Founding winemaker Chris Upchurch and co-founders Greg Lill and Jay Soloff made a statement in Washington state when they turned their Bordeaux inspiration into a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sèmillon starting in 1995. “The world has plenty of Chardonnay. We choose to honor the other legendary French tradition of white wine with our Chaleur Blanc,” they said. These days, Jason Gorski oversees both the winemaking and the viticulture. Fruit from three of Washington’s oldest and most cherished vineyards – Boushey, Klipsun and Sagemoor — spend seven months in fermentation program that’s 90% French oak barrel aging with 10% in stainless steel. The blend leads with Sauvignon Blanc (69%), and the delicate influence of wood creates aromas of Marcona almond, dusty starfruit, lemon and crushed seashells. The mouthfeel is magical as lemon curd and orange marmalade pick up a dusting of white pepper, capped by lime oil for a superbly balanced drink. Suggested pairings include pumpkin bisque, grilled chicken or Upchurch’s recipe for Pan-Seared Scallops with Deconstructred Guacamole.
Production: 4,000 cases