Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Homage to #CabernetDay in Walla Walla

Yesterday was the Third Annual #CabernetDay that was celebrated all across the globe using social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Many wine lovers of this deep red grape, that was discovered during the 17th century in southern France, gathered in wine bars and shops, wineries, home parties, or even couch potatoes Twittered their love in front of the TV and take-out (Hey - Cab is a great pairing for the perfect hamburger).

The exciting thing for many of us in Walla Walla is this was our third Cabernet Day event where four of the same wineries have assembled together! Many thanks to Jaime from L'Ecole No. #41 for gathering other wild wine women from Walla Walla: Muriel from Otis Kenyon Wine, Vickie and Julie from Seven Hills Winery, and Shari from Woodward Canyon. As always, these four wineries brought in their finest Cabernet Sauvignons along with a few surprise library wines.

Special guest wines included Don Carlo Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Tero Estates Cabernet Sauvignon from Windrow Vineyards, and Renegade Wine Company Red

The big surprise of the evening was from Trey at Sleight of Hand Cellars as he brought a vertical of 2007, 2008, and 2009 Illusionist Red. In fact, the Sleight of Hand Cellars Illusionist Red - 2009 was one of the featured Cabernets listed in Wednesday's issue on CabernetDay in Forbes and of course, the wine is now sold out!

But hey - - let me quit rambling on about our Third Annual #CabernetDay and see for yourself!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What I Learned at WBC#12: Be Myself

Oh sure, many of us come for the non-stop glasses of wine from the time we pick up our name tags at the Wine Bloggers Conference registration desk until we bid farewell. Not a bad thing, especially if you are a wine blogger. However, speaking for myself, sooner or later my palate tells me to "Put the glass of wine down. It no longer tastes good."  Now this can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on one's mood.

So, what did I learn from WBC#12?  I learned a lot about the future of wine sales and trends. Or actually, the info just confirmed what I already knew. I learned a lot about the vintages of Oregon wines and their Pinot Noir clones. I learned that I need to move faster on my novella and get it printed. I learned, or more like confirmed, the importance of branding myself.  But most of all - - I learned to just be myself. 

What is "myself?"  Well first of all it is important to understand I am a Gemini, being born under the sign of the twins, I suppose I am a little bi-polar. My favorite poem goes: "Roses are red, Violets are blue. I am schizophrenic and so am I!" 

But this is me folks, take it or leave it. After spending years trying to please everyone else: being a good daughter, good wife, good active stepmother and role model, good friend ... I had to stop, take a look back, but most of all take a look ahead. Since 1998, I have been learning how to be myself. It's been the toughest journey I have ever had. These past years have brought me immense loss, overwhelming grief and painful changes that I may not show or share,  but it has also given me rewards. It's a journey that I would never change. 

In the mean time there are assholes out in the wine blogging world who want to diminish what I love to do or even diminish and make fun of wine bloggers or wine blogging as a whole. It must suck to be them. 

This year at the WBC, I received a nomination for "Best Writing" for the Wine Blogging Awards. I was overwhelmed with the nomination and also humbled when looking at some of the other finalists in the category - such as Alder Yarrow of Vineography (already a two time winner of this category - now make that a three-time winner as of last week ...) and Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon, who was also our WBC#12 keynote speaker. I knew I didn't stand a chance so I didn't even bother with any kind of an "acceptance" speech.  As soon as they announced Yarrow as the winner, a rush of relief came over to me. It was finally over and didn't have to get up and speak ... 

Later that evening as I went up to my room to change and drop some things off before I headed to the many post-dinner wine receptions. I walked out of the elevator and there were three young women waiting to get on. However, they took note of my WBC name badge and wanted to get my opinions about wine instead of getting on the elevator.  They asked me about some of my Walla Walla favorites, how I felt about Oregon Pinot Noir, - - and all of a sudden, one of the women glanced at my name badge again and said, "Wait - you're the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman. Are you thee Walla Walla Wine Woman? You know, the one that Pemco did an ad about? If so, according to Pemco, 'You're one of us ...'  I read your blog!"

"Yes, I am the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman - the Pemco parody," I said. "I have a wine blog and a little wine shop. I was here before the Pemco campaign. In fact Pemco sent me lots of t-shirts and trading cards and even the mp3 of that ad when the campaign first came out."  

The elevator door came back to the ninth floor and the door opened. My three new acquaintances said goodbye and stepped on the elevator going down. As I said goodbye and turned my back, just before the elevator door closed, I heard one of them scream and in a high pitched voice say, "Oh my gawd! I can't believe it! We just met the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman! (more collective screaming ... )"  

That incident on the ninth floor in front of the elevator meant just as much to me than any award - - and all I was doing was being myself. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies: Weekly Wine Word Wednesdays

The Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies is: Batonnage

No, you won't see a Batonnage marching in a parade ...

Batonnage is a French term. Batonnage is the process of stirring the fine lees remaining in the barrel of unfinished wine after the initial settling. This procedure is used to impart body and flavor to a wine. 

Do you remember what lees is? A reminder from an earlier  Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies: Weekly Wine Word Wednesdays

The Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies is:  #WBC12

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in social media platforms, such as in Facebook and especially Twitter. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. People use the hashtag symbol # before a relevant keyword(s) or phrase in their Tweet to categorize and searching. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows other Twitter followers using the same keyword.

In the year 2010, the hashtag #WBC10 was pretty prolific in the Walla Walla area, and especially popular with those in the wine industry.  So what does WBC mean?

The 2012 Wine Bloggers Conference (#WBC12) will take place August 17-19 in Portland, Oregon. Wine bloggers, industry bloggers, and other wine and social media professionals will gather from throughout North America and beyond to meet, learn, and share - - and this wine blogger will be there!

The wine bloggers will also use #WBC12 on social media during most of the weekend, but especially for the following WBC events: 
Friday, August 17 at 1:20pm for Live Wine Blogging – Whites & Rosé wines
Friday, August 17 at 9:30pm for  "Night of Many Bottles."
Saturday, August 18 at 4:30pm for Live Wine Blogging – Red wines. 

And who knows maybe we'll even be reporting on our prestigious keynote speakers: Randall Grahm - author, founder & winemaker of Bonny Doon Vineyard. Also, Rex Pickett, screenwriter and author of the popular wine movie, "Sideways." 

My personal wine blogging adventure will start first thing Thursday morning for a little pre-conference lunch and gathering at one of my favorite Oregon Pinot Noir producers, Stoller Estate Vineyards & Winery in Dayton, Oregon in the Willamette Valley. 

Keep an eye out for me on Twitter at: @Catie and @Walla2WineWoman

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Durante Noches de Verano Calientes: Castillo de Feliciana Wines

Hola!  Okay, forgive me for being corny ...

But there is nothing to be corny about when it comes to the wines of Castillo de Feliciana. Dr. Sam and Deborah Castillo and their family's hobby soon became a reality after they purchased 66 acres in the Walla Walla Valley and turning their hobby into a full-time dream. "Un sueno hecho en ralidad" A dream made into reality.  
Castillo de Feliciana Vineyard and Winery are located by the foothills of the Blue Mountains at the Washington/Oregon border.

Their winery design was inspired by the Southern region of Spain named, Andalucia.  This is an area where the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean meets up with the stark white buildings and terracota tile roofs of Los Pueblos Blancos. The winery is named after Deborah's aunt, Feliciana also known as "Aunt Tana."

Deborah's memories of her aunt are several, but most of all she remembers the fragrance wafting from her aunt's purse. It smelled like roses from her face powder, fruity – from the Juicy fruit gum, a little musty because it was old, a little bit of tobacco (although family says she never smoked), and of course it smelled of leather. All of these fragrances would come back to Deborah when she started to drink red wine. 

Castillo de Feliciana  produces Spanish and Latin American-style wines and most important understanding and using grapes that grow well regionally. Their current line-up of wines are: Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet-Malbec blends, Pinot Grigio, Albariño,  and a Tempranillo Rosé.

It's hot outside and I am going to concentrate on the wines that are perfect for summer sipping. "Durante noches de verano calientes" - during those hot summer evenings. 
Castillo de Feliciana Albariño - 2011: A week ago on International Albarińo Day we tasted a traditional Albarińo from Spain along with the Albarińo from the winery and while they were a bit different, Castillo de Feliciana's 100% Albarińo was a strong contender.  The nose was of lemon, peaches and apricots. More apricots came through on the palate, more citrus fruits on the mid-palate and ended with notes of pineapple and lemons. Crisp, bright and acidic. Definitely a cheese plate to be paired on the side to accent both - of course the cheese plate must include a sharp and salty Manchego from Spain. 

Castillo de Feliciana Tempranillo Rose' - 2011: Tempranillo is one of my favorite red grapes. This 100% Tempranillo rose' had an 18-hour soak on the skins to produce this sultry shade of pink.  A nose of cherry pie, fresh strawberries, and a hint of lemon jump out of the glass. The wine brings to the palate more strawberry, a hint of rhubarb, and caramel to round out the long finish. Another great summer sipper of a wine to be paired with grilled salmon, strawberry and spinach salad with a balsamic dressing, or even grilled watermelon for dessert with a touch of honey and a sprinkling of pecans.

Deborah's Aunt Tana never had her own children, but her name is dedicated for future generations of wine lovers, including her own family.  Castillo de Feliciana when translated - "Castle of Happiness."  Indeed. 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies: Weekly Wine Word Wednesdays

The Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies is: Cordon.

No, it is not a chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese ...

The cordon, or "arms", are part of the actual grapevine that extend from the trunk. From the cordon,  additional arms and eventually leaves and grape clusters will grow and extend. Cordons are usually trained along wires as part of a trellis system. This training usually fixes the cordon into a permanent position, such as horizontal extending from the trunk in opposite directions. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Cavu Cellars Barbera Rosé - 2011

Have you noticed lately I am on a rosé kick? It seems to be my theme this summer. Typically I am a red wine drinker and for me the beauty of rosés are that I get to have the taste of the red grapes that I love, but in a much lighter form - - and of course, just as pretty.  Yup, I am still drawn to the color pink.
I think that Joel Waite, winemaker/partner of Cavu Cellars, has always been on the innovative side of wine making and definitely knows what he wants. Since the 2009 vintage, Joel has been producing a barbera rosé. In the Walla Walla Valley a rosé from this Italian-rooted variety was something we did not see a lot of. 

Barbera is the third most-planted red grape in Italy with Sangiovese and Montepulciano in the forefront. It's my opinion that Barbera makes for a perfect grape to produce a rosé from due to it being low in tannins and known for its high level of acid. It's obvious that Joel must be thinking the same. 

Cavu Cellars Barbera Rosé - 2011 is an aromatic wine with notes of orange blossom and Satsuma plums (no, not Mirabelle or Damask plums, just Satsuma plums ... ). Flavors of strawberry hit the palate and later in the finish more stone fruit. The fruit sourced for this wine is from the Alder Ridge Vineyards at Horse Heaven Hills - with the hot summer days and cool evenings on the Columbia River, it brings to the wine the perfect amount of acids which make for a great food wine and of course, perfect for just relaxing and sipping.  

Chill and enjoy it now or hide it and bring it out for Thanksgiving. Just don't forget it. (and Joel only produced about 157 cases ... )

Thursday, August 02, 2012

From Rome with Love: Secco Italian Bubbles

This summer, one of the most exciting wines to hit Walla Walla is the new Secco Italian Bubbles line-up produced by the Casa sisters, Ginevra and Olivia, and our own Washington state rock star winemaker and Walla Walla homie, Charles Smith.

Growing up in Rome, Ginevra and Olivia Casa always had a love affair with Prosecco. In 2010, after the change in laws pertaining to the Prosecco production, the Casa sisters looked for an opportunity to bring their noble grapes to the states and create a new category of sparkling wine. Charles, a fellow lover of Italian bubbles and winemaker, entered the scene and together the threesome created a new sparkling wine - - Secco Italian Bubbles

This year, not only did these masters of bubbly increase their production and jazzed up the Secco label, but they also added Moscato and Manzoni Moscato to their current Secco lineup along with their Bianco and Rosé Italian Bubbles. This was also a good time, with the addition of the two moscatos, to spiff up  their labels with bold new fonts.  

Moscato Bianco is a white grape and produced into a frizzante (note: if you are not sure what a frizzante is, check out yesterday's Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies). Notes of white peaches, and exotic lychee nut and jasmine waft from the glass. 

Manzoni Moscato is also styled as a frizzante and in such a pretty rose pink color. Notes of raspberry, oranges, vanilla bean and rose petals and so easy to sip. Such a nice fragrance it makes me want to dab it behind the ears.
The vineyards are located entirely within the Colli Eugani DOC. The Secco Italian Bubbles and Frizzantes are both produced and bottled at Cantina Colli Eugane, Vo, Padova Italy - - and then brought back to the states and especially to Walla Walla.  

Secco Italian Bubbles and Secco Italian Moscatos are perfect to sip when chilled and one can also mix them as a cocktail such as in a Bellini or a Mimosa. Pair these wines starting with Italian cheeses and ending with cheese cake. 

Warning: all by themselves or mixed - these wines go down too easy. Dolce vita! 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies: Weekly Wine Word Wednesdays

The Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies is: Frizzante

They are fizzy, foamy, and frothy = frizzy = Frizzante!

Frizzantes are sparkling Italian wines with small bubbles. They offer a refreshing crisp tingle while helping to subdue the sweetness of a wine, especially with Moscato d'Asti. Frizzante wines are also considered to be slightly less effervescent than Champagne. So, if you find Champagne to be too “fizzy” for your tastes, frizzante wines may be your answer.

Frizzantes can be enjoyed like bubbles during celebratory events, summer sippers and even desserts.

Elio Perrone "Moscato d'Asti Sourgal" is a wonderful example of an imported frizzante from Italy. Also, keeping it "local" - Secco Italian Bubbles Moscato and Bubbles Manzoni Moscato Rose' are also frizzantes, produced and imported by Charles Smith of Walla Walla.
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