Milbrandt Vineyards is a family-owned producer located in eastern Washington State in the Columbia Valley AVA, co-owned by brothers Butch and Jerry Milbrandt. They entered the grape-growing business in 1997, and as they worked their way up to selling grapes to some of the most prestigious producers in the state (such as Charles Smith’s K Vintners), they decided to start making their own wines; in 2005 they built the winery then launched the Milbrandt Vineyards label in 2007. Today they farm 12 distinct estate vineyards that total nearly 2,000 acres. All are sustainably farmed.
Jerry Milbrandt states, “Washington has the best growing conditions in the world and we’ve worked hard to find some of the best sites in the state. We have cool high-elevation sites for our whites, resulting in wines with great minerality, acid crispness and forward fruit. Our reds are planted in the warmer areas, creating wines that are deeply colored, ripe and generous.”
Their 12 vineyards include: Evergreen, Northridge, Clifton Bluff, Clifton, Clifton Hill, Pheasant, Purple Sage, Wahluke Slope, Ancient Lakes, Sundance, Don Talcott, and Katherine Leone.
Director of winemaking Josh Maloney got his start at Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in 1999. A year later he was hired by Estancia as assistant winemaker; in 2005 Chateau Saint Michelle recruited him to be their head winemaker, where he fell in love with Washington State wines. He stayed with St. Michelle until August of 2011, when he moved to Milbrandt Vineyards. When asked about what makes Washington State such a great place for wine, Josh said, “We have this amazing purity of fruit aromas combined with real texture and density in your mouth. When you taste wines from other parts of the world, they may have one or the other- but almost never both. We have both, and I love it.”
Milbrandt Vineyards sells approximately 90% of their grapes, and keeps 10% for themselves. For the tasting we will sample six wines from the “Traditions” label, their entry-level tier “for which they blend fruit from Milbrandt estate and neighboring vineyards throughout Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley. Forward, balanced and drinkable upon release, they focus on the character and personality of the individual grape variety.” The tasting will include three whites, one rose, and two reds, all priced between $10.99-$12.99 and all relatively low production, from 500 – 8,600 cases made per year.
We hope you will join us this week for an excellent tasting!
The specific wines are:
Milbrandt “Traditions” Riesling 2010– Columbia Valley, Washington. 100% Riesling; 62% Evergreen and 38% Wahluck Slope Vineyards. Aged in stainless steel. “Bursts with aromatics of linalool, ripe Elberta peaches and apricots. Balanced and refreshing, this wine begins with fruit and a hint of sweetness. The finish is crisp, cleaning the palate.” Sourced from the same vineyards as Chateau Saint Michelle Eroica Riesling. The nose is dry with scents of peaches and flowers. Green apple flavors and tart acidity within a crisp, juicy, textured and fresh palate are appealing. The finish is tasty with lingering notes of apple and pear. 5,706 cases produced. Tasting $10.99
Milbrandt “Traditions” Pinot Gris 2010– Columbia Valley, Washington. 100% Pinot Gris from Evergreen Vineyard. Aged in stainless steel. “Bright fruit aromas like Anjou pears and white peaches with notes of honeysuckle. The wine is fresh and lively upon entry with a nice balance of fruit.” A “Northwest” nose of pear, herbs and flowers greets the nose. It is light in color with fresh, approachable scents. Sweet and tart fruit flavors meet a lean and fresh finish. 3,677 cases produced. Tasting $10.99
Milbrandt “Traditions” Chardonnay 2011– Columbia Valley, Washington. 100% Chardonnay; 79% Sundance, 18% Purple Sage, and 3% Evergreen Vineyards. Aged in oak barrels, 20% new French and 80% neutral barrels. “Aromas of ripe apple and pear… with a touch of caramel. The wine enters with rich flavors of baked apple and hints of vanilla, that yields to a generous and round mid-palate followed by a fruity finish.” Tropical scents on the nose are complemented with orchard fruits, sweet notes, and spice hints. Mint and herb suggestions are present on the soft and gentle palate with light oak flavors followed by a tropical finish. 4,000 cases made. Tasting $10.99
Milbrandt “Traditions” Rose 2011– Columbia Valley, Washington. Mostly Syrah blended with Grenache and Viognier; from Clifton, Katherine Leone, and Wahluke Slope Vineyards. Aged in stainless steel. “The nose is a cocktail of lush ripe berry fruits- strawberry, raspberry, and black cherry. The palate is clean, crisp and refreshing. The dry finish makes it perfect on its own or with a wide range of foods.” Pale, pretty pink in color with scents of juicy watermelon, pink grapefruit and cherry. The perfumed aromas are followed by a sweet attack on the palate, that quickly turns dry. It offers good acidity and juicy fruit, followed by a tangy, tasty finish. 1,500 cases produced. Tasting $10.99
Milbrandt “Traditions” Syrah 2009– Columbia Valley, Washington. A blend of 96% Syrah, 3% Viognier, and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Ageing information N/A. “Dark ruby red with elaborate, layered aromas of ripe blueberry, dark raspberry and berry pie. Fruit-forward with hints of oak, this wine is balanced with ample body and a lingering finish.” Offers a perfumed, sweet nose of dark berry fruits with spice, oak, and vanilla. It is juicy on the palate with crushed berries, subtle minerals, and gentle tannins, followed by a juicy finish. 504 cases produced. Tasting $12.99
Milbrandt “Traditions” Merlot 2009– Columbia Valley, Washington. A blend of 76% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Cabernet Franc. 100% Columbia Valley fruit, Wahluke Slope AVA. Ageing information N/A. “Deep garnet red featuring aromas of ripe stone fruit with rich notes of vanilla, mocha and caramel. The flavors are ripe and generous with berries, cocoa, and vanilla… very approachable and polished with velvety tannins.” Sweet briary fruit aromas mingle with notes of oak, blueberry, and coconut. Its fruity palate is very gentle and approachable with sweet berry fruit flavors that linger on the generous finish. 8,612 cases produced. Tasting $12.99