Washington on the Label and in the bottle. This week I purchased two Columbia Crest Grand Estates wines; a red wine and a white wine. Of the two, I'm reviewing the one I liked, the Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2012 Unoaked Chardonnay.
Put a Big Red Hiney on your table. There's a winery on the outskirts of Walla Walla you must not miss visiting. It's called Skylite Cellars. Before the new section of highway went in, you passed Skylite Cellars as you drove into Walla Walla from Seattle. The modified highway to Walla Walla now bypasses them, so you are likely to miss them. Don't make that mistake. Very little of their wine is sold in the Tri-Cities where I live, so when I saw their second label, Hiney Wine in the local grocer I grabbed it. Skylite Cellars makes the Big Red Hiney red wine blend in Walla Walla, Washington. Though the name and the label are intentionally humorous, I will restrain myself from making the inevitable tongue in cheeks joke.
Do not believe me if I tell you I'm not a fan of Washington Riesling. Many long time wine drinkers may tell you that over time a change in palate occurs. Mine has. A progression from light to sweet white wines, to robust red wines. Then the dabbling in diverse white varieties and on to the realization that many different red varieties exist, which need to be explored. In my case there was a casualty. A wine I had mostly given up on in preference to tastier realms. Riesling. Washington Riesling. Occasionally, a Washington Riesling comes my way which forces me to recognize the fallacy of my prejudice. The Gård Vintners 2011 Riesling Grand Klasse Columbia Valley is such a wine. Provided by the winery, this is the third Gård Vintners I had the pleasure to taste and review. You can now consider me a fan.
Familiarity can induce neglect. This is one of the first red wines I drank on a regular basis twenty + years ago. With the growth of local and regional wineries, I have to admit that my focus has strayed elsewhere. I am guilty of ignoring one of my first favorite Red Mountain red wines. My loss. As October winds down thoughts of the coming holidays and holiday festivities are on my mind. This is also the season when friends and family ask me for wine recommendations. It's my pleasure today to recommend the 2010 Kiona Lemberger . I thoroughly enjoyed it over two days and smiled at the price I paid. Take this wine to the next party and your friends will be impressed at your good taste.
This May I met Ciel du Cheval winemaker Richard Holmes at the 2013 Revelry on Red Mountain . He kindly sent me two of his wines to sample and review if I liked them. Today I'm including my impressions of his 2012 Ciel du Cheval Viognier.
It's always a pleasure to discover a new to me Washington wine. Today, at 860 licensed and bonded Washington wineries, it is difficult for me to keep up, let alone attempt to review all their wines. Thankfully, some of those wineries reach out, introduce themselves and ask me to try their wines and review them if I like them. Lauren Ashton Cellars, a Washington winery established in 2009, sent me this sample of their 2011 Cuvée Méline white wine. I was impressed.
The shape of the glass does affect the aroma and taste of wine... This post originally was to be a product review of the Wine Enthusiast Fusion Whirl Chardonnay wine glasses. When I went to post my review with a link to the product, I discovered that I could not locate these wine glasses on the www.wineenthusiast.com site. It's possible this design has been discontinued. It's possible this is a new product line sent out for evaluation. I don't know. My contact who originally sent me the stemware for review has moved on to another company. My search for the " Fusion Whirl Chardonnay " glasses has been fruitless. After some thought, I have decided to post my opinion on the glasses I received and to compare them with other glasses I have at home. I've decided to do this because these glasses re-emphasized to me the importance of choosing the proper stemware for the enjoyment of wine. Wine Enthusiast Fusion Whirl Chardonnay Glass. Product Review
The second Gård Vintners wine I had the pleasure to taste and review. Gård Vintners is a family owned and operated winery. "Gård" means "farm" in many Scandinavian languages and is a tribute to the owners Scandinavian heritage and farming tradition. The Lawrence family, founders of Gård Vintners, have farmed the Royal Slope in Washington's Columbia Valley for over 45 years. Brothers Hervey "Sandy" Lawrence and John Lawrence, along with John's son Josh Lawrence, launched Gård Vintners, a product of Lawrence Cellars, in 2006. The 2011 Don Isidro Red Wine was named after vineyard manager, Isidro Mondragon.
Maison Bleue is a family-owned winery dedicated to the production of terroir-driven wines from designated vineyards and appellations located across Washington State. They focus primarily on Rhône varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, Marsanne and Viognier, as well as Chardonnay. Jon Meuret-Martinez, owner and winemaker of Maison Bleue Family Winery has had a long affection for Rhône wines. He realized that this is where he would start Maison Bleue Winery and his lifelong focus of Rhône-style wines. "A highly regarded producer of Syrah and Grenache." - Jancis Robinson, MW
Spotlight on Gård. I've mentioned many times on this blog how much I enjoy the quality, diversity, complexity and overall satisfaction delivered by Washington Syrah. Add the Gård 2010 Syrah to the list. This is my first time tasting a wine by Gård Vintners. Gård Vintners is a family owned and operated winery. "Gård" means "farm" in many Scandinavian languages and is a tribute to the owners Scandinavian heritage and farming tradition. The Lawrence family, founders of Gård Vintners, have farmed the Royal Slope in Washington's Columbia Valley for over 45 years. Brothers Hervey "Sandy" Lawrence and John Lawrence, along with John's son Josh Lawrence, launched Gård Vintners, a product of Lawrence Cellars, in 2006.
It was a true pleasure to receive this bottle of Finger Lakes Riesling to taste and review at home. This is the fourth of four samples I received featuring the 2012 vintage of Finger Lakes Rieslings. Quality is strong in the Finger Lakes. The 2012 vintage showed well in the samples I received. "The Rieslings from our region have been outstanding in quality for many years and now that Riesling in general is gaining in popularity we are thrilled." - Kevin Zraly, FingerLakesTravelJournal.com
Out of the park! It was my sincere pleasure to receive this bottle of Sheldrake Point Dry Riesling to taste and review at home. This bottle of Riesling is the third of four samples I received featuring the 2012 Finger Lakes Rieslings. Riesling quality is strong in the Finger Lakes. The 2012 vintage so far is showing well in the samples I am enjoying at home. "The Finger Lakes is a goldmine for world-class Rieslings." - Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW, Author, Columnist, Wine Educator, International Wine Center
Drink me and enjoy me! It was my pleasure to receive this wine to taste and review at home. This Riesling is the second of four samples I received featuring Finger Lakes 2012 Rieslings. I began participating in the Finger Lakes Wine Alliance tastings a couple of years ago. Since, I have become quite fond of Finger Lakes Riesling. Quality is strong and they are different from the local Rieslings I have access to. "Americans are turned on to Riesling and the Finger Lakes has what Riesling loves: life at the cool margins and layers and layers of slate. There's no better place to find crisp, refreshing mineral-tinged Riesling in the States." - Joshua Greene, Publisher & Editor, Wine & Spirits Magazine
Finger Lakes Rocks the Riesling! It was my pleasure to receive this wine to taste and review at home. This Riesling is one of four samples I received featuring Finger Lakes 2012 Rieslings. While I assume you know that the Finger Lakes wine region is in Central New York, it doesn't hurt to mention that the Finger Lakes region is just south of Lake Ontario. The deep Finger Lakes run North-South and provide premium growing on the eastern and western slopes. Riesling is King in the Finger Lakes. "From dry to sweet versions, the Finger Lakes is slowly but steadily cementing its reputation as this country's best source for Riesling." - James Molesworth, Senior Editor, Wine Spectator