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Washington Wine Blog Reports

Nov. 7, 2017

Washington Wine Blog Reports

Pepper Bridge head winemaker Jean-Francois Pellet

Elegance and poise marks these great wines by Pepper Bridge. Located in a gorgeous country setting outside of Walla Walla, the winery is perched on a hill with stunning views of the estate vineyards —Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills and Les Collines, some of the famed vineyards in Washington. Head winemaker Jean-François Pellet, has a longstanding history in the Washington wine industry. A third generation wine grower, Pellet’s wines have received considerable acclaim. 

Pellet has degrees in both enology and viticulture and has previously interned in Germany, Switzerland and the Napa Valley. After graduating, he managed vineyards and made wine in Switzerland and Spain. Along with making wine in Spain, he was responsible for managing 500 acres of vineyards, designing a new winery and developing a market for the product. He then worked at famed Heitz Cellars for four years until he was recruited to work at Pepper Bridge. His new release wines were fantastic and maintained his trademark elegance but contained wonderful richness from these warm vintages. Look to the 2014 Pepper Bridge Merlot (WWB, 92) which has wonderful weight and tension. Pepper Bridge not only has a tasting room at their Walla Walla winery but also has a tasting room in Woodinville, not far from the center of town. Learn more about Pepper Bridge at

2014 Pepper Bridge Merlot- Composed of 77% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec, this is a nice showing from a consistently high quality producer. Rich aromas of fresh sawdust, blackberry pie and tar are followed by rich flavors of black currants, vanilla, cocoa powder and black pepper. Tannin structure is quite firm, especially for a Merlot. Drink 2018-2030- 92 $50 (J.H.)

2013 Pepper Bridge ‘Trine’ Red Wine-  This Bordeaux blend is named after the three main families that is involved the Pepper Bridge brand. It is a blend of all five Bordeaux grapes: 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34 % Cabernet Franc, 16% merlot, 8% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot. This excellent wine was aged 17 months in 37% new French Oak. It starts with aromas of ripe red currants, espresso bean and coconut. Mouthfeel is silky with good weight and flavors of dark cherries, mocha, and black pepper. Tannins are tight with a long, persistent finish. This wine is definitely ageworthy for 10 or more years. Drink 2018-2030- 92 $65 (J.H.)

2013 Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon- This flagship wine from Pepper Bridge is 83% cabernet sauvignon with 9% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Aged in 44% new French oak for 19 months. Aromatics are predominantly black fruit, tar, bramble and coconut. The depth on the palate is impressive with flavors of baked blackberry pie, milk chocolate, Pipe tobacco and fresh asphalt. Complexity will continue to improve over the next 5 – 10 years. Drink 2018-2030- 92. $60 (J.H.)

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