The urban winery is no longer a fresh phenomenon. Seattle, Portland and Boise have quite a few; utilizing large, winemaking-friendly spaces positioned within striking distance of incredible vineyard sites. As the trend as grown, so too has the quality of the wines. We decided to check in on some producers crafting wines within city limits – here are some of the most memorable things we tasted.
Aluel Cellars 2014 Coat of Arms | 13.9% | $40 | Seattle
A pleasant winter warmer, this blend of primarily Carménère and some Caber Sauvivnon from Seattle’s Aleul showcases the former’s distinctive smoky and more angular elements. Solid fruit, with a smoky backbone, slate and an obvious acidic streak.
ANIMALE 2014 Cabernet Franc | 13.3% | $25 | Seattle
This wine stresses Cab Franc’s signature finesse as it walks lightly across the palate. The pronounced cherry and red fruit flavors are as bright and soothing as a distant neon vacancy sign, chased by a hint of spice.
Clay Pigeon 2014 Chardonnay | 13% | $25 | Portland
Crafted in the again fashionable Jura style, this wine is full of depth. The nose shows roasted pistachios and yeast while the flavor is sherry-like, with dried fruit, coconut and resin-y flavors rounding out the wonderfully oxidized offering.
Division Winemaking Co. 2016 Gamay Noir Renardiere | 13.3% | $30 | Portland
The secret’s been out for sometime regarding Division’s Gamay. The Southeast Portland producer has mastered Beaujolais’ famed grape, amping up its notable cranberry notes. For a lighter red, this is one particularly remarkable in that is is equally good with or without the company of a meal.
Fausse Piste 2017 Fish Sauce | 12% | $28 | Portland
Pet nats – or, methode ancestrales – are somm cat-nip at the moment, especially those with eye-catching labels and dialed-in alcohol contents. Fish Sauce wins on all fronts, a feathery-textured Muscat Blanc showing grapefruit, guava and a fetching hint of sweat.
Split Rail Winery 2015 Laser Fox Cinsault | 14.9% | $25 | Garden City, Idaho
In a Boise suburb, Split Rail is deliberately putting sticks in the spokes of conventional winemaking. Here, the durable Cinsault grape – lauded in the Languedoc especially – offers a hefty bouquet of leather, lavender, forest floor and a hint of Thai pepper. The herbaceous stone fruit flavors captivate while the lively, chameleon-like nose is fun to keep up with.
Telaya Wine Co. 2015 Turas | 13.8% | $32 | Garden City, Idaho
With brighter than expected aromatics in the form of citrus blossoms and baked cranberry, this Syrah-centric Rhône and Bordeaux grape blend possesses plenty of complexity. Pomegranate, bright cherry and green pepper give way to a round finish that becomes darker and nearly malty with time.
Teutonic Wine Co. 2015 Chasselas Doré | 12% | $35 | Portland
Winemaker Barnaby Tuttle is hellbent on showing the standalone potential of typically blended cold-climate varietals. His Chasselas is a perfect example, traditionally blended with Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire but plenty personable here, showing pear and creamy hazelnut notes.