Category Archives: Winery Spotlight

Wine Discoveries: Vingt Vertus

Months ago now, I took a spontaneous trip with a friend to the best place in France: Collioure. On the French-Spanish border, situated right on the Mediterranean coast, this town is my absolute favorite spot in the world.

On the way back, we made a stop at a market in Rivesalte, where we had the happy chance to stumble upon Julian Galabert’s stand for his small winery Vingt Vertus. We had a long chat with him, about his old vines that he revived, his family history in wine, and his unusual decision to make 100% varietal wines in this area of France.

With a 100% Carignan, 100% Mourvedre, 100% Grenache, and a blend of the three, Julian’s line-up is impeccable from start to finish. My favorite was the Carignan, from old vines, spicy, with dark fruit notes, and so very drinkable. I shared a bottle with a friend who doesn’t know much about wine, and can confirm that it’s a fabulous wine for anyone, wine nerd to wine newbie. And a steal! We bought a 6-bottle pack between us, so the wine ended up at 8 euros a bottle with a half-case discount, and we kicked ourselves later for not buying a case (a case each, even!). Luckily, he will ship to Bordeaux, so we’ll be able to get our hands on more.

Out of all the wines I’ve tried in France so far, this is the one that has grabbed me the most. Partly the packaging, which is catchier than the typical French “let’s slap a picture of the chateau on the label” tactic, and partly the authenticity of his story and the way he talked about wine.

The wines themselves are so approachable, so round and rich, that they seem like they were tailor made for the American palate, although I think they’d succeed in any market. Rustic, but so very drinkable, I’d recommend them to anyone.

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Winery Spotlight: Kerloo Cellars

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Sometimes customers tell me that the wineries who have tasting rooms in downtown Walla Walla aren’t as good quality as the wineries just outside on the south side or east side. Kerloo Cellars is here to prove them wrong! 

I first heard about Kerloo through some friends who told me about their killer Syrah, but because their tasting room hours are sadly limited (Fridays and Saturdays only), I never made it out to taste. Luckily, I found out through facebook that they were open late for Spring Release last week, and I was able to just make it in before they closed! I’ve had their Temperanillo before, if you remember this post, but I’ve never tried anything else from them, so I was really excited to see the Majestic and a Syrah-Grenache on their tasting bar. Both were delicious; the Majestic (a Rhone-style table blend, grapes from Columbia Valley) was a little lighter, with great fruit and some of the savory qualities I expect now in a Syrah or Syrah blend, and the Syrah-Grenache (grapes from Snipes Mountain) was dark and savory, but with almost a floral quality to it as well, which was surprising.

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The tasting room itself is small, as you can see, but was a really calm and soothing place in a sea of busy and crowded tasting rooms. Sonja, who runs the tasting room, is smart and knowledgeable both about wine in general and Kerloo wines in particular. This isn’t the sort of tasting room where you might stop for a picnic or to lounge and have a glass or bottle; this is your good old-fashioned, no-frills wine tasting room, meant to showcase the wines themselves.

Find them downtown, kitty-corner to the Marcus Whitman hotel, every Friday and Saturday 11-4.

Definitely make this a stop on your wine tasting tour or even on your way to lunch downtown; Kerloo is worth a visit at least. And pick up a bottle of the Majestic; I did!