Two 2010s from McKinley Springs

Hello friends. New vintages of serious list favorites today: the latest round of releases from McKinley Springs Vineyard.

McKinley Springs is a list favorite because they provide consistently exceptional value. Growers first, they sell 99% of the fruit from their estate vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills (location here). Their winemaking operation is a relatively small part of the business and therefore has relatively low responsibility as a profit center. Prices stay low, and the wines fly off the shelf.

The McKinley Springs folks did hit a rough spell recently, as the Thanksgiving 2010 frost that swept across the state seemed to hit the Horse Heaven Hills worst of all. Very little, if any, fruit will come off the vineyard in 2011, so after these 2010s, it might be awhile before we see the 2012 vintage in bottle.

2010 McKinley Springs Syrah

This comes entirely from the estate vineyards, and it’s cofermented with 4% Viognier and aged for 18 months in 25% new oak. Only 248 cases released, so this is quite small-production.

It opens with McKinley’s signature combination of blueberry and espresso (James Mantone, who sources some of this Syrah fruit for Syncline, has specifically called out a portion of the vineyard as the “Espresso Block”), lifted by lovely white-flower topnotes, a flute-arpeggio courtesy of the Viognier coferment. The palate is full of blue fruit (blueberry, boysenberry), and caffeinated notes of brewed coffee and mocha. There’s the lovely ringing-bell purity and clarity of the 2010 vintage. Overall it’s a fine, well-crafted expression of this piece of Horse Heaven, and it continues to represent exceptional value for the tariff.

2010 McKinley Springs Cabernet Sauvignon

A combination of the old (1980-planted) block and the newer Block 17, this has 9% Petit Verdot in the blend as well, and spent 18 months in 33% new wood.

Aromatics of plum, dark chocolate, and golden raisin give way to a lovely little truffle of a Cabernet, something like a cherry cordial with its flavors of milk chocolate, black cherry, and mocha. Good, fine-grained tannins take over in mid-palate and power into a solidy-structured, chewy, black-tea tannin finish. The 13.5% alcohol is reflective of the cooler vintage, but there’s plenty of richness here, plenty of depth for this price point.

First come first served up to 120 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and both wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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