A few quick thoughts on the 2013 Beresan Carménère from Walla Walla.
Beresan was founded by Tom Waliser, the vineyard manager for Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills East Vineyard. In 1997, Waliser planted 18 acres of the Yellow Jacket and Waliser Vineyards in the stony soils west of Milton-Freewater on the Oregon side of Walla Walla.
Paul Gregutt notes, in Washington Wines, that after Christophe Baron of Cayuse, Waliser was one of the first growers to seriously plant in what is now known as the Rocks District.
A winery was started in 2001 and today Beresan produces around 3000 cases of wine from about 27 acres of vineyards. Tom Glase, a former assistant winemaker at L’Ecole 41, does the winemaking for Beresan in addition to the wines of Balboa–which merged with Beresan in 2017.
The Carménère is sourced from the Summit View Vineyard that is part of the Premiere Vineyards group that includes Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, Stone Valley, Candy Mountain and Mirage vineyards. First planted in 2009, Summit View is perched at an elevation of 1200 feet overlooking Seven Hills Vineyard. It is also managed by Waliser.
As I noted in Walla Walla Musings, The Figgins family of Leonetti are believed to be the first Washington producers to grow Carménère, planting cuttings sourced from Guenoc winery out of Lake County, California in their Mill Creek Upland vineyard in 1997.
Medium intensity nose. A mix of dark fruits that aren’t very defined and black pepper spice.
On the palate, those dark fruits get a little more defined as blackberry and blueberry. Some savory meatiness joins the pepper spice. Medium acidity and medium tannins contribute to a soft and silky mouthfeel. Moderate length finish.
At $30-35, you are unquestionably paying a premium for the novelty of Washington Carménère–as well as the premium Walla Walla vineyard sourcing.
This 2013 Beresan Carménère is certainly well made and giving pleasure but I can’t discount that there are Chilean Carménères and other Walla Walla reds that offer better value.