Arts and Crafts Were Never This Fun

Sparkle and Fade

A Cabernet Experience

Exploring Terroir with Forgeron Cellars

Oregon's French Connection

Maison Louis Jadot's Résonance

The French Connection

Rhone to Columbia Valley: The Syrah Doctrine

C'mon Get Happy

New Growth at Matthews Winery

Who We Are

The staff of the Northwest Wine Anthem, we're good

Friday, November 29, 2013

"Black Friday" Find November 29th

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.

Black Friday, the term strikes fear in the hearts of men... women too. At least the sane ones. What is probably one of the most obscene "holidays" on the human calendar. The idea behind "Black Friday" is that it is the first day of the calendar year when retailers actually go into the "black" or make a profit for the year. Which, if you think about that, even using the fiscal year calendar, it's sorta depressing. If the fiscal year starts in July we're looking at damn near December for retailers to get out of the red? That's almost half the year. You can do math.

What further makes Black Friday confounding is how much you just spent on dinner the night before. I mean, turkey, and all the fixings, that isn't cheap, so going out the next day and willfully looking to throw some more loot around is not a state of mind I can necessarily relate to, although wine shops don't typically have crazy blow out deals either. 

Over the past several years there have been news stories of people perpetrating acts of violence against one another. People have been shot and pepper sprayed and in probably the most famous case, trampled to death, and here's the kicker, not so people could get something for free. So they could "get a deal on it."  Insane by definition. You're going to kill someone so you can pay for something? That does not compute. Robbery I can at least try to understand.

This Black Friday, why don't you eschew that flagrant consumerism and instead stay home, maybe do some work around the house or go and get a work out in, or you can jump into Fall Barrel Tasting Weekend over in Lake Chelan's wine country. Do a little shopping, wine tasting and dining at a leisurely place in one of Washington's most beautiful spots. This weekend they've got 17 different wineries pouring barrel samples as well as offering those crazy deals that could get you stampeded in some WalMart in middle America. Our Friday Find is from Lake Chelan's Vin Du Lac. Their 2011 Sauvignon Blanc cally Savvy! can be located at both Esquin, as well as the Ballard Fred Meyer at ridiculous prices, like $7, normally around $15. Perhaps this is a function of wanting to clear out the 2011s before the 2012s hit shelves? In any case, buy a case, this is a great seafood wine, with loads of green apple, key lime and wet stone.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Undiscovered in Lake Chelan... Ventimiglia Cellars

from Lucha Vino:

Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Tour…

The majority of the wineries and vineyards in the Lake Chelan AVA ring the shores of Lake Chelan.  The views are stunning and the wineries are all just a short drive from one to the next.

Step right this way.

If you are willing to take a journey off the beaten path, a bit of a Mystery Tour, you are in for a treat.  Ventimiglia Cellars is just East of downtown Chelan, located half way between Lake Chelan and the Columbia river.  The small, unassuming, building is hiding in plain site behind several large fruit packing plants.  Don’t be intimidated, the place is actually easy to find.  When you roll up in front of the building you will be greeted in a most friendly way by Ron Ventimiglia, owner and winemaker.

That’s an invitation.

I visited with Ron on a recent summer day.  The sun was shining and the stories were flowing.  Ron is an engaging host.  As I was wondering to myself “Why do winemakers make some of the best story tellers?” Ron hit me with this gem – “There are not many businesses that let your personality show through.”  How true.  Ron’s enthusiasm and hospitality were evident as he walked me through his lineup, told stories of the history of wine and vineyards in the Lake Chelan AVA and showed off the content of his barrel room.

The Mystery Tour is waiting to take you away.  Every day is barrel tasting day at Ventimiglia Cellars. 

Ron showed me through the variety of wines in barrel.  Each one had its own unique story and Ron was happy to tell them.  The tasting room was buzzing with people so Ron was busy popping back and forth to make sure each of his guests received the attention they deserved.  Each visitor was treated like a family member returning for a long awaited visit.

As we toured through the barrels Ron shared more stories about the history of Ventimiglia and his plans for the future. 

On the history side of the ledger Ron shares that he has been making wine for nearly two decades.  He admits he is still learning how to hit the right level of production to match his supply with demand.  For example, Ron still has a considerable amount of his 2006 Amalgamarsi, a Bordeaux inspired blend, available due to some over exuberance.  The blend is predominantly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with some Cabernet Franc, Malbec and a splash of Petit Verdot.  It is robust with notes of dark cherry, currants, toffee and clove spices.

On the future side of the ledger, Ron tells me about the estate vineyard he is planning for the property just to the South of his tasting room.  The vineyard will be home to grapes that will be used primarily for blending. 

I hope that Ron pays closer attention to what he is doing than the folks at the vineyard just to the North of the Chelan airfield.  The owners lost their vineyard map!  Ron makes an Airfield Blend that includes Tempranillo, Dolcetto, Refosco and Grenache.  Talk about a mystery, without the map nobody knows what the percentages are!  The 2012 has a slightly smoky character that is the result of the wild fires that raged in the Chelan area prior to the harvest.  This wine shows light red fruit, white pepper and some earthy spices backed up with some nice acidity.

The NV Pinot Noir was one of my favorite wines of the day.  This Pinot started as two barrels of 2005 vintage.  When Ron ran out of 2005 Pinot for topping off the barrels he started using 2006, then 2007.  When the wine was ready for bottling Ron realized he had added about 7% of the other vintages.  The percentages required the wine to be labeled as Non-Vintage!  No need to worry.  This Pinot Noir shows some nice character of medium red berries and earthy all spice concluding with a dry finish that features notes of cedar spices.

Ron is on a journey, perhaps a bit of a Mystery Tour.  He has about 6 wines in his current lineup and another 6 resting in barrel.  He is working, experimenting and producing some very interesting wines. 

If you go visit Ron you will be greeted like a long lost friend and treated to a Mystery Tour that will stimulate your senses. Every day is a barrel tasting adventure at Ventimiglia Cellars.  Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Tour.  Ron is waiting to take you away on a mystery trip.  Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

Thanksgiving Weekend marks the Fall Barrel Tasting in Lake Chelan and it's a great time to chat with the winemakers about what they think of this year's harvest. It's also another gorgeous time to go to Lake Chelan.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Three for Thanksgiving: Northwest Wines for Turkey Time

Thanksgiving. There's a fair bit of historical confusion and some emotional arguments around the "depiction" of Thanksgiving in American lore. The meal which has become to be known as the First Thanksgiving in America is one that took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. Just a re-cap, there were 102 original "Pilgrims" and 46 of them died that first harsh winter. The following year's harvest was a strong one and so they decided on a "Thanksgiving" feast over three days that included them inviting 90 members of the Wampanoag Indians without whom they surely would have all died. The feast included venison, duck, geese, lobsters, clams, bass and corn, much of which was provided by the Wampanoag. There is debate if a turkey even made it to the table. The craziest thing about this 3 day feast was that it was all prepared by 4 women settlers and 2 teenage girls. 

Hopefully whomever is cooking your meal has something a bit more reasonable planned. Play the role of gracious dinner guest and come correct with three Northwest wines that are superbly suited for Thanksgiving. The trick to being the savvy wine steward at your Holiday feast is to offer up wines that are going to stand up to the food that your host is dishing out. Thanksgiving means turkey, sauces, gravy, the works, and so to cut through that and standout you're going to want to bring some wines that pack some nice acidity as well as offer a variety given the various courses and inevitably the different palates that'll be around the table.

To get things started something white or pink is nice, and bubbles will always do the trick. We're going with the 2012 Waitsburg Cellars Cheninieres a 100% Chenin Blanc from the Snipes Mountain AVA. Chenin Blanc is unfortunately too rare here in Washington and this is the best one I've ever had. This wine is really aromatically captivating and comes off as a Savennieres, it's namesake, with lots of wet stone, alongside notes of citrus and a real complexity that wouldn't necessarily have me thinking this was from Washington or anywhere outside of France. Seems like all the new world Chenin I've ever had has emphasized fuller fruit, this is all about the magic of minerality. The palate continues that depth with notes of honey, lime and wet slate. Maybe the best white wine from Washington right now? Could be. Also, it's $17.

For the main course(s) we're going with two reds. First let me say that Pinot Noir is always a great choice with food, Thanksgiving is no exception and we've got a Pinot/Gamay Noir blend from Bow & Arrow Wine Company called Rhinestones. Gamay Noir is an under appreciated wine grape most known for it's central role in Beaujolais. The Portland wine producers Bow & Arrow are partial to the varietal as they do this blend and a 100% Gamay as well. Gamay might be likened to Pinot Noir's less elegant, more straight forward cousin. Where Pinot might lure you in with it's minerality and elegance, Gamay offers straight forward fruit and acid. With this wine what you get is a blast of bright fruit aromatics and brilliant acidity that will cut throw Grandma's gravy and offer a lip smacking tang of sour cherry and under-ripe blueberries. $23

There's plenty of food, so we need another wine to bring us home. The 2011 Justine from Avennia in Washington's Woodinville is going to show your host you don't mess around. This wine is a Southern Rhone style blend, Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah in that order. This is an impressive wine, very impressive. Aromatics of sage, black plum, dried violets and stone unravel into an equally compelling flavor profile that features layers of fennel, black olive, plums and more of that stone. Where the Rhinestones acidity danced and played on the palate the Justine is contemplative and a touch stoic, like some a brooding intellectual. The Justine shows the real character that Washington fruit has when handled lightly and not drowned out by oak or extraction, Avennia calls it a focus on "purity of fruit." Your fellow dinner guests might just say "holy hell man." $38

Your work is done, so now, enjoy the spoils. Undo your belt, even the top button if need be and slip off into that tryptophan dreamland you've so earned. Let someone else handle the dishes, you handled the wine and did so with aplomb. (All of these wines are available in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood at picnic: a food & wine boutique. Bow & Arrow also has a Portland location at the Bindery.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Find, November 15th

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.

I grew up listening to hip-hop more than any other form of music. The genre itself is in one that has almost always been burdened with mythos and bravado. From it's origins as party rocking music that allowed emcees to "feature" themselves or play up various personal traits or downplaying or dissing someone else's. The genre evolved heavily in the 90s and included the development of the very popular gangsta rap. Whether it was West Coast groups like N.W.A. or the burgeoning drug-dealer turned rapper icons of Notorious BIG or Jay Z in New York. When the 1996 album Stakes is High from De La Soul dropped, it marked a substantial shift in the groups aesthetic from the keeping it like to keep it real, but really real. The song Stakes is High and the very clever video looked to strip away all the bravado and call it out for what it was, as well as acknowledge that at the end of the day, these guys were all just trying to make a living.

De La Soul "Stakes is high" from Kamp Kennedy on Vimeo.

So instead of buying into all the bravado De La Soul lays themselves bare as well as the industry:
"I'm sick of bitches shakin' asses
I'm sick of talkin' about blunts
Sick of Versace glasses
Sick of slang
Sick of half-ass awards shows
Sick of name brand clothes
Sick of R&B bitches over bullshit tracks
Cocaine and crack
Which brings sickness to blacks
Sick of swoll' head rappers
With their sickenin' raps
Clappers of gats
Makin' the whole sick world collapse
The facts are gettin' sick
Even sicker perhaps"

The video is even more refreshing with shots of the guys doing laundry, washing their dishes and raking up leaves. You know, normal life stuff. If you're shouting about keeping it real but you're just feeding us a line of b.s about how tough you are, how many gold plated trinkets you own or how many women are falling all over you, not so much keeping it real.

Today's Friday Find is about keeping it real too, and it's a bit of a surprise in terms of where it's coming from. The House Wine brand is known for making a plethora of red and white wines that are largely drinkable, fairly predictable and safe. Typically the red wines are fairly oaky and velveteen, well priced and they could be a great way to introduce non-wine drinkers to wine, that is to say, these are totally fine. That's what makes the 2011 Mountain Merlot such a shocker. From what I can glean it's a Merlot done in steel. Imagine real Merlot, which usually get's worked over by a fair amount of oak allowed to be itself, to "keep it real." That's refreshing and frankly this wine is refreshing. It's crazy bright with aromatics of fresh blueberries, bright raspberry and maybe a bit of rhubarb. The wine retails at around $9.99 it's loaded up with fresh fruit and great acid. Break out the burgers for this one. House Wine is widely available so you'll wanna look out for this particular wine, it's unique among their offerings.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Oddities & Curiosities: Unique Northwest Wines

Over the years we have come to identify particular wine varieties not just with regions but with wine itself. You know, wine, like Merlot, or Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. That's wine. Oh sure, there are outliers or wine varietals some would even call boundary pushing, like Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, etc. But for many wine drinkers, we play it safe and keep it simple. There are, according to some estimates, as many as 1,300 varieties of wine grape used for commercial winemaking. So why the narrow focus? My theory is that our wine based tunnel vision is really a product of three things, the practical, the traditional and the comfortable.

As a young wine region America has looked to emulate the success of Europe's most renowned wine regions. Those regions, Bordeaux and Burgundy have been the benchmark and so it should be no surprise that American wines have been largely comprised of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc of Bordeaux fame, along with the Burgundian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Naturally these are the wines that many people become most comfortable with, its what they're familiar with, it's what they see most often and get used to. There's nothing wrong with being comfortable. However, wine offers such an abundance of opportunity to try different things, 1,300 of them remember. So what I'm encouraging you to do is, don't be so mainstream. Maybe be a little bit deviant.

There is plenty of opportunity for deviance here in the Northwest, I'm talking about wine now, so take your mind out of the gutter. I mean like deviate from the norm. Merlot, sure we've got that, Pinot too. We've also got Rousanne, Gamay Noir, Grenache Blanc and Tempranillo, or these two wines, a Graciano from Washington state and a Tannat from Southern Oregon.

The Tannat being made by Troon Vineyard is very much about getting away from a bit of the mainstream and "to look for inspiration in regions that might be similar to our own" says winemaker Herb Quady. "We knew that Malbec was successful locally, and that Tannat was grown and blended with Malbec in Cahors." Traditionally Tannat has been most identified with the French growing region Madiran and it has become very popular in Uruguay. The folks at Troon though figured that if the Malbec was being grown in Southern Oregon was doing well, perhaps taking a look at other wines that did well in areas where Malbec was successful was the way to go. This led them to make that connection to Cahors and give Tannat a go beginning by grafting some over in 2006. Given the reception and how well the wine has turned out, you can look for it to become a central part of the wines Troon is making moving forward.
Is it challenging to be one of the only people making a certain wine in any given region?  For Herb "the challenge, it seems, is that Tannat sets a large crop and ripens late.  We often drop half the crop and almost always pick it last.  We haven't seen the seriously tannic profile on Tannat." Herb takes more or less the approach he takes with Cabernet Sauvignon, fermenting the wine in oak as well as the use of new French barrels for aging. He was also able to gain a bit of experience with the wine when he worked with Randall Graham at Bonny Doon, so not being a total stranger helped.

Javier Alfonso is probably most known for his label Pomum Cellars but his side project Idilico is rapidly becoming very popular with a focus on his native Spanish varieties at the under $20 price-point.  Graciano is almost exclusively used to be blended with Tempranillo to make the signature wines of Spain's Rioja region. Graciano adds both color and acidity. Javier started corresponding with one Spanish producer who was bottling varietal Graciano. "In our correspondence we realized that heat units in Rioja and in most vintages, fall too short to properly ripen it. However the deficit is marginal and perhaps a place that could provide that little extra heat would make Graciano express its full potential." 

Javier worked with the Newhouse family of Upland Vineyards one of Washington's most revered grape growers and they agreed to plant two acres of this obscure Spanish wine. Reception has been incredible for the 2010 bottling. It was named one of the best new wines by Seattle Met Magazine and it's on the glass pour list at Canlis and the Herb Farm. The small and only planting means it will probably be some time before Javier can up the production from the tiny 170 cases. Javier thinks Graciano will be a wine that Washington may come to embrace.

2011 Troon Vineyard Estate Tannat Applegate Valley is pretty revealing. If I'm being honest, it turned my Tannat expectations on their head. Rather than face-sucking tannin or nearly zero aromatics this is a ripe, ready, almost voluptuous wine. I had to check again on that 13% alcohol marked on the label. This is a nicely balanced, well made wine. There is tannin, don't get me wrong, but the wine is totally approachable. The structure is definitive, the palate is grippy and loaded up with chewy black fruit. There are aromatics of sage, mocha and iron which are still a tad on the shy side. Despite it's readiness it should be really something in a couple of years. Right now the production is tiny at 48 cases but Troon plans to grow and produce more Tannat in the future $28

2010 Idilico Graciano I totally love this wine, let me rephrase that, and excuse the language, I would drink the shit out of this wine. First off, it's priced at around $18-20. It drinks like something from the wild and unruly Roussillon region of France and frankly it only improves over the course of the evening. Dark and inky purple with wild herbal aromatics, it's got a bit of everything. The wine is strikingly balanced, juicy dark fruits, garrigue and a little zip at the end. Let's be honest you wanna try this wine because it's cool as hell. It's called Graciano, it rhymes with Rocky Marciano and it's a wine that  none of your friends has likely ever had before. Shock them. Not only is it obscure, it's really, really, really good. $20

Friday, November 08, 2013

Friday Find, November 8th

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.

Wine in it's essence was created to be drunk with food. Not so you'd be drunk, but rather to be consumed. Wine comes from cultures where food is considered part of a national or regional identity and over time, wine has come to be  wrapped up in that experience. It compliments or completes a meal. Wine certainly can be appreciated on it's own, without food, but at the end of the day, wine is in many ways, food itself. 

wine doesn't pair with football, this is dumb.
You know what wine isn't? Wine isn't made to pair with "Monday Night Football" or "post Zumba" or Halloween. However there is no end to the kinds of insanity you'll see in various online wine publications or "personalities." I was actually asked the other day via Twitter, "Hey @clivity what wine pairs with Monday Night Football?" My response, what's for dinner? There is no football wine. Because a wine has a "spooky" label that doesn't make it a Halloween wine, if you're going to talk Halloween wine, do it properly, pair it with what you eat on Halloween. My man Jameson Fink did that very thing for Serious Eats. These are wines without "spooky" labels and cheesy marketing that you can totally drink with sweet desserts or candy, check that out here.

Today's Friday Find is a wine made for food pairing, the Pescaia from Facelli Winery in Woodinville. Facelli is probably one of the least talked about wineries in Woodinville and point of fact, that's a damn shame. They make really nice wines, and represent a small family operation that has been at it for a long time. Their Pescaia is a fantastic NV, or Non-vintage blend at the $20 price point. That is to say, the wines that are blended to make it are done so across varying vintages. This can often lead to some really fantastic wine at a very low price. 

This wine falls into that category. The blend of Barbera, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese balances great food friendly acids along with a mix of red and dark fruit for a really great food wine. It will stand up to hearty sauces, but also do well with some grilled fish. I'm thinking cioppino is calling this wine's name. You get ample bright fruits from the Barbera, red currant and cranberry as well as some nice cedar and dark plum courtesy of the Cabernet to balance the wine out. Bring this wine as a dinner guest and you're going to make a lot of people happy.

As for where you can find it, the good people at Bin 41 in West Seattle carry it and I encourage you to go by Facelli out in Woodinville and try their other wines. I've long been a fan of their Merlot. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Along Idaho's Snake River Valley: Coiled Wines

From Chip McLaughlin

I've recently relocated back to Boise after seven years away and I was excited to see how things had changed in the local wine industry. The first place that I discovered was a little wine co-op called the 44th Street Wineries Cooperative. Within the walls of this old warehouse reside three of Idaho’s newest and most exciting wineries: Coiled, Telaya and Cinder.

I know two of the tenants of the 44th Street Wineries Cooperative as a good friend of mine used to be the assistant winemaker at Cinder and I had met the proprietor of Telaya about a year and a half ago at a wine event in Seattle, so I was definitely excited to catch up with them, and see what the deal was with Coiled.  As a graphic design artist, their labels immediately caught my attention.  To understand the snake’s scales design that adorns their bottles, maybe a little history lesson is in order.

Coiled is the most recent venture by winemaker Leslie Preston, named after the Snake River, which twists, turns and coils through the southwestern valley of Idaho.  Preston is a Boise native that first discovered a love for wine when she was studying abroad in France, and it was there that she began to experience the true joy that is food and wine pairings.  Leslie realized that French literature and academia wasn't her true calling while teaching French at UC Davis where she had several students that were enrolled in the oenology and viticulture program.  After a few more years in academia, Preston left UC Davis with her M.S. in oenology. Upon graduation Leslie worked for Clos Du Bois in Sonoma, and Saintsbury in Carneros before landing her dream job at Napa Valley staple, Stags’ Leap Winery as their oenologist with oversight of the white wine program.

It was at Stags’ Leap that Leslie was able to refine her skills in winemaking, though she never forgot about her Idaho roots.  During a Rhone Rangers tasting in San Francisco, Leslie had the opportunity to try what was then the most recent releases from Sawtooth Winery, as they were pouring just a few tables down from her.  She was really intrigued and impressed by the unique quality of the wines and above all else, the idea of wines expressing an Idaho terroir.  During one of her next visits back home, she met up with Sawtooth’s founder, Charles Pintler, to talk more about the resurgence of the Idaho wine industry and she also negotiated for some Syrah from Pintler’s estate vineyard, which she then took back with her to Napa for production.

This was in 2006, and for six years, after leaving Stags’ Leap to spend more time with her new family, Preston would commute back and forth between California and Idaho, shuttling grapes all due to her excitement for Idaho’s potential to make truly unique, terroir driven wines.  In 2012, after months of conversation and deliberation, Preston, her husband and their children made the move Boise.

Right now, Coiled offers three wines in their lineup: a dry Riesling and two proprietary red blends called Sidewinder and Black Mamba.  I swear that Leslie and I are kindred spirits as we both have an extensive love for Riesling.  Preston is spearheading a revolution in America, preaching the gospel of Riesling, so it’s no surprise that her 2012 Dry Riesling is stunning.  The glass is filled with every stone fruit known to man with rich minerality, fresh orange zest, blood oranges balanced with screaming acidity and a hint of residual sugar.  Viva la Riesling Revolution, baby! $17

Coiled’s 2010 Sidewinder is a blend of 96% Syrah and 4% Petite Sirah.  I expected a big and bold northwest Syrah with a boat load of blue fruits, but had to double check the blend after I first stuck my nose in the glass to find bright red fruits intertwined with mesquite notes, dried tobacco and white and pink peppercorn.  The Sidewinder is a super velvety Syrah that is medium bodied with more mesquite notes, cranberries, bing cherries and fresh white pepper. $25

The 2011 Black Mamba was probably the biggest and best surprise of the day.  It was no surprise that someone with Preston’s background could make a stunning Riesling, but I had no idea that Idaho had begun to embrace varietals like Tempranillo, Mourvedre and Barbera.  The Black Mamba is comprised of 67% Tempranillo and 33% Syrah and man is it great!  The nose is big and bold with mountain fruits, dark cocoa, black licorice and some earthy spice while the palate is full of brighter fruits like cranberries, red currants, super soft, velvety tannins and hints of white chocolate and baking spice. $28

If Coiled is just the beginning of the next generation for Idaho wines, we are all in for quite the treat!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Friday Find, November 1st

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.

Somewhere in between Neil Diamond's September Morn and Guns & Roses' November Rain lies the month of October. It's gone now, today being November 1st, but it appears it doesn't receive an awful lot of fanfare. Makes me sad really because it's the month my birthday is within, and frankly, there are a lot of great things that happen in October. Right?

Maybe not.

I mean, Oktoberfest in Germany, it doesn't even happen in October. I mean, it ends in October, but what the hell it's mostly in September. Explain that one. U2 called one of their most important albums October, but no songs about it. Seems like a cop out. Why the disrespect for this great month? Why couldn't October morn have been the time when Neil Diamond and that woman from the song danced until the night became a brand new day, two lovers playing scenes from some romantic play, couldn't October morning still have made him feel that way? And if not, why not? 

I know that it's hard to hold a candle, in the cold November rain but do you think it's much easier in October, Axl Rose? I don't think that it is. Someone, somewhere, show October some love.  Today's Friday Find may not help matters because it is afterall November 1st. But this wine would have been a good one to kick off last weekend too. The 2012 Three Rivers Red from Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla is a real kitchen sink blend, with Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and a little Lemberger.

The wine is easy drinking and shows a bit of dusty and baked cherries given it's time in oak. That oak treatment was mostly neutral and the prominent presence of brighter varieties like Sangiovese (1/3 of the blend) as well as Syrah and Lemberger we have a wine that isn't overtly oaky or velveteen so the fruit really is highlighted. Aromatics of cola and berry and flavors of strawberries and red plums. A nice wine at the $20 price-point to lead us into November, despite whatever kind of slight that might mean to October.