Episode #56 Desert Wind Whites


Viognier and Semillon may not be grapes you are very familiar with, but I can assure you that with summer coming, consider these worthwhile reasons to stray from your Sauv Blanc and Rose. A Southwest oasis in the desert of central Washington, Desert Wind Winery was born out of a need for more fruit variety at Duck Pond Cellars (Dundee Oregon). In the early 90’s Duck Pond began planting the 480 acres located on the Wahluke Slope, East of Yakima and West of Tri-Cities. In 2001winemaker Greg Fries presented the first release of Desert Wind Winery. Seeing the phenomenal grown of the corridor between Prosser and Yakima, WA, Desert Wind set out to open a premium tasting room, event facility, restaurant, and retreat center. Considered the highlight of his career, Greg and team opened the Desert Wind Winery in 2007. You have to check out their web site, the space looks amazing! I wonder if Greg and Amber are going to invite me out (wink)?

I previously reviewed the 2007 Sauvignon Blanc and it walked away with my March value wine of the month. At just $15 the wine was alive with tropical fruits and a balanced flavor.

For those that skip the videos and just read the text, you’ll want to check out the final minute as I actually pull the guitar off the wall and play it (yes @clivity, I do play the guitar).

The NectarView

2008 Semillon

  • The Stuff: 94% Semillon, 3% Chardonnay and 3% Sauvignon Blanc; aged six months in neutral oak. 100% barrel fermented; 14.5%ABV; 568 cases 
  • The Swirl: Bright golden wheat color, with honey tones, seemingly thick viscosity
  • The Sniff: Light undertones of lemon, vanilla and pear. Subtle but pleasing
  • The Sip: Great mouth-feel, velvet and soft with mild fruit flavors of pear or apple and hints of lemon shavings. Reminiscent of light lemon shortcake.
  • The Score: At $15 this is a mellow wine that provides simple flavor profile. Would definitely recommend with creamy shellfish pasta or smoked salmon. I score this a 3 out of 5

2009 Viognier

  • The Stuff: 100% Viognier, 91.5% stainless fermentation 8.5% new French oak fermentation for 60 days; 14.5%ABV; 414 cases made
  • The Swirl: Light, nearly clear with hint of lemon lime soda coloring
  • The Sniff: I think Don Ho came up singing Tiny Bubbles bringing aromas of lychee, peaches and other tropical fruits. Reminded me of some mixed drinks I got in Florida last year.
  • The Sip: The tropical fruit was mild on the front palate with good zing of lemon zest and minerality on the mid palate. Amazingly strong acid finish was perfect for palate cleansing. The finish was beautiful and balanced
  • The Score: At just $15 this is another winner from the desert heat of Desert Wind. I score this a 4 out of 5. A strong recommend for summertime pleasure or served with spicy foods.

Cellar Tracker scores (none for 2009, 1 at 84 points for 2008)

Contact Desert Wind on Twitter and on Facebook

*These wines were provided as industry samples with the intention to review


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)

17 comments on “Episode #56 Desert Wind Whites

  1. Laurie London

    Love your reaction to the Viognier! Makes me want to go out and buy it immediately. Lately, I’ve morphed over to more and more whites, with Viognier being one of my favorites. I’ve not tried any wines from Desert Wind yet, although they’ve been on my radar via Twitter. Your review, plus the awesome price point, is the perfect reason to try it. Can’t wait.

    Thanks for the recommendation. And love the guitar!

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Laurie. I often forget about Viognier when I’m shopping. This one and their Sauv Blanc were some of the favorite whites I’ve had this year (although the season is still young). I appreciate your comment.


  2. Sip with Me!

    I love Viognier and will have to put this one on the list! With the sun and warmer weather in Portland over the next few days, whites will certainly be on my menu! Great post again!

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, TB, congrats on the success of your tweet-up last night!

  3. Ben Simons

    I really have been enjoying Viognier lately. There are actually some really nice Viognier wines being produced here in Texas, although I think this grape is really hell to grow here because of the late frosts that we get sometimes.

    Love the exit music. Like I’ve said many times before, you are a rockstar (and/or jazz star).

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Ben! So are the Viognier grown there very tropical in aroma and flavor too?

  4. Joe

    Honey is a big one I get in a lot of Viognier. For a grape that isn’t grown anywhere, I’ve seen a lot of it lately: Washington, Cal Central Coast (knew they were doing it there), Texas, and yes- in Georgia too.

    1. drinknectar

      So, you callin’ me honey are referring to honey in the Viognier?

      I think the grape could be much bigger if it had an easier to prounouce name.

  5. Clive

    Damn, the man can play that axe. Way to be Josh. I like it. As for my favorite Summer beverage when it comes to white. I like the Delille Chaleur Estate Blanc, Kana’s white blend the Masterpiece and my new favorite whites are those by Jon Martinez over at Maison Bleue, Roussanne and Viognier.

    1. drinknectar

      I’m glad you stopped by. The whole bit was just for you! I haven’t had any of the wines you mentioned. Must be geography.

  6. Laurie London

    Picked up a bottle of Desert Wind Viognier based on your recommendation. But I see I’ve got the 08 and your review is of the 09. I hope it’s as good. Can’t wait to try it tonight.

    1. drinknectar

      Let me know, Laurie. I hope it is as good too. Vintages can be very different.

  7. Ed Thralls

    I didn’t realize Desert Wined was part of the Duck Pond company. I enjoyed Duck Pond when we were in Oregon back in 2008. Also, Viognier actually grows quite well here in and Georgia and many wineries here are making it.

    1. drinknectar

      Thanks for the comment, Ed. I’m glad when smart people learn something here 😉

      Can’t wait to try some of that Georgia juice!

  8. JJ

    Love the guitar.

  9. Pingback: Nectar Monthly Honors April | Drink Nectar

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