West Coast Wine Club - August 2012
Learn the finer points to many of the wines we offer each month. Our club wines are expertly researched and selected for quality, value and uniqueness and every one has an interesting history. Here are some of the wines we are offering this month:
Nodland Cellars - Spokane Valley, Washington
2008 Bad Attitude Red Walla Walla Valley
Nodland Cellars is an ultra-modern American winemaking interpretation of the famous French tradition. They use large percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet France and very small amounts of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenère. The fruit comes from prestigious and internationally recognized vineyards from Walla Walla, Red Mountain, Yakima and other parts of the Columbia Valley. There are no conveyor belts or big machinery at Nodland Cellars. Every stage of the winemaking process is done by hand with an emphasis on cleanliness and quality. The process is much like how a musician might do a mix down of a song, putting the percussion in the mix for a musical foundation and the bass to fill in the bottom end and bring in the guitar and keyboards to create complex harmonies above the rhythm section. Their wines, once finally blended have color and texture, structure and grace. It is not so difficult to create a big age-able wine and it is not too difficult to create a soft wine that is easy and fun to drink, but it is extremely difficult to craft a wine that is both big and elegant. The first release of the Nodland Cellars Rock-n-Roll series label, Bad Attitude, has been a huge success. Bad Attitude is a blend of 75% Merlot with the rest Cabernet Franc and Malbec. It is fragrant and soft, with incense and cinnamon in the nose and the mouth. The fruit is dark–– blackberry and black cherry––and the tannins lightly grainy. A nice toasty finish and a lick of espresso firm it up through the finish. Decant for 1 hour and serve with grilled red meats. Only 421 cases produced. 90 Points Wine Enthusiast.
Chatom Vineyards - Douglas Flat, California
2010 Sauvignon Blanc Calaveras County
The vineyard of Chatom Vineyards is nestled in the breathtaking Esmeralda Valley of the Sierra Foothills in Calaveras County. The valley was originally planted with low field crops, fruits and nut trees. When Gay Callan, owner and native San Franciscan, purchased the property in 1980, her vision was to plant a vineyard. Her first varietals were then planted in 1981, totaling 21 acres of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Today, the vineyard boasts 13 varietals planted on 65 acres, including Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese and 5 Portuguese varietals. The Esmeralda Valley’s warm days and cool evenings create the perfect climate for cultivating premium selections planted in the vineyard. The variable soils, from clay and sandy loam to shallow, rocky strata, have all proven to produce award-winning grapes for Chatom Vineyards, as well as other select California wineries. This 2010 is made from 100% Estate Sauvignon Blanc. It was fermented and aged in stainless steel for freshness and crispness. The result is a distinct Sauvignon Blanc with inviting aromas of honeysuckle and quince which are woven into the nose with hints of herbs and white pepper. In the mouth, a medley of sun-ripened tropical fruit comes alive with subtle flavors of fresh Ruby Red grapefruit. The soft finish is tinged with a lingering of citrus. Drink now through 2015. Only 761 cases produced.
Guild Winemakers - Newberg, Oregon
2010 Merlot Columbia Valley
Guild Winemakers is a cooperative of four Portland, Oregon, vintners producing wines of exceptional value for the masses. They are John Grochau (Grochau Cellars), Vincent Fritzsche (Vincent Wine Company), and Anne Hubatch (Helioterra Wines). The fourth winemaking partner, who works full time for a Willamette Valley winery and participates in guild activities during his off hours, declined to be identified for citing his allegiance to his employer. It's all part of the delicious mystery surrounding the guild, which doesn't disclose its vineyard sources. Its spare label, a medieval woodblock depicting a winemaking guild at work, simply states either the varietal and vintage. That's it. The reason for the secrecy? The guild is a négociant business, which means that it purchases excess fruit and finished wine from other wineries at discount prices. It's common practice for négociants to keep their sources to themselves; the members say they are getting grapes from premier Columbia and Willamette Valley sites that, when bottled as single-vineyard wines, sell for two to four times the price. What we do know about their 2010 Merlot is that it is sourced from several Columbia Valley vineyards. The result is medium-bodied Merlot with juicy fruit of mulberry, red currants, and bing cherry laced with pumpkin spices, tobacco, and licorice. Smooth soft tannins make this a very versatile wine with foods such as pot roast, game hens, stews, and smoked cheeses. Enjoy now through 2016.
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