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By the time you get this, May will be upon us, the birds will be singing and summer will be right around the corner. We got off really easy this year in our part of the country with none of that late spring snow and freezing temps that much of the country got, so the vineyards are off to the races. No late freeze damage for two years in a row means good things for the vines. They should all be up to 100% by now. The hard weather of 2010 and 2011 left some residual damage in spots even last year, but by now all should be back on track. 2012 ended up being a banner year with great fruit profile and great production from the vineyards. Expect ‘classic’ Washington wines, unlike the very European wines of 2011. The first of the whites and roses are now here and they are a tad more lush and fat than 2011. While the whites of 2011 were characterized by racy acidity, lower alcohol and lean profiles, the 2012 is rounder with softer acids, riper fruit and supple mouth feel. If 2011 was a lemon tart, 2012 is a peach pie.
We got off really easy this year and never had the big winter blast that many of you got in other parts of the country, so seeing the sprouting buds on the trees and the bulbs poking up through the frost and puddles doesn’t seem possible. We have several big goings on coming up right around the corner. The first is our WSU fundraiser ‘Cougars, Kittens and Cabernet’ on March 16 at the Port of Anacortes right down the street at 100 Commercial Ave. 16 of the top wineries in the state, WSU celebrities, great displays to explain more about the WSU Vet Medicine teaching hospital and the Wine Business Management program. We are getting a great selection of silent auction and raffle items for people to bid on as well. Everything from signed and etched bottles to full cases of rare imported wine to vacation packages and rounds of golf. There will be a little bit of everything there. The $50 ticket to get in the door is one of the great tasting bargains I have seen in a long time. The full details are on the back page. Tickets are available from Brown Paper Tickets in advance, and at the rate they are selling, I would not wait until the last day. If it sells out, there will not be any available at the door.
Another year has gone and another frantic holiday season has passed, so that means it is time again for our biased and opinionated list of the top 10 reds and top 5 whites from the state in 2012 along with our choice for ‘Washington Wine of the Year’ and ‘Washington Winery of the Year’. The ground rules: we don’t include any of our brands; ded.reckoning, Plunder, BBQ or Happy Hooker, nor will we include our two ‘Hall of Fame’ wineries, Leonetti and Quilceda Creek. We only pick one wine from each winery unless that winery is in the running for ‘Winery of the Year’. We choose what we like (duh), what customers go nuts for and whatever other subjective thing we want. There is no science or point score, this is just a bunch of geeks tasting, slurping and spitting over the course of the year with me, the benevolent dictator of Compass Wines, making the final decision. No democracy here, but more like a 19th century puppet state in Asia somewhere……..
Ah, driving rain, sleet, Apple Cup and the overwhelming sound of winemakers coming down off their harvest highs with a resounding, back to earth ‘thud’. It must be time for the holidays! Likewise, our annual Holiday Sale, ded. reckoning Reserve release and wine tasting is right around the corner
Cellar Notes Autumn 2012
As the summer heat has been cooking the rest of the country, we suffered through a June with twice the normal rain, and one of the coolest Julys on record, with a weird amount of thunderstorms. However, August has been fabulous. A couple of spikes of record heat, but mostly mid 70’s-low 80’s and little moisture. Perfect for people and also perfect for grapes. 2012 is shaping up to be a near textbook season for Washington fruit, so far, and in many spots the harvest is actually a day or so ahead of normal. A far cry from the last two vintages, which had growers and winemakers both on pins and needles waiting for some late season sun, which never showed in some places. As we roll into the Washington wines from 2010 and 2011 we are noting a few significant things: Whites are stunning, with more natural acid and mouthwatering, almost European fruit profile, with less alcohol and in most cases, less oak. Reds from 2010 are much richer than we anticipated with fabulous...