BOX05

Raising the Glass: Barrister

Three fine selections from one exciting winery | $105

Our relationship with Barrister started before we knew about it. “That’s a story I don’t think I’m allowed to tell,” says co-founder Greg Lipsker. In short, two guys with a hobby but no winery got their hands on a barrel of our Bacchus block 3 Cabernet Sauvignon. That’s old vine Cabernet (est. 1972), and enjoys relatively high-demand from Washington’s preeminent winemakers. So how did a barrel end up in a garage wine experiment? Ask them when you visit their Spokane, WA tasting room—tell them we sent you.

The story’s conclusion is that they made a spectacular bottle from those renegade grapes, which further stoked a fire to leave their attorney jobs behind and follow the wine dream. That was twenty years ago. Since then, Barrister co-founders Greg Lipsker and Michael White consistently sell out of their award-winning wines, and we’re thrilled to have access today to three of the bottlings they produce from our vineyards.


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  • 2014

    Cabernet Franc
    Barrister "Columbia Valley"

  • 2014

    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Barrister "Bacchus Vineyard"

  • 2014

    Syrah
    Barrister "Bacchus Vineyard"

Vintage Story

“Cabernet Franc was the first wine we ever made,” says Greg Lipsker, co-founder and co-winemaker at Barrister Winery. “Our second, third, and fourth vintages won major competitions, including one international. It put a tiny dot like us on the map.” [Editor’s note: Sagemoor fruit wasn’t part of Barrister’s Cabernet Franc until the fourth vintage.]

Kent, our Director of Vineyard Ops recalls, “When Greg and I first met in 2002, not a lot of winemakers cared about Cab Franc besides for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. In those early days, Barrister was leading the way with that grape.” The good news was we loved Cab Franc. It’s a hearty, resilient grape. It grows quite differently at our various sites. Its flavor profiles can swing wildly from rhubarb to asphalt. We love an interesting grape and we had very specific techniques for this one. Then someone wanted to chat about our geeky agriculture experiments. We were fast friends.

Barrister currently works with eight grapes to make 13 wines, about 200-400 cases each. The Cab Franc has taken on a life of its own, however, making up a full 20% of their production. “We love everything about Cab Franc. The soft tannins, the lingering mouthfeel,” Greg tells us.

Wine Enthusiast gave this effort 92 points, calling it “impressive stuff” and noting the “lovely sense of balance and texture, with an extended finish.”

They aren’t the only ones who love it. Wine Enthusiast gave this 2014 Cab Franc 92 points, calling it “impressive stuff” and noting the “lovely sense of balance and texture, with an extended finish.” It brought home Gold from the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. At the 2017 Washington Wine Competition it was named Best of Class.

We tried this bottle over the course of three days. Day one opens up with plush, fruit-forward flavors of blueberry and dark cherry, balanced on the back palate with an edge of earth and a hit of mint. On the second day, berry notes retain their dominance, but a warm spice is in the mix. On day three, that velvety mouthfeel is still alive and well. The fruit has taken one small step to the side, warm spices have a greater presence. We’d forgive any wine for some oxidation after three days open, and yet this Barrister Cab Franc has not a trace.

To borrow a line from Wine Enthusiast, impressive stuff.

details

BOTTLE NOTES

WINERY
Barrister Winery

WINEMAKER
Greg Lipsker
Michael White
Tyler Walters

APPELLATION
Columbia Valley

VINEYARDS
Bacchus, Weinbau, Seven Hills

BLEND
75% Cabernet Franc
25% Cabernet Sauvignon

ALCOHOL
14.8%

PRODUCTION NOTES

Harvest Date
Cabernet Franc, Bacchus block 2, 9-18
Cabernet Franc, Weinbau block 13, 10-21
Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacchus block 9, 10-17

TASTING NOTES

From the winery: Deep ruby in color with a rich velvety texture, this wine has a soft mouthfeel, gentle tannins and a graceful, lingering finish. Hints of black cherry and warm spice on the nose with favors of dark fruit, blueberries and cocoa.

From the vineyard crew: We tried this bottle over the course of three days. Day one opens up with plush, fruit-forward flavors of blueberry and dark cherry, balanced on the back palate with an edge of earth and a hit of mint. On the second day, berry notes retain their dominance, but a warm spice is in the mix. On day three, that velvety mouthfeel is still alive and well. The fruit has taken one small step to the side, warm spices have a greater presence.

ACCOLADES

92 points, Wine Enthusiast
Best of Class, 2017 Washington Wine Competition
Gold Medal, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Vintage Story

If you’ve followed our social feeds (Facebook, Instagram) for any length of time, you know how much we adore Bacchus block 9. Home to original 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon plantings, the highest elevation in the vineyard, and one very out-of-place, giant lump of granite left behind many thousands of years ago by the Missoula Floods, we love so much about this block.

The very vines that bend around our beautiful, mind-boggling granite deposit make up the majority of this bottle. “Our club members are so committed and passionate about our wines from Bacchus,” co-founder Greg Lipsker tells us. “We take a busload to visit every year. Walking the big granite mound, tasting the grapes on the vines while drinking those vines from a glass—it’s a great experience.”

But you need not be on location to appreciate the joy the block in this bottle delivers.

This is a lush, earthy, fruit-forward, balanced, polished Cabernet. It’s a velveteen mouthful with the just-right amount of grip. In other words, typical Barrister.

This is a neighborly blend. 90% old vine Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah grown near each other Bacchus. And the brilliant inclusion of 5% Petit Verdot from next door neighbor, Dionysus.

Cabernet Sauvignon leads the way with cherry, chocolate, and espresso notes alongside Barrister’s signature soft, mouth-coating tannins. A touch of Syrah brings acidity and rich earthiness. That Petit Verdot from Dionysus—such a special grape, and the Barrister men prove their great instincts by including it in this blend—imparts dark color, licorice, slight tannin, and some extra muscle. To sum up, this is a lush, earthy, fruit-forward, balanced, polished Cabernet. It’s a velveteen mouthful with the just-right amount of grip.

In other words, typical Barrister.

details

BOTTLE NOTES

WINERY
Barrister Winery

WINEMAKER
Greg Lipsker
Michael White
Tyler Walters

APPELLATION
Columbia Valley

VINEYARDS
Bacchus, Dionysus

BLEND
90% Cabernet Sauvignon
5% Syrah
5% Petit Verdot

ALCOHOL
15.2%

PRODUCTION NOTES

Harvest Date
Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacchus block 9, 10-17
Syrah, Bacchus block 5a, 9-11
Petit Verdot, Dionysus block 13b, 9-25

TASTING NOTES

From the winery: Old vines grace this elegant, deeply colored Cabernet Sauvignon with a complex nose of toasted oak, maple and blackberries. The rich, soft mouthfeel exhibits subtle notes of dark fruit, figs and molasses. The wine finishes with a lingering hint of sweetness, reminiscent of black currants and mocha truffles.

From the vineyard crew: Cabernet leads the way with cherry, chocolate, and espresso notes alongside Barrister’s signature soft, mouth-coating tannins. A touch of Syrah brings acidity and rich earthiness. Petit Verdot from Dionysus imparts dark color, licorice, slight tannin, and some extra muscle. This is a lush, earthy, fruit-forward, balanced, polished Cabernet. It’s a velveteen mouthful with the just-right amount of grip.

ACCOLADES

Vintage Story

Syrah’s can-do attitude is a good match for Washington state’s climate and soils. It’s a fun grape to grow—at once steadfast and malleable, plays well with any water or shade experiments we might try. It’s a terrific grape for single-varietal blending. Blend together clusters from a few different sites and watch the magic unfold. But what excites us the most is when a winemaker really digs into one specific site, exploring what those exact grapes from that exact terroir have to offer.

We were thrilled when Barrister chose to zoom in on Bacchus Syrah. Guys with a years-long run of releasing crave-worthy, single-varietal bottles turning their attention to Bacchus’s block 5 Syrah was, for us, like this: Yesssss.

“Their winemaking style and philosophy complement our growing style,” Kent explains. “We aim to grow every grape to the fullest expression of its particular vineyard location. Barrister has figured out a way to dive deep into that expression, coaxing it all the way out.”

Kent is quick to add, “It’s not just the block shining through in this bottle, there’s a real winemaking talent there, driving the complexity of this wine.”

We aim to grow every grape to the fullest expression of its particular vineyard location. Barrister has figured out a way to dive deep into that expression, coaxing it all the way out.

And complex it is. Rich, dark fruit jumps from the glass right away, opening up to make way for subtle coffee and smoke. There’s a delicate spice throughout the mouth, “We like Hungarian oak for that spice” co-owner Greg Lipsker tell us. This bottling is majority French oak (68%), but they did include 16% Hungarian oak in the effort (half new, half used). This 2014 Syrah is fragrant and muscular, a sip coats your whole mouth, but in true Barrister fashion, it slips softly away, leaving a little bit of pucker and a lot of mouth-watering in its wake.

These guys love making wine and it shows in the bottle. “It’s a hobby that’s spun totally out of control,” Greg says. “We couldn’t be happier.”

details

BOTTLE NOTES

WINERY
Barrister Winery

WINEMAKER
Greg Lipsker
Michael White
Tyler Walters

APPELLATION
Columbia Valley

VINEYARDS
Bacchus

BLEND
95% Syrah
5% Cabernet Sauvignon

ALCOHOL
15.9%

PRODUCTION NOTES

Harvest Date
Syrah, Bacchus block 5a, 9-11
Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacchus block 9, 10-17

TASTING NOTES

From the winery: This velvety smooth Syrah has aroma notes of espresso, plums and black cherry overlain with a smoky spiciness from a touch of Hungarian oak. Aromatic and polished, this wine has a silky texture with a candied sweetness on the palate. Gently coating the roof of the mouth, the wine gives way to a soft, lingering and seductive finish.

From the vineyard crew: Rich, dark fruit jumps from the glass right away, opening up to make way for subtle coffee and smoke. There’s a delicate spice throughout. Fragrant and muscular, a sip coats your whole mouth, but in true Barrister fashion, it slips softly away, leaving a little bit of pucker and a lot of mouth-watering in its wake.

ACCOLADES

  • 2014

    Cabernet Franc
    Barrister "Columbia Valley"

Vintage Story

“Cabernet Franc was the first wine we ever made,” says Greg Lipsker, co-founder and co-winemaker at Barrister Winery. “Our second, third, and fourth vintages won major competitions, including one international. It put a tiny dot like us on the map.” [Editor’s note: Sagemoor fruit wasn’t part of Barrister’s Cabernet Franc until the fourth vintage.]

Kent, our Director of Vineyard Ops recalls, “When Greg and I first met in 2002, not a lot of winemakers cared about Cab Franc besides for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. In those early days, Barrister was leading the way with that grape.” The good news was we loved Cab Franc. It’s a hearty, resilient grape. It grows quite differently at our various sites. Its flavor profiles can swing wildly from rhubarb to asphalt. We love an interesting grape and we had very specific techniques for this one. Then someone wanted to chat about our geeky agriculture experiments. We were fast friends.

Barrister currently works with eight grapes to make 13 wines, about 200-400 cases each. The Cab Franc has taken on a life of its own, however, making up a full 20% of their production. “We love everything about Cab Franc. The soft tannins, the lingering mouthfeel,” Greg tells us.

Wine Enthusiast gave this effort 92 points, calling it “impressive stuff” and noting the “lovely sense of balance and texture, with an extended finish.”

They aren’t the only ones who love it. Wine Enthusiast gave this 2014 Cab Franc 92 points, calling it “impressive stuff” and noting the “lovely sense of balance and texture, with an extended finish.” It brought home Gold from the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. At the 2017 Washington Wine Competition it was named Best of Class.

We tried this bottle over the course of three days. Day one opens up with plush, fruit-forward flavors of blueberry and dark cherry, balanced on the back palate with an edge of earth and a hit of mint. On the second day, berry notes retain their dominance, but a warm spice is in the mix. On day three, that velvety mouthfeel is still alive and well. The fruit has taken one small step to the side, warm spices have a greater presence. We’d forgive any wine for some oxidation after three days open, and yet this Barrister Cab Franc has not a trace.

To borrow a line from Wine Enthusiast, impressive stuff.

details

BOTTLE NOTES

WINERY
Barrister Winery

WINEMAKER
Greg Lipsker
Michael White
Tyler Walters

APPELLATION
Columbia Valley

VINEYARDS
Bacchus, Weinbau, Seven Hills

BLEND
75% Cabernet Franc
25% Cabernet Sauvignon

ALCOHOL
14.8%

PRODUCTION NOTES

Harvest Date
Cabernet Franc, Bacchus block 2, 9-18
Cabernet Franc, Weinbau block 13, 10-21
Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacchus block 9, 10-17

TASTING NOTES

From the winery: Deep ruby in color with a rich velvety texture, this wine has a soft mouthfeel, gentle tannins and a graceful, lingering finish. Hints of black cherry and warm spice on the nose with favors of dark fruit, blueberries and cocoa.

From the vineyard crew: We tried this bottle over the course of three days. Day one opens up with plush, fruit-forward flavors of blueberry and dark cherry, balanced on the back palate with an edge of earth and a hit of mint. On the second day, berry notes retain their dominance, but a warm spice is in the mix. On day three, that velvety mouthfeel is still alive and well. The fruit has taken one small step to the side, warm spices have a greater presence.

ACCOLADES

92 points, Wine Enthusiast
Best of Class, 2017 Washington Wine Competition
Gold Medal, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

  • 2014

    Cabernet Sauvignon
    Barrister "Bacchus Vineyard"

Vintage Story

If you’ve followed our social feeds (Facebook, Instagram) for any length of time, you know how much we adore Bacchus block 9. Home to original 1972 Cabernet Sauvignon plantings, the highest elevation in the vineyard, and one very out-of-place, giant lump of granite left behind many thousands of years ago by the Missoula Floods, we love so much about this block.

The very vines that bend around our beautiful, mind-boggling granite deposit make up the majority of this bottle. “Our club members are so committed and passionate about our wines from Bacchus,” co-founder Greg Lipsker tells us. “We take a busload to visit every year. Walking the big granite mound, tasting the grapes on the vines while drinking those vines from a glass—it’s a great experience.”

But you need not be on location to appreciate the joy the block in this bottle delivers.

This is a lush, earthy, fruit-forward, balanced, polished Cabernet. It’s a velveteen mouthful with the just-right amount of grip. In other words, typical Barrister.

This is a neighborly blend. 90% old vine Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Syrah grown near each other Bacchus. And the brilliant inclusion of 5% Petit Verdot from next door neighbor, Dionysus.

Cabernet Sauvignon leads the way with cherry, chocolate, and espresso notes alongside Barrister’s signature soft, mouth-coating tannins. A touch of Syrah brings acidity and rich earthiness. That Petit Verdot from Dionysus—such a special grape, and the Barrister men prove their great instincts by including it in this blend—imparts dark color, licorice, slight tannin, and some extra muscle. To sum up, this is a lush, earthy, fruit-forward, balanced, polished Cabernet. It’s a velveteen mouthful with the just-right amount of grip.

In other words, typical Barrister.

details

BOTTLE NOTES

WINERY
Barrister Winery

WINEMAKER
Greg Lipsker
Michael White
Tyler Walters

APPELLATION
Columbia Valley

VINEYARDS
Bacchus, Dionysus

BLEND
90% Cabernet Sauvignon
5% Syrah
5% Petit Verdot

ALCOHOL
15.2%

PRODUCTION NOTES

Harvest Date
Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacchus block 9, 10-17
Syrah, Bacchus block 5a, 9-11
Petit Verdot, Dionysus block 13b, 9-25

TASTING NOTES

From the winery: Old vines grace this elegant, deeply colored Cabernet Sauvignon with a complex nose of toasted oak, maple and blackberries. The rich, soft mouthfeel exhibits subtle notes of dark fruit, figs and molasses. The wine finishes with a lingering hint of sweetness, reminiscent of black currants and mocha truffles.

From the vineyard crew: Cabernet leads the way with cherry, chocolate, and espresso notes alongside Barrister’s signature soft, mouth-coating tannins. A touch of Syrah brings acidity and rich earthiness. Petit Verdot from Dionysus imparts dark color, licorice, slight tannin, and some extra muscle. This is a lush, earthy, fruit-forward, balanced, polished Cabernet. It’s a velveteen mouthful with the just-right amount of grip.

ACCOLADES

  • 2014

    Syrah
    Barrister "Bacchus Vineyard"

Vintage Story

Syrah’s can-do attitude is a good match for Washington state’s climate and soils. It’s a fun grape to grow—at once steadfast and malleable, plays well with any water or shade experiments we might try. It’s a terrific grape for single-varietal blending. Blend together clusters from a few different sites and watch the magic unfold. But what excites us the most is when a winemaker really digs into one specific site, exploring what those exact grapes from that exact terroir have to offer.

We were thrilled when Barrister chose to zoom in on Bacchus Syrah. Guys with a years-long run of releasing crave-worthy, single-varietal bottles turning their attention to Bacchus’s block 5 Syrah was, for us, like this: Yesssss.

“Their winemaking style and philosophy complement our growing style,” Kent explains. “We aim to grow every grape to the fullest expression of its particular vineyard location. Barrister has figured out a way to dive deep into that expression, coaxing it all the way out.”

Kent is quick to add, “It’s not just the block shining through in this bottle, there’s a real winemaking talent there, driving the complexity of this wine.”

We aim to grow every grape to the fullest expression of its particular vineyard location. Barrister has figured out a way to dive deep into that expression, coaxing it all the way out.

And complex it is. Rich, dark fruit jumps from the glass right away, opening up to make way for subtle coffee and smoke. There’s a delicate spice throughout the mouth, “We like Hungarian oak for that spice” co-owner Greg Lipsker tell us. This bottling is majority French oak (68%), but they did include 16% Hungarian oak in the effort (half new, half used). This 2014 Syrah is fragrant and muscular, a sip coats your whole mouth, but in true Barrister fashion, it slips softly away, leaving a little bit of pucker and a lot of mouth-watering in its wake.

These guys love making wine and it shows in the bottle. “It’s a hobby that’s spun totally out of control,” Greg says. “We couldn’t be happier.”

details

BOTTLE NOTES

WINERY
Barrister Winery

WINEMAKER
Greg Lipsker
Michael White
Tyler Walters

APPELLATION
Columbia Valley

VINEYARDS
Bacchus

BLEND
95% Syrah
5% Cabernet Sauvignon

ALCOHOL
15.9%

PRODUCTION NOTES

Harvest Date
Syrah, Bacchus block 5a, 9-11
Cabernet Sauvignon, Bacchus block 9, 10-17

TASTING NOTES

From the winery: This velvety smooth Syrah has aroma notes of espresso, plums and black cherry overlain with a smoky spiciness from a touch of Hungarian oak. Aromatic and polished, this wine has a silky texture with a candied sweetness on the palate. Gently coating the roof of the mouth, the wine gives way to a soft, lingering and seductive finish.

From the vineyard crew: Rich, dark fruit jumps from the glass right away, opening up to make way for subtle coffee and smoke. There’s a delicate spice throughout. Fragrant and muscular, a sip coats your whole mouth, but in true Barrister fashion, it slips softly away, leaving a little bit of pucker and a lot of mouth-watering in its wake.

ACCOLADES

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