Sunday 27 November 2022

Westward Dominio IV Pinot Noir, Tempranillo [Tasted #611 - #612]

Shape tasting? What is shape tasting? It's the term coined by Dominio IV's founder, Patric Reuter, to describe the pictorial representation of the aromas and flavours that unfold in time with his wines. 

Dominio IV wines, based in Mosier, Oregon is known for its syrah, tempranillo and pinot noir. Dominio IV winery is also where the method of "shape testing" was developed by Patrick Reuter. Visual presentation of tasting notes of the flavours and aromas can be seen on the labels of the Dominio IV Imagination Wine Series.

Inspired by both, the wines of Dominio IV and the visual representation of the profile of those wines - Miles Munroe, the Lead Distiller of Westward Distillery developed the Cascadia Creative Series. Dominio IV's innovative shape-tasting method was essential to the development of this new release with Patrick also painting the sensory experience from the whiskey to which his drawings are now featured on the Cascadia Creative Series boxes.

So what forms part of Westward's Cascadia Creative Series? The series will include Westward Whiskey Dominio IV Single Barrel Tempranillo Whiskey as well as a re-release of the Westward Whiskey Dominio IV Single Barrel Pinot Noir Whiskey. Both whiskies will have an ABV of 62.5% and the series has been developed exclusively for the Whisky Club.

We joined Miles Munroe for the launch of the Cascadia Creative Series here in Sydney where Miles talked through the long partnership that he's had with Dominio IV winery that culminated in the development of these expressions.

The last time Miles was down under was back in March 2019 and I got to sit down with him and spent some time getting to know him and his back story prior to joining Westward and what inspired him at Westward. Fast forward to 2022 and Miles has undoubtedly taken Westward to the next level, inspired by all the elements that make Westward what it is.

The Westward Whiskey Dominio IV Tempranillo Single Barrel at cask strength is made from scratch with Westward's original single malt. The distillation begins with a brew of an American Ale, using locally sourced two-row barley, ale yeast and a slow, low-temperature fermentation process. The whiskey is then distilled twice in custom low-reflux post stills before being matured in lightly charred American Oak barrels and finally, transferred at cask strength into an emptied Dominio IV Tempranillo French Oak Wine Casks. The whiskey is finished for an additional year before being bottled.

Head Distiller Miles Munroe noted, “The Dominio IV Tempranillo vineyard on the east of the Cascade Range produces incredibly robust grapes that match the fruit-forward flavours of Westward Whiskey. Because of this, we knew that finishing our Westward Whiskey at cask strength in their Tempranillo barrels would be the ideal flavour pairing and make for an extraordinary first expression to launch the Cascadia Creative Series in Australia."

So what's the Cascadia Creative Series like?

Westward Dominio IV Pinot Noir (62.5% ABV, NAS, Portland, Oregon, United States, A$195


The re-release of the Westward Whiskey Dominio IV Pinot Noir Single Barrel at cask strength comes after an incredible response to the initial release in Australia, which previously sold out through The Whisky Club in January 2021. Another exclusive release at cask-strength, this re-release expression sees the maturation of Westward's original single malt for 19 months in French Oak Pinot Noir Barrels from Dominio IV Wines.

Nose: Fruity, loads of strawberries, orange peels with some coconut shaving, mixed with raisins, some vanillin beans, green apples and a small remnant of nutmeg.

Palate: The palate is reminiscent of a Christmas panettone cake, with raisins and some candied orange. This sweetness is then followed by lots of spices, particularly cinnamon, nutmeg and some light chilli. 

Finish: The finish is long and elegant and transitions from the spice bomb to remnants of tannin, and nougat.

Rating: 92/100 (Hendy) 

Westward Dominio IV Tempranillo (62.5% ABV, NAS, Portland, Oregon, United States, A$195


The Westward Whiskey Dominio IV Tempranillo Single Barrel at cask strength sees the original Westward single malt being finished for 12 months in an emptied French Oak Dominio IV Tempranillo cask.

Nose:  The nose has layers of sticky date and sticky pudding. I can sense some crème de la crème and caramel. The sweetness is then followed with some earthy spices, clove, cinnamon, and perhaps a cinnamon donut. The nose is very dessert-like.

Palate: Those layers of sweetness ripple through the palate with notes of sticky date, burnt caramel, crème brûlée and maple-covered pancake. The spices that follow cut through the sweetness, with loads of clove and notes of cedar oak, 

Finish: The finish is dry, earthy and with some remnants of tobacco.

Rating: 92/100 (Hendy) 

I am quite impressed with both the expressions that make up the Cascadia Creative Series. Personally, I've been a fan of Westward's core single malt and seeing the culmination of the core single malt with the casks of various wine varietals has elevated the profile of their core single malt.

Thanks to Westward Whiskies and Agent 99 for having us as part of the Whisky Club preview event.


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