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XSV Spring Release Event

2009 May 21

Mike Lemieux, Winemaker, and little ol' me.This past Saturday, Sheri and I went to the XS Vintner’s 2009 Spring Release Event to taste their 2004 wines. Yes, 2004. While most wineries in Washington are releasing their 2006 or 2007 vintage, XSV feels that the extra time in the barrels and in the bottles makes for a better wine and I’d have to agree. Their wines are comparably priced with other wineries, but because they’ve given the wines time to more fully develop and integrate, I think they are of excellent quality. Besides, they even remembered my name this time when we came in.

XSV Chardonnay2004 XSV Chardonnay Wahluke Slope AVA
100% Chardonnay from Sundance Vineyard

Sheri and I like the more flavorful Chardonnays occasionally, which is why we bought several bottles of the 2003 XSV Chardonnay last year. This release is different from last year and makes me wonder what was done differently. It had a rich golden color and a spicy nose with pear and candied apple. Buttery with a creamy consistency and lingering flavors of apple with a touch of citrus. This wine is significantly oakier than the ’03 but that may be because I’ve had the ’03 recently which has been cellared longer.

XSV Syrah2004 XSV Syrah Horse Heaven Hills AVA
100% Syrah from McIntyre Vineyard

I loved the 2003 XSV Syrah when I tasted it during Passport weekend. The 2004 Syrah actually has less barrel time than the ’03, but I think with some time in the cellar, it will be better than it’s older sibling. It has a deep garnet color with brambly aromas of cherries and fruitcake(?). On the palate there’s black olives, smoked meat, cloves and black pepper. As with the Chardonnay, the ’04 is somewhat oakey but not overpowering. A minerally medium finish with smooth tannins and good acidic balance. If I had more time and a bigger glass, I believe this wine would show me more.

XSV Cab Sauvignon2004 XSV Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills AVA
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Vineyard
Gold Medal – Tri Cities Wine Festival
Bronze Medal – West Coast Wine Competition

I never tasted the previous vintage of XSV’s Cabernet Sauvignon so this was totally new to me. With a deep purplish color and fragrant aromas of leather and black fruit, I didn’t get any hint that this wine spent nearly two years in 70% American oak. I got jammy flavors of plum, blackberry and chocolate with good structure and firm tannins. It could stand to cellar for a couple of years but was entirely drinkable now with the right meal. I could definitely see pairing this with a big juicy steak.

Note to the tasting room manager: get bigger glasses. It would improve the tasting experience and may sell more wine.

I’m really looking forward to opening these over the next couple of years to see how they’re progressing. I just hope I have enough self-control to not drink them too soon 😉

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