Hello friends. Christopher Chan is the latest of the Seattle sommelier set to jump into the winemaking game, and today we have his first set of releases under his Coral Wines label. You may remember that I appeared on Christopher’s Happy Hour Radio program a few months ago, where I tasted (and liked) these wines. In addition to his radio program, Christopher is also the Executive Director of the Seattle Wine Awards and was the long-time sommelier at the Rainier Club. This breadth of experience has given him terrific grape- and juice-sourcing connections, which you’ll see as we dive into these wines.
Red Coral is a fine example, as this is declassified juice from Jon Meuret at Maison Bleue. My understanding is that the agreement with Jon was only for one vintage, so this is likely a one-and-done deal, but my what a fine deal it is: a GSM blend (56% Grenache/30% Syrah/14% Mourvedre) from outstanding vineyards (Boushey, Olsen and Minick in the Yakima Valley; Pepper Bridge and Riviere Galets in the Walla Walla Valley) for a low-$20s tag.
The wine was raised entirely in neutral French oak for a year, and it clocks in at 14.5% listed alc. The nose offers a terrific wild brambly character, with more than a hint of the sauvage. There is deep berry fruit, plenty of hot-rock mineral character, and lovely sagebrush subtleties. Texturally, this is a charming mid-weight, offering a combination of bright/juicy fruit and plenty of fleshy depth. It’s soft and easy, gluggable for sure, but with enough flavor complexity and sneaky mineral character to give you pause. List members who remember, love, and miss the old Jaja bottlings from Maison Bleue might be intrigued by this one.
This white is again declass juice from Jon Meuret, and again it’s a one-vintage-and-done deal. The blend here is 37% Marsanne, 27% Viognier, 24% Grenache Blanc, and 12% Roussanne. The trio of vineyard sources is outstanding: Boushey, Olsen, and Arthur’s. This went through full malolactic fermentation and saw regular battonage (lees-stirring) to plump up the texture. It was raised entirely in neutral French oak and clocks in at 14.2% listed alc.
The nose is complex and alluring: peach pit, pear, almond, honey, chalk. In the mouth, the results of battonage are readily apparent in the plump leesy mid-palate. Just lovely, and a fine balance point for the citrusy acid spine and the rich ripe stone fruit. These White Rhone blends in Washington can be really successful, but they often come in with prices closer to $30. This is a fine opportunity to try this style at a considerably lower tag.
This rosé is different from the first two. It isn’t declassified juice, but was instead picked and made specifically for Christopher. It’s Mourvedre-dominant, at 85% of the blend, with a 15% dash of Cinsault. Listed alc is 13.9%. The Mourvedre comes entirely from Blackrock Vineyard, which astute list members might recognize as the vineyard source for Tranche’s Pink Pape rosé.
It’s a lovely vineyard for rosé, and Mourvedre is a really wonderful variety for rosé, giving a terrific exotic spice character to its pinks. In this case, it’s a star anise note to pair with strawberry and green grape fruit and lovely green tones of tarragon and cucumber. Bright and lively, spicy and minerally, this is a wonderful mid-summer rosé.
First come first served up to 36 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and the wines should arrive in the next few weeks, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.