Monday, February 7, 2011

Wine Tasting at Hamilton Cellars

Last month, I met with Stacie Hamilton of Hamilton Cellars winery (read post), the newest winery in town. Friday, I met again with Stacie, but this time Stacie and I sat down and tasted Hamilton Cellars marvelous wines.
Stacie Hamilton and me. Photo courtesy of vinotology.com original image at http://ow.ly/i/7QDC
Hamilton Cellars has a complete lineup of wine: 2008 White blend, 2009 Rosé of Malbec, 2006/2007/2008 Bona Vita Red blend, 2007 Merlot, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and a 2007 Malbec. There is a $5 tasting fee per person, which is refunded with bottle purchase.

We began with the 2008 White Wine
This wine is 83% Semillon, my favorite white wine varietal, backed up with 17% Viognier. This is a very successful wine. It’s very rich, with a great floral and baked bread nose, full in the mouth and quite satisfying. I’m thinking seafood, crab, lobster, mussels and prawns.


Next, 2009 Rosé of Malbec
Ha! This one will surprise you, it surprised me. The Rosé instantly reminded me of summer 2009, specifically July 2009 – bright, sunny, warm, happy times. Happy times indeed, you can call the Rosé of Malbec “summer in the bottle”. What revelry of flavors, strawberry, watermelon and cranberry, dry, bright and tasty. This wine put a big smile on my face.

2007 Merlot
I suggest you take time for more than a taste of this wine. It’s composed of 100% Merlot, with fruit from Stillwater Creek and Weinbau Vineyards. Stillwater Creek is a 245-acre vineyard on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in Washington State’s Columbia Valley. Weinbau Vineyard was planted in the mid 1970's. Located at the East edge of the Wahluke Slope AVA, Weinbau Vineyard is part of the renowned SBDW (Sagemoor, Bachus, Dionysius, Weinbau) consortium, and represents some of the oldest vines in the State. This Merlot has a dark core.


2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
A classic Washington Cabernet Sauvignon. Aged in oak for 23 months, full of flavor and very “yummy” I bought a glass of this wine after Stacie and I finished our tasting.

2007 Malbec
Malbec is on focus at Hamilton Cellars. The 2007 Malbec is all Washington Malbec goodness. It’s made from a blend of Malbec from Snipes Canyon and Conner Lee vineyards. A perfect steak wine, it has flavors of red fruit, is peppery, tannic and has a long finish.

When you visit, you can also try a flight of wines: Malbec Flight 3 oz. samples of – 2009 Rose of Malbec, 2007 Bona Vita, 2007 Malbec, Bona Vita Flight 3 oz. samples of – 2006, 2007, 2008 vintages of Bona Vita

Vertical tasting of the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Bona Vita
I tasted the Bona Vita vintages after the Rosé of Malbec, but Stacie had me try the Bona Vita Flight at the end of our tasting, so I could better compare all three vintages side by side. Bona Vita is a Malbec biased blend, each vintage has different percentages of Malbec and other red wine varietals.

2006 Bona Vita – Very focused and serious. Time has been good to this vintage. 36% Malbec, 32% Cab Sav, 16% Petit Verdot, 16% Merlot.
2007 Bona Vita – For me, sharp and a bit funky. It’s at an awkward stage and will probably come around in a few months. I'll try it again in 2 or 3 months. 51% Malbec, 24% Cab Sav, 13% Merlot, 12% Cab Franc.
2008 Bona Vita- This vintage hit my buttons, it has a great nose is bright, spicy, dry and friendly - reminded me of a very good Zinfandel. The 2008 was at my speed Friday. A perfect wine, one you can enjoy with food and friends. 58% Malbec, 17% Cab Sav, 17% Cab Franc, 8% Merlot.

Wow, that was fun and a great way to compare how each vintage differs.

After my tasting with Stacie, I spent some time at the front bar. I enjoyed a glass of the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, and visited with Ben Simons of Vinotology.com. Friday afternoon, there was a steady flow of customers at Hamilton Cellars. Several wine club members were having a great time in Milton’s Lair, while first time visitors were enjoying the wonderful wines of Hamilton Cellars for the first time.

Thank you Stacie for your hospitality, I’ll be back.

Hamilton Cellars is located in Queens Gate Village, on Keene Road in South Richland. The tasting room is open Wednesday – Sunday, check their website for hours, http://www.hamiltoncellars.com/. They have plenty of room for you and your friends - put them on your must visit list.

Cheers!