Friday, April 05, 2013

Friday Find, April 5th

Each Friday we highlight a wine from the Northwest that we think is a real "find". By find we might mean that it's a steal, as all of these wines we'll feature weekly are at or under $20. We might also mean, "Hey, you really need to go find this", and it might be a wine that we feel not enough people know about. In any case, with the weekend pending, we're hoping to help you "find" a wine to kickoff the weekend right. We'll tell you a little bit about the wine and try to help you track it down here in the Northwest.

Everyone loves a mystery, right?  Whether it's the butler in the bathroom with the candlestick or whatever the case may be.  A good case of whodunit can make for at the very least, fun conversation. In the wine world there are two things that come to mind when the word mystery wine is mentioned, Garagiste and then these varying mystery labels that we find lying around, at grocery franchises mainly. Whole Foods has one, Costco has one, Trader Joes pretty much only has them. These labels are often lucrative opportunities for wineries and winemakers to often sell off sub par bulk juice. By sub par, I don't mean that it's bad, perhaps its just not up to their exacting standards. Often times, and many point to Costco as examples, the wines are fantastic and offer an amazing value. I've never had the Costco stuff but this is what I've been told.

My issue with these labelings, if I have one, is the mystery behind the wine. The blend or varietal is typically labeled and honest, but where did it come from? Who made it? What were the vineyards, etc? There's not a lot of information there, and when you flip to the back page, or label, as the case may be, the story never really comes to a conclusion. Sometimes a google search will lead you somewhere, but many times, it's just further down the rabbit hole.

Today's Friday Find is one of those wines. I have to say, I was shocked at how good the wine was drinking, the 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Savoureaux. Savoureaux? Like a French thing, according to it means: adj. tasty, savory; toothsome, pithy; palatable.  Nice, toothsome. I like a toothsome wine.  A little digging on the interwebs and I found out where Savoureaux came from, more or less. Mostly less.

Cultavin Cellars, the folks who produce this wine is a distribution company that carries the wines of Solena Estate. Excellent wines made by Laurent Montalieu. Cultavin it turns out is the distribution but NW Wine Co seems to be the production company. So perhaps the wine comes from the Hyland Vineyards? Who knows? Thus the mystery. They do custom crush there as well as some brand packaging, like this wine I suppose. It's a nice wine, but for consumers who want to know more, perhaps it's more confounding than anything. Certainly, when you think of the importance of site for Pinot Noir, this wine does nothing to keep that concept intact.  For me, I wouldn't typically buy a wine like this, too much is unknown, but someone brought one to my house and frankly, the 2011 Pinot Noir from Toothsome, er, rather Savoureaux is out of sight.

Today's Friday Find is a bit of a corporate one, as I believe these Toothsome labels, I mean, Savoureaux were done for Metropolitan Market. This wine is the entry level, there is also a reserve bottling. The 2011 is super fresh with brambleberry fruit, great acidity and tons of minerality which I don't typically expect to find in a wine in the $14 ballpark. But hell, buy it if you like it, because it's a great house wine for everyday drinking.


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