The story behind Gamache Vintners is a familiar one. After 20 years of providing grapes for other wineries from their vineyard north of the Tri-Cities, brothers Bob and Roger Gamache decided to establish their own label in 2002.
Their conveniently located tasting room opened soon thereafter just off of Interstate 82 in Prosser's Vintners Village, along with a cluster of wineries that includes Willow Crest Winery, Milbrandt Vineyards, and Thurston Wolfe.
Gamache Vintners embodies everything right about Washington wines - initiative, dedication, and the desire to produce wines that display the unique terrior of the geographic area where the grapes are grown.
It's been a lot of fun to taste Gamache wines over the past several days. Overall, I felt the fruit flavors of the wines really came through without compromising other characteristics, such as tannins or acidity levels. In short, the rich history of superior grapes and classic winemaking techniques were clearly evident in every bottle.
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Here are my tasting notes on wines I enjoyed:
2011 Estate Riesling (about $15) - This wine was different from most rieslings in that the acidity seemed to jump out immediately. Luscious tangerine and citrus lead off, then melt into generous flavors of litchi and ripe apple. Finishing notes of honey make this an excellent wine to pair with spicy cuisine.
2009 Boulder Red (about $17) - This blend of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, malbec and merlot is packed with complexity and personality that make it an incredible value for the money. Well-structured flavors of dark berry, dried cherry, fig, and date are capped with a gentle spritz of savory herb and black pepper.
2008 Estate Malbec (about $25) - Beautiful flavors of thimbleberry, red cherry and raspberry predominate in this tasty, medium-bodied red. The tannins are faintly chalky, and a pleasant trace of minerality comes through on the finish.
2008 Estate Syrah (about $25) - Unmistakable, but certainly not overwhelming, the lead-off mouthful of fruity blackberry is nicely balanced with nuances of spicy, smoky coffee bean and a bit of brambly berry on the finish. This wine is superbly balanced, with acidity and tannins gently lingering in the background.
These wines, including newer vintages and other varietals, are available online at gamachevintners.com. You'll find Gamache Vintners wines locally at area Haggen stores, where they can also be special ordered upon request.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at www.danthewineguy.com.