One of the impressive Washington lineups of red and white wines, Swiftwater Cellars was founded by proprietors Don and Lori Watts who had great success in agriculture before starting their winery. Located in Cle Elum, the winery is set on the Rope Rider Golf Course and is a truly beautiful setting to try their great range of wines. Head winemaker Andrew Wisniewski has more than a decade of winemaking experience prior to joining Swiftwater Cellars. He has worked in New Zealand, Australia and more recently Oregon, where he served as Cellar Master for the Stoller Family Estate.
The new wines were impressive across the board. An outstanding new Riesling release is their 2016 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Olsen Vineyard’ Riesling (WWB, 91) which shows a wonderful combination of poise and green apple flavors. This is a perfect wine for when temperatures warm up. I was very impressed with the 2015 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Proprietary Red’ Red Wine (WWB, 92) which is an outstanding dense and layered effort that will cellar marvelously over the next decade or so. Learn more about this exciting winery at https://www.swiftwatercellars.com Here are the great new wines by Swiftwater Cellars.
2016 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Olsen Vineyard’ Riesling- Petrol and honeysuckle fill the nose alongside some green apple high tones. The minerality here is really nice, as is the tart unripe peach and tart green apple flavors. This is outstanding. Drink 2018-2023- 91
2016 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Proprietary White’ White Wine- This wine is a combination of 100% barrel fermented (45% new French oak) Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The nose from the toasty oak really delights, alongside marshmallow and grassy tones. The mouthfeel is wonderfully plush, as is the long and inviting, vanilla cream finish. This will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 91
2016 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Zephyr Ridge’ Chardonnay- Aged in 33% new French oak puncheons, this starts off with aromas of brioche, Meyer lemon and Pazzaz apple. Showcasing the classic Washington style of Chardonnay, the wine shows medium weight with mild to moderate oak influence. The balance is really nice here. Drink 2018-20240- 90
2015 Swiftwater Cellars Merlot- Aged for 18 months in 58% new French oak, this begins with aromas of black cherry and black tea. The palate has wonderful dark fruit flavors with good acidity. Rich and delicious, this will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 91
2015 Swiftwater Cellars Malbec- Sourced from the Heart of the Hill Vineyard on Red Mountain, this begins with smoky aromatics with dark cherry cordial and a touch of milk chocolate. The dense mouthfeel entices as the wine unveils cocoa powder, black plum and coffee ground flavors. This is an outstanding effort by winemaker Andrew Wisniewski. Drink 2018-2028- 91
2015 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Proprietary Red’ Red Wine- A blend of Red Mountain (66%), Walla Walla (19%) and Horse Heaven Hills (15%) fruit, this starts off with sagebrush, black tea and blackberry cobbler flavors. There is a really nice sense of balance to this wine, composed of all five Bordeaux varietals. Flavors of black tea, mocha, creme de cassis and sagebrush persist to a long, dark fruit and mineral driven finish. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2015 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Zephyr Ridge’ Cabernet Sauvignon- this wine was aged in 42% new French oak prior to bottling and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. This has mocha and crushed mint on the nose. This has a velvety mouthfeel with medium weight dark fruit flavors that connect with a good tension. Drink 2018-2028- 91
2015 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Octave Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon- Sourced from a high elevation in the Walla Walla Valley, the Octave Vineyard Cabernet starts off with deep black olive, black tea and blackberry pie aromas. This has wonderful purity of friuit, showing off mocha, anise and boysenberry cordial favors with light tannins toward the back end. Enjoy this fantastic wine over the next decade or so. Drink 2018-2030- 92
2015 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon- A blend of largely Red Mountain fruit with a touch of Walla Walla mixed in, the ‘Reserve’ has 8% Petit Verdot blended in. Creme de cassis, anise, mocha and sagebrush aromatics fill the glass. The silky mouthfeel is lovely with mocha, anise, creme de cassis and sandalwood flavors. Delicious and rich, this will be a long-ager. Drink 2018-2030- 92
2015 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Boushey Vineyard’ Syrah- This saw 27% new oak for 18 months prior to bottling. This opens with a bouquet of smoked pork shoulder, dark cherry and coffee ground undertones. The palate is both lithe and rich, showing off Hoisin sauce, smoked brisket and dark cherry liquor flavors. This is seriously good wine that is best enjoyed in its youth with all its intensity and range. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2015 Swiftwater Cellars ‘Klipsun Vineyard’ Syrah- Smoke and dark fruits dominate the seductive nose. The mouthfeel and acidity of this wine is outstanding, as the wine showcases smoked brisket, black olive tapenade and black cherry cordial flavors. This has wonderful range here. Drink 2018-2026- 92