Greetings to you all from a wet and rather cold Seattle. Today on Washington Wine Blog we bring you one of the outstanding boutique wineries in Walla Walla. Kontos Cellars is the project between brothers Cameron and Chris Kontos who are Walla Walla natives and have a longstanding history in not only agriculture but the wine industry. Their father, Cliff Kontos, was the founder of Fort Walla Walla Cellars, and helped mentor Cameron in his own winemaking journey. Cameron now makes a wine ‘The Boss’ in tribute to his father.
In 2002 Cameron joined Forgeron Cellars, and quickly was promoted assistant winemaker under eminent Walla Walla wine pioneer, Marie-Eve Gilla. Cameron trained under Marie and worked at Forgeron for eight years before starting Kontos with his brother.
Cameron’s winemaking style is highly structured but showcases beautiful ripeness. I have seen his progression as a winemaker and I very much enjoy the direction he is taking his wine program. Cameron makes an outstanding white wine, the 2018 Kontos Cellars ‘Gossamer’ White Wine (WWB, 91) which has an incredible texture and bright orchard and citrus fruits. The best wine I tried in this lineup was the 2016 Kontos Cellars ‘The Boss’ Red Wine (WWB, 94) which is dense, layered and decadent. This beautiful wine has the stuffing to go twenty years. Learn more about this great winery at https://kontoscellars.com Here are the great new releases by Kontos Cellars.
2018 Kontos Cellars ‘Gossamer’ White Wine- This wine is a blend of 67% Chardonnay with 22% Roussanne and 11% Viognier. The texture here is great with bright starfruit, lemon zest and kumquat flavors that connect with the silly mouthfeel and bright sense of minerality. Drink 2019-2025- 91
2015 Kontos Cellars Merlot- This great Merlot (100%) is sourced from the Les Collines, Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills Vineyards. The wine shows ripe red cherry with oaky undertones on the nose. The palate has good richness with ripe black and red fruits that connect with the silky tannins. Bright and showing good richness and tension, this will cellar well for the next fifteen years. Drink 2019-2033- 92
2015 Kontos Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2015 Kontos Cabernet Sauvignon is largely sourced from the Pepper Bridge Vineyard and is a fantastic new release by Cameron Kontos. The wine starts off with blackberry jam, mocha, tar and sagebrush that all combine brightly in the glass. The palate shows good richness and mid-palate with blackberry compote, anise and creme de cause that all collide in the glass. Brilliant now, this will cellar beautifully for decades. Drink 2019-2033- 92
2015 Kontos Cellars ‘Alatus’ Red Wine- The ‘Alatus,’ is named after the winemaker’s grandfather’s sailboat. This is a fantastic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%) and Merlot (30%) with smaller portions Malbec and Syrah. The palate shows good mid-palate richness with mocha, roasted figs and suggestions of creme de cassis. The mouthfeel here is fantastic. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2016 Kontos Cellars Syrah-The 2016 Kontos Cellars Syrah is a fantastic release which was aged in 40% new oak prior to bottling. This starts off with aromas of dried herbs, red rose petals, black fruits and suggestions of mocha that come together in the glass. The acidity and viscosity of the wine shines through as the wine reveals copious dark fruits with sagebrush and dark chocolate tones that build in the glass. Fantastic now, this will evolve well over the next decade. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2016 Kontos Cellars ‘Tate Les Collines Vineyard’ Syrah- This limited production wine is named after the winemaker’s niece. The wine was aged for two years in 25% new oak prior to bottling. Really nice sage with black fruits mark the nose. The viscosity is great with intense dark fruits that combine with chocolate on the palate. While fantastic now, this will cellar well for another decade. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2016 Kontos Cellars Malbec- Sourced from the Seven Hills and Summit View vineyards, this opens with pretty lavender and violet aromas with mocha accents. The palate is plush, delivering rich dark fruit flavors with mocha and anise. This is fantastic stuff by the talented Cameron Kontos. Drink 2019-2029- 92
2016 Kontos ‘Baker Blend’ Malbec- This wine is a barrel selection wine sourced from the Seven Hills Vineyard. This wine begins with aromas of black tea, anise and blackberry compote. The palate has beautiful richness and restraint with blueberry cobbler, mocha, anise and black tea flavors the come together in the glass. Delightful now, this will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2019-2033- 92
2016 Kontos ‘Dorsey’ Red Wine (Fall 2019 Release)- A tribute to the winemaker’s great great great grandfather who first came to Walla Walla in 1858, the wine is a silly blend of 31% Merlot, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon with 25% Malbec and 19% Petit Verdot. The wine opens with a rich bouquet of fresh herbs with blackberry cobbler, mocha and anise that all build in the glass. The palate is plush with black tea, anise, creme de cassis and fresh sage that all come together in the glass. Drinking marvelously now, this will cellar well for decades. Drink 2019-2033- 93
2016 Kontos Cellars ‘The Boss’ Red Wine- A magnum only wine, this wine is made by Cameron Kontos and his father, Cliff Kontos. It is named after Cliff who was the winemaker at Fort Walla Walla Cellars. A blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot with a small portion Cabernet Franc, this opens with a decadent nose of sagebrush, creme de cassis and Turkish coffee that collect in the glass. The mouthfeel is seriously good with mocha, anise and creme de cassis flavors that mingle brilliantly. A fantastic wine now, this will cellar well for the next twenty years. Drink 2019-2035- 94