A few days ago I visited the modern Kerloo tasting room in the SoDo district of Seattle and tasted with superstar winemaker Ryan Crane. Ryan founded Kerloo Cellars seven years ago in Walla Walla, Washington. He has created quite an empire as he has created a pretty serious following for his wines which always sell out quickly. His winemaking story began at Animale Cellars in Seattle, many years before starting Kerloo. Ryan later trained under Marie-Eve Gilla at Forgeron Cellars and later completed an AAAS in Enology and Viticulture in Walla Walla.
While in Walla Walla he became Assistant Winemaker at Va Piano Vineyards for three years under Justin Wylie and finally got the nerve to start his own gig. I was highly impressed with the new Grenache release by Kerloo, his 2015 Kerloo Cellars ‘Upland Vineyard’ Grenache. Ryan crafts one hell of a Cabernet. His 2015 Kerloo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 92) is a beautiful wine that combines lovely herbaceousness and dark fruit flavors.
Speaking with Ryan, he is very exited about the current 2017 vintage which is becoming more of a moderately warm year. He showed me some of the fruit in the fermenters which is already showing some really beautiful aromas. Ryan will only continue to grow as a winemaker and has certainly emerged as one of the top young talents in the state. Go check out these new release wines while you can. Learn more about Kerloo and their impressive lineup of wines at www.kerloocellars.com.
2016 Kerloo Cellars ‘Celilo Vineyard’ Chardonnay- This cool vineyard 100% Wente clone Chardonnay was 100% whole cluster fermented. The winemaker picked this wine at 21 brix. This saw six months battonage. This begins with aromas of banana, lemon curd and white peach. This has as wonderful salinity and minerality as the wine reveals tree fruit flavors with lemon rind and a touch of cream. The freshness of this wine is really lovely as this shows an old world feel. Drink 2017-2022- 91
2015 Kerloo Cellars “Majestic’ Red Wine - This is a classy blend of 69% Grenache, 26% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah. Sourced from the Den Hoed and Upland Vineyards as well as the Stone Tree Vineyards, this wine begins with pretty aromatics of red rose, red cherry and suggestions of bulls blood and orange rind. The texture is downright killer. This shows serious range and reveals black olive, red cherry, orange rind and pomegranate seed with smoke flavors. The acidity is also fabulous. Drink 2017-2025- 92
2015 Kerloo Cellars ‘Upland Vineyard’ Grenache- This wine is 100% whole cluster fermented Grenache sourced from the Upland Vineyard which was aged in neutral oak on the lees. This saw constant battonage until malolactic fermentation had been completed. This has very floral aromatics with rose petal, red cherry and pomegranate with lemon blossom accents. The texture is rich as this produces a wonderful mouthfeel. Red cherry starburst, bright strawberry, orange rind and suggestions of Shitake mushroom flavors complete this excellent wine. The saline streak is also impressive. Only 160 cases produced of this outstanding wine. Drink 2017-2027- 93
2015 Kerloo Cellars ‘Upland Vineyard’ Syrah- This great Syrah had 6% Viognier co-fermented and was given 100% whole cluster fermentation. The wine begins with aromas of black olive tapenade, wild mushroom, peat moss and slight suggestions of iodine. The savory aspects are intense as is the rich mouthfeel an beautiful texture. Bacon fat, peat moss, blood orange and red cherry flavors impress. This is a gorgeous wine made by superstar winemaker Ryan Crane. Drink 2017-2027- 93
2015 Kerloo Cellars ‘Stone Tree Vineyard’ Tempranillo- This Tempranillo sourced from the Stone Tree Vineyard was aged in 60% new French and American oak prior to bottling. The 100 case production wine begins with aromatics reminiscent of orange rind, red cherry, with wild mushroom. The mouthful is plush as the wine delivers bright flavors of red cherry cough syrup, blood orange, red raspberry and suggestions of black truffle. Tannic and somewhat backwards now, this has a bright acidity and will have a long life in the cellar. Drink 2017-2027- 91
2015 Kerloo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon- Sourced from the Dionysis and Klipsun Vineyard this Cabernet was aged for 23 months in French oak prior to bottling. You have to love the herbal aromatic qualities here. Red fruits collide with dark fruits on the palate with chocolate accents. This finishes very long and has mouthwatering acidity. This is another outstanding wine made by Kerloo. Drink 2017-2027- 92