Episode #26 Trio Vintners Walla Walla

Climate. Soil. Fruit. Walla Walla is home to this trifecta of wine perfection. Trio Vintners is a trio of wine makers coming together with a common purpose of pursuing their passion, pursuing continued education(in Enology and Viticulture) and emphasizing the region of Wallula Gap. The result is wine with structure, character, and flavor (a trio of perfection).

I received a trio of wines from Trio Vintners, but I chose to save the third (a red blend) for another review with other quality Washington Rhone style blends. Wine makers Steve Michener, Denise Slattery, and Tim Boushey each has their hand in the process from sourcing to marketing. The trio works their magic with only 1200 cases per year of Riesling, Rhone Blend, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Carménère, Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Syrah. The prices range from $16 – $30 respectively.

Before I get into the NectarView, I want to provide a little background on these two grapes for those who have yet to experience their joys.


History buffs vary on Carménère’s past but most point to the Bordeaux region of France as its main original stomping grounds. One of the original six Bordeaux blend grapes, Carménère is now rarely found in France. Benefiting from the long growing season for optimal ripening, Carménère’s prominence is in Chile. American Carménère is grown in Walla Walla and regions of California. Mostly used as a blending grape to soften a wine and add an earthy fruit. The pure varietal will showcase a nice smoky cherry that is crimson in color and very smooth in flavor.


Spain’s noble grape, Tempranillo is often bottled with Granache or Syrah. Tempranillo is very susceptible to weather changes and imparts qualities of the soil. Blending with Granache or Syrah tends to add balance and acidity. Tempranillo benefits from hot days and cool nights and tends to have plum, leather, vanilla and herb flavors.



The NectarView 

2007 Carménère Walla Walla Valley

  • The Stuff: 95% Single vineyard Carménère; 5% Single vineyard Sangiovese, from Walla Walla and Yakima Valley respectively. Only 46 cases produced.
  • The Swirl: Beautiful dark Garnet jewel tones
  • The Sniff: Mild aromas of cherry, vanilla and my wife said, “Powell’s Book Store in Portland” – I think she was referring to a slight earthiness
  • The Sip: Very nice pairing with our Spanish chili. The wine is mild on the front end, but opens up well to a nice fruit. The balance is rounded off with some mild acidity and a little tartness.
  • The Score: At $28 retail, I score this wine a 3+. This is better than the majority of Carménère that I’ve had. The flavor was balanced but the fruit was mild and the finish was moderate. I really enjoyed the unique varietal. If you like medium bodied wines like Merlot, then you’ll enjoy this.

2007 Tempranillo Walla Walla Valley

  • The Stuff: 82% Tempranillo, 9% Carménère, 8% Sangiovese from Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley. Only 75 cases produced.
  • The Swirl: Slightly darker than the Tempranillo but still moderately translucent
  • The Sniff: First aroma was bright bold red fruit (like a Mike and Ike). After sitting out for an hour or two, the fruit turned to a nice sour cherry, dark chocolate, and a spice I couldn’t quite identify (like an herbal garden or something)
  • The Sip: A medium bodied wine that jumps out with a nice cherry and cocoa and vanilla. The sweet acidity and medium tannin make this a nice well rounded offering. The finish lingered for quite some time.
  • The Score: At $28 retail, I can score this wine a solid 4. The combination of a beautiful bouquet, balanced fruit, spice, acid and alcohol, and a rounded finish make it a stellar purchase.

*Both wines were provided as industry samples with the intent to review.

Visit them on the web at www.triovintners.com www.twitter.com/triovinters and www.facebook.com/triovintners


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

20 comments on “Episode #26 Trio Vintners Walla Walla

  1. Jim Wilkerson

    These sound really nice. Candidates for my Oddball series! Tempranillo in Washington? And blended with Carménère and Sangiovese?! Cool!

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Jim! I may also be getting some of the Mourvedre to try soon too!

  2. Chris

    Nice review, Josh. I’ve only sampled one Trio wine, their Riot, that they had at the Tri Cities Wine Fest. It was good juice too and I’ll look forward to trying these you recommend.

    The name Boushey of one of the owners perked my interest too. I don’t know this as a fact, but I’ll bet you a bottle of Lone Canary Sangio that Tim is Dick’s son. Dick’s Boushey Vineyard provides some of the best grapes from the Yakima Valley and I see that it is a supplier for some of Trio’s grapes. Those connections would also mean they have access to the other best vineyard sources in Washington.

    1. drinknectar

      I bet you’re right about the family connection with Boushey vineyards. I also have a bottle of the Riot and will review it with a few other Rhone style blends in another video.

      Thanks for the comment, Chris

  3. Steve Paulo

    Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever been shouted out before, thanks Josh! (you even pronounced my last name right!)

    The Tempranillo sounds more up my alley than a Spanish Tempranillo I had last fall, which was too light-bodied. I do tend to gravitate towards bigger, bolder, fuller tannic reds, but the Vinea Tempranillo from Spain was practically red-hued agua.

    Looking forward to your review of Trio’s Rhone-style!

    1. drinknectar

      Steve, you deserve the shout out. You’re doing some great reviews on your blog and you’re a good guy who engages with people on twitter. Here’s to good wine and continued success!


  4. Chris Broholm

    Hey Josh,

    Nice structured informative show – as always. Personally I’m not a huge fan of either varietals. The Carmenere is a bit too fruitful for me usually and the tempranillo’s from spain tend to have too much oak – but perhaps this particular one was one i ought to try?

    Anyways, good job as always

    1. drinknectar

      Chris, this Carmenere wasn’t overly fruity at all. Maybe it was the oak I was getting instead of the ‘herbs’ on this Tempranillo. It wasn’t overyly done and to my comment to Steve, it was definitely not watery like some Spanish Temps can be.

      Thanks for the comments!

  5. steve michener

    Josh–thanks for the nice review. just wanted to clear up the lineage question regarding Tim Boushey. He is actually Dick Boushey’s second cousin (their grandparents were brothers) so he is related to Dick, but not his son. Tim’s dad, however, was an employee of Hogue Winery back in the day so he has deep Washington wine roots.

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Steve! Thanks for clearing that up. Keep up the great work at Trio Vintners

  6. Inland NW Wine Century Club

    Nice overview of a pair of some wines that many would not initially think about when contemplating trying something new.

    1. drinknectar

      Thank, James! I look forward to our continued partnership of expanding people’s experience one grape at a time!


  7. Ben Simons

    I’d be really interested to compare this Tempranillo with some of the Tempranillo based wines from Texas. We are growing a lot of this grape here right now, and it would be interesting to do a comparative tasting sometime. Regardless, this one sounds like it’s a good one. May have to give it a try when I am in Washington next.

    1. drinknectar

      I love the idea of a side by side with the tweeps we know. Tempranillo from TX from WA, from CA, and from Spain comparison would be awesome. Not a full bodied wine but well made in the structure of the grape. Thanks for the comment, Ben!

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  10. Denise Slattery

    Hi Josh – another side note about Boushey Vineyard. When you get around to tasting the RIOT – the sangio in that blend is from Dick Boushey’s vineyard and is of the Brunello clone. And we will have an 07 Sangiovese Riserva from there to release in May. Cheers. – Denise

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks for the opportunity to review your unique varietals. Thanks for the heads up about the Sangiovese. Can’t wait to meet you all some day soon!

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