, 1988 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon!

Jackson took me first to the library room, where examples of past vintages are stored, and he even showed me a bottle of the very first vintage, the 1988 Cabernet Sauvignon.  We then went around to see the giant tanks where the results of the harvest will become the wines that I'll enjoy in a couple years, including a new tank that was oak and quite impressive.

The stainless steel fermentation tanks, where the harvest becomes wine!

This was new and just so cool, I really want one!

From the tanks for fermenting, we went to the barrel room, where the wines are aged until they are ready to be bottled.  There were some impressive barrels in that room!

So much wine, so little time!

Finally, it was back to the tasting room to try some of the wonderful wines I've come to love.  We tasted the 2012 Ciel du Cheval, which was drinking quite nicely now, but will likely develop into an even more impressive wine over the next few years.  The 2013 Malbec was a surprise, as I've not been a big fan of the varietal in the past, but this one was delicious.  We also tasted the 2013 vintages of the Merlot and Petit Verdot, both of which were drinking quite nicely despite their youth.  Finally, we had to taste the 2012 Pentad, which I already love (and reviewed back in April here: Link).

Back in the tasting room with a view into the barrel room.

As always, it was a great time and I took home a bunch of wine, including a couple of the commemorative magnums of the 25th vintage, 2012 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon.  If you ever get to Walla Walla, you owe it to yourselves to visit Seven Hills, they have spectacular wines and the people are even better!

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