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Spring 2012 Newsletter

Introducing the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2009 vintage, which is defined by balance, is the result of a roller coaster growing season. Mother Nature could not make up her mind! A wet, cooler spring gave way to unusually early hot days in May, leading to a late bud break. Then, after cooling off once again, it proceeded to warm up again. All of this weather fluctuation led to an exciting harvest of smaller berries with amazing, concentrated fruit and polished tannins. Incredible dark garnet color, great fruit intensity and subtle minerality make our 2009 vintage exceptionally layered, structured and balanced.
Tasting Notes: Sensuous aromas of dark fruits, exotic spices and a hint of gravel lead to a broad palette of flavors. Classic Cabernet Sauvignon characteristics of dark fruits - cherry, blackberry, and plum - entwine harmoniously with savory, earthy notes of cocoa, coffee, clove and toast. This wine flaunts a tremendous sense of place, undeniably the Walla Walla Valley. The mouthfeel is broad and supple, backed up by a lingering, luxurious finish.

2,050 9-liter cases and 50 cases of magnums.
$60 ($48 for Bridge Club)

From the Wine Grower:
A Brief History of Winemaking in the Walla Walla Valley

When my wife Ginnie and I visited Jean-Francois' parents in Switzerland, his father was farming a vineyard that had first been planted in the 10th century and making wine in a winery that was started in the 13th century. You can't find a location in North America where we have any knowledge of wines being produced prior to the late 1700s. However, we do know that Thomas Jefferson had a vineyard in Virginia as early as 1807 and that the Walla Walla Valley was among the earliest of the wine-growing regions in North America. This valley has a long, rich grape-growing and winemaking history that spans more than 150 years. The French-Canadian fur traders who worked for the Hudson Bay Company were the first settlers in the region to farm wine grapes in the 1830s.

In 1859, A.B. Roberts established one of the first vinifera vineyard nurseries. It contained 80 varieties of grapes from Orleans, France. Shortly after, Philip Ritz planted a vineyard with 21 varieties of grapes in the vicinity of Walla Walla.

When gold was discovered in Idaho in 1870, Walla Walla became the supply post for miners who needed flour, sugar, tobacco, fruits and vegetables, and, of course, wine. In 1871, Roberts advertised that he had 50 tons of grapes for sale. In today's market, that translates to 3,200 cases of finished wine.

Frank Orselli from Lucca, Italy, arrived in Walla Walla as an infantryman at Fort Walla Walla in 1857 and settled here. He planted 180 acres of wine grapes. The acreage was located north of Main Street from Second to Ninth Avenue. Orselli started the California Bakery at Second and Main, selling wines, liquor, tobacco, groceries, fruits, vegetables and wine grapes. In 1876, he reported he made 2,500 gallons of wine and sold it at the bakery.

By 1882, there were 26 saloons in Walla Walla serving locally made wines to a population of 4,000 people. This amount totaled just over 153 persons per saloon - counting children.

After Prohibition, the first commercial winery was started by Bert Pesciallo in Milton-Freewater, Oregon (south side of the Walla Walla Valley appellation, close to Seven Hills Vineyard). After several freezes, especially the 1955 deep freeze, killed all his vines, he gave up. He eventually sold some of his winemaking equipment to Rick Small at Woodward Canyon before he died a few years ago.

Fast-forward to 1977, the year the modern-day period of commercial winemaking began in Walla Walla, with Gary and Nancy Figgins founding Leonetti Cellar. In 1981, Wine & Spirits Magazine selected their 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon as America's best, thus lionizing Leonetti Cellar and launching Walla Walla as a premier growing area. In 1984, it was legally recognized an AVA (American Viticultural Area). However, at this time, there were very few acres of vines in the valley. I realized that in order for the industry to be sustainable, our community needed its own vineyards. So in 1991, I partnered with Bob Rupar and Tom Waliser to plant the first blocks of Pepper Bridge Vineyard. Then in 1997, I partnered with the Figgins family and the Clubb family of L'Ecole 41 to expand Seven Hills Vineyard.

In 1998, Pepper Bridge Winery was born, marking its place as the 18th winery in the Walla Walla Valley. From day one, we have taken pride in our growing region, choosing to create wines that are 100% Walla Walla Valley Estate and are now 100% Certified Sustainable as well. Today, there are more than 150 bonded wineries and 1,800 acres of vineyards here. Walla Walla wines are now distributed in all U.S. states, as well as other countries such as the UK and Japan, generating earnings of a cool $96 million for our community.
-Norm McKibben
Thanks to Myles Anderson,
Interim Director of Enology & Viticulture Center at Walla Walla Community College.
Excerpts from his research.

2008 Acclaim

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Acclaim
92 Points, Cellar Selection (Wine Enthusiast, April 2012)
93 Points (The Wine Advocate, August 2011)
92 Points (Seattle Met Magazine, Sep. 2011)
90 Points (The Tasting Panel, October 2011)
A top choice. (San Francisco Chronicle, April 2011)

2008 Merlot Acclaim
91+ Points (The Wine Advocate, August 2011)
92 Points (Seattle Met Magazine, Sep. 2011)
91 Points (Wine & Spirits, June 2011)
91 Points (The Tasting Panel, May 2011)

2008 Pepper Bridge Vineyard Acclaim
93 Points (The Wine Advocate, August 2011)
92 Points (The Tasting Panel, October 2011)
90 Points (Stephen Tanzer's Int'l Wine Cellar, Nov. 2009)

2008 Seven Hills Vineyard Acclaim
93 Points, Editors' Choice (Wine Enthusiast, April 2012)
92 Points (The Wine Advocate, August 2011)

2008 Trine Acclaim
92 Points (The Tasting Panel, October 2011)



The neighborhood is abuzz with talk about the new pizzeria going in across the street! The people who brought you Woodinville's favorite Italian restaurant, Italianissimo, have done a fantastic job rehabbing the gas station on the corner and will be opening the Station Pizzeria soon! They will be offering delicious wood-fired pizzas with fresh ingredients, along with a number of new American entrees and appetizers. It will also feature charcuterie and cheese specials daily, espresso, and gelato. A full craft-focused bar is sure to please. Rumor has it that a Vespa with a custom-outfitted hot box for zipping pizzas around the tourist district might happen sometime after opening. Takeout will be available and special deliveries will be made to wineries with some restrictions. Along with the Station Pizzeria, we would like to welcome Gorman Winery and Patterson Cellars to the neighborhood.

Calendar of Events

Friday, May 4
Spring Release Weekend begins
Western BBQ for Bridge Club Members (Walla Walla)

Saturday, July 14
Annual Vine Club Day "Canopy Management" (Walla Walla)