Walla Walla’s Jeff Popick retires this week from viticulture program

Jeff Popick is retiring this week after spending six years teaching viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. He plans to move to Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine) WALLA WALLA, Wash. – As much as he wishes this gig could go on for a few more years, this is…

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Jones of Washington 2012 Estate Vineyards Barrel Select Red Wine, Wahluke Slope, $25

The Jones family owns and operates nearly a dozen vineyard sites in Washingt’s Columbia Basin, and eight of those are on the Wahluke Slope. Among those is Big River Vineyard, the source for this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Carméneère (22%) and Syrah. A barrel program involving 18 months in…

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Tightrope Winery 2014 Vertigo Red Wine, Okanagan Valley, $40

Naramata Bench winemaker Lyndsay O’Rourke produces brilliant whites and bright reds that earn high marks in U.S. competition, and this latest version of her proprietary blend with a focus on Merlot (58%), Barbera (27%) and Cabernet Franc. All three varieties are grown on their vineyard near Fleet Road, this carries…

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Bella Wines 2012 Oliver Eastside Reserve Brut Natural, Okanagan Valley, $55

As part of his second commercial vintage, Naramata Bench sparkling wine producer Jay Drysdale produced 50-case, single-vineyard reserve sparkling Chardonnay lots from two blocks near Oliver, British Columbia – not far from the border crossing at Oroville, Wash. Each lot was developed for a delayed release, and Drysdale chose to…

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Smasne Cellars 2012 Three Vineyard Reserve Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley, $38

Robert Smasne, a new inhabitant of the Vintners Village in Prosser, Wash., produces this 100 percent Petit Verdot as a melange of three growing regions within an hour’s drive of his new winery. Phinny Hill in the Horse Heaven Hills, Roskamp on Snipes Mountain and Scooteney Flats on Red Mountain…

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Dumas Station 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $38

Why mess with success? Jay Dewitt continues to focus on Minnick Hills and Birch Creek vineyards for this rich and round Cabernet Sauvignon that follows up on his remarkable Cab from the cooler 2011 vintage. Alluring fruity aromas of blackberry and plum blend nicely with dark chocolate, spice rub and…

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Jones of Washington 2013 Estate Vineyards Carménère, Wahluke Slope, $30

Columbia Valley winemaker Victor Palencia ranks among the Pacific Northwest’s premier producers of aromatic white wines, and he shows his skill here for the Jones family with the obscure red Bordeaux variety Carménère. It offers enticing aromas of blackberry, loganberry and cherry juice with alluring light toast and herbal notes…

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Dunham Cellars 2014 Lewis Vineyard Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20

Daniel Wampfler was the Dunham Cellars winemaker until leaving late last year for another Walla Walla producer. This superb Riesling will remain part of his legacy. Elegant aromas of apple, minerality and spice lead to flavors of pear and a hint of lemon. It’s all backed with stunning acidity that…

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Smasne Cellars 2012 Upland Vineyard Tempranillo, Snipes Mountain, $36

Perhaps only Upland vineyard owner/manager Todd Newhouse knows this portion of the Yakima Valley better than Robert Smasne, who works this warm site for several wineries – including his own. This grape that’s native to the Iberian Peninsula performs well on this hot and rocky mountain, revealing aromas of plum,…

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Auclair Winery 2013 Artz Vineyard Left Blend Red Wine, Red Mountain, $48

The late Fred Artz was a key figure in the development of vineyards on Red Mountain, and Woodinville boutique winemaker Charlie Auclair continues to pay homage with this Bordeaux blend that’s heavy on Cabernet Sauvignon (80%) and new French oak (75%). Aromas of red cherry and cassis are joined by…

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