Happy May, everyone! We’re excited to present the latest edition of The 7.5 - our take on the Q&A – with all sorts of great people from the world of food & wine. This time, we’re pleased to have Kevin White of Kevin White Winery, whom we’d met at this year’s Taste Washington! event (we’ll admit to having tried his wine on both days). So with that, let’s get to the questions!
1. (from Ryan Crane, KERLOO Cellars) What’s the next bad to the bone varietal out of Washington State? Are you making it, and if so, what style?
Grenache. Washington State grows fantastic Grenache and the wines are delicious. I would not be surprised to see more and more Grenache planted over the next few years. In my program, I use Grenache a key component in the ‘La Fraternite’ Red Blend. It adds beautiful red fruit flavors and aromas with a savory mouthfeel and texture. Grenache is my personal favorite of all the Rhone Varietals.
2. What are three things people should know about Kevin White Winery?
- The winery is small and I don’t have plans to grow more than where I’m at now (500ish cases). Get on the mailing list now as the wines sell fast.
- I don’t have a tasting room and will not have one for a while. Right now I have a singular focus on making the best wine I possibly can with the rest of my time is spent with family and my day job.
- Without my wife Stefanie, there would not be a winery. She has provided me with support and a lot of leeway to follow my dreams. When I think back – she allowed me to start this project with 6 month old twins at home! I owe her big time!
3. What keeps you up later at night, worrying about what your wine is doing in-barrel or your twin sons?
For the first two years of wine making, I would definitely say that it was wine keeping me up at night. It didn’t help that I started making wine during two of the most challenging vintages in Washington State (2010 and 2011). Now that I have three vintages behind me, and more confidence in my decision making, I’m not as uptight as I used to be. I’m still very focused and obsessive about quality but I have better feel of how wine from each of my vineyards develops and generally what to expect and when. Lately, it is Microsoft keeping me up at night.
4. What’s your winemaking jam that you really get into listening to while doing what you do?
Alison Krauss and Union Station. Harvest is so intense that you really need peaceful music playing.
5. What’s been the most eye-opening thing for you in your winemaking “career” so far?
Everything in the cellar takes twice as long as you estimate. I think every winemaker will agree on that.
6. When dining out with family, friends or colleagues do you bring wine with you to the restaurant or select from the menu? If yes, do you ever bring your own wine?
I wish I could say that I go out to dinner a lot, but most nights it dinner at home with my family. On the occasions when Stefanie and I do go out for dinner, most of the time we buy off the list. I like to pick out wine that will pair well with dinner – so bringing wine in advance is hard. Occasionally we will bring a special bottle from the cellar if we know what we are planning to eat (usually a steakhouse). Regarding my wine, I taste enough of it at home and when we are out I like taste new things!
7. How did you get into Rhone wine and will the Rhone (among others) continue to inspire what you do with your wines?
I was introduced to the wines of the Rhone and the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Sothern France early in my exploration of wines throughout the world. I was, and continue to be, drawn to these wines. There is something about the earthy, spicy and fruit driven wines from the Southern Rhone and the mineral driven, lush but lively wines of the North that fascinates me. These wines definitely continue to inspire me in a stylistic sense – which is to keep the new oak low, focus on the fruit and make a balanced wine which expresses the terroir.
We’re already working on a few future 7.5 candidates, and will continue to feature them here. In the meantime, please feel free to share suggestions, and let us know what you think about Kevin and his wine below!