Friday, April 22, 2011

Basel Cellars: The Earth Series Volume Two - 2008

In 2007 the families of Basel Cellars introduced a new label, The Earth Series Volume One. It was a blend of Merlot, Carmenere, Malbec and Petit Verdot. To celebrate Earth Day today, it is very fitting to give a mention to their new release of The Earth Series Volume Two - 2008.

Today is a reminder how our human contaminants are introduced into the environment everyday causing instability, harm and discomfort to our Earth. Basel Cellars have been making steps forward in protecting the planet by recycling all bottles on their premises, including utilizing all recycled shipping and packing supplies. Most importantly, as of 2009 the estate vineyards of Basel Cellars became completely sustainable.

Some of the proceeds from Basel Cellars Earth Series wines will be donated to organizations that share their philosophy of healthy communities, as well as protecting our farmlands, forests and our shorelines for today and for our future generations.

The Earth Series Volume Two - 2008 is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Malbec. It's a wine with robust aromas of moist earth, smoke and cherries. Flavors of berries, cherries and milk chocolate leave a silky mouth feel. It's complex making you want to sip and savor every drop. Definitely a wine to be enjoyed with various foods - from appetizers to a dessert of chocolate. This red blend is rich in flavor, but it won't put a dent in the pocketbook at $18 a bottle. Definitely a wine that would make Mother Earth proud.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Feast Walla Walla 2011

This is always a great venue and the magic happens on First Avenue downtown Walla Walla at Main Street. The gigantic white tent begins to take shape Friday evening and by Saturday morning, it can pack up to 600 people and several food and wine purveyors. The excitement begins at the tent entrance when guests receive an etched wine glass commemorating the event, a souvenir plate to hold the "feast" from local food vendors and 10 tokens to be used towards food and wine. Art is on view, as well as live music in the background. Once inside the tent, with chandeliers hanging from the top, you tend to forget that you are in the middle of a street as you discover the smells and sights awaiting you for the afternoon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Uptown with Charles Smith Wines

It may have been a special weekend for the ever-popular, yet elusive "Rhone-style" Walla Walla wine located near the WA/OR border. However, it was also a very special weekend for a winemaker who is somewhat elusive in person, but you can be sure he'll greet you on billboards as you enter and leave the Walla Walla Valley with his likeness in black and white profiling his signature locks while looming over traffic.

It was a treat for me, as well as for many wine lovers to enter the new uptown Walla Walla tasting room on Spokane Street and not only see the "man" himself generously pouring his wines and visiting with his guests as if they were long-time friends, but it was also a delight to visit with the "Mrs." - the ever-so-charming Ginevra Casa Smith. I became acquainted with Ginevra last year and I always look forward to seeing her.

I tasted through the "Kung Fu Girl" Riesling, "Eve" Chardonnay, "The Velvet Devil" Merlot, "Boom Boom" Syrah and "Chateau Smith" Cabernet Sauvignon. The line-up of wines were generous in flavors and affordable in prices. The aromatic "Kung Fu Girl" Riesling and a spicy Kung Pao chicken are going to be match-worthy. The "Eve" Chardonnay is going to be on my porch this summer. It's like taking a bite of a juicy Delicious apple. I really took to "The Velvet Devil" Merlot. It was pure velvet on the tongue with it's dark cherry and milk chocolate mouth feel - - SMOOTH.

The building that holds the wines of FOOD & WINE Magazine’s 2009 WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR is not new, by no means. Instead of constructing a new building, Charles chose to invest in the city by investing in an old building. He transformed a former 5,000-square-foot garage into a airy and contemporary tasting room and offices, while keeping the integrity of the old vintage design and materials. Not only will the room; with the brick walls, high rafters and skylights; serve as a tasting room, but everything in the room is almost mobile. The broad wooden tasting room bar is complete with wheels so it can be transported to another space when Charles hosts special events. But don't let me go on and on about this great addition to Walla Walla's uptown, see for yourself.
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