2015 La Lutte
Nothing worth doing comes without a struggle. This wine embodies the struggle of both vine and winemaker. For winemaker Ali, this wine was a turning point in her career. This was the first wine Ali made all on her own, working under no external restrictions and with no plan or purpose other than it being the best wine she could make. In the spirit of the White Burgundies she admires, the aim was to create a wine in the same vein: bold and rich with spirited minerality and perfect acid. “One of the things I love about fruit from the Columbia Gorge is that it’s very natural,” says Ali. “I often say these wines have ‘broad shoulders’ in that they can handle the impact of oak. The acids don’t absorb the tannins the way other Chardonnay fruit would so I don’t have to manipulate the fruit in any way -- it’s all natural.” La Lutte is the wine that brought Ali and Mike together as business partners -- the wine Mike calls “Ali’s fourth child” and the one he quickly realized was worth the extra effort and expense of making from a vineyard three hours from Walla Walla. So for us, the struggle was most definitely worth it. You see, sometimes the scariest things you do in life turn out to be the most rewarding.
Our team sat down together to taste wines and this was the one that shut everyone up – a pretty impressive feat with this crew. “I LOVE THIS WINE,” Ali finally shouted in a quiet whisper. “This is a Champion,” agreed Roman. “It has so much strength! This is ‘fireplace Chardonnay’: I could drink it Winter,” enthused Peter. And then, there was Moises. Moises does not say much because he’s always absorbed in the music streaming through his earbuds. In our entire tasting, this was the one wine he commented on: “If I had to describe this wine it would be old Jazz. I love deciphering each sound and where it lands and old Jazz has these complex layers of sound you can pick and choose from. Kind of like the flavors in this wine.” And Moises nailed it. There is a lot going on in this wine: it is complex, layered, delicate, and pretty. “It goes on forever and ever,” says Ali. “This is the best Chardonnay we have made to date...Though I’m afraid the 2017 might be even better.” Only 42 cases were produced so it will be gone before Summer even gets here. Stock up so you’re not struggling through the dog days – or fireplace Chardonnay season – without it.
***A special note: you may notice that the 2015 La Lutte is not a “new” release, being that it’s 2018, and you’re right. But a couple of years ago we noticed something beautiful happening with this wine and we decided to take advantage of it on your behalf. That something was, while we adored the 2014, holding it in bottle an additional year proved to be a chrysalis of sorts – allowing a stunning “baby Burgundy,” as Ali calls it, to morph into a more mature, even more spectacular, Chardonnay. So we decided to hold the vintages of La Lutte in bottle for an additional year. “It’s like we’re doing the aging for you,” says Ali. “This wine is really presenting at its best with a little extra time in bottle. And this is great because it’s what the style of the wine demands.” It’s the kind of struggle we all like to see play out so from now on, we’ll be giving these beauties all the time they need.
Columbia Gorge AVA