JANUARY 6, 1997
Woodinville wine earns high bid at auction
The amount of $16,000, the highest ever for a Washington wine, was successfully bid for one 8.0 liter Gold-engraved bottle of Delille Cellars 1994 Chaleur Estate Propietary Yakima Valley Red wine by Keith McCaw on Oct. 12 at the Patrons of Cystic Fibrosis Guild Auction.
Chaleur Estate was given a rating of "91" by The Wine Spectator for the previous vintage, and Paul Gregutt, wine critic for The Seattle Weekly, gave this 1994 vintage of Chaleur Estate "four plus" stars.
The 8.0 liter auction bottle was a commemorative "honoree" bottling for Cystic Fibrosis dedicated to Tom and Cathy O'Keefe, 1996 honorary auction chairs and owners of Tully's Coffee.
DeLille's winemaker, Chris Upchurch, said he believes in creating a broad palette of flavors using all of the tools at the winemaker's command: different Bordeaux grape varieties grown in different vineyards and aged in different styles of new French oak.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes are selected from specific vine rows, "hand-picked," and then hand sorted, with only the best berry clusters selected, Upchurch said.
Vineyard lots are kept separate and aged in up to five different types of 100% new barrels of French oak. Five months before bottling, Upchurch blends Chaleur Estate Red, and the flavors are allowed to "marry" in the barrel.