William Church Winery was founded by Rod and Leslie Balsley in 2005. The winery is named after Rod’s father William and the middle name of Leslie’s father, Church. Matt Loso, then of Matthews Estate was their first winemaker. Rod Balsley assumed winemaking responsibilities in 2008. Rod and Leslie are both actively involved in all aspects of the winery. Rod manages the day-to-day winemaking operations while Leslie manages the marketing and sales. The original William Church tasting room is in the Warehouse District of Woodinville and a second tasting room was recently opened in the Hollywood School House area. William Church currently produces approximately 2500 cases per year.
Rod and Leslie hosted myself and some close friends for a private tasting of their current releases last weekend. They were extremely gracious sharing the history of the winery with us while pouring their current releases paired with some exceptional hors d’oeuvres. What follows are Bottle Notes from a few of my favorite wines of the night. Act fast if you want to secure a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon.
2010 Bishop’s Blend – 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 24% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot and 5% Grenache. 14.9% ABV. Bright purple in color. Dark fruits and oak on the nose. Black cherries, cassis, violets and licorice on the palate. Rich in texture with a healthy dose of tannins. This is a food wine. Think burgers or pasta. $23 at the winery. My rating: 88 points.
2010 Syrah – The fruit is sourced from the iconic Red Willow Vineyard. Opaque purple in color. Savory aromas of game and cherries. Black fruits, meat, cherry, tar and a touch of mineral on the palate. The wine is rich and heady. This could use a year or two in the cellar. $32 at the winery. My rating: 90 points.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – Dark purple in color. 14.3% ABV. The sweet fruit on this wine just explodes out of the glass. Cherries, currants, spice, flowers. Silky tannins and an exquisitely long finish. $38 at the winery. My rating: 91 points.
William Church has everything I look for in a winery. The wines are well made, fairly priced and you can’t help but like the passion that Rod and Leslie put into the winery. Put William Church on your short list when you next visit Woodinville.
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