Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Seeker: Seattle Area Winemakers Find a Home in Manson, Washington

from our favorite rock n roll luchador, Lucha Vino:

"They call me The Seeker

I’ve been searchin’ low and high..."

You could easily call Angela from Wine Girl Wines and Charlie from Cairdeas “The Seeker.”  Both started following their wine making passion in Seattle eventually finding their ways to Manson, Washington.  If you are not familiar with Manson you can find it on the North shore of Lake Chelan.

Manson may be smaller than its neighbor Chelan, but that isn’t stopping the winemakers in this beautiful part of our state from turning out some powerful wines.  Imagine capturing, in a wine bottle, the magic unleashed by Pete Townsend when he winds up with that famous windmill guitar strum.  Now you have a good idea of what you will find when you visit The Blending Room, home of Wine Girl Wines, or Cairdeas just a bit further down the road.

"I asked Bobby Dylan..."

So what exactly inspired Angela and Charlie to end their search in Manson?

Both knew that they wanted to be in “wine country" and both felt a similar inspiration to seek a place smaller than Walla Walla, or Woodinville.

Angela started making wine in Seattle and had been eyeing the Chelan area for about 11 years before taking the plunge and moving to Manson.  One of the original draws for Angela was the possibilities for Pinot Noir in the region.  She thinks other vareties will take the lead now.  Perhaps Cabernet Sauvignon or Franc.

Angela sees potential for growth in the Chelan AVA and likes the fact that there are fewer wineries in the area.  Another appealing aspect is most of the wineries are family operations with great passion and camaraderie throughout the area.

Charlie also began his winemaking endeavors in Seattle, initially making wines in his garage for himself before going “pro.”  Charlie’s wife Lacey was helping to open a new Condo in Lake Chelan and through coming over and hanging out Charlie discovered a love for the Lake Chelan area.  During his visits he got to know the people at Tildio and Nefarious and saw how much passion they had for wine making and the family aspect of their businesses.  As I learned, family is very important to Charlie.

"I asked the Beatles..."

So how did you get into wine making anyway?

Angela worked in the Seattle restaurant industry while attending the University of Washington and studying Chemistry.  She found that she wanted to pursue something that combined art with science and felt like wine really filled that niche for her.  Angela’s original wine label was Fira, named after the capital of the Greek island Santorini.

Since that original start Angela has expanded and makes wines under the label My Derby Wife and Kamari.  The My Derby Wife Wines are all single varietals while the Kamari wines are all organic and sustainably made.  Kamari is another Greek reference, a black sand beach found on the island of Santorini
Charlie started making wine as a personal adventure.  His wife saw Charlie’s passion for winemaking and gave him the push he needed to explore making wine for the rest of us with the simple question: “You really love making wine.  Why don’t you start a winery?”  Charlie’s first vintage was 2008 when he made two barrels of wine.  He started slowly, wanting to make sure that people would like his wine.  He really didn’t have anything to worry about.  He had to close his Harbor Avenue tasting room on Alki in 2011 when he sold all his inventory.  Fast forward and Charlie plans to make between 1,000 and 1,200 cases of wine for 2012.  That is some serious growth!

"I asked Timothy Leary..."

The next best thing to Lucha Libre is Roller Derby.  So, I asked Angela to tell me about My Derby Wife wines.  Angela spent four years skating with the Rat City Roller Girls (yeah baby!).  During that time she started making the My Derby Wife wines naming the wines after her fellow Rat City Roller Girls personalities.  For example, her spicy Malbec was named for “Sarah Problem.”  The 2009 Merlot is “Scarlet Leather” and 2007 Merlot is “Killer Bee-Otch.”

What was the inspiration for the Cairdeas name for Charlie’s winery?  Pronounced “car-des”, Cairdeas is a Gaelic word that translates to friendship, goodwill or aliance.  All three are important to Charlie which also includes the love of family.  His Nellie Mae (60% Viognier and 40% Rousanne) is named after his Grandmother.  She was curious about winemaking and ended up helping with the crush for this wine.  Likewise, Charlie’s son, Eugene is named after his Grandfathers.

"He couldn’t help me either..."

Tell me again, why did you move to Manson?

You can see for miles.

"They call me The Seeker, I’ve been searching low and high...."

Both wineries have release parties coming up.  If you have been seeking a change of pace this is your chance to get over to Manson and get to get what you’re after.  Do it now, do it before the day you die!

Cairdeas Tri Gailic for three this is a Non Vintage wine made from grapes from three vintages and three vineyards.  It is a blend of Syrah and Dolcetto with notes of cherry, clove spices, earthy licorice and light chocolate with nice tart spicy finish that includes a hint of pepper.

Kamari Cabernet Franc 2010 I’m a sucker for Cab Franc and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Dark fruit, green pepper and herbal notes including light pepper and licorice that trail on to a dry tart spicy cracked pepper finish.

Cairdeas Release Party August 18th 2 - 7 PM.

Wine Girl Release Party on August 11 celebrated the release of their latest Cab Franc.


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