I was in Yakima in October and I had a chance to visit a few of the downtown wineries, I visited three: Kana Winery, Gilbert Cellars, and Plaza Socievole - and enjoyed them all. All three wineries make phenomenal reds, but I want to focus on Kana Winery because their white wine really stood head and shoulders above the competition. Kana Winery also make excellent red wine; in particular, the Dark Star and Scarlet Fire are excellent Rhone style blends showing the complexity and depth that we have come to expect from Yakima Valley. The Syrah from Plaza Socievole was a classic - and very well done - Yakima Valley Syrah and the Syrah, Malbec, and Allobroges over at Gilbert Cellars were brilliant wines.
No one in the Yakma city limits is making white wine like they are at Kana Winery. As more Washington wineries make Rousanne-based wines, those who appreciate a nuanced white wine are reaping the rewards. The nuances and subtleties are present - in spades - in the white wine made at Kana Winery, particularly in the Cuvée Blanche ($18) and The Masterpiece($20). I took home a bottle of the Cuvée Blanche and opened it up to go with Shrimp Fra Diavolo. Normally, I'd be hesitant about a white wine standing up to such an array of flavors, but the Cuvée Blanche was more than up to the task.
The Cuvée Blanche has a complex nose of rose hips, hibiscus and orange peel. The palate brings out a chalky minerality, lemon grass and chamomile (though Gwynne disagreed on this point). There's no question that the Cuvée Blanche stood up to the Fra Diavolo, but some of the light subtelties suggested it would be equally amazing with a salad with baby greens, ribbons of Parmesan and marcona almonds. There is no question that this is a wine capable of meeting any challenge - and just as good by itself as it is with food.
You still find a strange dichotomy in wine drinkers: those who do not drink one or another "color" of wine. People who will tell you that they are only white wine drinkers or red wine drinkers. I have a difficult time understanding the delineation. Often times white wine drinkers cite a heightened sensitivity to sulfites. Some red wine drinkers eschew white wine for its lack of complexity or their experience with sweeter whites like Riesling or Pinot Gris. For those of you in that camp, I have news for you: Washington winemakers are doing some amazing things with white wine blends. Don't let your preconceptions get in the way of tasting some amazing wines.
If you're looking for a white wine experience that will make you glad you read this blog, get your hands on the Cuvée Blanche or the Masterpiece from Kana Winery, any white wine made by Delille Cellars, or the Oriana, a white blend from Brian Carter Cellars.