Wines to discover and share with friends: Ryan Patrick Vineyards

Jeremy Santo, winemaker, Ryan Patrick Vineyards
Jeremy Santo, winemaker, Ryan Patrick Vineyards

For two weeks in a row, the last Saturday in March and the first in April, Green Box Boutique offers free wine tastings. We bring you wines to discover and share with your friends. Here’s a little about one of our new, incoming wine labels:

Family-run wineries seem like an artifact in the U.S., where all of agriculture seems on the stampede toward factory-style operations. And “batch tinkering”? Unheard of. When you have a winning formula for food or beverages, you stick with it, working by the recipe.

Not so at Ryan Patrick Vineyards, where the touch of the winemaker counts: “Intuitive winemaking is the art of letting the fruit speak for itself. It’s minimalist intervention combined with consistency of style. That’s the heart of the Ryan Patrick promise: artisanal winemaking where the grape is at the center.”

Named for the grape-growing family founders’ two sons, Ryan and Patrick, Ryan Patrick Wineries is known for its Naked Chardonnay, Redhead Red and Rock Island Red labels and for its Reserve wines, consistently out-performing its price-point. The wineries source fruit from local single vineyards in Wahluke Slope and Sagemoor Farms in Washington State.

In 1951 Sid Flanagan began farming native land near Quincy, Washington as part of the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. Forty years later, in 1996, Sid’s son Terry, with wife Vivian, founded Ryan Patrick Vineyards. They were pioneer wine growers in what is now “Washington State’s newest American Viticultural Area (AVA), Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley. The state’s thirteenth AVA runs along a stretch of steep cliffs above the Columbia River and surrounds the town of Quincy, Washington. A combination of unique growing conditions including a cooler climate, a thin soil layer and vineyard elevations of 1,200 – 1,400 feet contribute to the area’s unique character”.  Ryan Patrick Vineyards is on the Leavenworth-Cashmere Wine Trail.

Their estate wines use fruit grown in two family-owned vineyards: The Bishop’s Vineyard, containing 20 acres of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and cabernet franc; and The Homestead Vineyard, with its 25 acres of exquisite chardonnay. Low yields in the vineyard, combined with prime locations for heat and sunlight, produce concentrated fruit.

Of winemaker Jeremy Santo’s Naked Chardonnay, Wine Press Northwest says, “This vintage marks his second as head winemaker for Ryan Patrick Vineyards, and he’s created a marvelous stainless steel Chardonnay with fruit from Sagemoor, Wautoma Winds and Sundance vineyards. Aromas of fresh-cut pineapple, guava, There’s complexity to the structure that opens with a pleasing mouth feel from stirring on the lees as flavors of Asian pear and dried apricot transition to a crisp finish with Gala apple. Rated “Outstanding!” by Great Northwest Wine. (13.5% alc.)

Jeremy Santo “does daily fermentations with different yeast or temperatures to achieve a specific effect. A true craftsman, Jeremy pulls from his scientific education and training at Snoqualmie and Canoe Ridge wineries to create consistently great wines that people love to discover and share with their friends.

“His batch-tinkering approach has resulted in varietals and blends that have justifiably become famous for how they out-perform their price point. Ryan Patrick is known for its Naked Chardonnay, Redhead Red and Rock Island Red labels, and for its Reserve wines, which source fruit from single vineyards in Wahluke Slope and Sagemoor Farms.”

A 2012 move toward a larger operation maintained all the positives of a family-owned and operated, award-winning winery while adding potential: “The Flanagans were looking for a way to produce more wine and wanted to add other varietals to their line. At the same time, all that success in the marketplace drew the attention of the Wahluke Wine Company. Interested in adding a small quality winery to the company, they approached the Flanagans and offered to buy the winery. It would be kept as Ryan Patrick Vineyards, with both Terry and Vivian involved in daily operations. This would give them more wine and more varietals to offer their fans.

Ryan Patrick wines are from sustainably grown grapes. For specifics about the meaning of labels on wines, check out our post, Does the Emperor Have Too Many Clothes? The Confusing World of Wine Labels.

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