As part of Washington Wine Month we bring you one of the iconic figures in Washington wine, Chris Upchurch. He and his wife, Thea, are the masterminds behind Upchurch Vineyard, one of the state’s great boutique wineries located in Red Mountain. Having visited the Upchurches last summer and toured the vineyard, there is something really special about this site. The expansive views of the Columbia Valley from their estate create an incredible panoramic effect. For those who have never visited Upchurch Vineyard, I implore you to visit if nothing else for the beauty of the site.
Chris Upchurch is one of the great pioneers in Washington wine, having crafted the finest Bordeaux style white wine for DeLille, the ‘Chaleur Estate Blanc’ in the mid-1990s. This wine has achieved incredible acclaim since that time and not only is one of the great white wines made in Washington but it rivals any Bordeaux Blanc style wines made in the new world.
Chris crafts one of the great Sauvignon Blancs in Washington, his 2016 Upchurch Vineyard ‘Southwest Facing’ Sauvignon Blanc (WWB, 93) which shows marvelous texture and viscosity from this warm vintage. This wine will cellar well for a decade, picking up marvelous tertiary notes. His new release Cabernet, the 2016 Upchurch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 95) is the best wine that I have sampled so far from this estate. The wine has a seamless quality and is obviously rich but imparts an incredible feeling of elegance. This is truly one for the cellar. Learn more about this fantastic winery at https://upchurchvineyard.com Here are the beautiful new wines by Upchurch Vineyard.
2016 Upchurch Vineyard ‘Southwest Facing’ Sauvignon Blanc- The 2016 Upchurch Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is truly one of the best of its kind in Washington. On the nose, the wine brings out an exotic edge with poached pear, apricot and lighter grassy tones. The palate has an oily texture and a wonderfully rich mouthfeel. Kumquat, cut grass, kiwi and bright Gravenstein apple flavors come to mind. Layered and downright delicious, be sure to enjoy this at a slightly warmer temperature where the wine shows its gorgeous range in its entirety. Drink 2019-2028- 93
2016 Upchurch Vineyard ‘LTL’ Red Wine- A new wine to the Upchurch Vineyard portfolio, ‘LTL’ stands for ‘Larger Than Life.’ This forward style wine shows a beautiful nose of crushed mint, dark chocolate shavings and dark berry tones that impress. The palate shows good balance as medium bodied dark fruit flavors all come together. Up front and forward, the ‘LTL’ is drinking marvelously right now. Drink 2019-2025- 91
2016 Upchurch Vineyard ‘Counterpart’ Red Wine- A compelling blend of 65% Merlot with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon, the ‘Counterpart’ opens with a bouquet of toasty oak with red bell pepper, red cherry preserves and shades of mocha aromas that fill the glass. Silky smooth on the mouth, the wine shows really good elegance. Black and red fruit flavors dance with a great sense of minerality. A long-ager, this will continue to evolve for the next fifteen plus years. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2016 Upchurch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon by superstar winemaker Chris Upchurch is a revelation. On the nose this takes on gorgeous Cabernet character with red bell pepper, anise, brandy soaked red cherry and milk chocolate aromas that build in the glass. The texture to this wine borders ethereal. Mocha, crushed mint, blackberry cobbler and creme de cassis flavors all beautifully dance on the palate. The balance and richness is sumptuous here. Mineral-driven and rich, this gorgeous effort will cellar well for the next fifteen to twenty years. Drink 2019-2037- 95