Grüner Veltliner – Underwood, Columbia Gorge
100% Grüner Veltliner from vines planted in 2007 on Underwood Mountain, a vineyard located at 1150 feet of elevation in the Heart of the Columbia Gorge AVA, and owned by Jack Brady. Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen forged a relationship with him, and as he was looking to make a food friendly white, that was a great fit. Left on the skins for 36 hours, aged in 30% neutral barrels and bottled at the end of February. Light bentonite fining, cross flow filtered. Bursting with aromas of just ripe peach, melon, green pineapple, spicy arugula, lemon balm, & wet stone. Flavors of peach, honeydew melon, pineapple, white pepper, & struck flint complement the wine’s brisk acidity. 12.2% alcohol.
Underwood Mountain Vineyard: To step onto this vineyard is to be transported to another time and place. One feels like they are in the Swiss Alps. The vineyard is planted on a light-reddish volcanic sandy, clay loam called the “Underwood Series” that has accumulated through millennia of loess deposits and the slow degradation of the long extinct Underwood Mountain volcano. Under this light quickly draining soil are basalt boulders ranging from as small as a fist to as large as a Winnebago. These special soils in conjunction with the truly cool sub-alpine climate make it the perfect site to grow aromatic white grapes. Located at the eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains, across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon, Underwood catches the last of the cooling maritime influence that dominates the Willamette Valley to the southwest. High up the mountain the vineyard escapes the heat and allows us to make focused mineral driven white wine.
About the Producer
W.T. Vintners is short for the White and Thorsen Family Vintners. Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen and George White founded the company in 2007 with a focus on Syrah and Rhône varieties - the project was born one evening, after a long discussion over a particularly tasty scotch. The first release was the 2010 vintage. Total production is around 2000 cases.
Winemaker Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen is passionate about wine and indefatigable in his pursuit of knowledge (he is studying for the prestigious Master Sommelier credential). Currently the Wine Director at celebrity Chef Michael Mina and rock-star sommelier Rajat Parr’s RN74 in Seattle, Jeff also worked several vintages in Burgundy, New Zealand, and of course, the lovely Pacific Northwest. The old adage “great wine is made in the vineyard” is at the root of his winemaking philosophy. He sources fruit from some of the most esteemed vineyards in Washington - including the Stoney Vine Vineyard and the Destiny Ridge Vineyard - for the limited production wines he crafts at his facility in Woodinville. Come harvest time, Jeff’s wife, Cortney, acts as chief tank scrubber, voice of reason and co-pilot on long vineyard check ups and pick days. She constantly works to elevate Washington wine on the world stage.
The other half of the team in the White family. George White brings his business talents, technical know-how and shared passion for vino to W.T. Vintners. When not imbibing in W.T.’s latest vintage, George spends his days growing his other passion, Pavia Systems, a company he co-founded, which provides technology solutions to government agencies and contractors in the transportation industry. Casey White met George shortly after the winery was formed in 2008. She supports the growing community through her marketing efforts, works in the tasting room and enjoys the wine with friends and family!
Farming practices: holistic approach both in the vineyard and winery. Sustainable, organic and biodynamic farming are a constant pursuit with the contracted growers W.T. Vintners works with in the Pacific Northwest.
Vinification practices and philosophy: Minimal additions (if any) are made in the winery beyond yeast and the occasional racking off solids. Jeff lets time clarify the reds and is extremely judicious about additions to stabilize the whites. This allows the wines’ evolution from grape to glass to echo the voice of the vineyard and the vintage. He avoids the use of new oak in favor of used barrels, which add a bit of texture and little else. Jeff finds inspiration in the wines of the Northern Rhône Valley, Burgundy, Germany and Austria. Foremost, he wants wines to serve as the champions of Washington’s extraordinary terroir. By utilizing whole clusters (versus just berries) during fermentation, he attempts to coax both greater structure and more savory flavors and aromas in the wines. The grapes are foot trodden since 2016, for a better integration of tannins. With each vineyard, he works closely with the vineyard’s manager and owner to reduce crop loads and find the optimal time to harvest, often weeks before their neighbors. Through early picking, his team ensures that the vineyard’s voice is heard and not lost to high alcohols and overtly fruity wines. The fermentation are kept at cooler temperatures to balance the warmth of the climate and produce elegant wines.
"W.T. Vintners is making some of the most thrilling wines in Washington right now, showing equal dexterity with reds and whites."
S. Sullivan - Wine Enthusiast Magazine