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“The name of the winery, The Walls, refers, as a sort of joke the labels reflect, to the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla. The joke stops with the incredible quality and character of the wines. The Walls “Martin’s Gold” Chardonnay 2018, Walla Walla, received this one word as my initial notation: “Perfect.” Again, as with the other wines mentioned in this post, it saw no new oak, rather a half and half division between once-used French oak barrels and neutral barrels, which is to say, used many times. The color is mild, medium straw-gold; pear and apple blossom, a touch of pineapple, jasmine and damp flint, meadow flowers and almond skin — these elements dominate the bouquet; on the palate, this chardonnay feels lush and generous but not opulent, defined, in fact, more by its fleet spareness and elegant structure than by the richness of its ripe peach and pear flavors; vivid acidity keeps it crisp and vibrant, while honed limestone minerality, enlivened by a touch of gunflint, extends through the multi-dimensional finish. 14 percent alcohol. Now through 2024 to ’26. Consulting winemaker is Todd Alexander. Exceptional.”
Oregon Wine Press features The Walls in an article about The Rocks District. https://www.oregonwinepress.com/rock-solid
Washington Wine Blog reviews 2019 Cruel Summer all the way to 2016 Mahana. Click on May 2020 to read more! Washington Wine Blog scores: 2019 The Walls ‘Cruel Summer’ Rose – 912017 The Walls ‘Lip Stinger’ White Wine – 912017 The Walls ‘McAndrew’ Chardonnay- 922018 The Walls ‘French Creek Vineyard’ Chardonnay- 922016 The Walls ‘The Insiders’ Pinot Noir- 912017 The Walls ‘River Rock Vineyard’ Grenache- 922017 The Walls ‘The Ramparts’ Red Wine- 922017 The Walls ‘Gaspard’ Syrah – 922017 The Walls ‘Concrete Mama’ Syrah- 942017 The Walls ‘Mahana’ Syrah- 932017 The Walls ‘Curiositas’ Cabernet Sauvignon- 922016 The Walls ‘Mahana’ Red Wine- 93 2019 The Walls ‘Cruel Summer’ Rose- The Walls have gained a really strong reputation for their ‘Cruel Summer’ Rose and this 2019 edition is amongst the best yet. The nose shows considerably better range out of a Riedel Burgundy glass, with pretty rose water tones mingling with minerals and melon accents on this delicate nose. The palate picks up a silky texture, with watermelon, white peach, Gravenstein apple and honeydew melon tones that all come together nicely in the glass. While not particularly rich, the elegance of the wine really shines through to the long finish with lighter red fruit, white rose water and mineral tones. Drink 2020-2025- 91 2017 The Walls ‘Lip Stinger’ White Wine- An intriguing blend of Grenache Blanc, Chardonnay and Roussanne, with smaller portions Picpoul, Marsanne and Clarirette Blanc, this shows off a soft texture with layers of melon and citrus rind flavors, with vanilla cream and Gravenstein apple tones rounding out this downright delicious new wine. Drink 2020-2025- 91 2017 The Walls ‘McAndrew’ Chardonnay- The ‘MacAndrew’ Chardonnay is named after William McAndrew who first planted gapes on Underwood Mountain in 1972. The freshness and soft texture really delights as layers of lemon cake, nectarine rind, and baking spices come together with a good degree of freshness. Enjoy this beautiful new wine over the next seven years. Drink 2020-2027- 92 2018 The Walls ‘French Creek Vineyard’ Chardonnay- Last year I had the chance to visit this dramatic, wind-swept vineyard that is literally not close to anything, as the French Creek Vineyard is a higher elevation site that is gaining a strong reputation for Chardonnay. The wine shows good opulence with its silky texture and soft mouthfeel. Baked apple and lemon cream flavors collide with cantaloupe and minerals. This finishes very long with lemon cream, minerals and a hint of ripe banana. Drink 2020-2030- 92 2016 The Walls ‘The Insiders’ Pinot Noir- Sourced from the White Salmon Vineyard, the 2016 ‘The Insiders’ Pinot Noir shows shades of smoke and damp earth that mingle with ripe red fruits on the nose. The palate has good elegance with a soft mouthfeel. Mouth-watering acidity and layers of toasty oak combine with the core of red cherry, guava and red raspberry with earthy undertones. Drink 2020-2028- 91 2017 The Walls ‘River Rock Vineyard’ Grenache- The ‘River Rock Vineyard’ is located near the Oregon/Washington border in the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater. Light flinty tones combine with bright Bing cherry, rose water and shades of Mandarin orange zest on this beautiful nose. The palate is wonderfully textured with a soft mouthfeel. Layers of ripe red fruits dance with citrus rind, wet stone and suggestions of pink bubblegum on the palate. The long finish lingers. Drink 2020-2027- 92 2017 The Walls ‘The Ramparts’ Red Wine-A blend of Grenache (40%) and Mourvedre (40%) with 15% Counoise and a touch of Viognier (5%), ‘The Ramparts’ has layers of toasty oak that combine with ripe red cherry, smoke, bacon fat and blackberry cobbler, with a light dusting of white pepper. This has really nice complexity and a good vein of tension running through its core. Drink 2020-2028- 92 2017 The Walls ‘Gaspard’ Syrah- Sourced from Red Mountain, the ‘Gaspard’ has a soft mouthfeel and wonderful texture. Rich chocolate and smoky tones combine with the core of dark fruits and sagebrush undertones on the palate. Ripe and generous, showing good weight and acidity, the ‘Gaspard’ Syrah will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2020-2028- 92 2017 The Walls ‘Concrete Mama’ Syrah- The 2017 ‘Concrete Mama’ Syrah is another seriously good release by The Walls and new consulting winemaker Todd Alexander. The wine shows better aromatic and flavor range than the other wines in this new set of releases. Sourced from the ‘River Rock Vineyard’ in the Rocks Disrtrict of Milton-Freewater, the ‘Concrete Mama’ opens with layers of bacon fat, green olive tapenade and a deep core of dark fruits with stony undertones that all take shape in the glass. The palate is silky smooth, showing off its plush mouthfeel and voluptuous texture. Layers of Hoisin sauce and smoked brisket combine with coffee grounds and tar, with stony undertones that all make this remarkable wine truly sing. Highly enjoyable in its youth with its soft texture, this marvelous new release will enjoy another decade in the cellar. Drink 2020-2028- 94 2017 The Walls ‘Mahana’ Syrah- Also sourced from the ‘River Rock Vineyard’ in the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, the ‘Mahana;’ opens with shades of violets that combine with smoked pork shoulder, wild blackberry and thyme that all take shape in the glass. The palate has really good elegance and weight, with a silky mouthfeel. Layers of dark fruits mingle with light green olive tapenade and a light dusting of salinity with black tea all make their appearance on the palate. Really good in its youth, enjoy this beautiful wine over the next eight plus years. Drink 2020-2028- 93 2017 The Walls ‘Curiositas’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2017 ‘Curiousitas’ is a dense and inky wine, taking the lead with black currants and graphite tones with blackberry cobbler and shades of dark chocolate shavings on this fantastic nose. The palate is soft and shows an err of elegance with layers of dark fruits woven together with mocha, scorched earth and anise flavors. Wonderful to enjoy right now, the 2017 ‘Curiousitas’ Cabernet Sauvignon will be best enjoyed over the next ten to twelve years. Drink 2020-2032- 92 2017 The Walls ‘Cheys’ Syrah- Sourced from the esteemed ‘French Creek Vineyard’ in the Yakima Valley, the ‘Cheys’ shows nice smoky tones alongside a deep core of blackberry and black cherry on the nose. The palate delivers bright acidity with a layer of toasty oak that envelops the core of dark fruits with lighter sagebrush and tar undertones. Drink 2020-2028- 91 2016 The Walls ‘Mahana’ Red Wine- The ‘Mahana’ is a compelling 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. Enjoy this excellent wine over the next seven to ten years.Drink 2019-2029- 93
Washington Wine Blog reviews our 2017 Cheys syrah. “2017 The Walls ‘Cheys’ Syrah- Sourced from the esteemed ‘French Creek Vineyard’ in the Yakima Valley, the ‘Cheys’ shows nice smoky tones alongside a deep core of blackberry and black cherry on the nose. The palate delivers bright acidity with a layer of toasty oak that envelops the core of dark fruits with lighter sagebrush and tar undertones. Drink 2020-2028- 91”
In 100% Chance of Wine: The Walls Vineyards, YakTriNews interviews owner Mike Martin.
Washington Wine Blog rates wines from The Walls. WWB Scores: 2017 Les Jeunes Vignes Chardonnay 91 pts, 2018 Martin’s Gold Chardonnay 92 pts, 2017 McAndrew Chardonnay 91 pts. To view all scores visit Washington Wine Blog. Washington Tasting Room magazine features The Walls.
“These wines all have singular characters yet they share a rare sense of purity and elegance paired with plenty of richness and depth. These are singular, beautiful wines I’d be thrilled to drink.” – Jeb Dunnuck Jeb Dunnuck scores:2016 Curiositas 95+pts2016 Concrete Mama Grenache 94 pts2017 Martin’s Gold 93 pts2016 Concrete Mama Syrah 96 pts To view all scores visit JebDunnuck.com
Rupal Shankar of SyrahQueen.com has listed us one of 7 Washington State Wines you need to try in 2019.
Stephen Tanzer of Vinous has scored the 2016 Gaspard a 92+. JamesSuckling.com gave the 2015 Stanley Groovy and 2015 Curiositas 93 pts.
Sip Magazine awarded our 2016 Martin’s Gold a Double Gold and 2015 La Lutte Gold in its 2018 Best of the Northwest Awards.
Seattle Magazine calls The Walls “One of the most exciting new wineries to launch over the past few years in Washington” and awarded us Coolest Wine Label for its 2018 Washington Wine Awards. The magazine also named 2015 Stanley Groovy “Best Washington Wine of the Year” for a red blend in the $25-$45 category. According to Seattle Magazine, this blend, ” … begins with 79 percent Portuguese varieties—Touriga Nacional, Souzão,Tinta Cão, Tinta Roriz (a Tempranillo clone)—and blends in 21 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The result is an exotic mix of spice (star anise especially) and citrus peel, plum and violet. It’s a singular Washington blend, intellectually and sensually provocative.”
This in-depth feature inWashington Tasting Room Magazine follow’s Mike’s story of how he discovered Walla Walla, and eventually ended up opening both The Walls and Passatempo Taverna.
Wines & Vines feature on The Walls and its commitment to sustainability.The Daily Meal details “Why you should be drinking wines of Washington State”, including The Walls.