Disclaimer: This bottle was provided by the winery for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
I know, I know. I talk about Basel Cellars a lot. When wines are as delicious as these ones, though, they deserve to be raved about.
In 2015, Basel Cellars brought on a new winemaker, Dirk Brink. He came to Basel with plenty of experience in world-class wine making. A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Dirk studied viticulture and enology and worked in the South African wine industry before making the move to the United States. Since his arrival in the US in 2004, he has worked at some of Washington’s most acclaimed wineries, and was the head winemaker at Coeur d’Alene Cellars before coming to Walla Walla.
When I was at the winery in October, I got a sneak peek at this and the 2015 Rosé (review coming soon). I remember picking up a distinct tropical fruit salad note on the wine when I tried the barrel sample. That tropical fruit salad carried through, along with hints of citrus zest, lemongrass and the oh-so-slightest zip of minerality to make up this 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon blend.
What is interesting about this wine is the marriage of stainless steel fermentation, which was 100% for the Sauvignon Blanc, and sur lie maturation on neutral French oak for four months for the Sémillon. Neither one shines brighter than the other in this blend, allowing for a great summertime wine.
Another interesting note: part of the grapes were picked 3 weeks early to ensure the high acid levels that the winery wanted, while allowing the other part to reach peak ripeness in order to bring out the tropical fruit levels that give the wine balance and elegance. This balance of acidity and elegance is what makes Basel Cellars a consistent favorite for me.
When can you get some of this for yourself? I have it on good authority that you will be seeing this beauty in the tasting room in Walla Walla during Spring Release Weekend for $24. If you can’t make it to Walla Walla, check in with the website, or their satellite tasting rooms in Woodinville, WA or Vancouver, WA around or after May 6th.
For the TL;DR crowd who just scrolled down to here:
Varieties: 70% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon
Case production: 500 cases
Vineyards: Chelle den Millie (Columbia Valley); Double River Ranch (Walla Walla, estate vines)