In a world of highly extracted warm vintage wines, Purple Star offers an alternative. Not everyone loves the deep and intense, over the top, Washington red wine bottlings. For those liking more of a balanced approach to Washington winemaking, and don’t want to break the bank on a highly quality bottle of wine, let me introduce Purple Star. Think Bordeaux meets Washington here. The idea behind Purple Star is to make affordable, terroir driven wines. Head winemaker and co-owner, Kyle Johnson, has been making wine for more than 10 years. A few weeks back I had the chance to speak with him at a Washington wine event and he talked about the importance of soil and balance in the winemaking process. His wines truly reflect this style. A winery with a cause, Purple Star donates 15% of Purple Star Wines’ proceeds to Seattle Children’s Hospital to benefit uncompensated care which helps cover expenses associated with critical medical care. These guys are seriously good people and have created a really fantastic business model.
I recently had the chance to try two of their new release wines and I was impressed with the balance and terroir offered in each wine. Their 2012 Cabernet had a lovely, vegetal character, which was intriguing as many 2012 WA Cabernets do not have that aspect in that vintage. Their Syrah bottling was also very solid and had a strong minerality that reminded me of a great Cote du Rhone. Both wines retail for $18.00 and are one of the better values in Washington wine, as they could easily charge more per bottle. Here are the new release wines that I recently sampled from Purple Star.
2013 Purple Star Sauvignon Blanc- This is a balanced style of Sav Blanc. The wine has aromas of cut grass, pear and Gala apple. This leads to medium bodied flavors of pear, lemongrass, and lychee. Lovely effort from this warmer vintage. Drink 2016-2020 -89
2012 Purple Star Cabernet- A fantastic value Cabernet, this wine begins with aromatics of dill, sage, and blackberry, as the nose needs time in the decanter to develop. There are medium weight flavors of blackberry, coffee grounds and anise, connecting with some mild tannins. Nice herbaceousness, vegetal aspect and structure to this Cabernet. This is not one to touch for another year, as it needs some time for the fruit to fully integrate.- Drink 2017-2025- 90
2013 Purple Star Syrah- This Syrah begins with aromas of sagebrush, red bell pepper and blackberry. This wine has flavors of red cherry, blackberry and dried sage that are medium weight alongiside nice minerality. Lovely mouthfeel with nice balance on the finish. Drink 2016-2024- 90