What follows is an excerpt for the 2008 Walla Walla Holiday Barrel Tasting Report. Read the full report here.

Craig Nelsen is doing something no other winemaker in Washington is doing. He takes grapes from three successive vintages and blends them all into one wine that he assigns a numerical release to. His stated goal is to make a Bordeaux-style wine that has exceptional consistency across releases. After tasting Ensemble Release Number 4 – to be released in 2009 – from the barrel, Ensemble continues to excel. The blending of multiple vintages give Nelsen’s wines added complexity and a beautiful blend of age and youth within the same wine. I have not seen Ensemble’s wines outside of the winery unfortunately. However, this is definitely not one to miss if you see a bottle or if you travel to Walla Walla.






Release No. 4

Beautiful sweet oak spices along with jammy blue fruit, anise, and vanilla. A gorgeous, full taste. 67% Cabernet; 13% Merlot; 13% Cab Franc; 7% Petit Verdot. 15% 2005; 57% 2006; 28% 2007. 14.4% alcohol. 412 cases produced. Sampled at 60 degrees.



Release No. 3

A rich wine marked by blackberry, anise, clove, and chocolate. An even, refined mid-palate with a long finish. Bottled in March 2008. 66% Cabernet (Sagemoor, Lodmell, Cold Creek, Red Mountain, Canoe Ridge, DuBrul vineyards); 18% Merlot (DuBrul, Neuffer, Sagemoor Weinbau vineyards); 13% Cab Franc; 3% Petit Verdot. 56% 2003; 31% 2006; 13% 2004. Sampled at 68 degrees.