A very cool new eclectic winery out of Walla Walla, The Walls has produced some impressive new release wines. Founded by Mike Martin and Ali Mayfield (head winemaker), The Walls have purchased a 20 acre parcel in the Walla Walla Rocks region and they plan to start planting vines in 2017. They currently source from a number of great Washington vineyard including the White Salmon Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge as well as the Red Heaven Vineyard in Red Mountain.
At a recent dinner I had the chance to chat with head winemaker Ali Mayfield, who talked about her winemaking for The Walls. Ali has some pretty esteemed stops on her resume, previously working at both Long Shadows and Corliss. She was a delight to speak with and we talked about their novel bottling, the 2013 ‘Stanley Groovy’ (WWB, 92) which was a rich and dense treat with beautiful black fruit flavors. Ali is originally from Indiana and studied at Indiana University. She began making wine at home while working for UPS and eventually caught the winemaking bug full time. Her new releases were gorgeous and all showed a great sense of place. Learn more about The Walls and look for these wines online at https://www.thewallsvineyards.com/ Here are the great new release wines from The Walls.
2015 The Walls 'Cruel Summer' Rose- This interesting Rose wine was sourced from 10 year old Pinot Noir vines in the Jewitt Creek Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge AVA. This exceedingly paled colored wine begins with aromatics reminiscent of rose petals, cherry starburst candy, guava and hints of pink bubble gum. There are flavors of red cherry, guava, strawberry and hints of Mandarin orange rind. Really nice and balanced wine. Drink 2016-2020- 89
2014 The Walls 'McAndrew' Chardonnay- This White Salmon Vineyard Chardonnay opens with aromatics of orange blossom, pear, nutmeg and a touch of heavy whipping cream. There are flavors of Gala apple, Meyer lemon, Bartlett pear and vanilla cream. The balance is there, even in this exceedingly hot vintage. Drink 2016-2023- 92
2014 The Walls 'La Lutte' Chardonnay- Sourced from the White Salmon vineyard in the Columbia Gorge AVA, this wine starts with aromas of nectarine, lemon zest, and hints of baking spices. There are flavors of brioche, Gala apple, and vanilla cream that lead to a long and lingering finish. This is balanced and mineral driven, showing that a cool climate helps an exceedingly hot vintage. Drink 2016-2021- 90
2013 The Walls 'La Lutte' Chardonnay- This Chardonnay opens with aromas of nutmeg, banana, and custard, leading to bright flavors of butter, pear and hints of roasted hazelnuts. A bit fatter on the palate than the 2014, this mineral driven Chardonnay has a lovely texture and a rich mouthfeel. Drink 2016-2022-91
2013 The Walls 'The Ramparts' Grenache- Sourced from Red Mountain, this Grenache, co-fermented with 7% Syrah, opens with fruity aromatics of candied red cherry, boysenberry, rose water, and smoke accents. The wine has ripe flavors of black cherry, black raspberry, Earl Grey tea and boysenberry jam. The weight and richness of this wine shines through as this is hard to resist in the glass. Drink 2016-2026- 92
2013 The Walls 'Stanley Groovy' Red Wine- The 2013 'Stanley Groovy' by The Walls is a fantastic new release from this estate. This wine is an intriguing blend of Toriga Nacional, Souzao, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Cao. The wine starts with aromatics of sagebrush, blueberry compote, cassis, rose petals and a hint of white pepper. There are flavors reminiscent of blackberry cobbler, sage, blueberry compote, black raspberry, allspice, and an underlying creosote edge. With a plush texture and a seamless mouthfeel, this gorgeous wine drinks deliciously straight out of the bottle. This is a very novel and smooth effort from this estate that will cellar gracefully into the next decade. Drink 2016-2026- 92