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New Orleans, LA, 70119
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swirl and savor

Andrew Rich, Innovation in the Pacific Northwest

Beth Ribblett

Like most of us in the wine industry, Andrew Rich had a former career. Needing a change from the hectic pace his life had taken on as a successful magazine editor, he decided to follow his passions and learn how to make wine.  Andrew trained in Burgundy, and afterwards his love of Rhone varieties led him to Randall Graham of Bonny Doon where he worked for five vintages.

A connection with another Oregon winemaker brought him north where he decided to start his own label, Andrew Rich Vintner in 1994. He quickly became a noted pioneer at creating Rhone-driven wines with a Northwest spin and works with some of the most respected vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington. With 20 years experience behind him, he has access to choice fruit and his his highly regarded Syrahs and his Coup D'Etat (Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes to Washington!) are a testament to his success.   And with his base in Carlton Oregon, he makes really delicious Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley too!

Dinner w/Andrew @ Cuvee
Andrew produces his wine at the state-of-the-art Carlton Winemaker's Studio, the nation's first "green" cooperative winemaking facility, which is where James Moises currently makes his wine and hence the connection between the two. James introduced us to Andrew when we visited in 2012 and the most recent meeting included a wine dinner that I arranged for our group of New Orleans travelers as part of our Artisan Oregon wine and culinary tour of the Willamette Valley.

We are excited to have him in the shop this week to host our Wednesday Nite Flites where we'll be showing a range of wines from a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and 3 of his Washington State wines!  The tasting is part of our Wednesday Nite Flite Series and is $15.  You can book your spot here:  Andrew Rich

2010 Andrew Rich Wines Pinot Noir The Knife Edge Willamette Valley
Bright ruby-red.  Intense black raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by notes of smoked meat, licorice and dried flowers.  Smooth and succulent on the palate, offering powerful dark berry and bitter chocolate flavors and a touch of candied rose.  Finishes on a smoky note, with slow-building tannins, a jolt of peppery spices and very good length. ST 91pts, RP 91pts, $50

2011 Andrew Rich Wines Roussanne Columbia Valley
Bright, full yellow.  Musky aromas of pear, apple, honey and nuts.  Broad, dry and pliant, with good definition to the flavors of apple, menthol and flowers.  Nicely done, rather suave roussanne with a firm finish. ST 88pts, $22

2009 Andrew Rich Wines Mesalliance Red Wine Columbia Valley
(48% merlot, 24% cabernet franc, 20% syrah and 8% malbec):  Bright medium ruby.  Slightly candied aromas of black cherry liqueur, licorice, bitter chocolate and violet.  Sweet and smooth but a bit youthfully stunted; not a thick wine but densely packed and fine-grained, with firm acidity keeping the dark berry flavors under wraps today.  Finishes with firm, suave tannins and good subtle length.  I'd hold this for two or three years before pulling the cork. ST 90, $24

2010 Andrew Rich Wines Cabernet Franc Red Willow
Its Burgundy-shaped bottle hinting at a possible kinship with Loire exemplars that is borne out in the glass, Andrew Rich’s 2010 Cabernet Franc Red Willow – from two-decade-old vines on this iconic property – leads with scents of dark cherry, beet root, and fennel, which re-merge in the context of an infectiously juicy palate that utterly believes its (per the label, anyway) 14.1% alcohol. Positively herbal, subtly bitter and saline notes of sea oats, dried herbs, walnut, maple syrup and dark chocolate add interest en route to a succulently lingering finish tinged with saliva-liberating salinity. There is a fine diffusion of tannin that, along with the wine’s reservoir of primary juiciness, likely guarantees that its fascinations will persist for at least 3-5 years in bottle. RP 90pts, $27