Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Pacific Crest Wine Company

Founded in 2008, Wine Trees, LLC is a  collection of thirty-some wine brands highlighting some of the world’s most exciting regions. And the Pacific Crest Trail wines is one of those collections. 

The Pacific Crest Trail is named after its namesake that spans over 2,600 miles, trekking up the United States west coast, and crosses some of the area's best wine growing regions. In Washington State, east of this trail is the rugged and fertile lands of Washington wine country producing wine grapes in elevations of up to 3,000 feet. It's Pacific Crest Wine Co. quest to capture the essence with single vineyards that defines the Pacific Northwest - and with affordable prices.


"Centennial Trail" Chardonnay - 2015: From the Columbia Valley there is a range of  Chardonnay vineyards with profiles ranging from bright tropical fruits to fruits from the orchard. This is a wine that resembles notes from the orchards such as those located in the middle of the state. There are luscious notes of apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, and buttery, but light brioche with a long finish. Easy to drink, especially in the summertime. I would recommend this with substantial salads, seafood, and light chicken dishes - and let's not forget the cheese and fruit platter.

McNary Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon - 2015: The McNary Vineyard is located in the Southeast corner of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, a sub AVA in the larger Columbia Valley AVA. I could be wrong, but my palate can often tell the difference between a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot from the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla AVA. Walla Walla always shows off dark cherry notes, while those from the Columbia Valley showcase dark berries. Yup, with one sip I could tell this was a red wine from the Columbia Valley region with the notes of blackberry, a hint of mocha, and spice such as cloves and nutmeg in the long finish. With a price of under $20, this is the perfect wine for casual entertaining or movie night in front of the television. Give me a good ol' American burger for this wine - then again, perhaps a piece of prime rib during the holidays. 


The Oregon Trails Wine Company is another one of the branches of the Wine Trees, LLC.  This example of pinot noir represents the fertile hills of Willamette Valley, as well as saluting the brave explorers who traveled west on the Oregon Trail during the 1830s.

OTWC Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - 2016: It's a pretty color of garnets that flows into the glass. With a deep nose in the glass, it brings aromas of cranberry, currant jelly, and freshly baked cherry pie. On the palate, there are notes of fresh raspberries and strawberries - which are so typical of the Willamette Valley. The finish leaves behind spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg - and more cherry - reminiscent of cherry jam. It's a wine perfect for fall dining, such as with pork and turkey dishes, or even roasted vegetables. 
Again, I cannot stress the affordability of these wines which are perfect for entertaining or a quiet evening for one - or two. 

(Wines sent to me by Balzac Communications and Wine Marketing). 
 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Witchy Women Sleuths Loving Washington and Oregon Wines.

Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman blog has slowed down a bit, but that's okay.  I also own another blog, Passementaries that let's me be creative and share things I enjoy beyond wine - and most of all, there is no pressure.  It's certainly not a barn burner in readers like my original W5 blog that went off the charts, but I love the freedom of Passementaries. 


Soon to be released is the Lost Restaurants of Walla Walla published by Arcadia Publishing and History Press.  This press also published my Wines of the Walla Walla Valley: A Deep-Rooted History.

And - - I took on another project. A "cozy" murder mystery series by "Catherine Wright." Witch Way to Amethyst Bay is a very different style of writing for me - it's fiction. In these crazy upside-down times, it's been a nice escape to visit the little town of "Amethyst Bay, Oregon."


So why would a wine lover want to read a fictional book about women sleuths who has a bit of power under their sleeves? Well, these women happen to love drinking wine. One of the sleuths owns a deli/grocery which has a wonderful wine selection and hangs with a wine distributor. Wine shows up at every meal and special dinners. 



Currently the book, Witch Way to Amethyst Bay? is on Kindle e-book (no problem if you don't have a Kindle, as the apps are free and easy to download on phones, tablets, and lap and desktops). Hopefully in the next five to 10 days, the book will be available in paperback. If you enjoy the read, please kindly leave me a review. Thanks ahead of time. 

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Pursued By Bear

When you receive an invitation to attend a special wine tasting with actor Kyle MacLachlan and winery owner, you pay attention. This event also happened to be close to my "Kid Sister's" birthday - so I impressed her with a birthday present to meet one of her favorite actors.

Kyle MacLachlan, known to many as his role as  Special Agent Dale Cooper in Twin PeaksPaul Atreides in the movie DuneJeffrey Beaumont in Blue Velvet Trey MacDougal in Sex and the CityOrson Hodge in Desperate Housewives the Mayor of Portland in Portlandia to name a few... as well as winning a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Series Drama


However, in Walla Walla he has another role as owner of Pursued By Bear - a winery featuring small lots of limited production of red wine and a lovely blushing rosé. Kyle grew up in Yakima, Washington, 90-miles from the Walla Walla Valley. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, he is only too familiar with the agriculture surrounding Yakima and Walla Walla. Also, this is more than just a vanity wine by some Hollywood resident, as Kyle actually gets out in the vineyards and is involved as much as possible with his winemaker, Daniel Wampfler. The winery gives him another opportunity to come home and visit family

The name of the winery is only too fitting considering it goes back to the early form of theater making reference to Shakespeare's A Winter’s Tale, in which the character Antigonus is directed to exit, "pursued by a bear."


How do I casually say, "Wine tasting with Kyle?"
Okay, so how are the wines?

Can I just be honest and not do the usual boring and predictable tasting notes? 
Oh my gawd! First off, the wines showed off their unique characters that we should expect in each variety. They were not muddied and there were no guessing games. Each grape's distinctive personality came through.

Baby Bear Syrah - 2014:  When it comes to Syrahs, I want to taste notes of "breakfast," and what do I mean by that? I want notes of dark berries, coffee, and toast - and all of those notes were there, including a bit of licorice and some "funk." How do I explain the notes of "funk?" It's funk in a good way - think lovely Old World French wine.

Pursued By Bear Cabernet Sauvignon - 2014
: I am a fan of a good Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon, and especially those with prominent notes of dark cherries, which this wine showed off. Also, I picked up
 a few hints of lavender and cassis. So how can you go wrong? Therefore, this wine didn't disappoint. The tannins were well balanced with a long finish on the palate. This is a wine that would enhance any special dinner, especially those meals served with beef, bold roasted meats, wild mushrooms, and I am thinking with sweet potatoes - actually any root vegetable.

Blushing Bear R
osé - 2017: Give me a glass of this wine without telling me where it's from and I would thank you for giving me a lovely glass of rosé from Provence. Crafted with the traditional French blend of Grenache, Mouvedre, and Cinsault. The pale pink wine was an elegant nose of rose petals, and to the palate it was crisp, with fruity notes of stone fruit, a bit of citrus, and ending with hints of rosemary. Just a luscious wine that you want to drink all summer long - besides saving a few bottles for the Thanksgiving table.

Yes, needless to say I was impressed with the wine, but also the host of the day - Kyle MacLachlan - and that he was - every bit of a welcoming host. As I stood in line waiting for an opportunity to speak with him, I couldn't help notice how personable he was, and how much time he spent with each one of his guests: to visiting with them and even helping setting their camera's to the right distance and light. It was also very Happy Birthday for my sister as she finally got to meet, "Special Agent Dale Cooper." 



Photo Credit: Seattle Times 


Monday, May 28, 2018

Merlot: the little black bird

Named after a little black bird in France, merle or merlau, it was only fitting this dark blue-colored wine grape variety the little bird enjoyed dining on would be referred to as “merlot.”

As early as 1824, the name merlot referred to the second most popular grape grown in the Bordeaux region of France - following after its cousin cabernet sauvignon - a heartier and richer grape than merlot. In Bordeaux, the Left Bank region blends cabernet sauvignon as the dominant wine joining its cousin merlot, and at the Right Bank merlot is the featured wine blend.  
            
This French grape with notes of cherries, violets, and cigar box finally arrived in California in the mid-nineteenth century where it was shown off as a single bottled varietal instead of being traditionally blended with its French cousin cabernet sauvignon.


Monday, April 30, 2018

Label her "Mom"

Humans have been creating images of mothers since men, and of course women, who crudely etched with a jagged rock on the walls of caves. Through the centuries European artists like Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Claude Monet, and Gustav Klimpt to American artists such as James Whistler to Norman Rockwell painted portraits of mothers.                                                            
Dorothea Lange’s camera lens captured the destitution in the iconic 1936 black and white photo of Florence Thompson, known as the Migrant Mother; and Annie Leibovitz shocked the public with her controversial photos of pregnant celebrities posing in the nude.
   
And of course, last but certainly not least the many renditions of the most famous mom of all, the Virgin Mary’s images discovered from the early centuries in Rome and Syria.  
   
Images of mothers continue and today are lovingly and respectfully honored on bottles of fine wine. 

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Thursday, February 01, 2018

Wine-and-chocolate pairing: Love them, love them not!

The verdict is in: Some wine lovers enjoy a bite of chocolate with a sip of red wine, and others do not. Opinions by winemakers and wine writers for loving or not loving these two luxurious “food groups” can be as contentious as ... well ... as the recent presidential election.
There are numerous articles claiming one must stop the “silliness” of pairing chocolate confections with wine, while other reviewers celebrate the union of these rich mates on the palate.
Some critics of wine-and-chocolate pairings even go as far as picking on the red-foil heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolate gooey centers, nuts and chews. (I must admit, I rather love the tacky, nostalgic heart-shaped boxes.)
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