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Showing posts from March, 2012

#winechat: Les Deux Rives, Corbières Blanc 2010

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The sample I received for tonight's #winechat: Les Deux Rives, Corbières Blanc 2010.

Tonight we are tweeting with @WinesofFrance.
Here's a link to the Winechat Schedule for April and May.

Tasting Notes:
Color: Gold, clean and clear.
Nose:  Floral, mineral, melon, citrus, almost tangerine, touch toasty, cinnamon.
Palate: Pleasantly crisp, almost gentle, the tangerine is more pronounced on the finish, after some air the cinnamon spice follows, pleasant mild acidity on my cheeks, gets creamier after an hour, and coconut on the finish.

This would be an excellent aperitif wine, a very good wine to compliment seafood, oysters on the half shell, not heavy seafood, gently sauteed scallops and prawns, and some nice chips. It would also be a good wine for taking in a sunset with your partner. Recommended!

Wine Info:
The vineyard of Corbières stretches along the Mediterranean coast of France, from Narbonne in the north to the foothills of the Pyrenees in the south.
Blend: Grenache 60%, Mar…

Review: 2008 Bombing Range Red by McKinley Springs

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A tribute wine.

Bombing Range Red is made by McKinley Springs, a family owned and operated winery in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA of Washington State. Doug Rowell is the winemaker and Rob Andrews is the grower. I like the label on this bottle, the graphic novel look is fun, bright and easy to spot on the shelf. It also tells a story. Bombing Range Red is a tribute to the history of the Horse Heaven Hills and our troops. 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.

This is the third bottle of Bombing Range Red I have had at home. The first bottle disappeared quickly at a party, I had only a taste. The second bottle I drank with friends, outside by a fire pit, while smoking a cigar. This bottle I intentionally purchased for review. I had no distractions, no company, no smoke, no cigar, just me and the wine...well, and some BBQ ribs.

This wine opened with a short nose …

Review: Vin du Lac 2009 Red Café Syrah Columbia Valley

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The theme? Decant this wine please.


My regular readers know that I am a Syrah fan. Washington Syrah is one of my favorite, go to, must try, varietals.  It can be oh, so good. There are many styles of Syrah produced in Washington and that is part of the fun. Discovering the style of a winemaker and gaining an appreciation for their talent in making wine, is also one of the wine blogging perks I enjoy.

It has been my pleasure this month to sample and review several different wines made by Larry Lehmbecker and his team at Vin du Lac winery of Lake Chelan, Washington. My review today is of the Vin du Lac 2009 Red Café Syrah, Columbia Valley.

Color: Inky dark, violet tinged rim.
Nose: Plum, spice, pencil shavings, boysenberry syrup, bacon, dark chocolate with, yes, grape Bubble Yum, and plum.
Palate:  Spice, smooth, more acid than tannins, a little heat on the gums. After some air, the heat dissipated, tannins became a better match for the acidity. With a medium-short finish, when this wi…

Review: 2009 Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon

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As mentioned on Facebook.


For several months I've remarked, on my Facebook page, at how well the 2009 Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon is drinking. However, I've neglected to post a review here. Bottom line? Go buy this wine, it is one of the best values for a Washington Cabernet Sauvignon out there. This week I paid $6.99 for a bottle, although I've paid as little as $5 or as much as $7.99. At any of these prices, you will be happy with your purchase.

Color: Good color, clear, body and rim ruby.
Nose: Some earthiness with mushroom, blackberry, cola, graphite, black pepper and plum fruit-leather.
Palate: Cherry, earth, medium-light tannins, gentle grip on gums, mild acidity, cherry, vanilla, cocoa on the smooth, medium-short finish.

Pretty good for $7. This is not a huge wine, but it is enjoyable, and quite affordable. A good any day wine, with enough character to please most. I also appreciate that it does not have any of that fake, syrupy character too many wi…

Catching up On a Week of Wine

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This morning Dave Mathews song “So Much to Say” is on my mind.

Feeling the need to press on and share this weeks wine chats. Time to finish some reviews too.





#winechat: Santa Rita, Medalla Real, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, from the Maipo Valley.

Last nights #winechat featured two wines from Chile. For me, it was an eye opening experience. Chile is producing some spectacular wines. In particular, the featured Santa Rita, Medalla Real, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008, from the Maipo Valley, blew me away. The #winechat crowd was exuberant in their response too. It is an impressive Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, especially once you consider the retail price of US $18.


Ripe and round, dark color, dark fruit, the concentrated palate grows into and expansive finish at the 2 hour mark. Gorgeous wine. You could drink this wine with food, but why bother? Decant this wine for an hour or two, then kick back and enjoy a wonderful Chilean wine experience. I really enjoyed how well this wine drinks and that it …

Twitter Tastings - Today and Tomorrow

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Tonight: March Virtual Tasting #lecole41.
Tomorrow: #winechat Chile’s Cool Coastal Wines.

Tonight:
Washington Wine Report March Virtual Tasting
7-8 pm PST, Tuesday, March 20, 2012.

Sean Sullivan of Washington Wine Report has arranged another virtual tasting, tonight it is a tasting of the 2009 L'Ecole No 41 Red Wine. This wine retails for $18 and is fairly widely available.

What you need to do to participate is:
1. Have a *twitter account - a great excuse to use twitter.
2. Buy this month’s wine from a local retailer or from the winery. I found a bottle for $18.
3. Tweet your comments about the wine on Twitter between 7 and 8 pm Pacific using the hashtag #lecole41 and follow Washington Wine Report @wawinereport on twitter.

My first time participating was last months virtual tasting, a lot of fun.

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Tomorrow:
Twitter #winechat Featuring Chile’s Cool Coastal Wines
6-7 pm PST, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

Dynamic View #FAIL

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Blog Layout Back to Normal.

I tested out the Dynamic view layout on my blog yesterday and today. It did not take long to receive negative feedback.

While I liked the look of the "Magazine" Dynamic view, it was not iPad or tablet friendly. The experiment is over, I have switched back to my more traditional layout. It is more or less the same as it was. At least the trial run forced me to adjust my content and fix some typos. I also added a new page "Top 10 Under $20" which has a list of my current favorite wines for less than $20 a bottle.

Someday things may sort out with Dynamic Views. Cheers!

Review: Planing Mill Red Columbia Valley 2008

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My teenage son is drinking a lot of milk. So much so, that I find it most economical to purchase milk at Costco. At Costco two gallons costs almost $5, so at less than $2.50 per gallon, that's where I go. It just so happens that eggs, cheese and milk are located next to the wine section of the store. It is nearly impossible for me not to browse for wine when I'm on a milk run. This week was no exception, I could not pass on a bottle of 2008 Planning Mill Red, especially at the price of $10.99.

Planing Mill is a second label for Seven Hills Winery. Established in 1988, Seven Hills Winery is one of Walla Walla Valley's oldest wineries. Casey McClellan is the founder, winemaker and a fourth generation farmer.

How was the wine? On day one this wine reminded me of a young Syrah. It drank young, clear ruby color, bright with dark fruit, violets and spice. By day two, the 2008 Planing Mill Red, was much broader. The young Syrah characteristics gave way to what I would describe a…

Review: Vin du Lac 2007 Merlot "Barrel Select"

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Today a musical pairing.


Last night I was watching music videos while enjoying a bottle of  Vin du Lac 2007 “Barrel Select” Merlot. Vin du Lac is located in lovely Lake Chelan, Washington. My favorite musical pairing of the evening was with the music video by award-winning British artist, Estelle and her song "Thank You”. For me, a good match.



At opening the wine was ruby colored, after 30 minutes it deepened to a dark garnet. The nose:  floral, slightly candied, whiff of sandal wood, cherry, vanilla, an herbal component appeared after 30 minutes along with some cola. After an hour spicy baked bell pepper appeared. I really grooved on the nose. Lip smacking flavors of cherry, vanilla, nutmeg, with soft to medium tannins. A medium finish on opening, it appreciably lengthened the longer it was open.

The Vin du Lac 2007 Merlot "Barrel Select" is very approachable. Not everyone has the luxury to wait an hour before drinking a bottle of wine. So it is always good to have bot…

The Tasting Room is Open – Barnard Griffin Winery Re-Model Breaks Ground!

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I stopped by Barnard Griffin Winery in Richland, Washington this morning. They have begun construction on a major re-model of their winery.



Additions will include a new db gallery and studio for Deborah Barnard's glass art. An extended patio and outdoor space that will connect the db gallery to  a new VIP tasting room. The existing barrel room will be converted into the VIP tasting room. The current tasting room will be renovated, expanded and redesigned to allow for an improved tasting experience.



You can follow the construction progress on the Barnard Griffin Remodel blog page:
http://barnardgriffinremodel.tumblr.com

When I stopped by today, the tasting room was open to foot traffic only coming from the far gate (the gate closer to Tagaris)... but it changes hourly! You can always call 509-627-0266 and they will let you know the current situation.

This is an exciting project for Barnard Griffin winery, their fans and those of us who used to work there. Best of luck Rob, Deborah…

Review: Forgeron Cellars Vigneron Select 2010 Chardonnay

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Impressed again.

I continue to be impressed by the skill of winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla of Forgeron Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington. While it is easy to be impressed wine tasting at a winery, the true qualities of a winemaker are most evident at home, when sharing wine with family and home cooked meals.


On day one, this wine was an elegant Chardonnay with an endearing golden yellow color, the attack was all racy, spicy, ginger and fresh pastry which followed through the finish. It was balanced, restrained, elegant, and graceful.

By day three this wine blossomed. A floral quality with vanilla was noticeable on the nose, it was fuller in the mouth, with stone fruit, bright on the tongue, creamy on the  edges, and eminently enjoyable with dinner. Tonight I baked a whole cut-up chicken – a simple recipe of salt, pepper, and garlic, half-way through baking I turned the chicken over and added apple cider to the pan. The cider made a wonderful sauce for the finished chicken. I had to run a…

Review: NV Clonk De Plonk by Tagaris

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A lighter, friendly shade of red.

This wine brought back memories of my Aunt Marjorie and Uncle Harry. My aunt and uncle had a reasonable sized garden behind their West Richland home. Their property backed up against the dike along the Yakima River. As kids, my brother and I spent a lot of time with Aunt Marjorie and Uncle Harry. Our outdoor playground included a dog, a couple of cows, rows of corn, lettuce, carrots and several fruit trees. In the summer, the trees my brother and I were drawn to were the cherry trees. Even with the reprimand of, “Don't eat those cherries, they are for pies!” We seldom listened. Of course we could only reach the lowest, least ripe, tart cherries. That's what this wine reminds me of, those barely reachable cherries of my childhood. Even so, this wine is far better than those cherries.

The Color of Clonk De Plonk is a clear, bright, cherry red, with a candied cherry-vanilla nose, the cherry tart follows through to the short finish. This style of re…

Pour Washington Wine

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March is Washington Wine Month.
Spread the word!
Expressing my feelings - via graphics - for Washington Wine Month.




Cheers!

Review: Juliette's Dazzle 2010 Rosé

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An extra special Long Shadows Rosé.


Juliette's Dazzle 2010 Rosé is a dry rosé made by Gilles Nicault for Allen Shoup, CEO and founder of Long Shadows Winery. Last month when I visited Long Shadows in Walla Walla, I saw several bottles of the new vintage of Dazzle in the cellar. This is a special wine. It is special because it is a Rosé made from Pinot Grigio...yes, white wine grapes.How was this accomplished? (I thought that you can make white wine from white and red wine grapes, but you can only make red, and in this instance rosé, wine from red wine grapes.)

A special block of grapes at the Benches Vineyard was left on the vine until they developed a bright tint then they were slowly fermented. Presto, Rosé from white wine grapes. A lot of care went into making this wine.

I hope by now, most people understand that Washington Rosé = bright, tasty, food friendly wine. And not the overly sweet, pink wines of days, and hangovers, best forgotten.

This wine has a lovely dark pink colo…

Review: Walldeaux Smithie Red Wine by Forgeron Cellars

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An expression of New World and Old World wine.

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting with Forgeron Cellars winemaker, Marie-Eve Gilla. She sent me home with a bottle of wine I did not taste, her non-vintage Walldeaux Smithie. This week I had the pleasure of enjoying this gift. Originally from France, over the last two decades, Marie has made wine in Washington State for some of my favorite wineries. She is part owner of Forgeron Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington and she my friends, is making outstanding wines.

A red wine blend, this is a food friendly wine, with enough character to keep you pleased before, during and after dinner. Marie has blended several vintages in this bottle, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Her intent was to create an expression of maturity and youth, and to capture elements of new world wine and old world wine.

Walldeaux had good dark color on opening, delivering a rich mocha nose, and expansive depth. On the palate there was just enough acidity to keep my interest, wi…

Review: 2010 Chateau Ste Michelle Horse Heaven Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

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Discover a Vibrant Washington Sauvignon Blanc.


A friend brought this bottle to our house a month ago. But we never got around to opening it. This sunny afternoon we were craving chicken wings, so we placed a to go order for a batch of lemon-pepper wings. I thought this Sauvignon Blanc would be just the wine to pair with the chicken. I was correct.

On opening, the wine was a pale yellow-green color, with a bright, grassy, citrus nose and undertones of honey and cinnamon-apple. Grassy and grapefruit notes followed through, along with a vibrant core of refreshing acidity and a hint of spice. I enjoyed this wine and it was an excellent match to the salty lemon-pepper chicken. Recommended.

Release Info:
100% Sauvignon Blanc from Horse Heaven Vineyard
Vineyard planted in 1970's it is a moderately warm site, tempered by the Columbia River
70% stainless steel fermentation
Sur lie aged for one month
ABV 12.5%
Retail Price: $16

www.ste-michelle.com

Spring Barrel Tasting!

Visit Chateau Ste. Miche…

Recipe: Oxtail Stew – Subdue Winter

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Successfully paired with Vin du Lac 2010 “LEHM” Gewurztraminer.

A blast of cold last week brought snow, hail and some very dangerous road conditions. For a day. The snow and ice left, but the cold wind remained. The return of winter weather primed my appetite for something hot and filling. Which explains why I impulsively bought a bag of oxtail. Oxtail?

Oxtail is, well, it is the tail of a cattle cut into short pieces. Oxtail is a bony, gelatin-rich meat, usually slow-cooked as a stew. I have warm, fuzzy memories of my mother making oxtail stew when I was a little boy. But I had never made oxtail stew. I had no treasured family recipe, and I was not sure of the ingredients I would need. Beef stock obviously. But what else? And how long would it take to make? These are questions I would answer for myself last weekend.

I'll save you some work by providing the recipe I found, used and modified. There is a proper process for making a successful oxtail stew. The key ingredient, besides …