Friday, July 29, 2005
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
It took 41 days. Not a bad turn around on the big world wide wine web.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Spring Valley Vineyard labels are as distinctive as their wines. The labels are portraits of family members who farmed the same land. Label names like Uriah, Frederick, Muleskinner and Nina Lee tell the story of rich family history. My favorite label is the "Nina Lee." Not only is it a beautiful label, but the Nina Lee is a delicious 100% Syrah that has blackberry and licorice notes with a hint of spice showing through. Nina Lee, a tribute to the spirit of women, met Frederick in 1928 while performing Vaudeville at a local theatre. They married and sucessfully faced the great depression together. In 1957 Frederick died and Nina Lee decided not to depend on anyone else but herself, so she continued to operate the ranch on her own. Nina Lee died after 21 years of successful farming. The labels and wines will be added to the Ste. Michelle wine portfolio.
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates from Woodenville, WA will purchase the winery, brand names, and all wine in bottle and barrel. The company will lease the 40-acre vineyard on a long term basis and the vineyard will remain under the ownership of the Corkrum-Derby family.
Have you ever visited the Spring Valley Vineyard tasting room in downtown Walla Walla? If Gaynor Derby is pouring, you are in for a treat. Wearing his cowboy hat with a salty sense of humor, he typifies what good old hospitality is all about. Gaynor's pride in his grapes beams into every glass he pours. My hopes are Ste. Michelle will realize the value of hometown hospitality. Pride and hospitality are just as important to the Walla Walla wines as the grapes that go into them.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Sunday, July 10, 2005
That explains the summer, but what about the dog?
In ancient times, when the night sky was unobstructed by artificial lights and smog, people throughout the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese, Native Americans and Europeans all saw different star pictures - now called constellations. The constellations that we are most familiar with are from our European ancestors.
They saw images of various animals, including dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor. The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.
In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that the heat from Sirius added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.
Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the brightness of Sirius, but is a direct result of the earth's tilt.
Our visit to Isenhower was very enjoyable. We met with Brett the owner and enjoyed visiting with Bob while he poured us generous samples of their uniquely labeled and very aromatic wines. It just so happens Isenhower has their own tribute to man's best friend - "Three Dog Syrah." Wasn't there a band named... never mind. Besides having a beautiful label of three dogs, this Rhone blend is earthy and very fruity with soft tannins. The Isenhower wines I would recommend for their uniqueness, quality and price.
One of the reasons why my thoughts have been with dogs and the summer's heat is that I have a canine wine celebrity staying at my house for a few weeks while her owners are away. "Salsa" is the black lab-mix that hangs out at Forgeron Cellars. She belongs to winemakers Marie-Eve Gilla and Gilles Nicault. Marie-Eve and Gilles are currently in France hosting a wine tour through Burgundy and Provence. "Salsa" and my "Lucy" are getting along quite well for two indulged dog divas.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Below is the picture he envisioned for Arbor Mist, which is a Canandaigua company from New York. Must be where they got their slogan -
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
This is a great time to add Walla Walla summer Rieslings or late harvest wines to the fresh fruit that is popping up at the local produce stands. My favorite is strawberries. Blueberries with peaches or nectarines make a pretty and tasty assortment as well a mixture of brambleberries, such as raspberries and blackberries. You can also add fresh chopped mint or lavender to enhance the flavor.
Lightly add a bit of sugar over the fruit and then sprinkle on your favorite wine. Adjust the sweetness of the sugar and mixture of wine to taste. Pour the "Intoxicated Fruit" over vanilla ice cream, pound cake or serve by itself in a wine glass with a dallop of whipped cream and shaved bitter sweet chocolate sprinkled on top. It makes a beautiful presentation.
Just a couple of days ago, during the holiday weekend, I bought Klicker's vine ripened strawberries - a Walla Walla Valley legend. As always, every Klicker berry was deep red, sweet and juicy. I sprinkled Forgeron Cellars Late Harvest Gerwurtztraminer over the berries. My mouth was happy. While Forgeron's Late Harvest Gerwurztraminer is over 9. residual sugar, it has a ruby red grapefruit finish and paired well with the fresh berries. The Forgeron 2004 Riesling measures out at 2.93 residual sugar and it would also be refreshing used in a summer fruit salad.
There are other great late harvest wines from the Walla Walla Valley. Three Rivers Winery 2003 Biscuit Ridge Vineyard Late Harvest has recently picked up several medals and L'Ecole No. 41 makes a late harvest Semillon.
As Martha Stewart says, "It's a good thing." Enjoy!