In tough times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.

is a sister brand from winemaker Javier Alfonso of Pomum Cellars. The winery is named after a bull in Barcelona that survived a fight on September 21, 2008 and was subsequently pardoned for its brave performance – a rare occurrence.

This is the winery’s first release. Alfonso says his goal is to add as many Washington-grown Spanish varietals as possible (look for a review of the winery’s Garnacha in an upcoming Fresh Sheet). He says, “We want consumers to experiment and reach out to new things and keep an open mind. We encourage this by keeping prices reasonable so the consumer doesn’t feel they are wagering too much on a single bottle.”

Albariño is a fairly rare varietal in Washington. Grapes for this wine come from a 6-acre vineyard in the Yakima Valley north of the Prosser. The site, in its third leaf and bearing its first fruit in 2010, was planted by the Den Hoed brothers. With 2010 a challenging growing year throughout Washington, the yield from these vines was a paltry one ton per acre. The result, however, is the perfect summer white – crisp, refreshing, and well priced.

I wrote recently of Hestia Cellars‘ excellent 2009 vintage Chenin Blanc. The 2010 vintage, while stylistically considerably different with less obvious lees influence, is every bit as delicious. However, due to the difficult growing season – especially for white grapes – a mere 200 cases of this wine were produced from the winery, a fraction of their normal production. This one will not last long.

Kyra Wines was founded by Kyra and Bruce Baerlocher in 1999. That year the Baerlochers purchased an apple orchard on the Wahluke Slope and converted half of it to wine grapes. Kyra Wines had its first commercial release with the 2004 vintage. Since that time, Kyra Baerlocher, who has a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Idaho, has shown a knack for producing enjoyable, well priced wines. A consistent standout in the lineup is the winery’s Chenin Blanc, which hails from Harold Pleasant Vineyard.

OS Winery
is named after founders Bill Owen, who serves as winemaker, and Rob Owen. The winery is one of a number in the South Seattle area that together comprise the South Seattle Artisan Wineries. The winery’s 2007 Red Wine comes from declassified barrels and is a quality bottle at this price point.

The g3 White Wine comes from Goose Ridge Winery. The winery – which boasts a 1,400 acre vineyard – was founded in 1999 by the Monson family. Winemaker Kendall Mix, previously of Corliss Estates, joined the winemaking team in April of 2010. The Goose Ridge g3 is an interesting blend of Semillon, Chardonnay, Roussanne, Viognier, and Riesling.

Idilico Albarino Washington State 2010 $15
* (Excellent) Appealing, perfumed aromas of white flowers, green apple, and spice. Palate is crisp and clean with the hallmark brisk, tart, lemony acidity of the 2010 vintage. Truly summer in a glass. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 12.5% alcohol. 140 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Hestia Cellars Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2010 $15
Rating: * (Excellent)
Abundant, ripe Asian pear aromas along with lemon rind and white grapefruit. Palate is crisp and lemony with mouthwatering acidity. Fermented and aged in stainless steel. 13.0% alcohol. 200 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Kyra Wines Chenin Blanc Columbia Valley 2010 $12
Rating: +/* (Good/Excellent)
Almost water white. Pleasing aromas of hay, honeydew melon, and whiffs of pineapple. Rounded, crisp, and tart. An extremely enjoyable wine that is just a tad off-dry but with enough acidity to make it seem less sweet than the RS would indicate. 100% Chenin Blanc. Harold Pleasant Vineyard. 11.5% alcohol. 1.8% Residual Sugar. 402 cases produced.

OS Winery Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $15
Rating: +/* (Good/Excellent)
Abundant fresh berries along with herbal notes and bittersweet chocolate. Ripe and tangy, full of cherry flavors that coat the tongue. Gets a little tart at times but overall a big value winner. 41% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. 14.7% alcohol. 450 cases produced.

Goose Ridge Vineyards g3 White Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $14
Rating: + (Good)
A pleasing aroma profile of floral notes, toasty spice, butter, lemon, green apple, pineapple, spice, and hay. Palate has a creamy, full feel and abundant citrus flavors. The oak is not shy but overall a very enjoyable, well-priced wine. 47% Semillon, 31% Chardonnay, 15% Roussanne, 6% Viognier, and 1% Riesling. 13.7% alcohol. 304 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.