Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wine of the Week: Bombing Range Red 2010 Horse Heavens Hills

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Serious New Look - Same Great Value.

I'm a fan of McKinley Springs wines. As I've expressed before, this small, family-owned and operated estate winery, produces wines true to the varietal. They taste like you expect, compliment your meals and are reasonably priced. The Bombing Range Red is a red wine blend which I first enjoyed a couple of years ago. Checking my blog I've reviewed or mentioned McKinley Springs nine times. Look for their wines.

The Bombing Range Red label was introduced in 2005. The original label had a colorful graphic novel look which was easy to spot on the shelf. A casual wine with a playful look. However, I've learned from other wineries and their recent label changes, that our fond and friendly, playful looking designs, are not taken seriously outside of Washington state. If you want to sell more wine, sometimes you have to reconsider the look of the label.
New label features 1943 photo of U.S. P-40 fighter plane at U.S. base in China.

McKinley Springs Bombing Range Red has a new look. With the 2010 vintage, the label has an actual photograph from World War II. The look is certainly more serious than the original design. It is inspired by the history of the vineyard. During WWII, families in the Horse Heaven Hills were asked to leave their farms so the area could be used to train fighter pilots. Their farms became a bombing range. They still find shell casings in their 2000 acre family vineyard!

Tasting Notes McKinley Springs 2010 Bombing Range Red

Color: Lovely Garnet, gem quality with lavender rim.
Nose: Red fruit, leather jacket, ripe raspberry, pencil shavings, light smoke.
Palate: Cherry, bright mid-palate, coffee notes, smooth, cheery finish, lightly dry with cola and cherry flesh. Longer than expected finish. Wonderful showcase of Horse Heaven Hills fruit.

Thoughts: Instantly likable at opening and until the bottle was finished. Pair this wine with BBQ, hot sauce, or pasta. It was a most enjoyable red table wine with enough cheer to please many. It put me in a good mood. This wine kept my interest and stimulated my appetite, even after dinner. This wine has Quality + Value. Recommended.

Closure: Screw cap
Blend: 56% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 10% Mourvedre.
AVA: Horse Heaven Hills
ABV: 13.8%
Doug Rowell, Winemaker
Rob Andrews, Grower
1,650 cases produced
Sample provided by winery
SRP $16

www.mckinleysprings.com

Tasting room will be open by appointment only.  Please call 509.830.0774 or email Sandy to set up an appointment (please schedule 2 weeks in advance). 

* Join McKinley Springs and fellow Horse Heaven Hills AVA winegrowers for the Annual Trail Drive event Saturday, July 19.  Meet and taste with the vineyard owners and winegrowers, enjoy a BBQ and more. Visit the HHHWG website for tickets and more information.

Related Post: Review 2008 McKinley Springs Bombing Range Red

Note: This wine would be a perfect gift for pilots, aviation fans and history buffs. Perfectly suited to your next BBQ party too. I enjoyed this wine.

Cheers!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Revelry on Red Mountain 24-25 May 2014


Experience the wonder of Washington wines on Red Mountain.


Red Mountain is a gem of an AVA. Blessed with wonderful sun exposure, perfect soil for growing some of the best wine grapes in the world and a magnet for attracting talented winemakers. This translates to wines of great depth and character. Take this opportunity to learn and experience Red Mountain. You are being called to Revelry on Red Mountain.

View from Col Solare Winery.

The annual Revelry on Red Mountain is hosted at Col Solare Winery. Prepare to be dazzled by the fabulous Washington wine, food and stunning views. Tickets are on sale now.


Sunset at Revelry on Red Mountain.

A spectacular sunset, panoramic views of the valley below, savory delights and the warmth of eastern Washington will raise your spirit and please your palate.

Experience Olive Catering.

Last year marked the fourth Revelry on Red Mountain I attended. Not only were some of the best Washington wines poured on Saturday, but Sunday included a new addition to this weekend, a Red Mountain vineyard tour and lunch.

Walking Vineyard Tour

The walking vineyard tour is continued this year. Below are photos from last years Red Mountain Vineyard Tour. This was a very special and enlightening activity for me. It surprised me how different Red Mountain looked from each of the vineyards we visited. Of course delicious wine was poured at each vineyard, wine made from grapes from that vineyard. Very cool.

We began our tour at Klipsun Vineyard.

Our next stop was Kiona Vineyard and Winery.

Warm welcome to Ciel du Cheval Vineyard.

Lunch at Fidelitas Winery.

Final stop at Hedges Family Estate.

This is my favorite Washington wine event.

Revelry on Red Mountain continues to expand the Red Mountain AVA wine experience. Saturday night is Revelry on Red Mountain, enjoy wine, food and entertainment. Sunday morning enjoy the vineyard walking tour and lunch. Not satisfied yet? A special Winemakers Dinner was added this year to enhance your eastern Washington wine enjoyment.


Experience Revelry on Red Mountain.

See Ticket Options Below - Participating Winery Photos at Bottom.

2014 Event Shuttle
There will be a round-trip shuttle from each of the partner hotels to Col Solare for the Saturday night event. Tickets are $30 per person (30 seats available)

Ticket Packages!
(Please note the Vineyard Tour and Winemaker Dinners are only availble with the purchase of a Saturday night event ticket)

Revelry on Red Mountain
$95 – one ticket to Revelry on Red Mountain, Saturday, May 24

Wine & Vine on Red Mountain
$195 - Includes one ticket to each:
 • Revelry on Red Mountain, Saturday, May 24
 • Red Mountain Vineyard Tour & Lunch, Sunday Morning, May 25

Wine & Dine on Red Mountain
$195 - Includes one ticket to each:
 • Revelry on Red Mountain, Saturday, May 24
 • Winemaker Dinner on Sunday evening, May 25

Wine, Vine & Dine on Red Mountain
$295 - Includes one ticket to each:
 • Revelry on Red Mountain, Saturday, May 24
 • Red Mountain Walking Vineyard Tour & Lunch, Sunday Morning, May 25
 • Winemaker Dinner of your choice on Sunday evening, May 25

Revelry on Red Mountain VIP
$925 per couple - Includes two tickets to each:
 • Revelry on Red Mountain, Saturday, May 24
 • Red Mountain Walking Vineyard Tour & Lunch, Sunday Morning, May 25
 • Winemaker Dinner on Sunday evening, May 25

PLUS
 • Shuttle for two to the Saturday night event from the hotel to Col Solare
 • Two nights accomodations at the Courtyard by Marriott, Columbia Point, Richland, WA
Learn more about this wonderful event and buy tickets.


Revelry on Red Mountain is a fund raising event for Seattle Children’s Hospital. The Auction of Washington Wines is responsible for organizing this worthy fundraising event.

Participating Wineries


Ambassador Vineyard.
Anelare.
- Boudreaux Cellars -

Canoe Ridge Vineyards.
- Chinook Wines - 



- Col Solare -



Cooper Wine Company.

Corvus Cellars.
Cote Bonneville.
DeLille Cellars.

EFESTE.



Fidelitas.
Force Majeure.
- Gordon Estate -

- Guardian Cellars -

Hightower Cellars.
J. Bookwalter Winery.
Kiona Winery.
Native Sun.
Obelisco.
Seven Hills Winery.
Tapteil Vineyard Winery.

I hope you have the opportunity to experience Revelry on Red Mountain. I've only touched the surface of this event weekend.

Cheers!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

WineChat Tasting 2010 Lenné Pinot Noir, Oregon,Yamhill-Carlton District @lennewine

Stephen Lutz, Owner, Lenné.

Is there a difference between good wine and great wine? There is, there is. Compare a great wine besides a good wine and the good wine may be bitter ashes in your mouth. The 2010 Lenné  Estate Pinot Noir is a great wine my friends. Seek this wine out and savor the beauty of great Oregon wine.
"It was almost 5 years before we knew we'd make great Pinots." - Stephen Lutz 

The Wednesday, 09 April 2014 #Winechat twitter wine tasting featured the 2010 Lenné  Estate Pinot Noir. Stephen Lutz, Owner of Lenné tweeted from Oregon as a group of us from the East and West coasts opened and savored his 2010 Estate Pinot Noir. There were smiles in the twitterverse from coast to coast.

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My first experience meeting Steve Lutz and sampling his Oregon wines was in 2012 at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, Oregon. I was impressed then by the great depth and character of his Pinot Noir. Truly some of the biggest and most complex Pinot Noir I have enjoyed. I knew I was in for a treat when I received his 2010 Lenné  Estate Pinot Noir.

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Tasting Notes:

Color: Burgandy, darker than expected
Nose: Rich, dark, raspberry, strawberry and cherry. Spicy tar notes. After 25 minutes nose was deeper, mocha appeared. At 40 Minutes candied fruit, rich earth. At 45 minutes strawberry and balsamic reduction. Intense nose. Herbal/grassy notes faded in and out, along with coconut and vanilla. Almost like going for a stroll in wine country with a delicious glass of wine.
Palate: Creamy mouth, dark fruit, solid dark tannin, scrumptious finish. Rich finish at 25 minutes with mocha. Tannin more present on teeth and gums at 45 minutes with mocha, strawberry, balsamic reduction finish. Super focused at 55 minutes, a true pleasure. At 75 minutes fantastic.

Day Two: Nose just as intense with mocha, sarsaparilla, cherry, dark java with black pepper. Mocha dominant, red fruit notes. Silky smooth with black cherry finish.

Thoughts: Refined Pinot Noir, silky drinker at opening, great depth and a wine that will surprise you at how big it drinks. This is one of the best Oregon Pinot Noirs I've enjoyed. At 40 minutes it had a super sexy nose. You can tell I enjoyed and savored this wine. Ready to drink today and over the next 5 years. I have little self control with great wines, so I'd likely drink it all this year. Discover what a great Pinot Noir tastes like - Strongly Recommended.

Pair with mushroom risotto or Chicken Marsala. Steve recommends mac and cheese with good cheese.

Closure: Natural cork
ABV: 14%
SRP: $45
Production: 225 cases
Cold soaked 5 days; aged for 11 months French oak barrels
Sample provided by the winery.
http://www.lenneestate.com

Visit Lenné  Estate
Open Saturday and  Sunday from 12-5,
Usually there Thursday and Friday from 1-5,
Please verify by email to STEVE@LENNEESTATE.COM
Lenné ~ 18760 NE Laughlin Road ~ Yamhill, OR 97148 ~ 503-956-2256

About:

Lenné  Estate 20 acre vineyard is on sedimentary or Willakenzie soils called "Peavine" which is considered the poorest soil type in the WillametteValley. The Lenné vineyard shares a ridge with Willakenzie Estate, Deux Vert, Shea, Solena, Roots and Penner-Ash. The vineyard was planted between 2001-2004 at an elevation of 375-575 feet, with 2084 vines per acre. Clones Pommard, 115, 114, 777 and 667.

Cool vintages like 2010 take time to reveal and are best with patience. Many producers in 2010 lost up to 50% of their crop yield, due to cool weather and bird pressure. Patience rewarded -  this wine is a stellar vintage for Lenné.

Lenné was born in 2000 when Steve and Karen Lutz bought a 21 acre site near the town of Yamhill, Oregon. Steve planted 15 acres of Pinot Noir on the site beginning in 2001. The vineyard is managed and farmed by Steve and the wine is made by Steve at Owen Roe with the help of their crew. Lenné takes its name from Karen’s late father Lenny, an Englishman and farmer whose spirit lives on at Lenné.

Steve shared that when he first tasted his bottled Lenné in 2004, he told his wife "Don't worry we are going to be okay." More than okay Stephen, well done, bravo!

Cheers! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Rock Legends Take the Stage - Maryhill’s 2014 Summer Concert Series

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Styx and Foreigner, Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy, plus Ian Anderson performing the Best of Jethro Tull summer 2014 at Maryhill Winery!


Goldendale, Wash. (April 7, 2013) – Maryhill Winery & Amphitheater is pleased to announce a chart-topping lineup for the 2014 summer concert series, featuring some of the best-selling artists from the 70s and 80s. With dates set for August and September, three groups are set to take the stage at Maryhill Winery’s picturesque amphitheater:

Ballad legends Styx and Foreigner, recent Hall of Fame inductees Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy, and iconic rocker Ian Anderson performing the Best of Jethro Tull.

Tickets go on sale to the public through Maryhill’s website or Ticketfly (1-877-435-9849) on Friday, April 11 at 10 a.m., with prices ranging from $49 to $150. 


Panoramic view of Maryhill Winery amphitheater.

Located along the Washington border of the Columbia River Gorge, just 100 miles east of Portland, Ore., Maryhill Winery is lauded as one of the top destination wineries and most scenic music venues in the Pacific Northwest. With seating for 4,000 built into the natural slope of the outdoor lawn, Maryhill has been a popular summer hotspot for nearly a decade and continues to add new attractions, such as four world-class bocce courts and a Reserve Room, to make it the fifth most-visited winery in the state.


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Craig Leuthold.


“The talent that has crossed our stage over the years has been incredible, and this year is no exception,” said Craig Leuthold, owner of Maryhill Winery.

“We started the summer concert series 10 years ago with a pop-up stage, but quickly realized that by combining great music with our stunning location and exceptional wine, Maryhill could become more than just a winery for our fans. It’s now a tradition.”



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2014 Summer Concert Series Musicians.
The summer concert lineup includes the following musical acts, with more artist information available at www.maryhillwinery.com:
  • Aug. 2 – Styx and Foreigner. 
  • Aug. 23 – Frampton's Guitar Circus featuring Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy.
  • Sept. 13 – The Best of Jethro Tull performed by Ian Anderson.

In addition to its summer concert series, Maryhill Winery also offers free live music on the terrace every weekend from 1 to 5 p.m., from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The winery’s Tasting Room, which closes 90 minutes before gates open on concert days, is open throughout the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with the Reserve Room hours varying by season.

For more information about Maryhill Winery, its popular concert series and to sign up for the winery’s e-newsletter, visit maryhillwinery.com; and be sure to fan Maryhill on Facebook, and follow on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Vicki and Craig Leuthold with winery dog Potter.

About Maryhill Winery
Established in 1999 by Craig and Vicki Leuthold, Maryhill Winery is the 10th largest winery in Washington state and produces 90,000 cases annually. Nestled among rows of vines along the stunning Columbia River in Goldendale, Wash., Maryhill is a popular destination for wine tastings, tours and special events, with an adjacent 4,000-seat outdoor amphitheater that hosts a world-class summer concert series and free live music on the vine-covered terrace every weekend (Memorial Day – September). Maryhill’s 3,000 sq. ft. tasting room and 1,200 sq. ft. Reserve Room draw more than 75,000 wine enthusiasts from around the globe each year, ranking among the top five most visited wineries in the state. Maryhill sources more than 30 different varietals of grapes from some of the most highly-regarded vineyards in the state, producing nearly 40 different wines, and has claimed more than 2,000 awards since its first vintage in 2001.

Related Posts:
I'm a little tingly about this years summer concerts at Maryhill Winery. These bands were huge and some of my favorites growing up in Seattle and then in College. Yes, I'll try to make it to Maryhill Winery this summer. Get your tickets now before they disappear.

Cheers!

- William

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: 2012 Lupine Vineyards Roses and Ribbons Pinot Noir, Lake Chelan AVA

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Yes, a Washington Pinot Noir.

We named it Roses and Ribbons in homage to the Bob Hunter- Grateful Dead's song, "It Must have Been the Roses."
- Robert Anderson

There is precious little Pinot Noir made in Washington. We lack the climate for this most delicate fruit. Naturally I was curious about how well it would show in this bottling.

Tasting Notes

This wine was timid and required patience, almost two hours, for it to open.

Color: Ruby.
Nose: Earthy raspberry, marmalade toast.
Palate: Medium body, bright, good grip on the tongue and inner lip, cinnamon, raspberry, orange on the dry, medium-short finish.

Day two: Bigger and drier, tannin more obvious and appreciated. Hint of strawberry on the nose and an herbal note, with blackberry fruit leather and black pepper on the tongue, a dry raspberry finish. This bad boy is just coming to speed. It's a young wine and should only improve in bottle. I'd hold for 3 months and start pulling corks over the next 3 years.

Thoughts: What a contrasty wine; on day one a modest and delicate Pinot Noir and an enjoyable accompaniment to dinner of Lamb Loin Chops. On day two it was big, dry, with dark fruit and grippy. For those who prefer delicacy over power, this wine will suit now. If you are looking to understand the potential for Washington Pinot Noir you won't be disappointed. Open and drink the second day for a much bigger wine.

An interesting wine and worth your attention. Please, decant first. Recommended + Great Value.

AVA: Lake Chelan
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.6%
13 months in neutral oak
Winemaker: Robert Anderson
Sample Provided by: Lupine Vineyards
SRP: $20

> Contact Robert@LupineVineyards.com to arrange delivery or shipping.
Follow Lupine Vineyards on Facebook!


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Neglected Pinot Noir.


Note from the winemaker: "Common thought is that these grapes would be sub-standard at best and probably un-useable. In some years that may still be true. The location, the wind, the minimal ground water source and what might just be the toughest Pinot in the West conspire to make this a remarkable source for a few barrels. Why? The owner is unable to invest any effort and may sell the land to a developer at any time, so spending thousands to redress years of inattention without some surety is a risky endeavor. The vineyard had zero positive attention. No spray, no water, no mowing, no roundup- nothing for more than 5 years. Without pruning we have had to hand pick clusters that were both ripe and free of problems."

Related Posts:
About the winemaker: “Robert Anderson is a biologist and winemaker... As Operations Manager at the Seattle Aquarium, his experience in pumps and pipes, process control and chemistry serve him well...” Lupine Vineyards was established in 2010. It is located north of Lake Chelan, Washington.

Cheers!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Lupine Vineyards 2012 "Lyric" Pinot Gris, Chelan AVA

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An intriguing and sexy artisanal Washington Pinot Gris.

ar·ti·san·al [ahr-tuh-zuh-nl, ahr-tiz-uh-]
"pertaining to or noting a high-quality or distinctive product made in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods."

The Lupin Vineyards Pinot Gris was called "Lyric" in Keeping with a theme of music (their Chardonnay is named - "A Cappella", the Viognier - "Madrigal").

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Neglected Pinot Gris.

This is an extremely small production wine. A great deal of TLC went into the making of this Pinot Gris. The Lake Chelan AVA vineyard these grapes were sourced had zero positive attention. No spray, no water, no mowing, no roundup- nothing for more than 5 years.

Without pruning, the clusters had to be hand picked. Only clusters that were both ripe and free of problems were selected. Common thought is that these grapes would be sub-standard at best and probably un-useable. The location, the wind, the minimal ground water source and the neglect conspire to make this a remarkable source for a few barrels.

Are you intrigued?

Tasting Notes

Color: Gold
Nose: Toast, ginger, unripe nectarine.
Palate: Medium body, honey, ginger, chamomile, fresh, creamy, dry, with nectarine on the cheeks, sexy at first taste. Equally refreshing and enjoyable day two. An outdoor sipping wine, enjoy paired with fresh seafood. Highly Recommended + Great Value.

Closure: Natural cork
ABV: 13.65%
AVA: Chelan AVA
Fermented in stainless
SRP: $14 direct
Sample provided by the winery

> Contact Robert@LupineVineyards.com to arrange delivery or shipping.
Follow Lupine Vineyards on Facebook!

This is the first of two samples I received from Lupine Vineyards. The other wine I will review is their 2012 Roses and Ribbons Pinot Noir. Yes! A Washington Pinot Noir. More soon.

About the winemaker: “Robert Anderson is a biologist and winemaker... As Operations Manager at the Seattle Aquarium, his experience in pumps and pipes, process control and chemistry serve him well...” Lupine Vineyards was established in 2010. It is located north of Lake Chelan, in Manson, Washington.

Cheers!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: 2011 Villa San-Juliette Zinfandel Paso Robles, CA @VSJWinery

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Say hello to my delicious friend Zinfandel.

When I was asked to review this California Zinfandel I jumped at the chance. California is famous for producing world-class Zinfandel. And Zinfandel is a variety I seldom see in my glass. The last time I enjoyed California Zinfandel was at the 2013 International Wine Festival in Vancouver, BC. They kind of blew away the California Pinot Noir. This wine was a true treat.

Tasting Notes:
Color: Clear garnet
Nose: Smoky, blueberry, tar, resin and licorice
Palate: Good mouth feel, tart, licorice, tar, nicely dry, dark fruit finish, happy flavors of lingering gingerbread, licorice and coffee. With air this wine became dense on the palate, smoky dark blueberry, orange marmalade, plum, tannin fuzz on teeth and gums. Shiny mid-palate.

Day two: Most excellent on day two, heavy, flavorful and most enjoyable as a drinking wine. There's aging potential in this vintage.


Thoughts: Get up and go! Open and enjoy.  I enjoyed this wine at opening and on the second day. A supremely flexible dinner wine, suitable for restaurants and home gatherings. Recommended + Great Value.

ABV: 15.5%
Closure: Natural cork
President, Hillary Trout
Winemaker, Matt Ortman
Sample provided by the winery
SRP: $25


About Villa San-Juliette
Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery recently completed Sustainability In Practice (SIP) certification with the Vineyard Team, a network of farmers that strives to promote sustainable vineyard practices and protect resources valuable to the land and the community.

Launched by Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick in 2006, Villa San-Juliette has made sustainability a focus since its inception, said Winemaker, Matt Ortman. “VSJ is a long-time member of the Vineyard Team,” Ortman recalled, “so we were already following many best practices before pursuing SIP certification.”

When Ortman joined the VSJ team in January, 2013, gaining SIP certification became a priority. “We completed the Vineyard Team’s audit of our growing practices and winery operations, including testing our well pump for efficiency. We made some important changes in erosion control and integrated pest management – specifically, installing more owl boxes – and were SIP certified within a year of my hire date.”

Villa San-Juliette is the vision of television producers Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe who believe in bringing the best talent together to create remarkable experiences.

The Villa opened to the public in October 2012. Nestled on the 168-acre estate with 132 acres of bearing vineyards planted to 11 varietals, provides a gracious setting for enjoying a one-of-a-kind experience in Paso Robles wine country. For more information about Villa San-Juliette, please call 805.467.0014, or visit www.VillaSanJuliette.com.

Villa San-Juliette is located at: 6385 Cross Canyons Road, San Miguel, CA 93451.

Cheers!