An Intriguing 2013 Cotes du Rob Red Wine by Barnard Griffin Winery


Big bang for the buck here friends.

Master winemaker Rob Griffin brought out the big guns for this wine;  Counoise, Cinsault, Durif,  Grenache, and Mourvedre. This is no ordinary Washington wine.

One of my favorite jobs was working for the family owned Barnard Griffin Winery. Hand-selling wine, meeting and greeting visitors from around the world and sharing stories of Washington wine. These were some of my best experiences. Period. It also pushed me to learn more about wine. I strongly recommend seeking out the Barnard Griffin 2013 Cotes du Rob.

Tasting Notes 2013 Cotes du Rob Red Wine Barnard Griffin Winery

Color: Plum, cranberry highlights.
Nose: Engaging, cranberry, pomegranate, breath of fresh earth, orange peel, graphite.
Palate: Pleasant weight, bright, red berry flavors, dusted with light spice, electric on the tongue, modest spicy finish. Shy, friendly opening.

15 minutes: Soft berry and spice on the nose, a touch of armpit odeur. Très European. Sublime mouthfeel, tender and fluid, yummy into the finish. Polished quality, red berry flavors, cranberry, cherry flesh, cola, superfine tannin, essence of orange, perky acidity. Getting groovy.

30 minutes: Dried red berries, sour hit, tarragon, lovely rich floral quality, pencil shavings on the nose. Mouthfeel changed, more fluid and silkier, drier too, fine tannin on lips and cheeks, light finish. Flavors rather exotic, red berry, orange, over ripe fruit, blended with floral elements punctuated by licorice. Interesting. Damn tempting to just drink at this point.

One hour: Little change on the nose. Little change on the palate. Focused to the front, almost candied cherry, medium-light finish.

Decanted one hour: Rich berry, light sour fruit, spice, tarragon, strawberry/raspberry and chocolate on the nose. Cherry, raspberry, reminded me of a quality Oregon Pinot Noir. Nuanced on the palate, focused to the middle, lighter than expected, cranberry, chocolate and orange on the enjoyable medium finish. Lovely elegant finish at this point. Not what I expected. Dang, that finish really captivated. Drank more like a wine from Europe than Washington state. Big bang for the buck here friends.

Day two: Aromas quite similar to day one; oak and fruit well matched. Bright on the medium bodied palate, tamarind, sour cherry, fig, cola, moderately dry, focus to the middle, a note of tarragon on the medium finish.

Day three: My speed. Did not have that sour edge, fine tannin, still perky acidity, focus to the front, bright fresh red berries, with cola and pomegranate into the dry medium finish. Fun change of pace.

Thoughts: Fun and intriguing wine. Pair with roasted chicken and fatty fish. You don’t find Washington red wines like this often. Especially at this price point. Get a case now while you can and drink over the next 6 years. Well done Mr. Griffin.
Strongly Recommended.


Blend: 40% Counoise, 35% Cinsault, 10% Durif, 9% Grenache, 6% Mourvedre.
Vineyard: Lonesome Springs Ranch
AVA: Columbia Valley
ABV: 14.6%
Closure: Nomacorc
Purchased locally
SRP: $25

I've been a fan of Barnard Griffin wines since, well, since before they opened their Tulip Lane tasting room in 1997. Rob Griffin was the original winemaker for Preston Cellars from 1977 until 1983. I began drinking those wines in 1986. Then Rob was the winemaker and GM for Hogue Cellars in Prosser, Washington from 1983 until about 1990. I also started drinking Hogue wines in 1986.

Rob and his wife Deborah Barnard created their Barnard Griffin winery label in 1983, which I started drinking in the early 1990's. For me, Barnard Griffin is synonymous with Washington Wine. My readers know that I worked for Barnard Griffin Winery from 2005 until 2007. We have a history.

Left Megan, Rob and Elise celebrating Rob's 40th harvest.
November 2016 Barnard Griffin Winery.

Today Rob is the winemaker for Washington's largest family owned winery. His oldest daughter Elise, is the tasting room manager. His youngest daughter Megan, is the assistant winemaker. And his wife, Deborah Barnard, has a fantastic glass studio attached to the expanded winery and bistro.

Still drinking beautifully, 1997 Ciel du Cheval Merlot.
November 2016.

It pleases me to see a family owned Washington winery continue to have success, and to grow the family business. Growing stronger and becoming better with each generation. I encourage you to visit the winery and bistro in Richland, Washington. If you see a bottle of Barnard Griffin wine on the shelf, grab it.

Barnard Griffin Winery & Tasting Room

878 Tulip Lane
Richland, Washington 99352
Phone: (509) 627.0266
Rob Griffin, Owner, Winemaker


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