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For the Love of White Wine

By Matt Reilly

In my early days of drinking and appreciating wine, I was primarily interested in tasting only red wines. Looking back now, I would kick the old me. As I engaged more deeply with wine, enjoyed countless more tastings, and joined the wine industry myself, there was a noticeable evolution in my palate. I craved the vibrancy and energy of a well-made white wine.

It is often not understood that making great white wine is an arduous process. I don't remember the exact setting, but it was once said to me, "You judge the quality and skill of a winemaker by their white wine." This is a perspective that we at Prospice often share with customers in our tasting room. There is little to hide behind in a glass of white wine. Extreme attention to detail is required at every step of the process and a lapse can greatly diminish the quality of the finished wine. We embrace this challenge and have found white wine production to be one of our favorite parts of each vintage.

One of our mantras at the winery is, "No B.S., no pretension." This is important to us because the world of wine can often feel intimidating to a novice or casual wine drinker. Snooty, pinky-out attitudes and judgment from "experts" because you don't taste the same qualities or appreciate the same wines they do only inhibits the growth and success of the wine industry. The reality is this: while wine is often a communal experience, your enjoyment and journey through wine is, at its heart, a deeply personal process. We all taste, perceive, and appreciate wines in different ways and that experience shouldn't be diminished by anyone else, expert or otherwise.

On my personal journey through wine, I have explored an array of styles, expressions, and regions. My current interests are largely focused on two things: Champagne, and Chenin Blanc from France's Loire Valley. I have been on a big Champagne kick for about 3 years and have had a love affair with Chenin Blanc for the last year. Both offer a diverse range of styles, which is fun, but my favorite expressions are wines with moderate to high acid, moderate to low alcohol, and an array of textural qualities that begin to speak to the terroir and tenets of each producer - and there are a wealth of such wines in both Champagne and the Loire Valley. In an industry that is largely dominated by red wine, these beautiful white wines with balanced and vibrant acidity can be a breath of fresh air. And these wines are versatile, as both Champagne and Loire Valley Chenin Blanc adapt well to a wide array of situations: a 100 degree summer day or a 10 degree winter night, food or no food, long time wine connoisseur or first-time taster. I struggle to think of a scenario in which I wouldn't enjoy a bottle of either.

Given my enthusiasm, it is perhaps surprising that at Prospice we do not (currently) produce any sparkling wine or Chenin Blanc. Perhaps that is why they are such a focus at this stage of my journey through wine - they are different, fresh, and keep my mind and palate guessing. Maybe they will find their way into a future Prospice wine club exclusive bottling? I never say never! For now, we look forward to the coming harvest and prepare to embrace the challenge of making great white wines once again.

September 2022


Co-founders and Winemakers Jay Krutulis and Matt Reilly (photo) met in Walla Walla Community College's Stan Clarke Vineyard (Jay was a lawyer and Matt an architect) and soon realized they had the same vision for winemaking. They worked together in the College's winery and vineyards and started talking about founding their own winery. It happened in the summer of 2017 and they continue to be focused on making balanced, elegant wines using modern scientific research, analyses and data, and minimizing the use of manipulative techniques. Each wine is unique.

 

Prospice Wines
145 E Curtis Ave
Walla Walla, WA 99362
509-204-3184

www.prospice.wine


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