Carlton Cellars – Part two


The number three station on the marathon tasting tour was Carlton Cellars again, where we tasted their reds. We started out with the 2008 Seven Devils Pinot Noir, which at $20 is a great value. It was a great wine too, with a balance of cherry and tannin that we both really enjoyed. We tried their reserve Pinots as well, and they were very well done, but I couldn’t taste enough of a difference to warrant the premium price. We ended up with a couple of bottles of the Seven Devil’s Pinot Noir, for an everyday drinking wine.

Ghost Hill Winery was number four. Ghost Hill is relatively new to the scene – they seem to have just set up a tasting room out of their home right down the road from Annie Amie Vineyards. We thought about visiting there, but were detered by the long, pot-holed gravel road, so we were pleased to see that they had a presence at Carlton Cellars. We sampled their Pinot Blanc, a Pinor Noir Blanc, and a Pinot Noir. The wines were good, and I think they have a lot of potential. I didn’t walk away with any distinct memory of the Pinot Noir – in the shuffle of the day, it got lost in the other wines. I did get a couple of bottles of the the Pinot Noir Blanc – it was a well structured wine, and it was very reasonably priced at $20. Not many wineries do a Pinot Noir Blanc, which is made with the Pinot Noir grape with the skins removed at the beginning of the process, to avoid having them color the wine. In fact, the only other winery that I’ve had it at is Anne Amie, so when we saw it at Ghost Hill, I got excited about trying it.

Angel Vine was number five in the marathon tasting session. Angel Vine focuses on Zinfandels, although they do a Pinot Noir and a Petit Sirah as well. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Angel Vine, they were Three Angels Winery, but apparently had to change the name when they got sued by a large corporation over the trademark. I find it sad that the little guy has to cave when the big corporate lawyers come knocking, but we are here about the wine now, aren’t we? At any rate, their Morgster Pinot Noir was good, but nothing special. The Zinfandels though are amazing. We tried the 2008 Columbia Valley Primitivo, which is the Italian clone of the Zinfandel grape and it was very nice, which a strong, bold flavor. The 2008 “The Hellion” and the 2008 Les Collenes Vineyard Zinfandel were also very good. They source their grapes from Washington, in the Yakima and Walla Walla valleys, and it is nice to see a winery that focuses on some of the varietals that aren’t as widely grown in Washington. They have done a great job with all their wines – in fact, it was impossible to choose a clear favorite among these three Zins.

Are you tired yet? We were, so we took this opportunity to take a break and get our BBQ pulled pork sandwich, that was complimentary with our tasting fee. The chef is a Mississippi native, who ended up in Portland. The BBQ sauce was excellent, with the spicy sauce having a great kick, but not an overpowering spice. His coleslaw was delicious too. It gave us a chance to take a break and regroup before continuing our circle around the barrel room. I took a little break out in the sunshine as well, although it was really kind of overcast rather than sunny.

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