We have been fans of Lauren Ashton Cellars since we first discovered the winery in Woodinville close to five years ago. They recently launched their second label, Ashton Troy Wines, as an exclusive offering for the restaurant market. The result is well priced wine that still manages to maintain the same high quality that fans of Lauren Ashton have come to expect.
Winemaker Kit Singh has produced critically acclaimed wine from the very beginning…literally. His first vintage of Lauren Ashton in 2009 earned 95 point ratings from both the Wine Advocate and the Wine Enthusiast—an almost unheard of feat for an inaugural vintage! We discovered Lauren Ashton in 2013 and were immediately captivated. Kit looks to create wines that express what Washington has to offer in terms of bold fruit paired with good structure, wines that compliment food and display balance and harmony. His style is everything we look for in a great wine: powerful yet balanced, complex and age able, yet always drinking beautifully upon release.
Kit has successfully managed to reproduce that style with Ashton Troy, the newest addition to his wine family. His own family is the inspiration behind his wines and he pays homage to them through the winery’s names and labels. Lauren Ashton is named after his two children and its labels feature pictures of his wife’s native Estonia.
According to Kit, the Ashton Troy project all began with his son Ashton wanting his own label, “We wanted it to be recognizable with the Lauren Ashton Cellars brand as well. We used Ashton’s first and middle name, then used Troy and a play-on-words to come up with the Trojan horse. Our hope is that the two labels side by side are distinct, but also have the look and feel of the same family of wines.”
What makes Ashton Troy Wines distinct from Lauren Ashton is that the grapes Kit is using for these wines are from vineyards that he hasn’t worked with in the past. Don’t let that make you think that the vineyards are any lesser in quality than what is being used for Lauren Ashton; they include such notable names as Stillwater Creek, Quintessence, Sagemoor, and Mercer Estates Vineyards and have a proven track record with other Washington wineries.
Kit currently makes five wines under the Ashton Troy label, a white called “Cuvée du Soleil” which is a Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend, as well as 4 reds: a Cabernet Sauvignon, a Malbec, a Syrah, and a red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot called “Bisou”. These wines are specifically designed to be bold and stand up to restaurant flavours. The grapes were harvested separately, bunch sorted, de-stemmed and transferred to 1 ton fermenters. Approximately 50% of the berries were left whole and uncrushed. After fermentation, the must was drained of free run juice and the skins were lightly pressed. The wine continued its alcoholic fermentation in French oak until it was dry and then proceeded through Malolactic conversion prior to being racked and returned to barrel. It was left to mature undisturbed for 28 months before being blended and bottled. When thinking about the wine itself, Kit wanted everything to be inspired by Ashton, “These wines are playful, full of energy and warmth, all attributes that Ashton embodies. He’s a very thoughtful kid and the wine takes inspiration from him as a child.”
Because Ashton Troy wines have been designed exclusively for the restaurant market, they aren’t available on a regular basis at their Woodinville tasting room other than through special events like their recent launch party. Your best option will be to seek them out on restaurant lists throughout Washington State. As our tasting notes below will attest, these are definitely wines to be on the lookout for and we’ll certainly be making it part of our criteria when making any dinner reservations on our next trip down.
2016 Cuvée du Soleil
A blend of 55% Semillon and 45% Sauvignon Blanc, this wine was fermented at low temperatures in stainless steel and barrel. The result is a refreshing wine with a lovely acidity that is beautifully balanced and very complex. A great combination of minerality and fruit with both grapefruit and tropical flavours on the nose and palate.
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
In keeping with Kit’s signature style, this is a big and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon that is surprisingly approachable for its relatively young age. Lots of ripe black fruits, backed by vanilla and spice. This is a luscious full-bodied wine where the tannins are present (in a great way) showing its potential to age very well. We’d love to re-visit this wine in a couple of years!