“This was years in the making” proclaimed superstar winemaker, Billo Naravane, as he talked about his deliberate plan to start a winery. Sitting down with Billo, he talked to me about his inspirations from a tasting group while he was living in Austin, Texas. During that time Billo was exposed to some of the finest wines in the world and he fully caught the wine bug. Finally, he and his brother, Pinto, decided to end their jobs in the computer industry and start Rasa Vineyards in 2007. I was entirely captivated with Rasa Vineyards wine since my first introduction a few years back. Billo boasts a bachelor’s degree from MIT and a master’s degree from Stanford. His wine education is the one of the best out there as well, completing the wine program from UC Davis. This brilliant guy is also his master’s thesis away from completing the illustrious masters of wine (MW) degree. What sets his wines apart is the incredible mouthfeel and poise that he creates. He is only going to get better as a winemaker.
Similar to my last tasting at Rasa roughly six months ago, the new releases from this estate were absolutely gorgeous. Following up the stunning 2013 bottling, the 2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘primus inter pares’ Grenache (WWB, 94) shows incredible poise, viscosity and Billo’s signature plush mouthfeel. This is truly one of the best Grenache in the state that has the ‘wow’ factor. For those who crave rich Washington Syrah, his 2013 Rasa Vineyards ‘Doctrina Perpetua’ Syrah (WWB, 94) is sourced from old block Syrah from the esteemed Bacchus Vineyard and shows incredible depth and minerality. Probably the best Petit Verdot from Washington that I have ever reviewed is the 2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘Living in the Limelight’ Petit Verdot (WWB, 94) which possesses gorgeous depth and complexity with a steely minerality. I highly recommend that you make a visit to Rasa Vineyards to see these incredible wines. Learn more about Rasa at https://www.rasavineyards.com/ Here are the amazing new wines from Rasa Vineyards.
2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘Dream Deferred’ Chardonnay- The 2014 'Dream Deferred' by Rasa Vineyards is an exceptional new Chardonnay release. Sourced from the esteemed Wallula Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills, this wine begins with aromas of mushroom, brioche, lemon curd and hints of cinnamon. There are rich flavors of nutmeg, Pink Lady apple, creme brulee and a touch of poached pear. The balance and mouthfeel to this wine is gorgeous, as this wine has some very excellent viscosity on the mid-palate, showcasing this hot vintage. Drink 2016-2022- 92
2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘Tilting At Windmills’ Red Wine- Made as a homage to the Priorat region in Spain, the 2014 'Titing At Windmills' Red Wine is another gorgeous release from superstar winemaker Billo Naravane. This wine is an intriguing blend of Grenache, Cabernet and Syrah and begins with aromatics of red cherry, blackberry, thyme and sagebrush with a smoky edge from the Rocks District fruit. The wine has rich flavors of black cherry, smoked pork shoulder, anise and red raspberry with thyme and sage accents. The forward aspect of this fruit-driven wine and rich texture shines through. Drink 2016-2027-93
2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘Living in the Limelight’ Petit Verdot- One of the best of its kind in Washington state, the 2014 'Living in the Limelight' Petit Verdot is a monster new release wine from Rasa Vineyards. The wine was sourced from the Bacchus Vineyard and opens with aromatics of black tea, sage, black olive and black cherry. There are deep flavors of black cherry, black olive, black cherry, thyme and sage. Hugely balanced, with a striking minerality, the wine needs at least another year for the fruit flavors to develop and tannins to dissipate. It is safe to say that I have never sampled a better 100% Washington Petit Verdot. Drink 2017-2030- 94
2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘QED Axiom of Choice’ Cabernet Franc- This excellent value is sourced from the Weinbau Vineyard, which tends to be one of the best sources of Cabernet Franc in the state. Head winemaker Billo Naravane aged this wine for 18 months in French oak, as this also underwent native yeast fermentation. Moderately tannic, the wine has flavors of black tea, sage, blackberry and black olive with black cherry. Dense and masculine, this wine has a gorgeous mouthfeel with a strong minerality. While this wine will cellar beautifully into the next decade, it is impossible to resist right now. Drink 2016-2026- 93
2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘Doctrina Perpetua’ Syrah- Continuing the excellent Rasa lineup is the 2013 'Doctrina Perpetua' Syrah, sourced from Block 5 at the Bacchus Vineyard. The wine was aged for 30 months in French oak prior to bottling and underwent native fermentation. This is a massive beast, weighing in at 15.1% alcohol and displaying a wide range of fruit flavors. This inky colored wine begins with aromatics of bacon fat, blackberry jam, black olive and hints of white truffle oil. The bouquet is absolutely gorgeous as this continually brings you back to the hedonistic aromas. There are dense flavors of black cherry, black olive, black tea and hints of smoked brisket. The Syrah utilizes superstar winemaker Billo Naravane's signature silky mouthfeel. This excellent release is not short on flavor, as the minerality tames this dense treat. Drink 2016-2026- 94
2014 Rasa Vineyards ‘primus inter pares’ Grenache- The 2014 'primus inter pares' Grenache by Rasa follows up their exceptional 2013 bottling. Sourced from the Monette's Vineyard in the Walla Walla Rocks region, the wine shows a mildly stony aspect and an engaging mineral profile. Head winemaker Billo Naravane aged this wine for 18 months in French oak prior to bottling, as this Grenache opens with an aromatic profile of smoked brisket, thyme, creosote, red cherry and hints of red raspberry. There are rich flavors of black tea, black cherry, pomegranate seed and hints of smoked pork shoulder. Only 57 cases produced of this absolutely awesome Grenache that is truly one of the best in Washington state. It is fair to say that Naravane has a massive grip on this challenging to work with varietal. Drink 2016-2026- 94