Rotie Cellars 2011 “Southern Blend” Red, Walla Walla (WA)

Posted by Keith Wallace

Impolite, brash, and barely keeping it together. The hot mess that is Rotie Cellars is the greatest thing in wine that I have seen in a while. We all know the aristocratic wines of Napa and Bordeaux. Plus, too many folks in the wine trade covet the idea of upper-crust vinosity.

Rotie Cellars 2011 Southern Blend, Walla Walla (WA)
Rotie Cellars 2011 Southern Blend, Walla Walla (WA)

Maybe it’s the fact that I come from an old New England family, but I don’t get the allure of snootiness. Boring! Please give me a winemaker with bad ideas and a fistful of unloved grapes anyway.

Sean Boyd learned winemaking on the go (before opening the winery, he was a geologist) and made great wine since 2007. A true outsider, he’s making it in an unpopular place (Washington State)  with unloved grapes (Grenache and Syrah) with inspiration from a  place most Americans don’t care about (The Rhone Valley in France).

Yes, these are all really good reasons  to drink his wine.

This bottling is a tribute to the Southern Rhone. Think Châteauneuf-du-Pape –well, it’s closer to a Vacqueyras, if you know WTF that is– with a heavy dose of pillowy dark fruit. The blend is largely  Grenache, with about 25% Mourvedre and a few percentages of Syrah and Cinsault in the mix. The nose is crushed violets and toasted anise. Flavors of fresh blackberries are spiced with lush, creamy blueberries and cardamom. In the finish, there is a fantastic salinity and brightness that finishes with a note of eucalyptus.

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