If you are a fan of the elegant side of Washington wines, Pepper Bridge is a must visit for you. The winery is located in an absolutely gorgeous location outside of Walla Walla and is built into a hill, with sweeping views of the estate vineyards. Pepper Bridge’s estate vineyards -- Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills and Les Collines, are some of the most famous sites in Walla Walla and in the state. This winery is the first to be a gravity-flow facility in Washington State, which moves the grape pulp and juice from the sorting table to the tanks to the barrels via gravity, rather than by pumps. The technique helps prevent the shearing of seeds and the introduction of bitter tannins, which contributes to the elegance of the wines. Head winemaker Jean-François Pellet, has a longstanding history in the Washington wine industry.
A third generation wine grower, Pellet’s wines have received considerable acclaim. Pellet has degrees in both enology and viticulture and has previously interned in Germany, Switzerland and the Napa Valley. After graduating, he managed vineyards and made wine in Switzerland and Spain. Along with making wine in Spain, he was responsible for managing 500 acres of vineyards, designing a new winery and developing a market for the product. He then worked at famed Heitz Cellars for four years until he was recruited to work at Pepper Bridge. His new release wines were fantastic and maintained his trademark elegance yet showcased more richness than I had noticed in the past few years which might be attributed to the heat of the 2012 and even hotter 2013 vintage. Pepper Bridge not only has a tasting room at their Walla Walla winery but also a tasting room in Woodinville, not far from the center of town. Learn more about Pepper Bridge at www.pepperbridge.com. Here are the great new release wines from Pepper Bridge winery.
2013 Pepper Bridge Merlot- This Merlot is a blend of 78% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Malbec that was sourced from the Seven Hills (48%), Pepper Bridge (45%), and Octave (7%) vineyards. This wine begins with aromas of black cherry, black tea, and coffee grounds. This leads to flavors of blackberry cobbler, black olive, and black cherry with tremendous structure and nice viscosity. Try to cellar for another year. Drink 2017-2027- 92
2012 Pepper Bridge Trine- The wine is an intriguing blend of 37% Cabernet Franc, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23%Merlot, 7% Malbec and 6% Petit Verdot that was sourced from the Seven Hills (57%), Octave (30%), and Pepper Bridge (13%) vineyards. This wine begins with aromas of anise, smoke, and cassis. This leads to flavors blackberry jam, anise, cassis and black olive. This is currently needing another year or two in the bottle for the fruit to fully integrate. Nice weight and balance. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2012 Pepper Bridge Cabernet- The wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet, 9% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot. This complex wine begins with aromas reminiscent of mocha, blackberry jam, coffee grounds and sandalwood. This leads to deep flavors of cassis, graphite, anise and wild blackberry. Give it another two years for the tannins to soften. Drink 2018-2028- 93