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Fall 2011 Newsletter

2009 Merlot Flaunts structure and intensity

The 2009 Merlot reflects an exciting growing year. That year, Mother Nature was quite fickle but ultimately agreeable, producing a lighter-than-normal crop of smaller berries. The wines from this vintage display concentrated fruit flavors, smooth tannins and layered minerality.

Tasting notes: Rich and velvety smooth. Aromas of Asian spice, dark cherries, flowers, and a hint of dusty gravel. Concentrated flavors of plum, blackberries and cherries. Elegantly structured and balanced. As expected, the finish is long and lingering, a signature of Jean-François' winemaking style.

Only 731 cases made. Bridge Club members: $240 per six-pack. Non-members: $300 per six-pack. To order and/or receive information on the club, please call us (509.525.6502) or visit: Bridge Club membership is free and entitles you to advance release of vintages and 20% off all purchases.

From the Winemaker: 2011 Harvest Slow but Solid

Winemaker Jean-François Pellet samples grapes daily in the weeks leading up to harvest. He tastes the skin, fruit and seeds, checking for ripeness and sugar/acid balance.It's no secret: Obviously this has been a really weird year, weather-wise. Although we received an average amount of moisture, it seemed really wet in May and June because we had many cool, damp days with light precipitation. This unusual spring resulted in late bud break.

Our vines did not bloom until late June, which is later than I have ever seen it by three weeks. Summer really didn't start until around the Fourth of July, which may be common in Seattle, but is unheard of here. It appears Mother Nature was reminding us that we are in the agriculture business, not the manufacturing business. She always finds a way to keep me on my toes.

Nonetheless, after this late start, the grapes ripened steadily and evenly. We had beautiful weather that never reached the triple digits. Throughout the growing season, we stayed about three weeks behind average, with harvest starting on October 3rd.

Given this long hang time for the grapes and the even, slow ripening, the vintage looks very promising. Sugar and acid levels are developing perfectly, and harvest should last through the end of October.

Introducing Trine

We are excited to release this new project. As with our Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Trine showcasesthe best of our Walla Walla Valley estate vineyards: Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills. However, it allows our winemaker, Jean-François, more creative freedom of expression because it is a blend and not a varietal-based wine. (Varietal wines, such as Merlot, require at least 75% of the wine to be comprised of that grape).

Each vintage will contain a unique combination of Bordeaux's five traditional red grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

The word "Trine" is defined as a close group of three. The name pays homage to the partnership of the three families that comprise Pepper Bridge: the McKibbens, Goffs and Pellets. Like our partnership, Trine is greater than the sum of its parts.

Integrated aromas of coffee, mocha, dark mixed fruits, exotic spices and a soft smokiness introduce this bold yet refined wine. Flavors of Bing cherries, black plums, and chocolate mousse with a hint of vanilla seamlessly layer on the palate. Lingering in the background are pleasant notes of wildflowers and dusty gravel.

2008 Blend

44% Cabernet Sauvignon
38% Merlot
8% Cabernet Franc
8% Malbec
2% Petit Verdot

Made from 100% Certified Sustainable, estate vineyard grapes.

Total production: 290 cases.

Pricing: $288/six-pack (Bridge Club members) $360/six-pack (non-members).

Note: Trine is not an automatic inclusion in club shipments. Please contact us to order. 509.525.6502/

In the News

In an introduction to a recent article on family wineries, the editors at Wine & Spirits Magazine wrote: "It might make you feel good to support a family winery, even better if they make great wines." Pepper Bridge Winery was recognized as the family winery having the most recommendations and highest scores within the Walla Walla Valley over the past two years.

The article made note of two generations currently in winery and vineyard management. Eight of our wines were mentioned, including the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (95 points), the 2007 Reserve (93 points), and our 2008 Merlot (91 points).

In a separate edition, the same magazine also named Pepper Bridge a Top 100 Winery worldwide for the third year in a row.

"Friendliest City in America"

Rand McNally, in collaboration with USA TODAY named Walla Walla, Washington the "Friendliest City" and one of the top 5 in the country. Five teams traveled more than 25,000 miles to determine the winner. Selected from 30 nominees. (July 2011).

Barrel Art Charity Auction

This spring, our Woodinville tasting room displayed this piece of art created from a vintage barrel by Northwest artist Kristen Winn. Taking inspiration from the wheat fields and vineyards of the Walla Walla Valley, Kristen layered her barrel with acrylics, varnish, and papers and transformed it into a chair suitable for indoors or out. It was recently auctioned off, with proceeds benefitting art and wine education.

Afternoon in the Woodinville Tasting Room

A few words from a Pepper Bridge guest

"Perfect fall afternoon, windmill spinning, sun shining through the clouds. The garage doors are open and the vibrant noise spills out onto the patio. Every sip reminds us why we keep coming back. Friends are made and the wine never disappoints!" Erica Smith, Seattle

Stop by the Woodinville Tasting Room and see for yourself! 14810 NE 145th Street; Building A-3. Phone: 425.483.7026.

How to Order Pepper Bridge Wines

call 509.525.6502

10% Case Discount (12 bottles)

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
$55 ($44 Club Member) - 750ml
$110 ($88 Club Member) - 1.5L

2009 Merlot
$50 ($40 Club Member) - 750ml
$100 ($80 Club Member) - 1.5L

2008 Trine
$60 ($48 Club Member) - 750ml (Please contact us to check availability).