Winemaker Chris Upchurch Launches 2016 Southwest Facing to Complement his Red Mountain Lineup
Benton City, WA, June 20, 2018 - Long regarded as one of Washington State’s foremost innovative winemakers and master craftsmen, Chris Upchurch continues to experiment in the cellar, creating wholly new and unique wines from his corner of the Pacific Northwest. Upchurch’s latest wine, from his own Upchurch Vineyard, is the 2016 Southwest Facing, a Sauvignon Blanc collaboration with renowned Washington grower Dick Boushey. The wine showcases a single Sauvignon Blanc vineyard on Boushey’s County Line Road property in Grandview.
“Dick and I started this project back in 2001,” Upchurch remarks. “Back then, I wasn’t sure what I would do with the fruit, but I thought it was the perfect site to test some Sauvignon Blanc. My travels to Austria and the Loire Valley gave us a chance to test some European style techniques here in the Yakima Valley.”
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Chris Upchurch, Upchurch Vineyard Winemaker with Dick Boushey, Upchurch Vineyard Manager
“Working with Chris is always a journey,” comments Boushey with a smile. “He’s so committed to showcasing the power of Washington State and to pushing new limits – his and mine. We’re always learning and, fortunately, pleasantly surprised.”
“Chris just can’t help himself,” adds Thea Upchurch. “Back in 2010, we started with a Cabernet, perfect for Red Mountain - one wine, one plot, one family. Then came Counterpart, the Merlot blend, and now, a Sauvignon Blanc aged 18 months on the lees, inspired by our travels in Austria. I know he’s already working on some other projects, he’s tested a delicious Grenache Rose … I think I’ll wait to be surprised.”
“I suspected that a small southwest facing plot on the cooler County Line road area in the Yakima Valley was ideal for Sauvignon Blanc and this type of styled wine.” noted Upchurch.
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The Upchurch family at their Red Mountain barn (L-R): Thea, Chris, & Kelsey Upchurch; Southwest Facing label
“In 2002 Bill Cummings, a well-known Pacific Northwest artist gave us a gift, a painting of a young girl looking out over a mountain, facing Southwest,” adds Thea. “We always loved that painting, and then when we decided to release a wine from Dick’s vineyard, we knew we had the perfect label - a painting we have loved for years, from a dear friend and pioneer in Washington.”
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Upchurch Vineyard on Red Mountain - Open All Summer
This summer, Upchurch Vineyard will be open for weekend tastings and visits. Flights of the winery’s current selections will be available, as will occasional library selections.
For information or to schedule a tasting or event, contact:
Kelsey Upchurch, General Manager
Upchurch Vineyard 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
90% Cabernet Sauvignon & 10% Merlot; 700 cases produced; $75/bottle suggested retail price
Tasting Notes - The 2015 is another great example of Red Mountain pedigree with an uncommon combination of ripeness and structure. There are aromas of violets, black cherries, and other dark fruits along with Paullac Graphite, minty herbs, and cassis. With its savory ripe tannins, it is powerful yet civil and has an extended hedonistic finish.
Upchurch Vineyard 2015 Counterpart
65% Merlot & 35% Cabernet Sauvignon; 160 cases produced; $50/bottle suggested retail price
Tasting Notes - Sporting dark brick hues with indigo highlights, this inaugural vintage starts with toasty oak aromas that include plumbs, dark cherries, mocha, and tobacco. Dominated by Merlot, this wine is deep, layered, and full of flavor while sporting Washington State structure. This beautiful wine is already showing well and will continue to develop for 7-10 years.
Upchurch Vineyard 2016 Southwest Facing
100% Sauvignon Blanc; 200 cases produced; $36/bottle suggested retail price
Tasting Notes - There are aromas of pear, lime chutney, honey sage and passion fruit. This riper Sauvignon Blanc exhibits great purity and complexity with an elegant yet plush mouthfeel. The flavors show white peaches, honeyed stone minerality, and bosc pears, along with mouthwatering, juicy lime acidity. The finish is compact, long and very promising.
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As the founding winemaker and a partner at DeLille Cellars since 1992, Chris Upchurch has crafted some of the finest and most award winning wines in Washington State. He is the only winemaker to produce two Washington State brands to receive 5 stars (outstanding) in Robert Parker’s Wine Buyers Guide, for both DeLille Cellars and Doyenne.
Upchurch Vineyard is dedicated to sustainable farming and is certified by L.I.V.E. (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), a non-profit organization that promotes and certifies sustainable vineyard practices. It is also certified “Salmon Safe” which is a program to protect Pacific Northwest water sheds and the wild life that thrives within them.