Friday, November 27, 2015

Goose Ridge Vineyards Introduces Tall Sage - I Review the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon


A tribute to Arvid Monson, founder of Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards.

“Find a Tall Sage and you have found a place that will sustain superior grape vines.” Dr. Walter Clore.

The Tall Sage label is the Monson Family’s tribute to a man of great stature, the founder of Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards, Arvid Monson. A tall sage is one that develops deep tap roots. I have been a fan of Gooseridge wines for many years. Quite happy to see this new label. Both of these Washington wines are true values with great QPR. Recommended.

Tasting Notes 


1. Tall Sage 2014 Chardonnay Columbia Valley

Color: Straw.
Nose: Tropical, mineral, inviting.
Palate: Nutty, dry, light pear, banana in background, medium-light body, focus to middle, slight tingle, creamy, modest finish of pear, banana and hazelnut. Light in body and palate. Best for when you want a modest, light drinking wine.

After 15 Minutes: More depth on nose, think fresh rain and wet rock, pear/banana, hazelnut shell, hint of sliced bread and vanilla. Mouth feel soft, flat on the palate, ginger, pear, finish was bitter with nuts and pear, but it did linger pleasantly. Nose more appealing. Pair with something acidic - suggest ceviche, shrimp cocktail, halibut or other lightly flavored fish with squeeze of lemon juice.

After 30 Minutes: Soft wine, light body, with a tingle, focus to front, banana, pear, nutty, a little savory, pleasant finish. Modest wine with some enjoyable qualities. Best to pair with casual, lighter fare.

After One Hour: More going on, focused to middle, not as soft, nutty pear, touch of vanilla, salinity, light spice, savory finish. More my speed. Pair with a cheese plate, crusty bread, baked chicken, or grilled trout.

Day Two: Nutty pear, brioche, smooth, had a freshness that was missing day one, tacky on tongue, slightly bitter with sage on the bigger finish. More my speed. Serve chilled and enjoy.

Day Four: At least as tasty as day two, with that soft mouth-feel. More expressive.

Thoughts: This casual vintage should drink even better over the next few years. Tremendous value in this affordable bottle of Washington Chardonnay.

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Closure Screw Cap.
ABV: 13.5%
Production: 921 Cases
SRP: About $10
Made by Goose Ridge Winery in tribute to Arvid Monson, founder of Gooseridge Estate Vineyards.
Sample provided by winery.


2. Tall Sage 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley

Color: Bright, clear purple.
Nose: Fresh fruit, smoky edged, pomegranate skin, orange peel, currant, white pepper, cherry. Friendly.
Palate: Medium body, pleasant tannin along tongue, focused to middle, bright cherry, currant, hint of smoke, violets, enjoyable medium-short finish. Good match with Iberico cheese and cold cuts.

After 15 Minutes: Earthy/smoky, dark fruit, leather jacket, orange, tannin and acid balanced, milk chocolate, cherry cordial, medium body, blackberry, medium-short finish. Fresh drinking. Like.

After 30 Minutes: A bit fuller in the mouth, dark fruit with violets, cherry and chocolate into the bright finish. Fun and tasty, enjoyable with food.

After One Hour: Consistent, bit earthier, dark fruit, nice lift mid-palate, tannin and acid worked well together to deliver a balanced, medium bodied, food friendly wine. Order by the glass or the bottle.

Day Two: Dry, tacky tannin on tongue, focused to middle, dirty earthy, dried cherry with blackberry and orange peal, round with cherry, rose petals and vanilla on the medium finish. Pair with fat on day two, lamb or a nice juicy steak. Would be interesting to see how this wine develops over time.


Thoughts: For a 2014 vintage I was surprised how well this wine drank and how well I enjoyed it. Restaurants take note - this is a food compatible wine, ready to drink at open. Perfect go to, everyday wine which you and your friends will enjoy. Drink today and over the next five years. Great QPR.

Blend: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 3% Malbec
Closure: Screw Cap
ABV: 13.5%
Production: 1,015 Cases
SRP: About $10
Made by Goose Ridge Winery in tribute to Arvid Monson, founder of Gooseridge Estate Vineyards.
Sample provided by winery.

The Monsons' have been farming the Columbia Valley for almost five decades and crafting quality wines since 1999.  Theirs is a family-owned and operated winery dedicted to limited production, handcrafted wines.

Veteran winemaker, Andrew Wilson, is a Washington wine specialist. The Tall Sage wines are a truly exceptional value. Great QPR! Thank you Andrew.

For information regarding Goose Ridge Vineyards & Winery


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Enticed by Double Canyon 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills


An enticing wine made from a windswept estate vineyard.

I'm often asked by visitors to Washington wine country about the quality of our wines. "Why are these wines so good?" As most of you know, you cannot make good wine without good grapes. And Washington wine grapes can be very good. Case in point.

The Horse Heaven Hills AVA is home to 25% of the state's vineyard acreage.  

Eastern Washington lies in a sweet spot in the Pacific Northwest. The Cascade mountain range captures most of the precipitation from the Pacific coast, leaving much of Eastern Washington semi-arid desert steppe. To grow grapes here, you must irrigate. The Northwest location also provides additional daylight in the summer, plus additional heat units and typically cool desert evenings. The best vineyards are located on poor soils, which are  relatively pest free, so no vine grafting required. Frequent winds also contribute to a nearly perfect growing region.

View of a portion of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

The wind. The wind blows almost constantly in some locations, such as in parts of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Wind increases vine vigor and blowing particulates thicken ripening grapes. All of these elements are present in the bottle of this 2012 Double Canyon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is polished and ready to drink.
Strongly Recommended.


Tasting Notes

Color: Red plum to garnet.
Nose: Yum. Lively, candied earth, anise, coconut, blackberry, boysenberry, camphor. Like.
Palate: Good weight, good mouth feel, supple, ripe Bing cherry, smooth, black tea. Like.

After 15 Minutes: Blackberry, plum, spice, vanilla/coconut, fresh mint on the nose. Cherry, chocolate, light grip on cheeks, orange, mint, polished medium finish. Like.

After 30 Minutes: Earthy spicy nose, blackberry, cherry, tea, vanilla, mint. Creamy, integrated, focus to middle, ripe Bing cherry, fine chocolate, mint, subtle earthiness, easy drinking, enjoyable medium finish. Like.

After One Hour: Balanced, pleasantly dry, subtle earthiness, Bing cherry, clove, mint, polished medium finish. Rocking the Bing cherry and ready to drink. Excellent with dinner of fried steak and popcorn shrimp.

* Decanted One Hour: Enticing nose, polished and flavorful, Bing cherry, chocolate, light mint, lightly dry, medium finish.

Day Two: Nose was briny with olive juice and cherry. Very dry, with cherry pie, vanilla crème, mint, green tea and a medium finish.

Day Three: Earthy gingerbread and cherry, subtle olive in the background on the nose. Yum. Tasty cherry pie, a little unripe marionberry, chicory, dry on the gums, focused to the middle front, fresh almost tart on the medium finish.


Thoughts: Pleased with this wine. Polished and ready to drink. Perfect companion to roast beef, fried steak, and most hearty and savory dishes. Or enjoy with company by the fireplace.
Strongly Recommended.

AVA: Horse Heaven Hills
Blend: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 9% Malbec
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Sample provided by winery
SRP: $65

About Double Canyon

The Double Canyon property was acquired by Crimson Wine Group in 2005.  Double Canyon, named for two ravines that run through the property, exclusively produces an estate-grown wine that expresses the individuality of the vineyard in this distinctive windswept, desert location. This unique piece of land is now in the capable hands of William Beightol, a second-generation vineyard manager who grew up directly across the road from the property.

They have 84 acres of vines planted densely, at about 1,850 plants per acre—double the norm in Washington— in order to crowd the space and achieve less fruit per plant. Having less fruit increases overall quality as all of the plant’s energy is focused on fewer clusters.

About Will Beightol

Raised in Prosser, Washington, Will Beightol learned about agriculture driving a tractor as a teen for Mercer Ranch. Today, that same vegetable farm surrounds many of Washington’s most prized vineyards, including Champoux, Phinny Hill and Double Canyon.

Will attended Washington State University, graduating with a degree in business and a minor in horticulture. He managed the vineyards at Hogue for over a decade, until he learned in 2007 that Crimson Wine Group had purchased the land next door to the old Mercer Ranch. Will convinced Crimson that, being a native to the area, he was the best man to manage their newly-formed estate.

Will was single-handedly responsible for planting the vines at Double Canyon, and his day-to-day operations focus on fruit balance through high-density planting.

Related Post: Review 2010 Double Canyon Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Taste the Reason - Archery Summit 2013 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir


A wonderful wine for elevating your holiday celebrations and meals.

I distinctly remember my Pinot Noir "ah ha!" moment in April 2012. That particular wine epiphany led to a new appreciation and understanding of the Pinot Noir variety. Washington grape growers cultivate many, many premium grape varieties - Pinot Noir is not one of them.

“There's a reason people drink Oregon Pinot Noir.”

By embracing a world of wine outside of Washington, I finally gained an appreciation for one of the most sought after wines - Pinot Noir, especially Oregon Pinot Noir. Oregon produces truly stunning Pinot Noir. The Archery Summit 2013 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is one of those wonderful wines from Oregon for elevating your holiday celebrations and meals. Strongly Recommended.

Tasting Notes

Color: Pale, clear ruby.
Nose: Earthy strawberry and raspberry skin, orange peel, floral.
Palate: Juicy strawberry/raspberry, orange pith, focused to middle, tingly edged, tasty medium-light finish. Like.

After 15 Minutes: Sour strawberry/cherry, light spice on the nose. Sour cherry, strawberry, light spice, focus to the front, pleasant medium finish with hint of candy.

After 30 Minutes: Earthy strawberry, sour cherry, fresh sage on the nose. Consistent palate of strawberry and sour cherry, good mouth feel, oak more present, crème brule with dry red fruit on the finish, which is where it showed off, lovely, lovely elegant finish. Like. Had to exercise restraint.

After One Hour: Focused nose and palate. Aroma and flavor consistent. Balanced and tasty. Like.

*Decanted One Hour: Polished, elegant, sophisticated, luxurious. Broader and more expressive across the palate decanted, it was focused, dry, tasty, with finely textured tannin, and a medium-long red berry finish. Zoom! Happy mouth.

Day Two: Medium-light on the palate, fine tannin, delicate earthiness, tart raspberry, pie cherries, orange pith on a fresh, dry finish. More tartness on day two.


Thoughts: Tasty at open and even better decanted for an hour. There's a reason people drink Oregon Pinot Noir. Taste the reason. Still evolving in bottle, drink now or hold. Pair with turkey, ham and game bird. Or just sit back with friends and drink.
Strongly Recommended.

Vineyard: 100% Red Hills Estate
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13%
Winemaker: Chris Mazepink
SRP: $85
Sample provided by winery

Archery Summit
18599 NE Archery Summit Rd
Dayton, Oregon 97114

Visit Archery Summit

The next time you are in Oregon and the Willamette Valley, visit Archery Summit and explore a selection of current releases on a Signature Tasting flight. For a more in depth and educational experience, private tours of their gravity flow winery and barrel caves as well as a variety of private tastings offer the opportunity to experience an extended flight of exclusive and limited production wines. Tours and private tastings are available by prior appointment.

For me, the appreciation of Pinot Noir was no simple thing. My heavy bias towards Washington wines almost caused a physical confrontation in the summer of 2008. I thought I was standing my ground and promoting Washington wines. The gentleman from Alaska was doing the same for Oregon Pinot Noir. Neither of us willing to budge. I even used the phrase, "one trick pony." That did not go over well. When I came to my senses, I walked away.

Thankfully, today I have a deep appreciation for Pinot Noir, its subtlety, elegance, and worthiness alone or with food. In 2012 I spent five wonderful days in Oregon wine country on a "Wine Country Discovery Tour". There are not enough words for me to express how affected I was by my experience in Oregon. Oregon winemakers are creating and expressing true wine passion. You can tell by the exquisite wines they are making.