A bourgeoning and dynamic wine region located in the Pacific Northwest, Washington State is the second largest wine producer in the United States, behind only California. In 1969, there were two wineries in the state. There are now more than 400, and that number grows exponentially each year. The two main vine-growing areas are the Puget Sound—the area surrounding Seattle—and the Columbia Valley, an inland area that includes the popular sub-regions of Yakima, Red Mountain and Wahluke Slope. The region’s sunny, warm, dry climate produces ripe, rich wines, the best of which also possess bright acidity and enough structure to frame the intense fruit and ample weight. Washington is perhaps best known for producing world-class Merlot, with its dark, vibrant fruit and round, supple profile. It is a style that is easy to like and pair with a variety of foods. Other grapes of note include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah. Riesling, Chardonnay and Semillon. Most of the region’s wineries purchase fruit from the area’s many, often large, grape growers, rather than grow it. It vitally important, therefore, for winemakers to secure and establish long-standing relationships with the best growers in the state.
ABOUT THE VINEYARD
Rob Griffin has been making wine in the Columbia Valley for over 4 decades. As the region’s longest standing vintner, he’s widely considered the ‘Dean’ of Washington wine. A graduate of U.C. Davis’ renowned wine program, Rob moved to Washington from the Bay Area in 1977. By that time, he’d spent plenty of time in the industry, having worked at his uncle’s prestigious vineyard in the Napa Valley during his adolescent years. Alongside his wife Deborah, Rob established Barnard Griffin Winery in 1983. It has since become one of Washington’s most enduring wineries and one of the state’s largest family-owned properties.
As one of the region’s pioneering winemakers, Rob long ago identified the specific vineyards and growers that he wanted to work with. About half of Barnard Griffin wines are produced from estate-grown fruit, a rather large percentage in the context of Washington wineries. Grapes for the other half of production are sourced from some of the state’s finest vineyards and smallest, longest-standing growers. Says Rob, “I’ve had one rule for every site we source from – the vineyard manager must know more about their vines than I do, and in 44 years…I know a bit”. Some of the vineyards include Desert Air (Wahluke Slope), Crawford and Lonesome Spring Ranch (Red Mountain) and Sagemoor (Columbia Valley). Soils throughout range from sandy loess to volcanic basalt, a disparate patchwork that suits each of the region’s varietals uniquely.
Barnard Griffin wines are distinctly Washington, with ample weight and expressive fruit that are framed beautifully with an elegant structure and terrific length. They are amongst the finest value in Washington wine and we are extremely pleased to partner with Rob and his family, offering his wines here in Ontario for the very first time.
The nose is enticing with aromatics of sweet spice and subtle tropical fruit. The plate follows suit with its subtle, discreet oak spice, citrus and yellow apple. Hints of flint and mineral notes along with lifted acidity add to the rounded finish.
$27.00 per bottle at our Tasting Room
(ships to Toronto)
Loaded with appealing aromatics of cherry, black currant and plum alongside subtler notes of vanilla and earth. The palate is dense, dark and full that adds textbook Syrah spice and warmth. A delicious New World wine that blends in some Old World structure and charm.
$32.00 per bottle at our Tasting Room
(ships to Toronto)