Seattle Magazine's Eighth Annual Washington Wine Awards
Kerloo Cellars in Walla Walla
The call of the crane gives this winery, owned by Ryan Crane, its name. Leaving a sales job in Seattle, Crane pursued his dream of owning his own winery in Walla Walla in 2006. He enrolled in the Walla Walla Community College viticulture program, and started volunteering at wineries, such as Forgeron Cellars and Trust Cellars, to learn the trade. He was hired by Justin Wylie of Va Piano Vineyards, and started to make his own wine there. This is a pretty common story in Walla Walla, but Crane has set himself apart with wines that impress for their elegance, balance and focus on varietal character—meaning he wants to make a “Tempranillo that tastes like a classic Tempranillo.” He makes wines he likes to drink, such as a cooler-climate Walla Walla Syrah that pairs well with food, rather than a “fruit cocktail.” He’s gaining access to solid Washington vineyards (Les Collines and Va Piano), and aims to create wines, mostly without blending, that represent a particular site.
2013 Emerging Varietal
Washington wine is nothing if not experimental. As with many grapes, Petit Verdot is typically used as a blending grape in the Bordeaux region of France, rather than being made into its own varietal wine. A late ripener, this grape has fallen out of favor in many countries, but local winemakers are seduced by its dark purple fruit, which can ripen in Washington’s late summers, showing aromas of dark berries, violet and deep leather. Some wineries that have successfully made PV are Alexandria Nicole, Dusted Valley, Forgeron, Gilbert Cellars, Januik and Seven Hills wineries. Check out our Special Varietal Spotlight on MOURVÈDRE.
Read our feature on the Best Wines of the Washington Winegrowing Regions here.
To read the 2013 Washington Wine Awards methodology and view the tasting panelists, go here.
Get the Complete Buying List of Seattle magazine's 2013 Washington Wine Award Winners here.