Archive for June, 2011

2008 Domaine des Cantarelles, Viognier

Domaine de Cantarelles is located southeast of Nimes.  This area is considered part of the Rhone Valley and has soils mixed with cailloux.

Jean-Francois Fayel of Dme des Cantarelles, Image by Robert Kacher (flickr)

This bottle is $13 at MacArthur’s and a wonderful summer wine.  It is very well made and interesting, yet it is light enough with lively acidity that makes it easy to drink on a hot, humid, summer day.

2008 Domaine des Cantarelles, Viognier, Vin de Pays du Gard
This wine is 100% Viognier with 60% of the grapes fermented and aged for four months in new barrels and the rest in stainless steel.  This wine has a light, fresh nose.  In the mouth it is almost medium bodied with mouthfilling peaches and lively acidity.  It turns crisp with a lanolin like finish.  This wine drank well over three nights.  *** Now.

2008 Domaine de Cambis, Caudomato, Saint-Chinian

This domaine was founded in 2002 with the acquistion of 12 hectares of vineyards.  The estate is located in the small village of Berlou where the backdrop is dominated by Mont Caroux.  The vineyards of Berlou are located on high hills with soils of schiste.

Vineyards, Image from Domaine de Cambis

This wine is imported by Oslo Enterprise LLC of nearby Takoma Park and available at MacArthur’s.  I forget the exact price but it is around $15 and well worth it.  Phil normally teases me that I do not like the 2008 vintage in Southern France.  I like this one!  I can only imagine what is in store for 2009 and 2010.

2008 Domaine de Cambis, Caudomato, Saint-Chinian
This wine is a blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah.  This wine is a light+ color of garnet with a ruby core.  There are soft flavors of dark fruits mixed with dusty, stone notes.  The fruit is complemented by herbs.  It is a mouthfilling drinking with low notes of dark fruit in the mouth followed by good, fresh, supporting acidity in the finish and aftertaste.  Very tasty.  *** Now-2015.

2004 Holloran Vineyard Wines, Pinot Noir, La Pavillon Vineyards, Dundee Hills

This estate produces some 3,000 to 3,500 cases per year.  They have three labels: Stafford Hill, AVA Designated wines, and Single Vineyard Wines.  This bottle is Single Vineyard Wine from the top label.  The La Pavillon Vineyard is the oldest vineyard planted in 1972 and 1974.  The vineyards are farmed organically since 1999 and biodynamically since 2005.  The wine is aged for up to 18 months in French oak.  The soils are rocky and lie at an elevation of 580 to 680 feet.

An Holloran Vineyard, Image by davidburn (flickr)

We drank this wine before my trip to Seattle.  Purchased for $22 at MacArthur’s it is an absolutely deal.  It is just starting to mature and enter a new stage.  I enjoyed this wine more than Jenn.

2004 Holloran Vineyard Wines, Pinot Noir, La Pavillon Vineyards, Dundee Hills
The nose reveals dusty, red fruit with some toast.  In the mouth there are some acidic, dark, red fruits.  The soft, maturing flavors show cedar, herbs, and dry red fruit flavors.  There are tart, red fruit in the finish and aftertaste.  With air a sweet spice complements the dark red berries.  The finish and aftertaste turn a bit soft and could use a bit more acidity.  ** Now-2015.

Tasting Wine at 34,000 Feet….Live!

June 17, 2011 4 comments

I thought it would be fun to taste through some wines this morning at Vino Volo. This wine store and tasting bar is located at Sea-Tac airport. For some reason it was closed at 7:00am. So the next best thing is to taste wine on my Alaskan Airlines flight back to Washington, D.C. Of course you cannot bring bottles of wine on the plane then open them up to taste. Instead I asked for a red wine and was handed the Sutter Home Merlot.  I think they forgot to charge me for the wine.

My Tasting and Blogging Area

I am currently at 34,000 feet but we are slowly climbing in altitude so I might be higher by the time I post this.  Is it feasible to taste wine on a plane crammed in a middle seat?  It is but has proven to be quite difficult.  Clearly the tiny desk and my giant laptop preclude having more than one or two mini bottles open at a time.  Then there is the matter of tasting, typing, not spilling on my neighbors during the turbulent shakes of the plane, and finally cabling up the camera.  But I persevered so that I could bring you this unique tasting note.  My neighbors, once curious as to my actions, have now fallen asleep.

The Author Tasting Wine on the Plane

This 187 mL bottle is made out of plastic with a screw cap. It includes a $0.15 deposit for the state of Maine.

The Bottle of Wine

2009 Sutter Home, Merlot, California
There is a bright, grapey nose, that is a bit “winey.”  In the mouth it actually surprises with some underlying grip and slightly chunky tannins.  There is a decent mouthfeel as the red and blue fruits intermix to leave puckering red fruit and tannins in the aftertaste.  This comes across as somewhat manufactured in style but still, it has been great fun to try! * Now.

Syncline and McCarthy & Schiering’s Store Blend

These wines are relatively well priced with the Syncline at $20 and the McCarthy & Schiering at $23.  Many of the Syncline wines are available at Soul Wine so at $17 this Grenache/Carignan is an absolute deal.  Go buy some!

2008 McCarthy & Schiering, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
This wine is produced at Quilceda Creek Winery and some say it comes from pressed Quilceda Creek grapes.  The label states 15.2% ABV!  This wine starts off as structured with a nice underlying, creamy, blue fruits.  There are stone-like minerals.  The fine+ tannins coat the mouth as a spicy aftertaste develops.  There are drying tannins.  This tilts towards a more alcoholic and wood tannic wine, that clearly needs age.  **(*) 2015-2019.

2009 Syncline, Grenache & Carignan, Columbia Valley
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Carignan.  The Grenache is sourced from Milbrandt Vineyards and Wahluke Slope.  The Carignan is sourced from McKinley Springs and Horse Heaven Hills.  The grapes are hand harvested and the wine is aged for eleven months in neutral French oak.  This bottle drank great over three nights.  The aromas of raspberries and red fruit float out of the glass.  In the mouth there are meaty flavors of dark, red fruit.  There are subdued tannins intermixed with tart red fruit.  There are fresh, strong, purple fruit flavors in the aftertaste.  That wine is a bit disconnected at this point as it leaves the impression of two components: fresh fruit and tannins.  I suspect it just needs some time to integrate.  **(*) 2014-2017.

Tasting Notes from Local 360 in Seattle

Part of the Entrance

TheLocal 360 restaurant also features local beers, wines, and spirits.  The wine list features six red wines by the glass that range in price from $8 to $11 per glass.

The Wine List

The wines are stored at the bar, unrefrigerated.  As a result the wines are served at too warm of a temperature.  This is a disappointment considering how much care is put into the sourcing of ingredients and the preparation of the food.  I realize that the by-the-glass program generates massive profits but I would like to see more interesting wines available by the glass at a similar price range.  The food definitely outshines the wine list.

The Bar

Here are the tasting notes from my dinner at Local 360.  Despite the warm wine I was excited to find out that Cork House is a wine producer located in the middle of Capitol Hill!  How cool is that?

Jones of Washington, Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Jones of Washington, Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley
This wine is rather dark with more of a dark cherry core when compared to The Warrior.  While the nose is a bit more delicate this is still an assertive wine.  The flavors are a bit coarse with some dark spice, some violets, and toast.  The tannins are a bit gripper.  The profile is more tart and acidic than The Warrior.  * Now-2015.

Cork House, The Warrior

2007 Cork House, The Warrior
This wine is a blend of 88% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot.  The grapes are sourced from Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla.  This wine is a medium dark with a purplish tinge.  It sports a rich, dark, beastly nose.  In the mouth there are nice, ripe fruit with spice, ample blue fruits and new oak tannins that coat the inside of the lips.  There is sweet spice and vanilla in the finish.  This is aggressive Merlot tastes like it comes from decent grapes.  ** Now-2015.

The Author

Dinner at Local 360 in Seattle

The Restaurant Sign

Last night I dined at Local 360 in Belltown.  They try to source all of their ingredients from within a 360 mile radius.

The Interior

I ordered two red wines by the glass.  The 2007 Cork House, The Warrior and the 2008 Jones of Washington, Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both were $10 by the glass.  I will reveal my tasting notes in a subsequent post.

2007 Cork House, The Warrior

2008 Jones of Washington, Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope

I trusted the selection of my dishes to the waiter George.  For my starter I ate the duck salad.

The Salad

Then for my entree I ate the leg of lamb.  Both dishes were fresh tasting and perfectly cooked.

The Lamb

McCarthy and Schiering in Seattle

The Store Front

After work this week I stopped by McCarthy & Schiering Ravenna shop on 65th Street.  This store, Pete’s on Eastlake, and the University Village QFC were the first stores that I bought wine from when I first moved to Seattle in the late 1990s.  McCarthy & Schiering have been around since 1980.  The store selection is quite diverse prominently featuring European wines.  The Washington and Oregon selection tend to feature less producers but that is balanced by having many of the cuvees.

My Purchases

I asked for some Pinot Noir recommendations and walked away with:

  • 2009 Cameron, Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills
  • 2009 Beaux-Freres, Les Cousins, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

The Cameron was also recommended at Soul wine so that will be fun to try back home.

2008 Lemelson Vineyards, Thea’s Selection, Pinot Noir

June 16, 2011 1 comment

This estate completed its 21,000 square foot, three story winery back in 2000.  The design allows for gravity fed winemaking.  They owns seven vineyard that are located in the Yamhill-Carlton, Dundee Hills and Chehalem Mountain.  All vineyards are certified organic.

In anticipation of my trip to Seattle I purchased three Oregon Pinot Noirs from MacArthur’s last week.  The Lemelson and the Aubichon in the background, were recommended by Andy.  Lemelson is popular stuff also being recommended to me at McCarthy & Schiering along with Soul Wine.  This is $26 at MacArthur’s and is $30 out in Seattle.  If you are in Seattle then I would wait for the Soul Wine happy hour to purchase this at 15% off.

2008 Lemelson Vineyards, Thea’s Selection, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
This wine is produced from parcels located in all seven vineyards.  The grapes were primarily harvested in October.  It spent 16 months in 44% new and 56% used French oak barrels. 5476 cases were produced. This wine had a light nose with dark red, rich aromas.  In the mouth this is a rich wine with concentrated flavors (for a Pinot Noir), tart fruit, and grippy, spiced tannins.  There are flavors of dusty, herbs throughout.  There are raspberries in the finish and perhaps, a touch of minerals and some toast.  This wine is on the young side with good potential.  It also shows the vintage very well.  **(*) Now-2019.

Soul Wine in Seattle

June 16, 2011 2 comments

Soul Wine

Over the years I have been bringing back Northwest wines that are unavailable in the Washington DC area.  I can comfortably pack six bottles of wine in my suitcase.  I try to vary the merchants from which I purchase my wines.  During my last trip I visited the classic Esquin Wine Cellars.  Today I decided to battle the traffic through South Lake Union to visit Soul Wine.  Months ago Julia had mentioned the Soul Wine and Serious Pie location.  I signed up for the store emails over the winter and ever since then have looked forward to visiting the store.  With my good luck the inaugural happy hour sale and tasting occurred today.

Bottles from the Northwest

I walked around the store exploring the wine selections.  First I browsed through the Northwest selection and was pleased to see producers I had never heard of.  I then made a beeline for the French section and was pleased to find the Vieille Toure, Collioure.  I very much enjoy the wines of Collioure.  They are such low production  that I have been told that wineries export on the order of ten’s of cases into the United States.  I have six wines from Collioure waiting in the wine fridge for my return.  I will add this seventh wine and publish a series of posts on this region later this summer.

A Similar Feel to Pike & Western

Michael Teer owns both Soul Wine and Pike & Western Wine Shop.  Pike & Western has been located in the Pike Place Market since 1977.  Almost 35 years later Michael has opened a wine store that is tilted towards his interest in wines.  While there will still be an edited selection of wines from Washington and Oregon, he will generally focus on imported wines.  His particular interest is in the wines of Piedmont but he is not neglecting the popular French wines.  Indeed, his Italian selection is relatively strong.  I was pleased to see some of my recent favorites such as COS Pithos and Terre Nere.  His German section has Donnhoff, J.J. Prum,  amongst other strong producers.

2010 Dme Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre

I stopped by the tasting bar to sample the 2010 Domaine Cherrier et Fils, Sancerre

2009 Coudoulet de Beaucastel

and the 2009 Coudoulet de Beaucastel.  Avid Rhone wine lover that I am, I give a not towards the Sancerre.

I am quite pleased to see the happy hour pricing.  Seattle is very much like Montgomery County, Maryland.  Selections are controlled and prices are high.  Fortunately, D.C. is just miles away so I am spoilt by the competitive nature of pricing in D.C. and the ability of stores to direct import wines.  I love the idea of a tasting bar.

My Purchases

What did I buy?  Jen Doak was exceedingly helpful in narrowing down the range that I bought.  Michael did the final editing.  I cannot wait to try these wines back home.

  • 2008 Scott Paul, Pinot Noir, Le Paulee, Willamette Valley
  • 2009 Buty, Merlot/Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley
  • 2009 Maison Bleue, Graviere, Upland Vineyard
  • 2007 Domaine la Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure