One of the great Seattle urban wineries, Eight Bells is located in the heart of the Roosevelt/Ravenna district in Seattle. A few weeks back I had the opportunity to taste at this very cool urban location and try some of their new release wines. A limited production winery, Eight Bells produces roughly 2000 cases per year. Eight Bells had their first vintage in 2009 and was founded by Tim Bates, Andy Shepherd and Frank Michiels. Tim began making wine in his basement in 1980 with grapes from Sagemoor Farms. Like many who catch the wine bug, this experiment is now something quite serious as all winery owners have completed the WSU viticulture extension program. Eight Bells sources from some of the state’s great vineyards, including two from the Yakima Valley — the Red Willow Vineyard, located in the far western end of the Yakima Valley, and the Boushey Vineyard, located in Grandview, Washington.
The new release wines were outstanding across the board. A fantastic new Chardonnay, the 2017 Eight Bells Chardonnay (WWB, 91) shows wonderful depth and richness with good tension. Eight Bells also made an outstanding new 2015 Pinot Noir (WWB, 90), sourced from the Methven Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The best wine I tried during the tasting was the 2014 Eight Bells ‘David’s Block’ Red Wine (WWB, 92) which is a silky blend of Bordeaux varietals that is not to be missed. Learn more about this winery at 8bellswinery.com Here are the new red wine releases by Eight Bells.
2017 Eight Bells Chardonnay- Sourced from the Boushey Vineyard, they have utilized four clones of Chardonnay for this wine. The wine was largely aged in stainless steel prior to bottling. The nose shows toasty brioche and pear elements with a touch of starfruit. There is a great freshness to the wine as it shows off Japanese pear, vanilla cream and lighter peach flavors. This shows wonderful poise. Drink 2018-2024- 91
2015 Eight Bells Pinot Noir- Sourced from the Methven Vineyard, just south of Dayton in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The wine is crafted from three clones of Pinot Noir. The wine saw no new oak prior to bottling. This has a pretty red cherry and rose petal nose with a touch of baking spices. There is a light orange rind element on the palate that combines with bright guava puree and strawberry flavors. This is lithe and forward pretty Pinot Noir that has a good freshness. Drink 2018-2024- 90
2015 Eight Bells Sangoivese- This Sangiovese was sourced from the Red Willow Vineyard first planted in 1992. This translucent wine starts off with aromatics of smoke, red cherry and bright strawberry. This has really good minerality, as the wine has a nice salinity and mouthfeel. Red cherry, cranberry and orange zest flavors impress. Drink 2018-2024- 90
2015 Eight Bells Merlot- From a block planted in 1990, this deep colored wine starts off with black raspberry, coffee grounds and black cherry aromatics. The wine has a wonderful mouthfeel and purity of fruit. Red and dark cherry flavors beautifully combine, as this has a Bordelaise feel. Drink 2018-2028- 90
2013 Eight Bells ‘David’s Block’ Red Wine- This wine is a field blend from a one acre block that David Lake originally planted. The final blending is 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Malbec, with the remainder Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Carmenere and Petit Verdot. There is a wonderful herbal quality to this wine with sagebrush and pine undertones, connecting with dark fruits on the nose. The mouthfeel is generous as this wine shows a good minerality. Dark cherry preserves, milk chocolate, and sagebrush flavors persist with light tannins on the mid-palate. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2014 Eight Bells ‘David’s Block’ Red WIne- The 2014 ‘David’s Block’ is a field blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon with 22% Malbec and the remainder Carmenere, Petit Verdot and Merlot. This opens up with bright aromas of red cherry, milk chocolate and cassis with black olive. There is a really lovely balance between masculine and feminine here. Showing good weight, dark cherry, roasted figs, and milk echolocate flavors connect with excellent minerality. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2015 Eight Bells Syrah-Released in December 2017, this wine is sourced from the Red Willow Vineyard. This has wonderful earthy tones with dark cherry cordial, crushed mint and sandalwood undertones on the nose. The wine delivers downright delicious flavors of black olive, black tea and boysenberry jam. Balanced and rich, this is an outstanding wine by Eight Bells. Drink 2018-2026- 91