Friday, December 19, 2014

Thank You and Happy 8th Anniversary

This time of year gets away from me. Whoosh, like the horse I was riding the summer I spent working with my grandfather when I was 16 years old. One moment all was fine, then I was struggling to stay saddled while the horse tried to scrape me off with tree branches!

I'm hanging on. And enjoying the thrill of the ride as I do. Cheers!

8th Anniversary + Milestones

Last week marked the 8th anniversary of this blog - 12 December 2006 was my first post. Admittedly, I've been most serious about this blog since summer 2010 after attending the Walla Walla, Washington Wine Bloggers Conference. Thank you Zephyr Adventures. I needed that infusion.

I'm gradually improving my photography efforts. A better camera, a fetish for lenses and slowly adding more lighting equipment. And trying to take more time for image composition. My photography friends remain an inspiration. Thank you all.

The last couple of years, infused by wine blogging friends, industry connections, weekly twitter tastings and podcast shows, my palate has been stretched, my tasting vocabulary challenged and a world of wine expanded. It's about more than just Washington wine. Washington wine remains my touchstone, the place where I live, my inspiration. But there is a world of wine out there.


Social Media has been very, very good to me.

There is no way I could remain engaged with social media and wine without the help of some friends. My friend Tina Morey at Protocol Wine Studio has expanded my wine experiences this year. Together, using #WineStudio we've visited wines of the Hudson Valley, Virginia hard cider, Wines of Italy, and many other wine regions. Thank you Tina.

My wine blogger friend Frank Morgan of Drink What You Like, is the Virginia Wine Blogger. He is the host of Virginia Wine Chat, #VAwineChat where the conversation and wine are all about Virginia. I've had some enlightening Virginia wine experiences this year. More soon on the blog. Thank you Frank.

One of the first twitter tastings I became involved with was #winechat a weekly Wednesday night session about wine. This year I've enjoyed even more #winechat twitter conversations. Tina Morey began the year hosting, and handed over hosting responsibilities to Christina Portz of Just The Bottle. Wow. Just wow. Thank you.

Somehow, three months ago I stumbled into a wine and food pairing group of bloggers. They use the hashtag #winePW for their conversations about food and wine. Love this group. They are passionate, focused and engaged. And I have many new recipes and wine pairing ideas to try at home. I think we're just getting started at making this group sing. Thank you.

Focusing on Washington wine, Sean Sullivan of Washington Wine Report, hosts a monthly Virtual Wine Tasting on twitter. He selects a bottle of Washington wine each month to taste and tweet about. I've been enjoying these @wawinereport twitter tastings for about 3 years. It's a fun way to make friends, compare palates and learn about wonderful Washington wines. Thank you Sean.

Podcast Show

This year I've been co-hosting a monthly wine related podcast on Minstrel and Muse Audio Art Magazine. We have loosely titled our conversations about wine, "#WineMuse Podcasts." I've become the wine "expert" on the podcast, which has forced me to learn even more about the world of wine. What a blast!

Host Linda Reznicek is teaching me by example how to interview. We've spoken with many winemakers from Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Chile, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Austria and New Zealand. We even had an amazing conversation with author Rex Pickett, of the book and movie Sideways. I have great expectations for 2015. Check out our podcasts and winemaker conversations when you have time. Thank you Linda.

A huge thank you to Wine Sellers, Ltd. for sponsoring many of our #WineMuse podcast shows this year. They supplied us with quality wines from around the world to share with listeners. We kept the retail price below $20 for each show and Wine Sellers, Ltd. did an amazing job of delivering truly excellent wines. They are importers and distributors. Check with them for availability. Thank you!

Quality is Strong

You may have noticed that I don't write negative wine reviews. I mean seriously, who has the time and inclination? There is so much wonderful wine out there, that is what I want to share with readers and listeners. Quality of wine is strong around the world. I've learned that much.

Prosser, Washington Wine Country Tour.

I am sitting on several posts, partially due to time constraints, and also, I want the words to be correct. Some wine related experiences are too big and deserve thought, consideration and introspection. You are on my mind and will be shared.

This holiday month is a crazy time of obligations and celebrations. Still, I hope to get to some of those sitting posts and share them before this year is ended. Where is my holiday wine gifting guide? Oops.

Sleep has been rough this month. I've been wide awake in the early hours. Spending those hours reading and not writing has not helped. If I can get more words and photos posted over the next week, perhaps I can sleep an entire night without waking. When I can't sleep I should write.

Columbia Crest Head Winemaker, Juan Muñoz-Oca.

Thank you to all of the amazing growers, winemakers and wineries for making your lifetime commitment and passion the making of wine. I will try to impart to my readers a some of  your passion. For me, it is no longer enough to enjoy a wonderful bottle of wine. I must know the winemaker and what drives them. My deepest thanks for your openness and the sharing of your passion.

Plus a sincere thank you to my fellow wine bloggers. Our community is scattered around the globe, but we all have in common a deep appreciation for wine. I enjoy your humor, camaraderie, and honesty. Your friendships are deeply appreciated. Let's get together soon for a glass of wine.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wine of the Week Columbia Crest 2013 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc Horse Heaven Hills


I could not resist posting today about this wonderful wine.

This month I have several forthcoming posts about wine and wine related products. While I am working on a post about Columbia Crest Reserve wines and uber talented Columbia Crest Head Winemaker, Juan Muñoz-Oca, I could not resist first sharing my enthusiasm for this wine.

Did you know that Columbia Crest has a Reserve line of ultra-premium Washington wine?

Sourced from premier vineyard sites and meticulously hand-crafted in their Petit Chai, a "winery-within-a-winery" Columbia Crest Reserve wines represent the height of winemaking skill by Columbia Crest Head Winemaker, Juan Muñoz-Oca. These are special limited production wines.

Hand of the Head Winemaker and his Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.

Regular readers should know that I am a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc. My participation these last three months with #WinePW a twitter group of mostly food bloggers, has brought a greater focus to my wine and food pairing planning. When I was contemplating opening this special bottle of Columbia Crest Sauvignon Blanc, I spent some time contemplating what food to pair it with. Yes, this post is about the wine, but it is also about how more enjoyable a wine can be with a proper pairing.

Tasting Notes Columbia Crest 2013 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Color: Pale gold.
Nose: Toasty with ripe mango, passion fruit, mineral quality.
Palate: Tropical, zippy, grapefruit, passion fruit.
Wine expanded after 45 minutes. Honey suckle breeze, serious flavors, solid, dry, citrus with salinity, almost grassy with essence of mandarin on the savory finish. Focused and balanced. Killer finish. Hawaii was on my mind. Wonderful.

Thoughts: Loved this wine. And it was a fantastic pairing with King Crab Salad. I had two leftover King crab legs, so I decided to make a simple salad/appetizer. This turned out to be a wonderful match. The flavors of the crab salad complimented and enhanced the flavors of the wine. Very pleased with both. Strongly Recommended.

King Crab Salad.

King Crab Salad Recipe:
I decided to class up the presentation by serving this salad in martini glasses.

1. For the dressing I used lime juice, salt and black pepper.
2. Stirred dressing until the salt dissolved.
3. Added olive oil to the dressing and stirred.
4. Added shredded crab meat to the dressing.
5. Added sliced celery to dressed crab and stirred.
6. Layered mixed greens in martini glass first.
7. Added sliced avocado on top of mixed greens.
8. Added the dressed crab meat on top of avocado.
9. Topped with fried wonton.

This wine and crab salad were made for each other. Enjoy.


Blend: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13%
Production 75 cases
SRP: $24
Purchase direct from the winery

Visit the Columbia Crest Winery
Hwy 221,
Columbia Crest Dr.
Paterson, WA 99345
Telephone (509) 875-4227
Open Daily 10:00am - 4:30pm

Columbia Crest Winery, Paterson, Washington.

If you are ever passing through the Tri-Cities where I live, the Columbia Crest winery is about a 40 minute side trip from Richland. They have a very nice facility and an impressive tasting usually available. My last visit was in October during harvest. Lovely time.

Well, we should have a new #winemuse podcast show uploaded this month - look for it. A bunch of wine related posts almost ready to go as well. Thank you for the new twitter follows and positive feedback. It has been a true pleasure and privilege to share so many wonderful wines this year.


Friday, December 12, 2014

#WinePW 7 Butterflied Spicy Prawns and Treveri Sparkling WinePairing @TreveriCellars


#WinePW Wine Pairing Weekend Holiday Entertaining!

December is holiday festive party time! Our job this month is to create some great sparkling wine and appetizer pairings. If you see this early enough, please join us December 13th at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. We’ll be chatting on twitter using #WinePW about our creative holiday sparkling wine pairings.

We’d love to have you join us! Sparkling Wine and Appetizer Pairings.


This month I wanted to pair a Washington Sparkling wine with something I enjoy serving. I thought spicy prawns on a stick would be perfect. I chose wild shrimp for this recipe because they taste better. Thankfully, I found some medium sized wild shrimp which were perfect for an appetizer on a stick. Cooking time was minimal and could be done as guests arrive. If you don't like spicy you can omit or reduce the amount of chili used. Actually, I reduced the amount of chili for this recipe and I still sneezed like crazy when I was measuring it. The wine I chose was wonderful.

Recipe Butterflied Spicy Prawns

Ingredients and raw shrimp.

  • Wild Shrimp 1.1 Lbs. about 30 shrimp
  • 1 Tbsp diced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp diced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground chili (I use a Vietnamese brand, it is very potent)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Package of bamboo skewers
  • Sauces for serving: Sweet Chilli Sauce, Memmi/Soy Sauce, Mustard
  • Soak bamboo skewers 30 minutes in water. I counted 31 shrimp, so I soaked 31 skewers.
  • Shell and devein shrimp. This is the most time consuming part of the process. You want to remove the vein on the back of the shrimp. Ick. Sometimes you can find shrimp at the stores already cleaned and deveined.
  • Butterfly shrimp. Cut along the back where you deveined the shrimp. Not too deep.
Marinating shrimp - deveined and butterflied.

  • Mix garlic, ginger, chili, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil and salt in a medium bowl. Add shrimp and coat well, marinate shrimp for 30 minutes - 2 hours in the fridge.
Skewered marinated shrimp.

  • Skewer the marinated shrimp. Skewer from tail and up.
  • Fry shrimp in 1-2 Tbsp olive oil at medium high heat for 2-3 minutes per side (or grill). You could use vegetable oil or peanut oil if that is what you like to use. I almost always cook with olive oil.
Frying shrimp on gas range.
Once the pan was heated the shrimp did not take long to cook. They only needed about 2 minutes per side. I have a heavy lid for the pan I use, so I rested it on the shrimp to minimize oil splatters and to reduce cooking time. It worked well. I was able to fit about 12 skewered shrimp in the pan once the pan was hot. They cooked quickly.
Yes, the shrimp were spicy. My son thought they were too spicy alone. I didn't mind and thought they were a good match with the sweetness of the Treveri Sparkling Riesling.
I had sauces on the side for dipping, Sweet Chilli Sauce, Memmi (similar to soy sauce) and Mustard. They took some of the heat off of this appetizer and added variety to the taste.
Next time I think I will brush half of the shrimp with Sweet Chilli Sauce and the other half with Memmi or Soy Sauce before serving. That should reduce the heat and avoid needing a dipping sauce - because they would already have the sauce on them.
This would be a good dish for any festive celebration or with dinner of Soba noodles or rice. The Treveri Sparkling Riesling was fantastic of course. See my notes below on this sparkling wine.
Butterflied Spicy Prawns and Terveri Sparkling Riesling.
I wanted to pair the Spicy Prawns with a friendly, slightly sweet wine. I chose one of my favorites, a Washington Sparkling Riesling by Treveri Cellars.
Tasting Notes Treveri Riesling NV

Soft bubbles aplenty, sweet and crisp, apple, honey, creamy mouth, cinnamon, mineral and apple peal on the edge of the tongue, a good match to savory heat. Yum. Recommended.
SRP: $17.
ABV: 12%
RS: 34 grams per liter.

Treveri Cellars
71 Gangl Road
Wapato, WA 98951
Phone (509) 877.0925
Shop Treveri Cellars on Amazon

About Treveri Cellars

Treveri winemaker Juergen Grieb has a degree in winemaking and sparkling winemaking from Germany. From the town of Trier on the Mosel River next to Luxemburg, Juergen learned his craft at Kartheuserhof Winery under the tutelage of Herr Ludwig Breiling and worked with owner Christoph Tyrell. He also worked for the Duhr Sektkellerei in Trier which was a sparkling wine facility. After graduating, Juergen moved to the United States to make wine for an early German held winery on the Wahluke Slope in 1983. Juergen has worked in the Washington State wine industry since then, most recently for a bulk wine producer as the Head Winemaker producing 6 million gallons of still wine.

Juergen and Christian Grieb Treveri Cellars.

Treveri Cellars opened its doors on November 23, 2010 with a mission to put Washington sparkling wine on the map. Since its opening, Treveri wine has been served at White House State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation in New York.

Producing a wide array of sparkling wines, including non-traditional varieties such as Riesling and Mueller-Thurgau, Treveri largely focuses on 100% varietal sparkling wines, and is also launching a reserve tier of sparkling wine.

#WinePW 7 Ideas from our group for you.
Try something new this year!

Don't forget our Twitter chat December 13th at 8 a.m. Pacific Time. We'll be talking about our tips and tricks for the best holiday wine pairings. We'd love to have you join us!   

And, be sure to mark your calendars for January's Wine Pairing Weekend, hosted by Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva. Join in the #WinePW 8 conversation on Saturday January 10, 2015.

Related Post: #winePW 6 Shepherds Pie Casserole with Barnard Griffin Syrah Port


Thursday, December 11, 2014

'O' Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship Program @OWines


"Each purchase helps send low income, capable young women to college through the O Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship program."

Two months ago on the #WineMuse podcast show, I enjoyed speaking with winemaker Katie Nelson of O Wines. Following up, I am happy to review her red and white wines. They were very good.

Our October winemaker conversation included speaking with Katie Nelson, Winemaker for 'O' Wines in Washington State. Each purchase of 'O' Wines helps fund scholarship to send young women to college through the 'O' Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship program. Yes, drinking wine can support Scholarship.

O Wines was established in 2006 in Woodinville, Washington by Stacy Lill and Kathy Johanson with a mission to fund college scholarships for low income, capable young women so they can achieve their greatest potential through education.

Since the introduction of the wines to the Pacific Northwest in 2008 followed by a nationwide launch in 2013, more than $300,000 has been raised to support 52 college scholarships. Beginning in 2013 each scholarship is $20,000 given in $5,000 increments annually over 4 years.

Katie also spent 6 weeks working harvest in New Zealand in April. Of course we asked her about the experience of living, working and making wine in New Zealand. A fun and inspiring discussion. I encourage you to listen to the show and our conversation with this talented winemaker. You can support 'O' Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship program by purchasing and enjoying O Wines. Learn more on their Our Cause page.

*Note: Scholarships are available to High School Senior females nationwide with US citizenship that are entering their freshman year of college and are enrolled in a four year program. Applicants must have a minimum GPA and meet established criteria. Each O Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship is $20,000, given in $5,000 increments annually over 4 years.

**Note: The next O Wines Opportunity for Success Scholarship application window will open in March 2015. Learn how to apply on their Scholarship page.

Wine Reviews


Tasting Notes O Wines 2011 Chardonnay

Color: Pale gold, green highlights.
Nose: Mineral, toast, pear, slate, clean.
Palate: Big like at first taste. Good weight, honey crisp, unsweetened pear, fresh flow across the tongue, Asian pear into the finish. Lively and clean Chardonnay. New world style perfect for seafood, oysters, clams, shrimp, crab and appetizers.
After 30 minutes: Toasty nose, gingered pear, focused. Pear and lemon rush, fresh almost creamy, hint of spice on the centered finish. Craved chicken tamales and fish tacos. My speed.
At one hour: Paired with fried chicken, a good match, wine more savory with food.

Thoughts: Ready to go at open. Perfect for dining out or in. You and your friends will enjoy this fresh drinking Chardonnay. Recommended + good value.

Closure: 2+1 cork
ABV: 13%
SRP: $10.99
Sample provided by the winery


Tasting Notes O Wines 2010 Red Wine

Color: Ruby, clear.
Nose: Cherry, vanilla, soft earth, candy, leather with a little dry sage, friendly.
Palate: Medium body, cherry, fine tannin, creamy, a little grip lower gum. Instantly appealing and drinkable. Diners and guests will enjoy this wine.
After 10 minutes: Smooth, cherry, cranberry, in need of appetizers or pizza.
After 30 minutes: Cherry with orange pith, tannin friendly on the gums, medium finish.
45 minutes: Nose more focused, earthy fruit, touch of spice, dried herbs, candied cherry. Dry cherry, action on the back palate with more grip on the tongue and gums, light cranberry and currant. Medium finish.
At one hour: Fruity, dry, almost sweet with cola into the finish. Craved charcuterie, hard cheese and tamales.
1.5 hours: Fluid, dark berry, cola, coffee into the friendly finish.

Day two: Modest nose, action was on the palate. Cherry, blackberry, cola, spicy background, light but lively body, enough tannin to meet food, a little tingle on the tongue, tasty medium finish. Craved grilled lamb skewers.

Thoughts: Crowd pleasing style. Suitable for your festivities with friends and ready for casual meals. Recommended + good value.

Closure: Natural cork
ABV: 13.5%
SRP: $12.99
Sample provided by the winery

I strongly encourage you to seek out O Wines. They make wonderful everyday table wines and are perfect for parties and celebrations. And it helps a worthwhile cause. Visit their site and learn about the Criteria - Application - and Donation process. Well done Ms. Nelson.

Related Post: October 2014 Wine Muse Podcast Show Featuring New Zealand Wine.

Many thanks to Katie Nelson and O Wines!


Wine of the Month Club a Suitable Gift of Wine

Wine of the Month Club the oldest mail order wine service in America.

"I can think of few better gifts than the gift of wine." 

I recently received a sample shipment from the Wine of the Month Club out of Arcadia, California. The Wine of the Month Club has been shipping wine since 1972. The theme of this shipment was, "Give the perfect gift...Wine!"

This Wine Club offers 4 month, 6 month and 12 month Memberships. Each month the member or gift receiver, receives two bottles of wine selected by the Cellarmaster Paul Kalemkiarian. He guarantees, "You never pay for a wine you do not like". Wine is shipped direct to your address.

Wine Club Memberships are available at 4 different levels of "interest" which includes:
1. The Classic Series - The original club. 2 wines a month. Choose red + white, reds only or whites only.
2. The Vintner Series - The next tier for those interested in a variety of grapes and regions.
3. The Limited Series - Upper tier club. Wines selected for aging potential and character.
4. The California Series - A red wine only club of collectible California wines.

The sample shipment I received included a 24 page newsletter with wine tasting notes, food pairing suggestions and pricing for re-orders. Yes, you can order more if you like the wines you received. The wines I received were carefully packed and presented in an attractive burgundy linen gift box. Nice presentation. These wines were part of the Classic Series Gift Membership, both wines were from California, a 2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay and a 2012 Oak Grove Petite Sirah.

Tasting Notes:

2012 Red Autumn Chardonnay

Color: Pale straw.
Nose: Pleasant, pear, edged with yeast and ginger.
Palate: Creamy, fresh down the tongue, apple, pear, really nice and tasty across the entire palate. Whoa, this bottle went fast. Like.

Thoughts: This wine was made by La Quaterna/Fior di Sol in Napa. I understand why this wine was included in this shipment. It is a ready to drink, balanced, not over the top, tasty Chardonnay. It just wants to be enjoyed. Recommended.
Closure: 2+1 cork
ABV: 13.9%
For information on pricing and options visit or call 1-800-949-9463.

2012 Oak Grove Petite Sirah

Color: Clear Ruby to Violet.
Nose: Light fruit, raspberry, cranberry, light earth, spice.
Palate: Light body, raspberry, cranberry, gentle tannin, earthy push with modest spice on finish. Enjoyable light bodied red wine, would be good with ham or pork tenderloin.
After 20 minutes: Cheerful, broader on the palate and drier, with dried cherry and tasty medium fruit. Happy light drinking wine. Good companion with turkey dinner. Wonderful wine and food pairing.
After an hour: Spicier, rich, almost jammy fruit, cherry and cranberry stood out, not too fruity or spicy. Balanced, drinking bigger. Duck would be good to pair at this point. Demure finish for enjoying food. Like.

Thoughts: Oak grove wines are made from grapes from Monterey County, Arroyo Seco and Paso Robles. I don't often see Petite Sirah, so this wine was a treat for me. It delivered a lot of taste in a food ready wine. Not over the top and quite suitable to pair with grilled or smoked meats. Recommended.
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13%
For information on pricing and options visit or call 1-800-949-9463.

Who is this Club for?

The wines I received were both tasty and enjoyable wines. This Classic Series would be an appropriate gift for someone looking to experience a variety of tasty and affordable wines each month. It would be a perfect gift for the aspiring wine "connoisseur." The tasting notes include maps, descriptions of the AVA and related growing regions as well as descriptive tasting notes. An especially good gift since not everyone lives near wine country.

Is this the kind of gift I would enjoy?

Perusing the newsletter I received, their Vintner Series and Limited Series included different wines. Wines in those shipments were from France and Spain in the Vintners package and the Limited had French and New Zealand wines. That would be more my speed and would definitely keep my interest each month. Hint, hint.

I can think of few better gifts than the gift of wine. For me, receiving a surprise monthly gift of wine would be like celebrating a birthday each and every month. I encourage you to visit their online store and look at their wine themed gift baskets too. The "Classy Girl" Insulated Wine Purses were new to me. A suitable way of gifting your best friends and family.

For information on pricing and options visit or call 1-800-949-9463.

*Note: To receive wine shipments someone 21 years or older must be present to sign for the wine shipment. I typically have my wine shipped to the office. Otherwise, I have to notify the shipper that I will collect my wine at the shippers warehouse.

A hearty thank you to the Wine of the Month Club.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wine Review: 2011 Wautoma Wines Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon


Another premium Washington wine by Jessica Munnell.

It was a pleasure to enjoy a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon made by Jessica Munnell from her Wautoma Wines label. This review follows another wine review about a Rose' also made by Ms. Munnell from the Mercer Estates label. She's a busy and talented winemaker.

If you are not familiar with Wautoma Wines, it is a partnership between vineyard manager Tom Merkle and winemaker Jessica Munnell. Tom provides the premium Washington grapes and Jessica makes the wine. Tom  and Jessica met at Tom's Wautoma Springs vineyard in January 2000. Working together, they became friends. The friendship developed into a business partnership which became Wautoma Wines in 2008.

Wautoma Wines are made of the best Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Wautoma Springs Vineyard and of Malbec from Wahluke Slope’s Stone Tree Vineyard. This bottling is 100% Wautoma Springs Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tasting Notes 2011 Wautoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Color: Dark Burgundy.
Nose: Big, cherry, oak, incense, pomegranate juice, vanilla.
Palate: Bing cherry, chocolate, hint of bell pepper, medium body, polished, medium tannin, balanced, moderate finish.  Approachable and friendly at open.
After 15 minutes: Chocolate gingerbread, candied cherry, dusty nose. Dusty dark chocolate, coffee bean, oak, cherry, pleasing finish lingered.
25 minutes: Perfumed nose, candied spice. Good texture, chocolate-cherry, spice, growing finish. Wine integrating, not heavy, balanced, easy drinking and showing well. Think grilled steak.

After an hour: Ebullient, aromatic, deep nose, dark fruit, tomato leaf, sandalwood. Cherry, blackberry, dark chocolate, cinnamon, note of cumin. Not a brawny wine, aromatic, cozy, and fun to be with, tannin more present, still coming together. Lingering finish. Moroccan lamb, flat bread, rose water rice and labneh on my mind.

After 2 hours: Fresh cherry, dry on the tongue and lower gum, blackberry, chocolate, medium finish, tingle on the gums. Very food friendly. Enjoyed with pasta in a white sauce with sliced mushroom, diced red bell pepper, white cheddar, black pepper and Marsala. Delicious. Also had chicken wings cooked in apple cider, French thyme, black pepper and garlic salt. Then Pressed on hot skillet until skin caramelized.  Flavors were complimentary. Very enjoyable meal.

After 3 hours: Blueberry, silky, dark notes, tar, cherry cordial and orange chocolate into the finish, pleasant spike mid-palate. Shifted from the nose onto the palate. Longer finish. Eminently drinkable at this point. I had to exercise restraint.

Day Two: Blackberry, smoky violets, dark chocolate on the nose. Creamy cherry, blackberry, fluid, silky, chocolate and dark notes on the finish. Yum.

Thoughts: Yes, food friendly at two hours and very drinkable at three hours. From my tasting notes you can tell I really enjoyed this wine on the first day. But it was better and better the longer it was open. Therefore, I would suggest holding for a year or five before drinking, or decant for the most pleasure today. I believe I am becoming a fan of this winemaker. Strongly Recommended.

Vineyard: Wautoma Springs 
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Closure: Natural cork.
Heavy bottle with deep punt, nice shape.
ABV: 14.1%
SRP: $48
Winemaker: Jessica Munnell

Wautoma Wines LLC
Facebook Wautoma Wines

About Tom Merkle
Owner/Vineyard Manager
Tom Merkle is a second-generation grape grower. In 1999, he planted the first grapes at his own Wautoma Springs vineyard. That has since developed into a fifty-acre, exclusively Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard supplying fruit to some of the best-known, most-respected wineries in Washington. In addition to Wautoma Springs, Tom manages several other top-rank vineyards on the Wahluke Slope.

Wautoma Wines Winemaker Jessica Munnell.

About Jessica Munnell
In 2003, Jessica left viticulture for winemaking, beginning with an internship in Australia. She later returned to the states for an enology position with Snoqualmie Winery. In 2005, she began work at Canoe Ridge and worked her way up to an Assistant Winemaker position with Chateau Ste. Michelle. After a few years away from full-time wine industry involvement to begin raising a family, Jessica approached Tom Merkle about working together to create a wine that featured his grapes. A partnership was formed in 2008 that became Wautoma Wines – made of the best Cabernet Sauvignon from Wautoma Springs and Malbec from Wahluke Slope’s Stone Tree Vineyard. In addition to her work with Wautoma Springs, Jessica is the head Winemaker for Mercer Estates.

Related Post: Review Mercer Estates 2013 Sadie Louise Rose' Horse Heaven Hills


Wine Review - Mercer Estates 2013 Sadie Louise Rose' Horse Heaven Hills @MercerEstates

A Mercer Small Lot Wine, unique and unquestionably hand-made. Produced in small quantities. Hand-crafted and meticulously tended to from the vineyard to the bottle.

This bottle is a tribute to Don and Linda Mercer and all of the many cousins and friends who helped plant the original Mercer Ranch Vineyards back in the early 1970s. Named in honor of Carma Mercer, who was fond of a charming, hand-raised, bell sheep named Sadie Louise. For fifty years, many successor ewes carried on the name. The estate Spice Cabinet Vineyard, located in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, provided 100% of the fruit for this wine. This vineyard sits on a southeast slope above the Columbia River.

Mercer Estates Tasting Room in Prosser, Washington.
Wine Bar at Mercer Estates Tasting Room.
*Note: It was my pleasure to visit Mercer Estates Winery during harvest this year. I tasted through many delicious wines and also enjoyed a tour of their winery. It was a thrill to sample unfiltered wine straight from the tank. A first class facility and operation. If you are in the area it is a must visit winery.

Tasting Notes 2013 Sadie Louise Rose' Horse Heaven Hills:

Color: Pale salmon pink.
Nose: Dry minerality, strawberry with orange peel, toasty.
Palate: Lively, strawberry-cream, creamy on the top palate, fresh with slate on the finish. Palate cleanser and very tasty at opening, fruity with a lingering strawberry finish.  Big like.

Thoughts: This wine made me hungry. I craved tacos from a taco wagon. Especially good pairing at dinner with spicy Yakisoba noodles; the noodles, oil, umami quality and heat matched well with this wine. Recommended for spicy Asian dishes and would be fantastic with Thai fusion dishes. Bring on the heat baby. A flexible food wine suitable for an array of foods. Buy if you see it. Recommended.

Vineyard: Spice Cabinet Estate Vineyard
Blend: 89% Grenache, 6% Sangiovese, 3% Mourvedre, 1% Cinsault, 1% Counoise
Closure: Screw Cap
ABV: 13%
Winemaker: Jessica Munnell
Production: 199 cases

Mercer Estates Winery
Winery and Tasting Room Address:
3100 Lee Road
Prosser, WA 99350

Winemaker Jessica Munnell

About the Winemaker

Jessica Munnell holds a Master’s of Science degree from Washington State University, where she studied enology and viticulture. Ms. Munnell began her career as a viticulturist for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in 2000. Working in the Columbia Valley with over 32 growers afforded her a comprehensive understanding of the region’s sub-climates and soils, as well as their influence in the finished wines. In 2003, she worked harvest for Bleasdale Vineyards in South Australia, launching her winemaking career. Upon her return, she worked as Enologist at Prosser’s Snoqualmie Vineyards training under legendary winemaker, Joy Andersen. Munnell’s winemaking skills then took her to Chateau Ste. Michelle as Assistant Winemaker. In 2008, Jessica started the ultra premium winery Wautoma Springs Wines and following that produced wines at Artifex Wine Company, a custom crush facility in Walla Walla. She has been Mercer Estates Winemaker since 2011.

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