Monday, December 31, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I was surprised and then again, I don’t know why I wasn’t surprised to see zero Walla Walla wines on the list. Often, we have seen Leonetti Cellars, Woodward Canyon, L’Ecole and of course, Cayuse – the wineries that I have often referred to as the “Darlings of Harvey Steiman.” And yes Harvey, I have always agreed with your Walla Walla choices.
Washington showed on the list, of course, Quilceda Creek, including: Owen Roe, Columbia Crest, and DeLille. Fiddle-dee-dee – 2008 is another year!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Steve Brook’s Trust Cellar Riesling. Not sure what has been said about Trust Cellar Riesling, but here is where I can finally have my say. Steve bought a bottle from Steve for me to check out. The 2006 was the first vintage for the Trust Cellars Riesling and my-oh-my did that time for Steve Brooks of being a cellar rat at Long Shadows pay off. Trust Cellars Riesling was very reminiscent of the Poet’s Leap Riesling executed by Armin Diel, one the leading Riesling producers in Germany. Which means - - this is a good thing Martha!
We decided to check out the new location of Pacific Express restaurant and brought the bottle of Riesling to dinner. Riesling always pairs quite nice with any Asian influenced meal and we certainly could not beat the P.E. $5 corkage fee, either. What a perfect pairing the Riesling was with the food we ordered! The Riesling nose was floral and the taste of early summer orchard fruits came through such as peaches, apricots and the crispness of a Granny Smith apple. It was a delicate wine, yet undertones of mineral came through. This off-dry wine enhanced the flavors of the sweet ‘n sour pork and almond sub-gum and vice-versa. No Cab or Merlot could have done that.
I am always telling those white wine drinkers when they want to learn to drink the reds, pair it with food first. Eat-sip-eat-sip-eat-sip. Same thing with whites. For those of you who think your taste buds are refined and look down at the whites - come on - you know who you are. You know, those who hiss, “I only dooo redsss," like you own a pedigreed tongue or something - - anyways - -(okay, I’m off my soap box) same thing! Learn to enjoy whites with food. There are so many spicy, yet light and flavorful foods that deserve a good white wine, such as the elegant Trust Cellars Riesling. Try it!
Friday, December 07, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
During the weekend I followed my own advise: we started our Saturday morning at home around the kitchen island revisiting the happenings and dialogue of the night before, pondering our list of wineries to visit, while I made pancakes and fried up slices of bacon. "Big breakfast." I tell everyone, "eat a big meal if you are going to taste a lot of wine."
A girl has her priorities and the crush-worthy male French winemakers were at the top of this girl’s list. Gilles Nicault at Long Shadows Winery was the first stop Saturday morning. This isn’t the first time for Steve and me to visit Long Shadows. However, we had no idea about the name change of the road. It use to be Ireland Road and in the last six months it has changed to Frenchtown Road and neither one of us had a clue. Where was the road? Our chatter about what road to turn on reminded me of a few years back as I attempted to give Steve the directions to Waterville, WA from Leavenworth, WA. To make a long story short - - men and women should never discuss directions and I will never design a GPS - heh.
To sum it up - we tasted through the new releases of Long Shadows - Poet’s Leap, Chester Kidder and Sequel. Wonderful as always. We were in awe of the new Dale Chihuly glass pieces that had not arrived during our last visit. This was an excellent move for Long Shadows to be included in the Barrel Tasting and to allow the public inside. A previous news article had coined the new winery, "The Most Beautiful Winery That You Will Never See." Now, many of the wine-loving public can finally feel included.
French winemaker, Serge Laville at Spring Valley Vineyard was our next stop. Their new tasting room on Second Avenue is gorgeous! Dean and Shari were on hand to greet guests and the spirit of their family history, using old photos, was displayed deep into the walls as if the photos had been ingrained there forever. The room had an elegant feel, yet warm and inviting. We tasted through the wines with Serge and as the Frederick blend always does - it made my tongue happy! But then again - so did the Derby and the Uriah and...and...
I must admit this: the Nina Lee Syrah has never really woke up my old taste buds like the other Spring Valley wines. Now don’t get me wrong, I never, ever turned down a glass, but there were other Walla Walla Syrahs I preferred. However, the 2005 Nina Lee made me happy! Nina Lee romanced my taste buds! This is one of my new favorite Syrahs! I am a tough one when it comes to Syrah. They must scream, "Old World Rhone" and Nina Lee screamed. She sang! It just so happened that Australian winemaker, Jeff Martin and his wife Niva, owners of La Frenz Winery in Okanagan, BC, were visiting the tasting room at the same time. Jeff is high on the list of making more Shiraz/Syrah than anybody during his wine making days in Australia, so Steve sent Jeff to the tasting bar to sample the Nina Lee. We wanted Jeff's opinion. Jeff agreed that the beauty of the Nina Lee Syrah was matched by her beautiful profile on the label.
Yes-yes-yes - we did half pours, shared pours, turned down some pours, spit-a-bit, noshed as much as we could on the assortments of cheeses, meats, breads and chocolates that were offered by the various wineries and most important, we kept ourselves hydrated. Next door to Spring Valley is the new tasting room of Sleight of Hand Cellars, owned by winemaker Trey Busch (former Basel Cellars winemaker). We visited with Trey and his business partner, Jerry Solomon as they poured their "magical" offerings. The "Magician" is an off-dry Gerwurztraminer. Crisp, aromatic and if paired with a plate of Thai food or curry it's guaranteed that the contents of the plate and glass will disappear like a rabbit in a hat (groan). The "Spellbinder," a red blend of Cabernet Franc, Cab Sauv and Sangio is a great wine for every day sipping or casual entertaining and most of all - priced right! The Sleight of Hand is worth a visit, of course to taste the wines, but to view the vintage-style Houdini and other magic posters.
Down a couple of blocks we caught up with Don and Nicole Redman at Mannina Cellars. It is no secret that I love their wine varieties of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese (one of the best in the State) and their red blend, "Cali." Don’s wines are elegant, rich and structured. We barrel sampled a 2006 Merlot and I am here to tell you it was perfect. So perfect I wanted my own barrel of it. Why wait for it to be bottled?
David McDaniels of Sweet Valley Wines (the 500th winery to register in the State of WA) shared the tasting bar with Mannina and we were able to sample Sweet Valley’s newest red blend release, "Double Barrel" - 2005 and a barrel sample of their 2006. The 2006 Double Barrel is going to be winner! We really liked it and will keep our eyes and ears tuned to Double Barrel's future.
Okay boys and girls - that was our morning. Stay tuned to our afternoon...
Monday, December 03, 2007
I am happy to see that the Chron has at least recognized 12 wines from Washington State and out of the 12, five of them were from Walla Walla. Of course, this is my opinion, but I think it has been a difficult move on many of the merchants and wine writers out of Northern California to give much recognition to the great wines that are coming out of the State of Washington. But it isn't just my opinion - San Francisco-ite Alder Yarrow of Vineography pointed out the same in his blog of June 2007 with how ashamed he was with his city of San Francisco for not giving Washington wines the recognition they deserve.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
For more information definitely check out Walla Walla Wine Alliance. They provide a list of the participating wineries, hours and tasting fees. Heather at Walla Walla Wine News gives a summary of her "must see" wineries.
Check out what a couple of my wine blogging colleagues have to say about the weekend. Andy at The Wine Knows gives his list of recommendations. Most of the wineries on Andy’s list are newer wineries to consider, besides your personal favorites.
Thad at Beyond the Bottle gives a list of his personal recommendations of Walla Walla wineries he has visited in the last six months. Thad also gives suggestions on how to survive wine tasting weekend. Such as: eat solid meals, drink water, spit wine...
Me? My favorites and recommendations? I like ‘em all - - of course! ;-)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
Those wild 'n wacky chemists over at Berkeley have also designed a devise (a prototype for now) that can measure amines in your food and drink ahead of time. Eventually it may become a small devise that a diner could keep in their pocket or purse and take to a restaurant to analyze those pesky amines in their wines. However, if you have a headache after consuming several glasses of wine - perhaps it has nothing to do with amines. Like I tell anybody who sanctimoniously preaches to me about the evil chemicals and so-called additives found in wine and the need for more organic wines - - I remind them about the naturally made substance that has a higher percentage of anything else in a bottle of wine - alcohol. Alcohol has caused more aches and pain and created more fatalities than any sulfite or amines ever will. Duh!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Last week I had an opportunity to taste three newly released Cabernet Sauvignons that just happened to have a lot in common - all three Cabernets were produced in the Walla Walla Valley, all three are of the same vintage - 2005, and most of all -- all three Cabernets were produced by three winemakers that were my viticulture/enology classmates! It was exciting for me to taste their different styles and all three I recommend.
A true "509" wine (meaning all of the grapes are from the 509 area code - Walla Walla). This Cabernet Sauvignon was produced by winemaker, Troy Ledwick of Hence Cellars. At first glance of the bottle, as it was being poured, I noticed the thick glass and masculine style of the bottle that was appropriate for this masculine and hearty wine. Lots of dark fruit came through, as well of tones of dark cocoa. The tannins were definitely there, but not overpowering. A wine that I would be anxious to cellar, as I can image it is going to be very age worthy to the finest. Definitely a wine meant for pairing with beef.
Mostly "509" grapes (Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills), with a touch of Horse Heaven Hills appellation, went into this Cabernet Sauvignon made by Ryan Raber winemaker and owner of Tertulia Cellars. A touch of the Bordeaux-style with 12% Cabernet Franc and a touch of Merlot made this Cabernet Sauvignon full-bodied and very interesting. There were definite flavors of dark cherry, chocolate, spice and a bit of the cigar box. Soft tannins with a smooth finish that is going to pair quite nice with a variety of foods - prime rib to a meatball sandwich. This wine makes me think Black Forest chocolate cake with cherries - yum!
Friday, November 09, 2007
Just alone this week, where else in a small town of 30,000+ can you stop for a plate of spaghetti at a downtown deli, listen to live jazz during dinner and then head out to a lecture given by Salman Rushdie? In Walla Walla you can. And if you haven't noticed, none of the events have anything to do with the promotion of Walla Walla wines (Of course, if you are a wine lover and you add Walla Walla wine to your evening of events, it’s the icing on the cake).
Community classes at the local colleges and at Carnegie Art Center are on-going - pottery, watercolors, jewelry making, writing, woodcarving, cooking, yoga, wine making, welding, horse grooming...and the list goes on. Want to learn how to dance? You can choose from ballroom to belly dancing. Clubs? How many do you want to join? Fraternal, community service, kennel, prop twisters, gun, yacht, synchronized swimming, gem and mineral, and the arts. Not enough clubs for you? How about horses, kitefliers, civil air patrol, quilters, muzzle loaders, car (Corvette, Corvair, antique and four-wheel drives), books, fishing and hunting organizations. And grandmother's in Walla Walla can remain busy (and vocal) at the Grandmother's Roundtable - a group of women dedicated to community discussions and finding the answers to help shape it.
So now your argument is money. How about all of the local art galleries downtown? Carnegie Art Center provides monthly new exhibits with free admission. A total of 18 city parks and free tennis courts. And there is always volunteer work to be done - the museums, humane society, senior citizen center, children’s programs/sports, three hospitals, and numerous non-profits that need volunteers for their fund-raising committees. The Downtown Foundation offers free concerts in the summer and also at the Farmers Market.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Good news! She isn't going to die from drinking the wine! That "stuff" has a name - tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is an organic acid that naturally occurs in several plants, especially found in grapes. It can take form of a creamy residue, tiny crystals or flakes. You can place it on your finger tips and it will dissipate from the heat from your body. Taste it and it has the familiar taste and texture of "Sweet Tart" candies, but without the sugar. When the creamy residue dries on the bottom of the cork from a red wine, it will take form of tiny amethyst-looking crystals. Those sparkly little crystals, known as "wine diamonds", means nothing more than a natural evolution of tartaric acid in the wine. As the wine ages, tartaric acid (potassium bitartrate) can no longer be dissolved and so it solidifies. This acid doesn't hurt a thing and chemically it can create an environment where spoilage bacteria cannot live and can also act as a natural preservative.
And have you noticed clear crystals in the bottom of a bottle of white wine that has been in the refrigerator for awhile? No - - it isn't broken glass. That is also tartaric acid and some wineries will place the white wine in cold stabilization to prevent the crystals from appearing. So naturally a few might show up if you do your own stabilization in the fridge - or more like you forgot the white wine was stuffed in the back of your refrigerator.
Are traces of tartaric acids in wine considered a fault? Absolutely not! In our earlier New World wines, we have not seen many traces of tartaric acids as many of those wines have been overly fined and processed. In America, as we often do, we tend to over process something until it is perfect! In the mean time, America's largest producers of wine have been messing with the wine’s colloidal structure all in the name of "visual perfection." As the USA has progressed in the last 30 years in their winemaking craft, producing quality wines, chances are great that the wine consumer is seeing more traces of tartaric acids in their wines. Especially those wines that have been given some age. Many winemakers will tell you that the signs are tartaric acids are signs of high quality wines. And yes, it is the same "stuff" that you see in the bottom of a wine that has aged - sediments.
And one more thing - have you ever used a substance found in the spice aisle at the market labeled as "Cream of Tartar?" Originally discovered by the French, bakers use cream of tartar to give volume to meringues, souffles, angel food cakes and Snickerdoodle cookies. Well, those merchants of cream of tartar actually scoop the potassium bitartrites from the bottom of empty large holding tanks that once held wine.
"Wine diamonds" are indeed an indicator that grapes were given extra hang time on the vine for maximum sweetness and acids. It is also an indicator the winemaker crafted the wine slowly and very carefully. Therefore, when you are opening a bottle of wine and find the signs of wine diamonds, you can be sure that you are opening a great bottle of wine and most of all - - at the right time. The only bad thing I can say about wine diamonds is that you cannot wear them on a finger. Cheers!
Monday, November 05, 2007
Malbec is a medium to full-bodied wine and often very jammy in flavor. Usually flavors of dark fruit comes through, such as plums and blackberry. The tannins are there, but not so much like a Cabernet Sauvignon - - a bit tighter. And because this wine is often a bit rustic, it pairs well with the same type of "homey-style" foods such as - spaghetti, pizza, sausages, beef tacos, cajun dishes like jambalaya, and even beef stew. A French-style stew like Beef Bourguignon would make for a perfect pairing, especially if you used Malbec to marinade the beef instead of the traditional Burgandy.
Malbec is cropping up all over Walla Walla. In fact, this weekend I tasted two fine examples of Malbec - one from Walla Walla Vintners and also from their Mill Creek Upland neighbor, aˋMaurice Cellars.
The 2005 Malbec from Walla Walla Vintners was typical of the style of wine they produce - always dark in color, full-bodied and lots of flavor going on. Three vineyards were used (and in equal amounts) in the production of this 100% Malbec - Frazier Bluff, Sagemoor and Pepper Bridge. It was inky! It was spicy! It was jammy! Lots of plum and blackberry came through but it finished so velvety and kept on going. Nice - very nice.
Newly released, aˋMaurice Cellars Malbec - 2005, was deep red in color with aromas of bramble berries and vanilla jumping out of the glass. With one sip, you know the blackberries are definitely there, but so were the flavors of cassis and currants. Another sip gave me flavors of Chambord (raspberry liquor). A very delicate and elegant wine. A different style of Malbec from their neighbor's Malbec, but just as worthy. There are other wineries in the Walla Walla Valley producing Malbec and if I could make a prediction - I would predict there are vineyards in Washington State pulling out their Merlot vines to make room for Malbec. Cheers!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Candy Corn: Chardonnay makes for a good pairing with these little nuggets of white, yellow and orange (or known in my house as West Virginia vampire teeth). I would choose either Canoe Ridge or Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay. Both wines are very light in oak and will not mask that sweet candy corn goodness.
Almond Joy: Long Shadow's Poet’s Leap Riesling or Walla Walla Village Gewurztraminer. The fruit of pear, melon and honey from the Riesling pairs nicely with the addition of the coconut and almonds from the candy. If you are wanting a semi-sweet wine, the Gewurztraminer still has some residual sugar and the exotic fruits from the wine would blend well with the fruit and nuts from the candy.
Hershey Chocolate Bar (with or without almonds): Waterbrook Winery Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely a more mellow Cabernet with softer tannins and does not interfere with the chocolate. Also, Waterbrook’s Melange - a red blend that is one of my all-time regulars when I want an every day sipping wine. Melange works quite well with any chocolate - - trust me.
Friday, October 26, 2007
And last but certainly not least, blogs are exercising their voices and assisting to educate their readers on retailer-to-consumer shipping issues. The Ship Compliant Blog is an online site for wineries to use and to help them stay current on interstate shipping rules. Organizations like these are truly needed, especially when the wholesale cartel have threatened consumers and wineries with jail time if they bypass the middleman. Also out there, voicing the importance of freeing the grape is REthink Wine Blog and now Wine Without Borders. Tom Wark, the tireless and fearless, of Fermentation - the Daily Wine Blog will be managing Wine Without Borders regarding wine to consumer shipping issues.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
There are big distinctions behind those labels - the celebs who take active roles in their vineyards and/or wineries (like Smothers and Parker) and those who pay negociants to fetch the wine from various wineries, such as three of my favorite rock legends: Santana, Bob Dylan and Mick Fleetwood. Then we have posthumous labels of rock legends such as Jerry Garcia and of course, Elvis.
The Gallo Winery found a "good thing" when they announced last month their partnership with MSO to develop a brand of wines under the "Martha Stewart Vintage" label. Now your dinner party will be complete with the meal prepared from your MS cookbook and MS cookware, your table set with MS plates and linens (umm...even the dining table can be from the MS Katonah or MS Turkey Hill collection) and of course you will need the MS wine glasses from Macy*s to drink the MS vintage from.
Last but not least, golfing legends like Greg Norman and Arnold Palmer. Norman actually owns an estate winery and vineyard and the Palmer label is a partnership with a winery.
"Mamietage" is produced in 1.5 liter bottles featuring three images of Mamie. Two of the images are of Mamie as she is today, and the third image is from Mamie at the age of 21. The wine labels all feature nude poses of Mamie covered up by a top, clear "peel away" label that has stars strategically placed. Once you peel the label away - - a nude Mamie! The peel away portion is attached, and can be replaced to it's original form. How special - like paper dolls!
Last year I blogged "Porn Wine" regarding porn star Savanna Samson launching her own brand of Italian wine. Wine critic, Robert Parker gave the wine 90 points and claimed Samson’s wine to be "luscious and oppulent." Oh reee-ally Mr. Parker. "Luscious and oppulent," you say?
So, all of these celebrity wines got me to thinking - I need my own wine label. Hey! I’m a celebrity - a wine blogging celebrity - the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman - a celebrity in my own mind! I could have peel away labels like paper dolls. Your choice of bare umm - - feet or Birkenstocks. Purple and red reading glasses or no eyeglasses. Fountain pen behind my ears or laptop computer. Toga with belly dancing scarves or Washington State University sweat shirt with Sponge Bob Squarepants sweat pants? Ain't she purty? My paperdoll image can be holding your choice of wine. Red or white, but never a glass of White Zin. Cheers!
Friday, October 19, 2007
I am so ready to taste her 2007 vintages and they’re not even in the bottle! So far, she has a Malbec from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. In fact, the Malbec is from 21 year-old vines. She is also pressing Phinny Hill Syrah from the Horse Heaven Hills and Syrah from Patina Vineyards in Walla Walla.
Keeping close to old world traditions, Ashley has planned her version of a Beaujolais party for November 17 at the Flying Trout Tasting Room/Winery. Known as "wine for the peasants" many centuries ago, Beaujolais Nouveau may not be released earlier than the third Thursday of November, according to French law passed in 1985. A traditional (and legal) bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau means grapes were handpicked from the Burgundy growing region, then followed by carbonic maceration, pressing, fermentation and then moved quickly to bottling and this all has to be done (only in France and to keep the Beaujolais Nouveau name) in time for the traditional release at midnight on the third Thursday of November. Hmmm - could this be the reason why Beaujolais Nouveau has often been the popular choice with the American Thanksgiving turkey? Good timing or planned by nouveau King of Beaujolais marketer - George Duboeuf (and that my readers sounds like another blog topic)?
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Besides a family winery, Lowden Hills also produces estate wines from their Win Chester Vineyards located outside of Lowden, WA. Named after Sonja’s late stepfather, Win Estes, the Estes family were wheat farmers and homesteaded in the Walla Walla Valley since the late 1800's.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
It is an especially beautiful drive to Northstar Winery on JB George Road as you pass the row of grapevines lining the drive. Clusters of dark fruit hanging from the vines so close you can almost reach out and grab them. The canopies have been trimmed flat like hedges and the fruit is perfectly spaced in their picking zone. Our timing on visiting Northstar could not have been more perfect as it was the beginning of crush and you could smell the sweet grapes in the air.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Wine lovers and critics from all over the nation are keeping an eye on Washington State Syrahs and in the last few weeks I understand why. Of course, being a proud native of Washington, that's a no-brainer, but I gotta say here - - we grow and produce some of the best!
Now I know this isn't a winery from Walla Walla, but the grapes sure are native. Barrister Winery from Spokane bottled a Syrah that received a gold medal at the 2007 Indy International Wine Competition and these winning grapes were from Morrison Lane Vineyard in Walla Walla. Morrison Lane Vineyards have been providing Syrah grapes to area wineries for several years. We were really fortunate not to have to go very far to taste this medal winner. Dean Morrison had a bottle of the award-winning Spokane-produced wine that he was sharing. Barrister only produced 115 cases and at a reasonable price of $26.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
This 2004 Bordeaux-style reserve was named after Jean and Baker Ferguson. The Ferguson’s founded L’Ecole No. 41 at Lowden, WA. Lowden, located in Walla Walla County, is a small farm community and also known as "Frenchtown" to the locals. Obviously the name comes from the fact that it was founded by French-Canadian settlers in the 1800s. Believe it or not, there was actually a small war in Frenchtown, known as the Battle of Frenchtown/Walla Walla, back in 1855. Local historians tell us that Lecole No. 41 and other wineries in that area, are not the first to be producing wine. Besides fur trapping, nurseries, vineyards and wine production became an important part to Frenchtown's economy. And of course like other communities of wine producers in our nation, prohibition of alcohol stopped the growing economy back in the 1920's.
In 1983, Jean and Baker purchased Lowden’s grand old school house that has been located on highway #12 into Walla Walla, since the turn of the century. Now the school house holds some of the most prestigious wines coming out of the state of Washington. The Ferguson's returned the art of winemaking to that historical area.
How did the 2004 Ferguson Commemorative Reserve taste? This classic was perfect on my tongue - it is a blend that I happen to love. The richness of dense chocolate bouchan and some chewiness came through with the 48% Cabernet Sauvignon. Berries and plums showed well with the 42% Merlot, and 5% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was just enough to make the red blend interesting adding a touch of violets, pepper and chocolate orange stick candy. A velvety combination that I think will perform well with an assortment of food from a wood grilled hanger steak or salmon to a plate of fresh chocolate chip cookies. This wine is worthy in any collection and like many of Lecole's wines, it should age well. Cheers!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Ever dream of making wine in Napa Valley, CA? Nah - - me neither. But the dream of making wine in Walla Walla or any place in the state of Washington is an attractive thought. However, no matter where it's from, this idea just tickles me - - very clever, educational and fun.
You can now Adopt a Grape for free and follow it from bud break through harvest, complete with a series of fun and educational notes from the vineyard crew. Remember in my last blog how I chastised those of you who gets all "romantical" and dreamy about owning your own winery and/or vineyard with no idea of how hard the work is? Now’s your chance to be a part of a winery and you won’t have to leave your Lazyboy, bucket-o-chicken and The Soprano's re-runs.
Best of all, you don’t need a huge bank account, or a degree in viticulture or enology. Any white-zinfandel drinker can adopt a grape. If you can use a computer, you can adopt a grape. You can choose a little grape from any block in the vineyard, and you will receive a series of short film updates on the progress of your grape throughout the growing season and harvest. I'm going to make holiday cards with my little grape. If you adopt a grape before it’s harvested, you will be notified by email so that you can be part of your grape’s fall journey. Aww...
So, won't you make a difference in a little Merlot grape's life?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
And the story of crush goes on and on. and I have just barely touched on the story of wine making. Plan on having a rest around the December holidays and kiss your wine goodbye for a couple of years, because it still has a long journey to go before admirers come near and far to "ooh and ahh" over your bottle of wine that you gave birth to.
Okay - so here I am and the truth of my experience with crush is I never care to do it again. Okay, well maybe for one non-committal hour. Umm - maybe two non-committal hours. At this time of my life, my contribution to the crush is to enjoy the fruits of the labor, write about the wine and maybe even sell a few bottles. Yeah, I still get happy chills when I see the Hysters loading the fruit-filled bins onto the crush pad and also when my nose meets the fragrance of crushed purple fruit topped with bright pink foam during fermentation. All of these senses remind me that a new vintage is on the way, but not without respect and observation of the love and labor that went into each and every bottle. With every bottle I am reminded of the caretakers of the vines and 365 days of their diligence and trust of the terroir. I am reminded by those in the cellar who put more than their backs into the wine. Their heart and their soul and most of all, a huge commitment.
Crush - - it is truly a labor of love.
Friday, September 14, 2007
In September, the Walla Walla Valley still has some warm summer days and cool nights. Some excellent examples of whites to pair for those late summer harvest meals - Skylite Cellars "Sierra " is a refreshing, crisp and fruit driven blend of 63% Sauvignon Blanc and 37% Pinot Gris. Walla Walla grapes gives this wine floral notes, structure and for food with a spicy kick, it pairs great with a clean finish. I really enjoyed this white blend and paired it with spicy pork verde wrapped in lettuce leaves and wedges of tangy chicken quesadillas with melty and gooey cheese topped with mango salsa.
So, if you've put away your summer whites and not quite ready for winter, you can keep the summer alive in your wine glass by looking for ways to pair whites and roses' with food or just for leisurely sipping. Cheers!