News & Reviews 2014
STEPHEN TANZER | WASHINGTON WINES 12/2014
2012 SOUTHERN BLEND
Medium red. Very ripe aromas and flavors of raspberry liqueur, red cherry and game accented by crushed wild herbs. Suave and seamless, offering a sweeter, more southern impression to the mid-palate. A very successful blend with a lot of personality. Really echoes on the sweet, long, ripely tannic, somewhat warm finish, which will require a year of aging to round into form. 92 points
2012 NORTHERN BLEND
Healthy dark red. Shy aromas of musky redcurrant, cocoa powder and flint, lifted by rose petal and black pepper. Then surprisingly supple and creamy on the palate, offering a seamless blend of dark fruits, earth and smoky minerals. Finishes firm and sweet, with suave tannins and good grip and length. 91 points
Two Rotie Cellars Releases from the most recent vintage received excellent scores in Stephen Tanzer's most recent review of Washinton wines. The Southern and Northern blends weighing in at 92 and 91 respectively.
SEATTLE MET | TOP 100 WASHINGTON WINES
ROTIE RANKS #9 OVERALL, #8 IN THE WHITES
It's a good day at the office, when people appreciate what you do. So when we were honored this week with two top ten rankings in Sean Sullivan's Top 100 Washington Wines, we were thrilled. The 2012 Northern Blend Scored #9 overall in some very lofty company, while The 2012 Southern White ranked #8 amongst the top 10 white wines. Here are excerpts from the October Issue of Seattle Met Magazine...
2013 SOUTHERN WHITE
"This blend of viognier, roussanne and marsanne is the best the winery has produced to date, with vibrant notes of honeysuckle, pear and peach, sweet fruit flavors and a dry finish. Drink This For an excellent example of the emerging category of Rhône-style whites in Washington."
2012 NORTHERN BLEND
"Don't let the label fool you, this is Walla Walla Valley syrah cofermented with a pinch of viognier and shows all the vintage's expressiveness with rich, flavored notes of peppery spices, smoked meat and blue fruit. It's a showstopper of a wine that keeps you coming back for more til the very last drop. Drink This For a textbook example of the beauty of Washingtons's 2012 vintage."
Ranked #9 in the top 100. “It's a showstopper of a wine, that keeps you coming back” -Sean Sullivan
INTRODUCING THE 2013 TOP 10 HOT BRANDS | RÔTIE CELLARS
January 24, 2014
When Wine Business Monthly creates its annual Hot Brands list, we aim to celebrate the breadth and diversity of our industry. We seek out wineries that have superior wines, creative techniques, unique sites or heartfelt philosophies behind their brands. We look for winemakers that are willing to take risks and commit to their vision regardless of the whims of the market. We like wineries and winemakers that love what they do and want to honor that love with well-developed, meaningful wines.
This year we have 10 wineries from four states and six different regions in California, and virtually all of our Hot Brands are dedicated to sustainable, organic or Biodynamic practices, and several to natural or hands-off winemaking techniques.
We are releasing the Top 10 Hot Brands in alphabetical order, one per day, leading up to the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium (plan your walk on the trade show floor here). Wine Business Monthly will be serving these wines to winemakers, grape growers and industry members at our annual gathering Bottle Bash during Unified on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 5:00-8:30pm at cafeteria 15L (1116 15th Street, Sacramento).
2011 Southern Blend (Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault), Walla Walla, Washington Complex Rhône Wines Showcasing Washington Fruit Made in a Minimalist Style
For Rôtie Cellars’ winemaker-proprietor Sean Boyd, the wine industry was a welcome respite from a successful, if arduous, career as a geologist. “I was just chasing a paycheck, and it was soulless,” Boyd said of the job that had him spending eight-month stretches at a time away from home. Needing to wait out a two-year, non-compete agreement that paused his life as a geologist, the Tacoma, Washington native and his family arrived in Walla Walla in 2004 with plans to learn the winemaking craft.
Within days of arriving and working in the shared cellar of two local wineries, Boyd said he fell in love with the industry. “When I got out here, I was just blown away by how open all the winemakers were,” he said. “I came out with a buddy who had been making wine for about two years. I went to a barbeque, and there were three or four other winemakers sitting around a fire, roasting a large animal and talking about what they did. I knew then that this was the right step. You could feel that buzz that was happening. There was definitely a switch going off, and Washington was getting on the map. For me, I wanted to get on this before it’s too late.”
Though Boyd concedes that his geology background perhaps gives him some insight into the soils of Washington’s wine regions, “my expense reports back in the geology days probably helped me the most,” he laughed. “That’s the main leg up: you try all of these wines and make your own opinion of what wine is. I’m not into a super-modern style of super-ripe with a lot of oak on it. I think that butchers it. I look for more subtleties and nuances.”
Taking its name from the Côte-Rôtie in northern Rhône, Rôtie Cellars is an obvious homage to the Rhône varieties and style that Boyd has always preferred. The brand was launched in 2007 with two Rhône-style blends: the Northern Blend (Syrah co-fermented with Viognier, as is traditional in the Côte-Rôtie) and the Southern Blend (a Grenache-based blend: the 2011 version is 65 percent Grenache, 23 percent Mourvédre, 6 percent Syrah and 6 percent Cinsault). Though Rôtie Cellars has expanded to about 3,000 cases, these two blends still account for nearly two-thirds of production.
Boyd has a clear point of view for his wines, looking for bright, red fruit flavors made in a minimalist style. To this end, he avoids racking, leaving the wine on the lees for up to 16 months. He also avoids additions, fining or filtration unless absolutely necessary. “We’re not trying to chase fads here; we’re just trying to make wines that we want to drink,” he said.