Okay folks, I have launched a survey of the finalists for the 2008 Reader Survey Wine of the Year.

By the powers invested in me, I have made several executive decisions. First, I have removed two wines from consideration whose release date is in 2009 – the William Church Bishop’s Blend 2006 and Efeste Joile Bouche Syrah 2006. What you say? These were the top two vote getters! Fear not, this type of capricious rule change to affect the outcome of an election has a long and proud history. These two wines will be incarcerated until next year’s survey. Given the positive responses they both received from the pouring at the St. Nicholas event weekend, these will be wines to seek out. Secondly, rather than having a survey of the top three vote getters as I had previously indicated, I have listed the top four as there was a tie for third.

Given that this is a holiday week, I am thinking that the chances of a Garnet Revolution in the blogosphere are minimal.

I have provided below additional information about the finalists where it was available. If you know of any locations these wines are still being sold, let me know in case people who haven’t had them want to give them a try. This survey will be open until 11:59pm on December 31st whereupon we will declare the winner. Let the voting begin!

Gilbert Cellars 2005 Estate Syrah
Gilbert Cellars 2005 Estate Cabernet

Brothers Sean and Nate Gilbert started Gilbert Cellars in 2004. Their first release was a 2004 Claret which was followed by a 2005 Malbec, Petit Verdot, Estate Syrah, and Estate Cabernet. The latter two wines are finalists for in our survey. Gilbert Cellars has an annual production of approximately 3,000 cases and sources most of its grapes from the Wahluke Slope AVA. Gilbert Cellars’ Tasting Room is located in Yakima. Gilbert Cellars Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $26 92% Cabernet; 8% Syrah. 312 cases produced. Gilbert Cellars Estate Syrah 2005 $26. 100% Syrah. 260 cases produced.

Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel 2005
Forgeron gets its name from the French word for “blacksmith.” Forgeron Cellars, founded in 2001, is a Walla Walla winery. Marie-Eve Gilla is part owner and winemaker. The winery produces approximately 4,500 cases annually. Forgeron Cellars Zinfandel 2005 $30 100% Zinfandel from Alder Ridge, Clifton, and Les Collines vineyards. 485 cases produced.

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Quilceda Creek was founded in 1978. The 2005 Cabernet is the winery’s third vintage to receive a perfect 100 point rating from Robert Parker in the last four vintages (the 2004 vintage was off a step at 99 points). This is an accomplishment no other winery in the world has matched. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 $115. 97% Cabernet; 3% Merlot. Champoux, Galitzine, Klipsun, and Taptiel vineyards. 22 months in 100% new oak. 3,400 cases produced.

Honorable Mention (To Be Released in 2009)

William Church Bishop’s Blend 2006
William Church, established in 2005, is a Woodinville, Washington winery. The winery is named after the owners’ fathers, William Edgar Balsley and John Church Lind. William Church produces approximately 1,000 cases annually. William Church Bishop’s Blend 2006 Information about this wine not currently available.

Efestē Jolie Bouche Syrah 2006
Efestē, pronounced like the letters F-S-T strung together, was named after the last names of founders Ferrelli, Smith, and Taylor. Efestē is located in Woodinville, Washginton . Their winemaker is Brennon Leighton. Efestē has an annual production of approximately 6,000 cases. Efestē Jolie Bouche Syrah 2006 100% Syrah primarily from Boushey Vineyard with a small amount from Ceil du Cheval Vineyard. Fermented in stainless steel and stored in French oak for 18 months (25% new). Unfined and unfiltered. To be released in February 2009. Information graciously provided by Brennon Leighton.