Winemaker Brock Lindsay, owner of Succession and Alta wineries, died last month in a utility vehicle accident. This was an immeasurable loss for his family, friends, and community. It was also a large loss for the Washington wine industry.
As shown in the wines below, Lindsay was working at a high level. In a previous tasting last year, I remember pulling his 2020 Ancient Stone Syrah from the bag and saying aloud “Wow! All right!” It was that impressive, in a region that many winemakers struggle with starting out.
Lindsay’s wines also showed a breadth of talent for working with different regions and varieties. While his time in the Washington wine industry was far too brief, his impact will continue, both in the wines he made, the people he touched, and the advancements he made for the Lake Chelan region and beyond.
The wines below also include a number of wines from Todd Alexander, winemaker at Force Majeure, WeatherEye, Holocene, and several international projects. Alexander came to Washington in 2014 to work at Force Majeure after serving as winemaker at Bryant Family in Napa Valley.
Force Majeure, originally founded as Grand Rêve, started with the goal of raising the bar for Washington wine. Alexander is doing just that, with a stunning series of wines below.
Meanwhile the wines from WeatherEye Vineyard, a site atop Red Mountain, continue to redefine what is possible in Washington. They are shown below both by the estate wines made by Alexander and wines from Liminal, a WeatherEye Vineyard-dedicated project from Avennia.
Put simply, WeatherEye Vineyards is the most exciting viticultural project taking place on the Washington side of the Columbia Valley. The early results have been beyond spectacular, with Liminal my 2020 Winery of the Year and WeatherEye my 2022 winery of the year. The wines below, while showing some of the bumps of the 2020 vintage, continue to be of extremely high quality.
Finally, this set of wines includes the first wines I’ve seen to be designated from the Rocky Reach appellation. Rocky Reach is Washington’s youngest growing region, with its first plantings in 2015 and approved as an appellation in 2022.
Rocky Reach is unique from all other areas of the Columbia Valley in two respects. First, unlike other areas of the Columbia Valley (with the exception of Lake Chelan), it does not have basalt bedrock. Secondly, its soils are distinct from all other areas of the valley, with cobblestone and gravel on flattop terraces
This should make for a powerful combination as these vines start to stretch their legs. The red wines reviewed below from Rocky Pond were crafted by Shane Collins. (NB: Collins is now winemaker at Fielding Hills.) Elizabeth Keyser was brought in from Napa Valley in 2022 to serve as winemaker. Rocky Reach is a growing region to keep an eye on, particularly as more wineries start to source fruit from the region.
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