A partnership between software executive Mike Martin and winemaker Ali Mayfield, The Walls is a relatively new winery that focuses on intriguing and sometimes unusual red and white wines sourced from great vineyard sites throughout the state. Humorously named after a Walla Walla nickname for the local Washington State Penitentiary, The Walls imparts aptly playful names for their wines, like the ‘Concrete Mama’ referring to both the storage of the wine along with the housing for penitentiary inmates.
Ali Mayfield has a great resume, previously worked at illustrious wineries Corliss Estates and Long Shadows. In 2013 she made 30 barrels of her very own wine and was soon connected with Martin, who was working as a Microsoft attorney and was looking into potentially starting his own winery. Only recently The Walls has opened their own winery on Pine St. in downtown Walla Walla. A few weeks back I visited the winery and tasted with Ali, talking shop and taking in this exciting new facility and beautiful new wines. One of the great Rose wines made in the state, the 2018 The Walls ‘Cruel Summer’ Rose (WWB, 91) is the best rendition of this wine since its inception, with its wonderful mouthfeel and outstanding flavor and aromatic range. I absolutely loved the new 2016 The Walls ‘Concrete Mama’ Syrah (WWB, 93) which has wonderful Umami and red fruit flavors, with a soft mouthfeel that is wonderfully integrated. Learn more about these great wines at https://www.thewallsvineyards.com Here are the new releases by The Walls.
2018 The Walls ‘Cruel Summer’ Rose- The 2018 ‘Cruel Summer’ Rose is a fabulous effort by the talented Ali Mayfield. On the nose this yields nice complexity with hints of blood orange that line bright red fruits with wet stone undertones. The palate shows a silky mouthfeel, unveiling bright kiwi, red raspberry puree and cran-pomegranate flavors that combine with a wonderful texture and sense of minerality. Drink 2019-2023- 91
2016 The Walls ‘Les Jeunes Vignes’ Chardonnay- Sourced from younger vines from the Columbia Valley, this opens with a beautiful bouquet of ripe honeydew melon with shades of banana and wild mushroom that all develop nicely in the glass. The soft mouthfeel is really nice, as is the bright citrus fruits that mingle with lemon infused vanilla cream. Bright and showing good length, this excellent new Chardonnay will cellar well over the next five to seven years. Drink 2019-2024- 91
2016 The Walls ‘Mahana’ Red Wine- This is a blend of Syrah and Grenache with a small portion of Viognier which is co-fermented. The wine has seriously range on the nose with wonderful stony character and green olive tapenade with bacon fat that all build on the nose. The silky texture drives this wine as bulls blood, red cheerier compote and shades of wild mushroom and Umami flavors all collide on the palate. This is a seriously good effort by the talented Ali Mayfield. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2016 The Walls ‘Concrete Mama’ Syrah- The wine is sourced from the River Rock Vineyard and has 5% Viognier which has been co-fermented with Tablas Creek clone Syrah. The nose is highly complex with Umami, red cherry compote, horse manure and shades of bulls blood that all build on the nose. The mouthfeel and texture is seriously good with Hoisin sauce, blood orange and shades of wild blackberry with cran-pomegranate that all connect energy on the palate. While delightful in its youth, this will evolve well over the next decade., Drink 20`19-12029- 93