2013 Big Sissy Chardonnay – This is a 100% Chardonnay that is sourced from the Connor Lee Vineyard and aged for nine months in 100% new French oak. This is a big bold Chardonnay. The color is yellow to gold. As is to be expected based on the amount of new oak used, there is buttery popcorn both on the nose and on the palate. On the nose, there is also some apples, pears, and apricots. There is a tiny spice component to this wine. On the palate, this wine is luscious and very rich with a creamy texture. The wine seems quite ripe. There is some acidity although I would argue that it could use a bit more. That would have it a better balance, in my opinion. Back to the palate, there is some apple, some stone fruit, and some lemon. The finish is of a good length.
2014 42 39 56 – This is my go-to wine for the summer. It is readily available in Seattle and not overly sweet like some of the other roses available. Both on the nose and on the palate, this wine definitely has some strawberry. There is also good acidity. I think that the balance between sweetness and acidity is much better in this wine than in the 2013. Overall, this is a beautiful wine and I would not hesitate to purchase this if it is available near you!
2011 The Bully – This is definitely not the best example of Gorman’s Bully. The 2010 was much better. This wine, to me, seems unbalanced. There is an earthiness to this wine that I cannot usually find in many other Washington State wines. There is a heavy use of oak in this example and it masks a lot of the fruit. The fruits are dark fruits, which can be found after a short while in the glass. If you have some of this wine, I would recommend holding onto it for another couple of years to let it integrate.
2011 The Pixie – As some of you may know, I am not a huge fan of Syrah. That being said, some of the WA State Syrahs are starting to grow on me. There are hints of dark chocolate and coffee on the nose. I also get some smokiness from this wine. There are hints of savory herbs (think maybe some mint). Personally, I find this wine quite heavy. It gives a warm feeling while drinking it. This I have found, as stated above, is a characteristic of Gorman Winery wines. In terms of fruits, there are definitely some darker fruits (maybe stewed here) such as dark cherries and maybe some figs. Overall, this is a well-made wine. Just not my cup of tea.
2012 Zachary’s Ladder – Unfortunately, I did not write any tasting notes on this wine. I find that this wine is “rough.” I tend not to be a fan of blends with a large amount of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon mixed together. If I had to choose an entry level Gorman wine, I would prefer to go with the Devil You Know, which is better in my opinion. For those who like Syrah, you could also consider the Devil You Don’t Know. However, these two wines tend to sell out quickly so if you find them, you should not hesitate to give them a try before they run out!
2011 The Evil Twin – This is, again, not a favorite of mine. The blend on this wine is 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. The fact that I am not of fan of this particular wine, though, does not in no way imply that this is not a quality wine. I can appreciate the quality. This is a wine that I would characterize as being “glass staining.” It is very dark and purple. There are some dark fruits on the nose and palate, mostly dark cherry and plum. There is also some smokiness to this wine, as one would expect from Syrah. There are also some chocolate notes, some spice, some earth, and maybe a bit of minerality. Again, like most other Gorman wines, this is a heart-warming wine. This is a wine that I would enjoy drinking on a very cold winter night. This wine is definitely full-bodied, with good acidity, and medium round tannins.
2011 The Albatross – This is my favorite wine from the entire Gorman lineup. In some years, I would argue that The Bully is like its little brother. However, there is something about this wine that just keeps me coming back for more. Every year, I tell myself that I will not continue to buy it because of its price. That is, until I taste it at the winery. At that point, I remember that this wine is special and unlike anything I purchase from Washington State. It has the typical Gorman style with a little something that makes it, to me, irresistible. To be fair though, the 2011 is my least favorite of all the years that I have been tasting (since 2009). This has the typical characteristics of a Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. It has plenty of dark fruits (some blueberry and black currant), a good amount of minerality, some earth, a bit of smokiness, some spice, and some tar as well. It is full-bodied with some good acidity and round tannins. Overall, this wine has a good balance and a very long finish. As I said before, this is a definite buy for me. Such a lovely expression of what Red Mountain fruit can give.