Tulips & Rosé from Barnard Griffin Winery

Hello, me fellow Wine Enthusiasts!  September is a busy month around many households, and ours is no exception! Long days and late nights have kept me away from my wine-loving duties!  But on this glorious Saturday afternoon, relaxing on this warm day in the backyard, now is about the best time to devote some time to catching up on my writings.  And so today I bring you two wines, a rosé and a red, from Barnard Griffin Winery.

Barnard Griffin Winery was established in Richland, WA in 1983 and is known to be one of Washington state’s oldest wineries (  Boasting over 15 varietals in production, one could certainly enjoy a fine selection if ever given the opportunity to visit a tasting room!

However, I don’t get down to the Tri-Cities all that often and so rely heavily on our local wine shops and grocers to discover the best Washington state has to offer.  Lucky for Spokane, we seem to really like Barnard Griffin wines, and their many varietals are often easily located most anywhere that sells wine!

Barnard Griffin produces two different labels: Reserve Label and their signature Tulip Label.  Today I present one wine from each label: NV Tulip Cabernet-Merlot, and the 2011 Reserve Rosé of Sangiovese.

Barnard Griffin Tulips Label

The NV Cabernet Merlot is a bottle I grabbed from a local grocery store during my weekly shopping trip.  I had been eyeing the bottle for a while, so I was excited at the chance to finally try it!  I had it played out in my head to make up a nice chicken dinner with a salad, crack open the wine and enjoy while watching the season finale of “Master Chef.”  I did get the bottle airing out, I did get the TV tuned to the show of choice, nothing else panned out as planned.  So is the life of parenthood, which is the other show I caught later on that night.  On the nose this red blend presents with vanilla spice, dry fruit and a hint of oak.  The palate is very fruit forward with flavors of blueberries, spice, plums and cherries.  While a very smooth red wine, this Cabernet-Merlot lacks in finish as the flavors disappear quickly.  I actually felt this wine to be quite flat, with the flavors hard to discern, mostly because they weren’t really present, too far blended together.  I mean this in a way that as a person just getting into wine, not yet recognizing individual flavors within a wine.  The Cabernet-Merlot is still a very smooth wine with a decent overall “wine” flavor.  For those just getting into wine and very price-oriented, this wine will be a nice start as it is not too dry, not very tannic and the acidity is quite low.  Get your toes wet in red wine with the Barnard Griffin Cabernet- Merlot.  Online this wine runs about $14, in store it can often be found for under $10.  Varietals: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc.

My rating of the NV Barnard Griffin Tulip Cabernet-Merlot: ★★ OK

With summer winding down to a close, I figured I’d end my “Summer of Rosé” with a wine that has been widely discussed for the past few months as THE rosé to have: Barnard Griffin’s Reserve Label, the 2011 Rosé of Sangiovese.  Many have written on this over the summer, and it is the reason why I chose not to.  However, I figured I’d add it in with my above review, and perhaps give you one more idea to close out what has been one of the hottest summers on record.  I personally enjoyed this rosé a couple of times over the summer.  On the nose is pomegranate, hints of cherry, a pineapple sweetness, and rose petal.  More refreshing than cold water or gatorade on a hot day, the palate is cleansing with cherry and tart raspberry.  Though a dry rosé, this wine is packed with juicy flavors, very pleasing to the palate.  The Rosé of Sangiovese was enjoyed at several BBQ’s, as well as on a warm summer night on its own.  It never disappointed.

The Barnard Griffin 2011 Reserve Rosé of Sangiovese won the Pink Sweepstake award at the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.   Well deserved, Barnard Griffin!!  

I rate the 2011 Rosé of Sangiovese:  ★★★★ Great wine!

This wine, though widely available throughout the Spokane area for around $10-$12, can also be found on their website at for $12.  I’m not sure if there is a better Rosé available at a better price!

Have you tried either of these wines before?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below!!

Tomorrow night my husband and I will be attending an election party at the Lone Canary winery!  We will try some new wines, and I’ll pass the verdicts on to you!  So until then…..  Happy Drinking!


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