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Posts Tagged ‘Columbia Valley’

Recent Drinks Including An Attractive Greek Wine Made from Mavro Kalavritino

These are several solid wines in this post that deliver regional character at an affordable price.  Of those still available I would recommend the 2012 Domaine Roger Perrin, Cotes du Rhone and the 2012 Celler de Capcanes, Mas Donis Barrica, Old Vines, Montsant.  Chances are you have seen this pair of wines before so I want to bring the 2012 Tetramythos Wines, Mavro Kalavritino, Achaia to your attention.  Tetramythos is a young winery having produced their first wine in 1999 and completed the winery in 2004.  I had never tried a wine made from Mavro Kalavritino nor from the Achaia region so I was excited to find I enjoyed this wine.  I was particularly attracted to evocations of wild scrubland herbs in the aromas and the flavors.  I recommend you try this wine and there really is no excuse not to, it is afterall, only $11.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2009 Andre Brunel, Cuvee Sabrine, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $13
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with some Syrah and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose bore some blackberry aromas.  In the mouth were somewhat compact black fruit flavors, gentle spices, and fresh fruit acidity.  It became more robust in the middle with fine tannins in the finish and a dry aftertaste.  It opened up with air to show some roundness, a touch of earthy flavors complemented by garrigue, wood, and leather.  **(*) 2015-2022.

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2012 Celler de Capcanes, Mas Donis Barrica, Old Vines, Montsant – $12
Imported by Eric Solomon European Cellars.  Alcohol 14%.  There were dense fruit aromas on the nose.  In the mouth were dense flavors that leaned towards the red spectrum before becoming black and dry.  With air the earthiness reduced but it did show some complexity with a little cherry note in the finish.  There was some extract, a little salivating acidity.  A solid wine.  ** Now-2018.

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2008 Mercer Estates, Merlot, Columbia Valley – $18
The nose was a modern blend of fruit and chocolate.  In the mouth were flavors of controlled ripe fruit, chocolate powder, and hints of both greenhouse and spiciness.  There were fine, ripe, powdery tannins and some acidity.  This wine had decent flavors for the profile and should remain at this plateau for years.  ** Now-2018.

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2012 Domaine Roger Perrin, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Potomac Selections.  Alcohol 13%.  The dark red aromas and macerated berries made way to mixed flavors of red and blue fruit.  The fruit tastes young.  The wine had some minerals, good acidity, and moderate structure which was left on the gums.  It had  a bit of everything but remained a little tight over two nights.  I would wait a few more months before drinking. ** Now-2018.

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2012 Tetramythos Wines, Mavro Kalavritino, Achaia – $11
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  Alcohol 13%.  The attractive nose smelled of scrubland and became a little sweaty.  In the mouth were dark red fruit flavors.  This was a lighter wine with a dry flavors before a gentle, textured ripeness.  There were flavors of wild herbs that mixed with a sense of maturity and watering acidity before the dry finish.  This solid wine took up plum and cocoa flavors in the persistent aftertaste.  ** Now-2015.

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2011 Valley Vintners, Trianguli, Bouquet, Danubian Plain – $19
Imported by Parallel 43 Selection.  This is made from 100% Bouquet which is a crossing between Mavrud and Pinot Noir.  Alcohol 13%.  The  nose bore dark fruit and tightened up with air.  In the mouth were modern, black fruit flavors, a hint of black tea, and a citric note in the finish.  This is a solid wine that should be aged for several months before trying.  *(*) 2014-2018.

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Bottles of Miner, Neyers, and K Vintners for the 4th of July Weekend

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We continued our tradition of drinking American wines over the long 4th of July holiday weekend.  The 2013 Miner Family Wines, Rosato, Mendocino proved to be an outright tasty wine.  While some might be excited that it is made from Sangiovese, our group preferred the flavor for our bottle was promptly finish.  Our experience with Neyers Vineyards continues to reveal attractive, well-priced wines.  The 2011 Neyers Vineyards, Zinfandel, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa County was enjoyed by all.  It captures the juicy, berry nature of Zinfandel in a generous yet crisp manner.  There is good complexity right now so why wait?  Bottles of 2011 K Vintners, Syrah, Milbrandt, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley should be left in the cellar.  It is true that the flavors have no hard edges at all but the new oak flavors need time to integrate. The Miner and Neyers are available at MacArthur Beverages and the K Vintners at The Cheese Shop in Williamsburg.

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2013 Miner Family Wines, Rosato, Mendocino – $20
This wine is produced using the saignée method with 100% Sangiovese.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The color was a vivid red rose.  This fruit wine had red fruit followed by minerally black fruit.  There was a lot of acidity as well as a textured, ripe finish.  This flavorful, crisp wine was evocative of hard cherries.  Nice.  *** Now.

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2011 Neyers Vineyards, Zinfandel, Del Barba Vineyard, Contra Costa County – $24
This wine is 100% Zinfandel that was aged in used French oak.  Alcohol 14.6%.  The ripeness was immediately apparent with flavors of blue and red fruit mixed with baking spices.  There was some extract in this juicy wine that took on a lot of berry cobbler flavor.  Though the wine was fairly rich and weighty it maintained freshness.  Drinking well right now.  *** Now.

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2011 K Vintners, Syrah, Milbrandt, Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley – $35
This wine is 100% Syrah sourced from the Sundance and Northridge vineyards that was aged for 11 months in 25%new French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  There were round flavors of red and black fruit, and a hint of cocoa.  The wine was almost creamy with no harsh edges before the mineral hint in the finish.  The fruit remained clean with an almost refreshing, cool aftertaste.  I would cellar this further because the barrel flavors need further time to integrate. **(*) 2016-2024.

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Drinks in Seattle

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There is a cycle of demolition and construction which has persisted across the recession in Seattle.  It is both fascinating to watch both across and within my visits.  I must admit it is one aspect I look forward to when I fly out.   Amongst the wines I tasted one year ago on the 33rd floor of my hotel were the 2011 Owen Roe, Sinister Hand and 2010 Gifford Hirlinger, Stateline Red.  Strangely enough I tasted the opposite vintages during my most recent trip.  The 2010 Owen Row, Sinister Hand, Columbia Valley is starting to open up to reveal a very satisfying wine which is gaining complexity.  It should drink well for several years so I definitely recommend you grab several bottles.  The 2011 Gifford Hirlinger, Stateline Red, Columbia Valley loses the Tempranillo and Petit Verdot from the previous vintage but gains Syrah.  There is no doubt that at $13 you get a ton of wine for the price.  It drank best on the first night when it was mouthfilling and hedonistic rather than the second night when heat was breaking through.  It is honestly too much for me but that is perhaps better than too little at this price point.  Finally, the 2010 Domaine Grand Guilhem, Fitou was a lighter but serious wine.  I remember drinking Fitou during my Bristol days because it was rather inexpensive but still had character.  The Sinister Hand was purchased at Whole Foods, the Gifford Hirlinger was purchased at Pete’s Wine of Eastlake, and the Grand Guilhen was purchased at Bar Ferd’nand.

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2010 Owen Row, Sinister Hand, Columbia Valley – $25
This wine is a blend of 71% Grenache, 24% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.3%.  This had a fresh nose of fruit and lemony citrus.  The flavors were slightly tight with a tannic start.  The red and orange fruit flavors morphed into more black flavor mixed with spices and a savory end.  The structure was there but the tannins were not really noticeable  until the finish.  The was followed by an orange hint in the aftertaste.  Best on the second night.  *** Now-2019.

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2011 Gifford Hirlinger, Stateline Red, Columbia Valley – $13
This wine is a blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40$ Merlot, and 15% Syrah which was aged for 18 months in 30% new American oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.9%.  There was a lot of robust, forward fruit that was black and mouth filling.  It had moderate weight then salty power in the finish.  On the second day noticeable heat came out in the aftertaste.  It was smooth on the outside with a sense of roughness and mouth-filling power but the heat was distracting.  ** Now.

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2010 Domaine Grand Guilhem, Fitou – $22
Imported by Barrique Imports.  This wine is a blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.  Alcohol 13.5%.  This was a little stinky at first then black fruit aromas came out.  In the mouth were brighter and lighter black fruit flavors.  It was a touch juicy with a little tang near the start.  The tannins played out near the end dressing the wine up with a little bit of structure.  It was lighter and youthful but in a serious way.  ** Now-2016.

Wine in Small Servings: From Unpleasant Reactions to Red and Black Fruit

April 1, 2014 4 comments

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I travel with some consistency.  In my desire to have a few glasses of wine in my hotel room I inevitably do not finish the bottle I have purchased and dump the remains down the sink.  That is a waste which could be eliminated by drinking from single-serve bottles.  While it is in my nature to travel with a corkscrew, others may not, particularly if you fly carry-on.  In this post we investigated small servings of wine which do not require a corkscrew to open.  These are suitable not only for travel but other occasions including lunch in one’s cubicle, a picnic, or perhaps the long train ride home.  There is a certain tongue-in-cheek nature to the idea of this post, given the timing of this first day of April, but one thing which is true is that my most viewed post remains I Try Cups of Copa Di Vino.  Back in January almost 1,000 individuals read this post within 24 hours.

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The wines featured in this post come from a variety of sources including Giant in Manassas, Sheetz gas station in Morgantown (thanks John!), and Whole Foods in downtown Seattle.  The per bottle price ranges from $6.29 for NV Sutter Home, Cabernet Sauvignon, California to a whopping $20.18 for the NV oneglass Wine, Cabernet Savuignon, Delle Venezie, Italy.  The last time I recall drinking a single serve bottle of wine was on an Alaska Airlines flight where I featured the 2009 Sutter Home, Merlot, California in my post Tasting Wine at 34,000 Feet….Live!

Of the wines tasted the 2011 Bota Box, Chardonnay, California ranks as the worst wine I have ever drunk in my life.  It literally made me want to puke and like sticking your fingers down your throat, it was repeatable.  If it acceptable to find Copa di Vino at a gas station then  it is unacceptable that Whole Foods was selling the NV oneglass Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Delle Venezie, Italy.   Beyond the $20 per bottle equivalent sales price, marked down from $22.50, the wine was off-putting.  I simply cannot imagine how it ended up on their shelves.  One thing that might be telling, there were just a handful of these containers left as compared to my previous visit.  Of all the wines tasted the 2012 Woodbridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, California was the best.  It smelled and tasted like wine and at $6.74 per 4-pack it was all that I expected.  It comes with a handy carrying case.  If you do not mind dumping some wine down the sick then you are better off buying by the screw-capped bottle.

WHITE WINES

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The best of the dry whites was the NV Vendange, Chardonnay, Australia.  Rather mellow for my tastes it could be thought of as a mature box wine!  The best and only off-dry white was the Copa di Vino, Riesling, Columbia Valley.  This was in fact the best of the Copa di Vino wines we tried for it did not purport to be anything else.

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Copa di Vino, Chardonnay, Columbia Valley – $2.69 (187 mL)
Use by 07-29-14.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The color was a very light straw.  The very light nose had a little oak influences, yellow fruit, and stink notes.  In the mouth were lean, acidity driven flavors which became puckering with a lot of acidity by the aftertaste.  It was watering with a metallic note and the stink persisting in the mouth.  On the second night it was still funky and stinky. Poor.

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2012 Woodbridge, Chardonnay, California – $6.74 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light yellow green.  The nose had fresher yellow fruit which turned tropical.  There was very acidity driven fruit, a roundish feel, and acidity on the tongue tip.  It had a creamsicle flavor and a metallic finish.  There was some grip in the aftertaste.  On the second night it was very similar but with more tropical notes.  Drinkable. * Now.

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NV Vendange, Chardonnay, Australia – $4.94 (500 mL)
Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was a very light straw.  The light nose had slightly richer yellow fruit.  In the mouth were lower lying flavor, much less comparable acidity.  As a whole more mellow but with some balance.  It had some toast in the apple-like finish and became more balanced with air.  There was even some aftertaste.  Tropical notes develop for which it needs more acidity.  Drinkable. * Now.

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2011 Bota Box, Chardonnay, California – $6.29 (500 mL)
Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light golden yellow.  The nose bore mature pineapple pieces.  In the mouth this dense tasting wine was mouth filling with supporting acidity and non-descript flavors.  Odd.  There was a metallic finish.  Strange enough, there was an odd reaction in the back of my throat…this wine made me want to puke.  Poor.

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Copa di Vino, Riesling, Columbia Valley – $2.69 (187 mL)
Freshest by 08-12-14.  Alcohol 12.2%.  The nose smelled like sweet wine.  In the mouth was a sweet entry with supporting acidity and a little texture on the tongue tip.  It had tropical white and yellow fruit flavors.  There was a short finish.  * Now.

 

RED WINES

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The red wines generally left the impression of either being heavily manufactured or made from the discarded remnant of bad wine.  The NV Barefoot, Merlot, California might have fans because it is intentionally slightly off-dry but it did pass the threshold of being drinkable wine.  Just a few tens of cents more the 2012 Woodbridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, California was the hands down favorite of all of the wines tasted.  Perhaps it was the vintage date or the $0.45 premium over the NV Sutter Home, Cabernet Sauvignon, California that account for higher-quality fruit.

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2012 JT Wines, FLASQ wine, Merlot, California – $7 (375 mL)
Alcohol 13.5%.  This had red fruit on the nose with a hint of greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth the red fruit had some ripeness, a greenhouse note, and a hint of jammy sweetness.  The tannins were pleasing.  It did have an odd under-note and feeling of confection.  Would rate higher but for the oddity.   Poor.

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NV Barefoot, Merlot, California – $6.74 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13%.  The color was a medium ruby grape.  There was sweet blue fruit on the nose.  In the mouth was a round start with ripe fruit that had grip and was balanced with acidity.  It had a creamy blueberry finish with good texture.  Perhaps too much residual sugar for my preference.  * Now.

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NV Sutter Home, Cabernet Sauvignon, California – $6.29 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13%.  The color was a light to medium ruby.  It had a cleaner fruit nose.  In the mouth were leaner black and red fruit, subtle structure, a little appropriate greenhouse flavor, and some candied notes.  * Now.

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2012 Woodbridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, California – $6.74 (4-pack of 187mL)
Alcohol 13.5%.  This had a subtle nose.  In the mouth were ripe but controlled red and black fruit, plenty of integrated acidity, some spice, a little chewy finish, and structure towards the end.  This tasted like proper wine and was hands-down the best.  * Now.

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Copa di Vino, Merlot, Chile – $2.69 (187 mL)
Use by 02-08-15.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a sweet nose of sweet floral aromas.  In the mouth this wind revealed round, soft, rather perfumed sweet fruit.  It was very round with creamy fruit, some herbaceousness, and a downright odd profile.  Poor.

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Copa di Vino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile – $2.69 (187 mL)
Use by 05-07-15.  Alcohol 13.3%.  This had a better nose of black fruit and greenhouse aromas.  In the mouth the herbaceous black fruit had a grapefruit note with integrated acidity and tannins.  There was texture in the finish and a surprising amount of tannins.  Tasted manufactured but drinkable.  * Now.

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NV oneglass Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Delle Venezie, Italy – $2.69 (100 mL)
Alcohol 13%.  There was a bizarre and off-putting nose.  The mouth had round, cherry fruit which tasted old in a way.  There was old perfume, acidity, ripe tannins, and downright odd flavors.  Poor.

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A Pair of Wines from aMaurice Cellars

December 11, 2013 Leave a comment

The 2009 aMaurice Cellars, Pour Me appears to have been released in 2011 for the Metropolitan Market.  Quite frankly I found it over oaked so I would avoid it. Much better is the 2010 aMaurice Cellars, Syrah/Grenache, Boushey Vineyards.   I cannot write that I am an expert with regards to Boushey Vineyards but this bottle immediately reminded me of the 2008 Ross Andrew Winery, Syrah, Boushey Vineyards.  That is a good memory.  This current release from Amaurice is on the young side so I would keep it in your cellar for at least a year before revisiting.  I believe it is worth the patience.  These wines were purchased at Whole Foods in Seattle.

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2009 aMaurice Cellars, Pour Me, Red Blend, Columbia Valley – $18
This wine is a blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc, 28% Merlot aged two years in 40% new French oak.  Alcohol 14%.  Aromas of sweet vanilla waft up from the glass.  In the mouth there was sweet vanilla from the start with Jenn calling it, “overt.”  The wine was round and soft with black and red fruit, and salivating acidity.  It was tougher towards the finish.  With air it took on chocolate notes.  Not my style.  * Now.

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2010 aMaurice Cellars, Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley – $34
This wine is a blend of 72% Syrah and 28% Grenache sourced from vines planted in 1980.  It was fermented in stainless steel then aged for two years in used French oak.  Alcohol 14.1%.  The nose revealed a subtle mix of orange, potpourri, and berries which was evocative of Boushey fruit.  The mouth followed the nose but the fruit firmed up in the middle.  There was acidity and an orange note.  With air there was a hint of round mouthfeel and some spices in the finish.  *** 2015-2024.

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Drinks in Seattle with Lou

November 15, 2013 1 comment

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I received a text message from Lou three days before my flight to Seattle stating he would be in Seattle the same time I would be.  Not only were we on the same flight out but we were seated in the same row.  I typically spend my free time in Seattle researching or writing posts for this blog.  But with Lou around, I shifted my research from online archives to wine bars and restaurants.

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I returned to my hotel mid-afternoon on the first day.  Most places were not yet open so we walked from downtown, underneath the convention center to bar ferd’nand.  We weren’t quite sure what to drink so in entertaining discrete glasses of wine we sampled the 2011 Weingut Schellmann, Gumpoldskirchen.  This was an interesting blend of Zierfandler and Rotgipfler, certainly more weight and fruit than I expected, but perhaps from being near the end of the bottle it lacked verve from acidity.  I suspect it is worth trying from a complete bottle. We then tried a tasted from a fresh bottle of some French Chenin Blanc, but it was all apples and acidity.  Clearly if the wines by the glass selection was not satisfying, choosing from the Bottle Shop would be.  We walked in circles a few times, eventually focusing in on a bottle of Bordeaux.

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2006 Chateau La Confession, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
Imported by Bordeaux Wine Locators.  This wine is a blend of 51% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13.5%.  The first glass revealed not-quite rich weight of blue fruit, young in profile but softening.  After an hour of air there was black fruit flavors which were dense but not inky.  The dense mouthfeel continued into the really nice finish and aftertaste with flavors of stones.  The Cabernet Franc really shown through.  This bottle was entering its second phase with the acidity playing the lead over some ripe tannins.  This could be better with additional decanting or aging.  ***/***(*) Now-2025.

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We met up with Julia and Clark on our second night for dinner at The Whale Wins.  The wines of Kermit Lynch and Louis/Dressner are heavily featured here.  That is a good thing.  While we waited for our table we consumed a bottle of the 2011 Punta Crena, Vigneto Reine, Mataossu, Colline Savonesi which is imported by Kermit Lynch.  Apparently Mataossu was quite popular in the 19th century but today only three producers make wine from it.  It is claimed that only Punta Crena has true Mataossu with the other vines actually Lumassina.

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Our first red wine of the evening was the 2011 Louis Claude Desvignes, La Voute Saint-Vincent, Morgon imported by Louis/Dressner.   It was young but lovely with good young fruit, minerals, and nice structure for short-term aging.  This fruit for this wine is sourced from vines averaging 60 years of age.  It showed!

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We wrapped up the evening with the 2012 Occhipinti, SP68 Rosso, Sicily.  This Nero d’Avola and Frappato blend had a rocking nose from the start.  The nose was a little more generous than the mouth so perhaps half a year in the cellar will be a benefit.  Still, it was seamless and approachable.

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I have always found the architecture of Seattle interesting for its old decrepit houses, renovated historic buildings, and constant new construction.  I like the old moss spotted houses with their paint peeling off.  This result of weathering and neglect exhibits the age of the house beyond its design alone.  I remember how the houses pictured above were still occupied not too long ago.  The wine stores of Seattle do not have the depth of vintages found in Washington, DC, New York, or San Francisco.  However, a few restaurants do, so for our final night, we dined at The Wild Ginger where could drink from the reserve wine list.  I believe we tacitly agreed to start with a German Riesling though Alsace was a possibility.  Our first choice from Kerpen could not be located.  Apparently the previous two weekends had been spent shifting cases from the storage facility to the working cellar at the restaurant.  Our sommelier instead returned with a wine from Schlossgut Diel.  Implications must have been in the air for he proceeded to open the wine without discussing alternatives.  We could have sent it back but it was a really good wine.  For the red wine, in my mind, it was a toss up between drinking from the Rhone or the west coast.  The Rhone wines can be fabulously priced but there is a draw to drinking older, local vintages.  Our second sommelier had recently come from working at an Italian restaurant.  Being comfortable with the Italian portion of the list (and perhaps not wanting to leave it) he suggested 2001 Barolo.  Lou recently read an article in Decanter about the forward nature of the vintage.  These reasons led us to drink a Manzone Barolo, certainly one of the last regions we expected to explore that evening.

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1997 Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Goldloch Riesling, Nahe
A Terry Theise Selection.  Alcohol 10%.  There was an aromatic nose from the start with dusty notes, underlying apple aromas with hints of petrol and complexity.  In the mouth there was ripe fruit at first, with richer flavors expanding with grippy, crisp acidity.  The finish was drier with a little ripe spices.  There was a core of youthful flavor and body but this was so easy to drink now.  A lovely wine.  **** Now-2023.

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2001 Manzone, Perno, Santo Stefano, Barolo
A Marc deGrazia Selection imported by Elliot Bay Distributors.  Alcohol 14.5%  The nose was almost minty fresh at first with roses and tobacco.  The flavors were firm but good with red and black fruit followed by lots of acidity towards the finish.  The finish had tangy, citric tannins followed by a little darker flavor where it became a touch rough.  A modern wine.  The attractive nose remained more advanced than in the mouth so I would cellar this further.   *** Now-2028.

My final taste of the week was the COR Cellars Malbec.  COR has some good wines but this Malbec from a warm vintage was outright intense! This is a one glass per night type of wine.

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2009 COR Cellars, Malbec, Columbia Valley – $23
Alcohol 15.1%.  This remained a dense, almost viscous wine with extract, black fruit, and a savory tilt.  There was a meaty finish followed by a little heat and roughness in the aftertaste.  This was an intense, concentrated wine with a wall of flavor persisting through the spicy finish.  ** Now-2018.

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Drinking on an Electric Coffin Table

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My recent trip to Seattle was shorter than normal.  I try to balance my free time between tasting new wines, working on my blog, and dining with Clark and Julia.  With only three free evenings I managed all three.   For my first night I picked up two bottles of red wine to taste over the duration of my stay.  I picked up the 2011 Guild Winemakers, Red Wine because I liked the idea of trying a red blend from Oregon and was sold on by the inclusion of Durif in this one.  The price was right, the varietals amongst my favorite, and fortunately the wine itself was good.  It drank well and has a short-term development potential.  I would not hesitate to stock up on a few bottles of this wine.  I picked up the 2010 JM Cellars, Bramble Bump Red because Julia gave me a bottle from JM Cellars during an earlier visit this year.  This bottle was seductive and ready for current drinking.

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2011 Guild Winemakers, Red Wine, Columbia Valley – $13
This wine is a blend of 29% Durif, 22% Cinsault, 21% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, and 13% Grenache.  Alcohol 14.4%.  There was a subtle nose.  In the mouth there was somewhat dense red fruit, acidity in the middle of flavors, more red fruit then tangy black fruit.  This wine has strength with some firm wood tannins.  **(*) 2014-2017.

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2010 JM Cellars, Bramble Bump Red, Columbia Valley – $20
This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 12% Malbec, and 8% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 14.9%.  The nose revealed sweet fruit aromas.  In the mouth there were smooth, weightier fruit which was darker with integrated acidity.  The flavors were marked by cedar like notes,  The structure was approachable with wood hints.  ** Now-2016.

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My second night involved dinner and brown cocktails at Radiator Whiskey.  Needing some what I jumped on the chance to meet Julia and Clark for dinner at Joule in Fremont.  In an earlier trip we managed a drink or two at Joule before dining at the neighboring The Whale Wins in the Fremont Collective building.  On my third evening I arrived a little bit early so with a glass of 2012 Gilbert Cellars, Rose of Mourvedre, confusingly located under the White portion of the wine list, I sat at the end of the communal table designed by Electric Coffin.  While the rose was more suited for the Fall with its heavy-handed nature it certainly did not necessitate a Highvoltage Deathbox.

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I was reading from f Vincent Carosso’s The California Wine Industry, 1830-1895 when Clark and Julia arrived.  Clark wanted something a little bit different so we opted for an Oregon Grenache in the form of the 2011 Quady North, Bomba.  I was tired this night so I did not feel like taking a note but the wine did perk me up.  The wine grew on us and I think we all agreed that it was best to drink young.  As I drove home I did not recall any particular aromas or flavors but I did realize I had enjoyed the bottle to the very end.

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2010 Quady North, Bomba, Rogue Valley – $55 (On wine list)
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah fermented in small bins then aged for nine months in large, neutral French oak barrels.  There were fresh and delicate aromas. In the mouth the fresh, red flavors were more appealing with air.  It drank well with food and by itself.  A wine for drinking now which did not leave us wanting.

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Several Other Wines Tasted in Seattle

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I tried several other wines during my recent trip to Seattle.  I did not bother taking any notes on these wines for I was rather tired.  But I did take some pictures so here are my general impressions.

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After a few beers at King’s Hardware in Ballard a group of us moved on to dinner at Delancey.  Delancey serves up great pizza and has become a restaurant which I frequently visit during my trips to Seattle.  As I had to pass by the Portalis Wine Shop to get to my car I popped in to pick a few bottles for dinner.

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I had never seen the 2011 Turley, Cinsault, El Porron, Lodi before.  Having enjoyed many Turley Zinfandels in the past I thought the $23 El Porron was worth a try.  It turns out this is made using fruit sourced from 127 year old vines at the Bechtold vineyard.  There was an engaging nose with lots of beautiful, fresh, red fruit in the mouth.  I really enjoyed it and though it disappeared quickly amongst the six of us, I suspect it will drink well over several years.  Definitely worth trying.  The 2011 Sinister Hand, Columbia Valley is a blend of 63% Grenache, 19% Syrah, 16% Mourvedre, and 2% Cinsault.  I picked it up for I thought we should also drink something a bit fruitier and from Washington.  This bottle remained a bit compact but was still very satisfying given that it was popped and poured.  It was the first bottle to be finished.

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The evening we relaxed in Clark and Julie’s backyard.  The light rain sprinkles put a chill in the air but with the heater turned on we were fine.  Julia first brought out the 2005 Isenhower, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bachelor’s Button, Columbia Valley.  This appears to be a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot sourced from three vineyards planted in 1972, 1988, and 2000.  The nose did not give up much at all.  In the mouth it was very tight with any fruit clinging to the firm but approachable structure.  My first impression is that the structure was outliving the fruit.  I did revisit it an hour later and there seemed to be a very focused core of subtly ripe blue and black fruit coming out.  As an alternative Julia opened the 2009 Convergence Zone Cellars, Storm Front, Red Mountain.  She figured I had never heard of this wine and she was right.  This is a blend of 39% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Malbec which was produced in nearby Woodinville.  It sees a chunk of new oak and it certainly comes out in the flavors.  The fruit does stand up to it in an attractive, seamless package.

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For another dinner I met Clark and Julia at Bar Sajor in  Pioneer Square.  This restaurant is in the same group as Sitka & Spruce and bar ferd’nand.  It was a few years ago that I was first introduced to the 2010 Matteo Correggia, Anthos at bar ferd’nand.  I spied the 2011 Matteo Correggia, Anthos on the well-edited and interesting wine list.  Of course I ordered it.  This wine is 100% Brachetto sourced from vines planted in 1975.  The fruit is only briefly macerated so the color is rather light for a red wine.  Despite the light color the nose is highly aromatic and there is good depth to the flavors.  I strongly recommend you seek this out.

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The last wine I tried during my trip was the 2010 COR Cellars, Momentum.  I really enjoyed the 2009 I tasted last year so of course I grabbed this bottle of 2010.  This wine is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Petit Verdot, 26% Merlot, and 14% Malbec which is very similar to the previous vintage.  This was a cooler year than 2009 and I think it shows.  There were concentrated black fruit flavors, good extract, a sweet chocolate note, and the impression it needs a year to open up.  However, it came across a little muddled and rough in the finish.  It is still a decent wine for the money but it also shows how good the 2009 is.

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Trying a Few New Wines in Seattle

June 21, 2013 2 comments

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I grabbed several bottles of Washington State wine during my first evening in Seattle.  I picked them solely because I knew nothing about the producers.  I tried two of these wines during the course of my stay because the pure bottlings of Graciano and Cabernet Franc sounded interesting.  My favorite of the pair is the 2010 Idilico, Graciano made by Spanish winemaker Javier Alfonso.  He previously worked for Pomum Cellars.  Apparently the Graciano was planted at Upland Vineyands specifically for Javier’s use.   I believe these vines must have been planted in the mid 2000s because Full Pull Wines states the 2009 Pomum Tinto was the first Washington wine to incorporate Graciano.  In any event, this was a pretty good wine drunk out of a hotel tumbler.  I would have bought another bottle to bring back home for a second taste but I decided to carry back two other Idilico wines.  So if you are in Seattle, grab a bottle!  The 2010 PB Wines, Cabernet Franc is no cool-climate Cabernet Franc.  It is sourced from the Weinbau Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope.  This is a ripe and athletic version which could stand a little time to settled down.  While it is a little bit too much for me it should appeal to many.  These wines were purchased at Whole Foods on 64th St.

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2010 Indilico, Graciano, Snipes Mountain, Yakima Valley – $25
This wine is 100% Graciano sourced from the Upland Vineyard in Snipes Mountain AVA.  The nose was complex with herbal and floral black fruit with a bitters-like complexity.  There was a lot of good flavor in the mouth which became drier as floral black fruit clung to the mouth.  There was tart acidity on the lips and tangy fruit with ripe,drying tannins giving substance to the wine.  *** Now-2017.

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2010 PB Wines, Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley – $25
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc which was fermented with indigenous yeasts then aged for two years in 60% neutral French oak and 40% new French oak.  The light nose revealed toasty, purple fruit.  There was a ripe and rich start to this mouthfilling but not creamy wine.  There was lots of fruit which was a little rough in the middle.  The fruit had density and ripe tannins which could stand another year of age.  In the end this is a big and ripe Cabernet Franc with gobs of flavor.  **(*) 2014-2018.

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Tempranillo from Washington

Kerloo Cellars have been around for over three years but I have only recently tried a bottle of their wine.  Michael at Soul Wine recommended I try this bottle but also forewarned me that this 2010 vintage would require some cellar time.  Well, I managed to wait several months but with a trip to Seattle in mind I pulled the cork.  You will not mistake this for a Spanish wine, which is a good thing.  It really is young.  I certainly endorse Michael’s suggestion of cellaring this wine to see how it develops.  It is well made with potential but is a bit expensive.  This wine was purchased from Soul Wine.

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2010 Kerloo Cellars, Tempranillo, Columbia Valley – $35
This wine is a blend of 86% Tempranillo and 14% Garnacha sourced from Les Collines, Stone Tree, and Alder Ridge Vineyards.  The fruit was destemmed and aged on the lees in barrel and aged 17 months in 28% new French and American oak.  Alcohol 13.9%.  The nose was light with concentrated fruit and violets.  In the mouth the focused flavors followed the nose but were drier and mixed with good, drying tannins.  There was some lift and expansion in the finish along with a bit of new wood.  The flavors were light in a sense, lasting throughout the wine, with a sweet vanilla note.  Right now the drying tannins coat the insides of the lips and this wine is in need of age.  **(*) 2016-2026.

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