Paul Zitarelli from Swordfern Wines and I sat down last week to break bread and taste some Washington wines. Paul’s wife Kelli joined in the fun; my friend Lindy hosted.

Paul and I dug in to the toolkit to find something the other had not tasted. Paul brought Pomum’s 2005 Shya Red Wine. I pulled out Ensemble’s Release Number Two. Both wines are Bordeaux blends. Both battled to a standstill. The Ensemble kept hearkening us back to the Old World; the Pomum kept unabashedly dragging us into the New. We finished the night off with a bottle of Va Piano 2006 Estate Syrah (Note: This wine is only available to wine club members but is the embodiment of Va Piano’s distinctive style found in their releases).

Pomum Cellars is a Woodinville winery that sources fruit from a number of excellent vineyards including DuBrul, Elerding, Snipes Canyon Ranch, Upland, Dineen, and AD Dunn Estate. Pomum’s wines include: Tinto, predominantly Tempranillo-based; Shya, a Bordeaux blend; and a Syrah. Pomum gained a bit of notoriety last year on Wine Library TV. Loved the wine; the label left me a little puzzled. A fishing fly?

Ensemble Cellars is a Walla Walla winery located in the airport region. Winemaker Craig Nelsen takes a unique approach blending one wine from three successive vintages using a variety of different vineyard sources and grapes. See my notes from the trip to Ensemble for 2008 Holiday Barrel Tasting here.

Va Piano Vineyards is also located in Walla Walla. The 2006 Estate Syrah is sourced exclusively from Block 4 of Va Piano’s estate vineyards.

See Paul’s write-up of the evening here.







Pomum Shya Red Wine Yakima Valley 2005

A fascinating nose. Almost herbal. Almost spice. A light dusting of high spice and an intriguing black olive component show through at times. Rich, dark cherry aromas come to the fore late. A drop dead gorgeous taste that is rich and opulent. Mouth coating with a zing of acidity. Beautifully balanced with cranberry emerging on the finish. 59% Cabernet; 27% Merlot; 10% Cab Franc; 3% Malbec; 1% Petit Verdot. 14.7% alcohol. 300 cases produced.



Ensemble Release Number Two

An engaging, earthy nose with pretty oak aromas, black pepper, chocolate, and light coffee scents. All about elegance on the taste. Light and perfectly balanced. 8% 2003; 59% 2004; 33% 2005.

362 cases produced.



Va Piano Vineyards Estate Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2006

An elusive nose with perfume, violets, earth, and game notes showing late. High, light berries mix with river creek aromas. The more you put your nose in to the glass the more the wine seems to move away. The nose shows small cracks in the armor at times. An incredible amount of up and down movement on the palate. Doesn’t seem to have completely come together at present but is extraordinarily intriguing and improves as it opens up. 100% Va Piano Vineyards Block 4 Syrah. 14.4% alcohol. 20% new French oak. 80% neutral French oak. 100 cases produced.