One of the exciting winery projects out of Walla Walla, Tertulia Cellars was founded in 2005 and is set in the picturesque foreground of the Blue Mountains. Ryan Raber has been winemaker here for many years and works with vineyard manager, Ryan Driver to craft wines from three highly unique sites in the Walla Walla Valley. Their vineyard in the North Fork of the Walla Walla River is quite a site to be seen, as I visited this stunning setting a year ago. There are a host of highly unique varietals planted on this vineyard set on loess but also fractured basalt. The 2018 Marsanne (WWB, 91) from this site is particularly good, imparting a brilliant stony character in the wines. I recently visited the winery and enjoyed talking with Tertulia Cellars owner Jim O’Connell and Raber. They talked about the advantages of having three separate vineyard sites for their lineup of wines.
Ryan Raber has crafted some excellent new wines, just as he did last year. I was hugely impressed with his 2018 Tertulia Cellars Rose (WWB, 91) which has a remarkable texture and a silky mouthfeel, as the wine shows some seriously good range. Do not miss out on this wine. Even better was the 2016 Tertulia Cellars ‘The Great Schism Reserve’ Red Wine (WWB, 92) which has wonderful balance and range, from bacon fat to citrus tones. Learn more about this great winery at http://www.tertuliacellars.com/ Here are the new wines by Tertulia Cellars.
2018 Tertulia Cellars Rose- The texture imparted here is really fantastic as this balanced, yet viscous Rose shows copious red fruits with melon undertones. A fantastic effort by winemaker Ryan Raber, this beautiful wine will continue to evolve over the next five plus years. Drink 2019-2024- 91
2018 Tertulia Cellars ‘Elevation Estate Vineyard’ Marsanne- You are immediately drawn to the stony undertones that shape the nose with lychee and lemon zest aromas that come together in the glass. The palate shows a really nice mouthfeel with bright melon flavors that connect with the mineral and light wet stone tones on the palate. This is fantastic now and will cellar well over the next seven years. Drink 2019-2025- 91
2016 Tertulia Cellars ‘The Great Schism Reserve’ Red Wine- Sourced from their estate Riviera Galets Estate Vineyard, the ‘Great Schism Reserve’ Red Wine is largely Grenache (55%) and Syrah (40%) with a touch of Mourvedre (5%) included in the blend. The nose shows really good range from bacon fat to wet stone to citrus rind and Umami tones that awaken the senses. The palate shows a seamless quality on the palate, as beautiful red fruits connect with blood orange, smoked bacon and cran-pomegranate flavors. Showing marvelously now, this beautiful wine will evolve well over the next seven to ten years. Drink 2019-2025- 92
2016 Tertulia Cellars ‘Ryan’s Reserve’ Red Wine- The ‘Ryan’s Reserve’ is named after winemaker Ryan Raber and vineyard manager Ryan Driver. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (31%) with Merlot (31%), Petit Verdot (16%), Cabernet Franc (13%) and Malbec (7%). Showing a dark core, the wine unveils smoky undertones with chocolate and anise aromas. The palate shows good freshness and astringency. Black fruits mingle with coffee ground and chocolate flavors on the palate. Drink 2019-2025- 90
2015 Tertulia Cellars ‘Estate’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The wine starts off with aromas of black tea with red bell pepper and blackberry pie. The palate is plush, delivering medium bodied dark and red fruit flavors that connect with a nice minerality. Drink 2019-2025- 90
2015 Tertulia Cellars ‘Phinny Hill Vineyard’ Carmenere- The 2015 ‘Phinny Hill Vineyard’ Carmenere is a fantastic bottling. The herbal tones on the nose entice and connect with dark fruits that build in the glass. On the palate there is a good freshness and salinity with dark cherry and wild blackberry with black tea and green herbs that round out this excellent wine. Drink 2019-2025- 91