Damon LaLonde grew up in the Tri-Cities and went off to Walla Walla Community College for irrigation before focusing on viticulture as the University of Ste. Michelle. In 2007, he took over the reins at two of Red Mountain’s hottest vineyards — Red Heaven and Scooteney Flats — and recently began to enter the bottle side of the business with this small label from another remarkable vineyard he oversees east of Prosser, French Creek. This younger Chardonnay is starkly different than the 2011 debut, starting with a deep, honeyed color that could be mistaken for an ice wine. The nose comes with fascinating hints of fresh-cut ripe pineapple, sliced Pink Lady apple, lemon custard and apple box. There’s a fair bit of viscosity on the palate, which continues with tropical flavors and Asian pear. That richness is sufficiently dealt with by ample acidity and Gala apple peel bite. These wines are limited to Tri-City shoppers, available in Richland, Wash., at the Yoke’s Fresh Market and and Albertsons as well as Meadow Springs Country Club.
Production: 140 cases
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