Posted on

Featured Wine: Lodmell Cellars 2009 Sublime – Columbia Valley, WA

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Lodmell Cellars 2009 SublimeLodmell Vineyards is a 30 acre Estate Vineyard on the lower Snake River. This was the inspiration in designing their label with a snake. Originally farmers and grape growers, the knowledge of farming has been passed down two generations to the current owners. Selling grapes to some of the most prestigious winemakers in the Walla Walla Valley gave winemaker Andrew Lodmell a unique perspective on what it takes to make good wine. Over the past 7 years he has had the opportunity to surround himself with some of the best wine minds and that immediately paid dividends with his first releases. Today, Andrew and his sister, Kristie continue to produce some of Walla Walla’s finest Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Each wine is hand crafted and barrel aged in small lots. Additional Lodmell Cellars varietals include Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Saignee (rose), Estate Syrah, Sublime (Red Blend), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Port.

The 2009 Sublime is a red blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Carmenère. All fruit is from the Columbia Valley and was hand harvested. After fermentation, the wine spent an impressive 33 months in French oak barrel (20% new). Merlot based but this is a dense, chewy wine for Cabernet Sauvignon lovers. This brilliant blend has great balance and nuance, displaying light herbal tones that lend an air of complexity to dried cherry, cassis and subtle oak flavors. The tannins are pronounced yet fuzzy-soft and it finishes with a blend of mineral and sour Bing cherry. A lot of life in this beauty, it should keep for another five years.

Featured in our Washington Wine Club and Washington Wine Gift Club.

Posted on

Featured Wine: ded.reckoning 2012 Cutlass Cabernet Sauvignon – Yakima Valley, WA

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

ded.reckoning 2012 Cutlass Cabernet SauvignonAlthough we just featured a ded.reckoning wine a few months ago, we could not pass up on this opportunity to feature another wine from the ded.reckoning lineup. Doug Charles of Compass Wines not only sells some of the world’s top bottles at his storied shop in Anacortes, Washington, but he also collaborates with some Washington’s top producers on small lots of special projects just for his customers.

The winemakers involved rotate, yet Charles continues to use this nautical term for these releases. As the premier retailer of rare Washington State wines on the planet, Charles has a unique opportunity to taste a volume of incredible wines right from the source that others only dream about. He sees winemakers on an almost daily basis in the shop sampling them on their finest wares and many times a year he travels to the vineyards and small producers tasting from barrel and right off the vine. When he sees a cuvee, a selection of barrels, or an entire production that he deems to be significant enough to warrant his brand, he gobbles it up on the spot and proclaim it to be a ‘ded. reckoning’ caliber of wine.

Produced by Scott Greer at Sheridan Vineyard using 100% estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon. This ever popular Cabernet has classic Sheridan fruit with layers of black fruits, tobacco, coffee and that very distinctive note of citrus rind that is a trademark of this exotic and exclusive vineyard. Oak notes carry through on the warm finish. An amazing wine, from a stunning vintage. In the last issue of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate that featured Washington state wines, Sheridan was tied for the highest rated Cabernet Sauvignon in the state for the much more difficult 2011 vintage, and second only to Quilceda Creek in 2012. Decant and enjoy now or cellar through 2020. Only 200 cases produced.

Featured in our Washington Wine Club and Washington Wine Gift Club.

Posted on

Featured Wine: Tranche Cellars 2012 Slice of Pape Blanc

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Tranche 2012 Slice of Pape BlancIn straight translation, tranche is a French term meaning slice. To winery owners, it means that and much more. The Tranche wines are a further expression of their abiding curiosity about wine. Its several “slices” explore a growing range of estate-grown, Mediterranean and Rhône-inspired, varietal wines and blends. Grapes native to France’s Rhône Valley are the focus of their ‘Slice of Pape’ program – their homage particularly to the blended wines of the Southern Rhône. Slice of Pape, Slice of Pape Blanc, and Pink Pape (their dry rosé) are crafted from the best of these traditional varietals. Separately and together, they offer you a New World expression of these classic Old World wines. The 2012 is comprised of Roussanne, Viognier, and Marsanne. These white Rhone plantings were hand-harvested and whole-bunch pressed into neutral French oak barrels and egg-shaped concrete fermenters. Native yeast fermentation and heavy stirring of barrel lees helped build texture and complexity, while partial concrete maturation brought energy, focus, and minerality to the finished wine. The wine opens with vibrant melon and stone fruit aromas with honeysuckle, gardenia and almond blossom. The wine is firm and textured on entry, with fleshy flavors of white peach, star fruit and fresh kiwi filling out the palate. Dry and focused on the finish, this white Rhone blend gives excellent mineral length and persistence. This wine would pass undetected in a lineup of Châteauneuf du Pape Blancs and will continue to shine for another 3-4 years or more. Drink now through 2019. Only 551 cases were produced.

Featured in our Washington Wine Club and Washington Wine Gift Club.

Posted on

Ode to Catawba Wine by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Dedicated to The Father of American Wine – Nicholas Longworth

Ode to Catawba Wine
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
(Written In Praise of Nicholas Longworth’s Catawba Wine made on the banks of the Ohio River)

This song of mine
Is a song of the Vine
To be sung by the glowing embers
Of wayside inns,
When the rain begins
To darken the drear Novembers.

It is not a song
Of the Scuppernong,
From warm Carolinian valleys,
Nor the Isabel
And the Muscadel
That bask in our garden alleys.

Nor the red Mustang,
Whose clusters hang
O’er the waves of the Colorado,
And the fiery flood
Of whose purple blood
Has a dash of Spanish bravado.

For the richest and best
Is the wine of the West,
That grows by the Beautiful River,
Whose sweet perfume
Fills all the room
With a benison on the giver.

And as hollow trees
Are the haunts of bees,
Forever going and coming;
So this crystal hive
Is all alive
With a swarming and buzzing
and humming.

Very good in its way
Is the Verzenay,
Or the Sillery soft and creamy;
But Catawba wine
has a taste more divine,
More dulcet, delicious and dreamy.

There grows no vine
By the haunted Rhine,
By Danube or Quadalquivir,
Nor on island or cape,
That bears such a grape
As grows by the Beautiful River.

Drugged is their juice
For foreign use,
When shipped o’er
the reeling Atlantic,
To rack our brains
With the fever pains,
That have driven the
Old World Frantic.

To the sewers and sinks
With all such drinks,
And after them tumble the mixer,
For a poison malign
Is such Borgia wine,
Or at best but a Devil’s elixir.

While pure as a spring
Is the wine I sing,
And to praise it,
one needs but name it;
For Catawba wine
Has need of no sign,
No tavern-bush to proclaim it.

And this Song of the Vine,
This greeting of mine,
The winds and the birds shall deliver
To the Queen of the West,
In her garlands dressed,
On the banks of the Beautiful River.

Source:
http://mtngrv.missouristate.edu/mtngrvcellars/Ode.htm

Posted on

The Father of American Wine – Nicholas Longworth

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

The Father of American Wine – Nicholas LongworthUp until the 1800s, wine in America, for the most part, was produced locally and in small batches. The first Europeans to come to America, brought their love of wine with them. Because the native grapes they found made poor tasting wine, they had to bring the vines to America as well. They preferred the wine from the familiar Vitis vinifera vines. The first recorded planting of these imported wine grapes was in New Mexico way back in 1629 but still there was no major wine production until over a hundred years later.

In 1802 the native grape Catawba was discovered. Unlike the other native grapes previously discovered, the Cayawba was deemed fit for wine making. Nicholas Longworth planted a vineyard of Catawba in Ohio, which grew to 1,200 acres by 1842. Longworth, using traditional Champagne making techniques, crafted America’s first sparkling wine which was widely praised and distributed throughout the US and Europe. The Illustrated London News compared the wine to those being produced in Germany and even wrote that Longworth’s sparkling wine “transcends the Champagnes of France”. The great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow even wrote a poem dedicated to Longworth called Ode to Catawba Wine.

Longworth is considered by some to be the father of American wine. His success inspired others to plant grapes and make wine all through the Ohio River Valley to the Finger Lakes region in New York. Unfortunately his Ohio vineyard was destroyed by fungus which prompted many growers to move their operations to the Finger Lakes area. By the early 1860’s, the wine-making industry of the Finger Lakes region was flourishing.

What about California?
The story was similar on the west coast in California. The Spanish missionaries, not happy with the 2 wine grape varieties native to California, planted Mission grapes instead; an inferior variety of Vitis vinifera called Criolla. The missionaries established the first vineyard and winery in California in 1769. Around the same time as Longworth, a French immigrant, Jean-Louis Vigne, was growing and producing wine in Los Angeles using vines imported from France. In 1840 he made the first recorded shipment of wine in California. Though we was a contemporary of Longworth, his wine was mainly consumed in California and didn’t get near the attention or accolades Longworth’s sparkling wine received.

Vigne also has a great and interesting story; however, we’ll save the history of Vigne and California wine for another time.

Read Ode to Catawba Wine by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_American_wine
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Longworth_(winemaker)
http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Nicholas_Longworth

Posted on

Featured Wine: Viña Olvido 2007 Crianza Rioja DOC – Spain

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

2007 Crianza Rioja
Rioja is arguably Spain’s top wine region and is one of only two regions classified under the Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) system. Its two most important red grapes are Tempranillo and Garnacha. There are four categories of red wines in Rioja. The youngest of these is known as “Joven”. “Crianza” must have been aged in oak for at least two years, while Reserva is oak aged for at least three. Gran Reservas spend at least two years aged in oak and three in the bottle, although many are aged longer.

This 2007 offering from Viña Olvido is made from 100% Rioja Tempranillo. After vinification the wine was aged for 12 months in French oak and then another 12 months in neutral oak to meet the Crianza requirements. It then spent another year in the bottle before it was released. When all of those years are added up it means this wine has really only been in the US market since 2011. This dry, floral, exotic Rioja is a different breed of cat than typical Riojas. The bouquet is jammy and herbal, with flowery notes. In the mouth, tannins hold up a wayward frame, while black cherry, plum and floral flavors finish with prune and asian spice notes. The finish is smooth and silky. This aged beauty is drinking well right now and should keep for another 2 years with proper care. Serve at room temperature with roast beef, lamb chops, roast suckling pig and medium cheeses.

Featured in our International Wine Club and International Wine Gift Club.

Posted on

Featured Wine: El Supremo 2013 Torrontes Vino Blanco – Argentina

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

2013 El Supremo TorrontesIn the year 1959, Rufino Pablo Baggio (RPB) established his winery in the city of Maipú, province of Mendoza. Maipú is where most of the early immigrants were settled, some arriving as far back as 1878 and it is here that their parcel of free land was located. Many of these new and welcome arrivals were from Italy. Consequently Maipú boasts as many Olive trees as vines. With altitudes at 750 to 1,060 meters, and an abundance of minerals deposited from the Andes river, conditions for growing grapes are ideal.

Presently RPB is creating Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Syrah, Torrontes, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. RPB pays homage to Argentine’s War of Independence hero Pancho Ramirez with his El Supremo line of wines. Born in 1786, Francisco “Pancho” Ramirez was an Argentine governor during the Argentine’s war with forces loyal to the Spanish crown. He died in 1821 while trying to rescue his wife who was captured by an opposing faction of the Argentine government. Homenaje a Pancho Ramirez translates to “Homage to Pancho Ramirez.” Made from 100% Torrontes. The wine is a lively straw color. Intense floral aromas along with aromas of tropical fruit. On the palate it is flowery and vivid with excellent fruit, a truly explosion of the senses. It has good acidic balance. The wine is ready to be enjoyed now. Serve chilled with Pacific Rim cuisine such as mushroom dumplings in chicken broth, herb stuffed zucchini with basmati rice, tuna with mango sauce, Alaskan butterfish marinated in Torrontes and Miso, lobster with papaya sauce, and steamed bass with caramelized onions, ginger and scallions.

Featured in our Premium Wine Club and Premium Wine Gift Club.

Posted on

Featured Wine: Ten Spoon 2013 Organic Rocky Mountain Red Blend – Missoula, Montanta

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

certified-organic-logo
Although we recently featured another Ten Spoon wine, those grapes were from Washington’s Yakima Valley. This month the owners of Ten Spoon asked if we would like to use a wine made from Montana grapes. This is the first time we were able to try true organic Montana wine and we were very pleased from after our tasting.

Over 20 years ago, Connie Poten and Andy Sponseller worked with friends, family and volunteers to turn a rocky patch of 4.5 acres into the lovely Missoula, Montana vineyard and winery it is today. Ten Spoon crafts award-winning, sulfite-free wines, many of which are made with estate grown grapes. Despite Montana’s short growing season, the long daylight hours of the north allow them to successfully cultivate primarily French-American varietals: Frontenac, St. Pepin, LaCrosse, Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, St. Croix and Swenson Red. Ten Spoon is also dedicated to preserving the environment and supporting small farms. The land was originally purchased to save it from development. Since then, the rocky slope has been transformed into a healthy open space for wildlife and the vineyard irrigation system is solar-powered. The fruit and grapes not grown on-site are all purchased from family farms in Montana, Oregon and California. And right along Ten Spoon’s driveway, there’s a small lavender farm called Rocky Mountain Lavender, which they actively promote on their website.

The majority of French-American hybrid grapes for this red blend grow in Ten Spoon’s own vineyard. The Clark Fork Vineyard and Saddle House Vineyard, both Missoula Valley vineyards, provide additional organic grapes. Varieties include Maréchal Foch, Frontenac, Leon Millot and St. Croix. The sum of the parts have produced a lighter bodied blend with distinct flavors and aromas of, red and black fruits, and flowers, with a subtle undercurrent of licorice. It is velvety in texture and shows no hard edges. Its smoothness finishes with some slight spiciness that is both pleasant and long. A perfect quaffer by itself or serve alongside some garlicky sausages or salty cheeses.

Featured in our Premium Wine Club and Premium Wine Gift Club.

Posted on

Featured Wine: Viña Qaramy 2012 Latido Malbec Mendoza – Argentina

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

2012 Latido MalbecQaramy means “poetry” in the ancient quechua language, a native South American language spoken primarily in the Andes. The name symbolizes the winery’s expression of loyalty, tradition and commitment to its terroir and wines. With vineyards located at the foot of the Andes in Tunuyan, the dry and stony soils and high-altitude sunlight gives the grapes a unique strength and personality. The winery is managed by a father-son team, Mario and Leonardo Bromberg. When they started this project, they were originally only selling their grapes; Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah all grown in their vineyards located about 3,000 feet above sea level. Each bottle of wine is meant to be an expression of the poetry of the land and of their ancestors.

The Brombergs were consistently praised for the high level of quality of their grapes and therefore, they decided to begin using 10% of their grapes to create small lots of their own wines under the Latido and Qaramy labels. This Latido offering is made from 100% Malbec which come from their own impeccably cared for vineyards at high altitude (3,772 feet above sea level) in Tunuyán, Valle de Uco, Mendoza. Here the unique microclimate is especially cool, thus locking in the attractive dark purple color and violet aromas and flavors for which the Uco Valley is known. Approximately 10,000 bottles of this wine are hand-crafted by up-and-coming oenologist Rolando Laconti. After fermentation it spends 4 months in second use French oak barrels. The color is remarkably dark, and aromas of violets and plum confit entice the drinker with their charm. These same flavors continue on the palate, along with flavors of other red fruits and a smooth round vanilla note. Its tannins are velvety yet chewy, and its acidity (typical of wines from the Uco Valley) gives it a nice backbone. Ripe and luscious, this wine is perfect with game; meats; dishes with strongly-flavored sauces such as barbequed short ribs; hearty cheeses; & chocolate desserts.

Featured in our Premium Wine Club and Premium Wine Gift Club.

Posted on

Keeping a Wine Journal

facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Wine Journal
Wine journals are a fun way to capture the memories of tasting new wines and chronicle your favorites. No matter how great your memory is, the wonder is in the details when it comes to wine. You need to record images and notes of the wines you taste in the present in order to know which ones to choose in the future! That way, you can repeat stellar experiences and skip the unappealing ones the next time around.

The smell of a new journal is wonderful, with crisp, empty pages that beckon to be filled. Before you dig in to creating your new journal, envision how you want to use it. You can organize your wine journal into the monthly themes of a wine of the month club or even types of wine. Some opt to have two wine journals, one for white wines and the other for red wines. Yet another way they can be organized is likes and dislikes.

Although most people only choose to journal about wines they found especially tasty, others like to chronicle experiences, even if the wines were not favorites. Wines from a special vineyard or recommendations from a revered sommelier are just some things that may lead to future wine of the month club selections that make journaling about all of your wine tastings a good idea.

Removing the label

You need to be able to remove your wine labels without damaging them in order to create an aesthetically pleasing scrapbook. Just words on paper won’t cut it when your wine club provides special wines with carefully designed labels that deserve to be preserved. Nearly all liquor stores and vineyards sell wine label removers. If you prefer to do it a more raw, do-it-yourself kind of way, there are other options.

Bake Method
Bake your wine bottles for an easy removal method. Yes, you want to make sure the bottles are empty of wine first! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the bottle in only until it’s hot, but do not leave them in longer than 10 minutes. This should soften the adhesive that sticks the label to the side of the bottle. Slowly, use an oven mitt to remove the bottle. Then use great care and slow precision to remove the label. The wine label should come right off at this point.

Microwave Method
Another method is to use a microwave for heating, saving electricity. This method is especially good for single bottles, were as baking in an oven is best for a few bottles at a time. Here’s a link to a great video that shows how to set up the microwave method. Do NOT use the microwave method with wine bottles that have metallic labels, as this is a fire hazard.

Once you’ve removed your intact wine label, it’s time to place it in your journal. Use the old leftover adhesive on the label, double-sided scrapbook tape, or other acid-free adhesive to preserve the label. Let your creativity soar and add your descriptions. Happy tasting!

Or… go digital and use a wine journal app. Take a picture of the label instead!