While the Shiels family recently released the 2020 vintage of this program, their bottling from the 2019 can be found on the list at many of the Northwest’s most savvy restaurants. And it ranks among the top Northwest Chardonnays our panel evaluated in 2022. This vintage marked the 10th anniversary of Kerry Shiels being named winemaker for her family’s project, and there’s no reason to veer from her winning formula of 17 months of surlie aging in French barrels. The same goes for her unfined and unfiltered approach, which explains the comment on the back label — “This is a living wine, so slight sediment may appear over time.” There’s a négligée influence from the oak, allowing for better appreciation of the light caramel, lemon cream and vanilla nose. The balance is gorgeous as flavors of ripe Bosc pear, butterscotch cream and more vanilla achieve depth on the palate. Delicious juiciness leads out with a nibble of Golden Delicious apple for a finish that carries no bitterness. Production of the 2020 vintage was only a third of the 2019, so act accordingly. Suggested pairings include shrimp risotto, Caesar salad, Artichoke-Leek-Goat Cheese Galette and something as simple as tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. At the Canyon River Grill along the Yakima River downstream from Ellensburg, see if the Neah Bay Black Cod Marinated in the lees of Chardonnay is available. Traditionally, executive chef Kevin Davis uses the spent yeast left behind in the barrels of DuBrul Vineyard Chardonnay.
Rating: Outstanding! • 94 points
Production: 200 cases