Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Straight from the Barrel in Lake Chelan

from Marty Sparks 

Lake Chelan’s Spring Barrel Tasting Weekend is coming up on May 21st and 22nd.   This event provides a great opportunity to get a sneak peak at upcoming releases, meet the area’s winemakers and escape to the East side of Washington state for some glorious Spring time weather.
The Lake Chelan AVA has been growing in acclaim, and number of wineries, since being recognized as an AVA in 2009.   The area has been known as a family vacation destination for many generations.  Our current generation is seeing the region gaining notoriety for their wineries.  As of 2016, Lake Chelan is home to 25 wineries.  Many have estate vineyards where the winemakers oversee the entire winemaking process from tending the vineyard to bottling the wine that winds up on your table.  
The Spring Barrel Tasting weekend is a great opportunity to discover the wines from the wineries that surround Lake Chelan.  The majority of the wineries have something special planned for the weekend.
Here are three wineries to visit:
South Shore – Fielding Hills
Fielding Hills has been making wine made from grapes grown on their Wahluke Slope estate vineyard since 2000.  They are a relative new comer to the Lake Chelan area with a gorgeous tasting room that opened on the South Shore of the lake in September of 2014.   The views from the tasting room and the wines are both fabulous.  
The Fielding Hills 2010 Wahluke Slope Syrah is dark, lush and full bodied with notes of dark blue fruit, dusty cracked pepper and cocoa powder that all come together in a well integrated tannin and barrel spice driven finish.
North Shore - Cairdeas
Charlie Lybecker started making wine in his West Seattle Garage.  He moved to Lake Chelan about 4 years ago and has settled into his current location on the North Shore of the lake just off highway 150.  He is making some excellent Southern Rhone style red and white wines.
The Cairdeas 2013 Nellie Mae is a blend of Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Rousanne and Picpoul.  The nose shows great minerality with notes of white flowers, honey dew melon and lemon zest with a palate featuring similar flavors along with some smoky herbal notes backed with a mean streak of acidity.
Manson – Hard Row to Hoe
Judy and Don Phelps are the Wine Maker and Vineyard manager, respectfully, at Hard Row to Hoe.  They combine serious wine making with local history that has a slightly naughty twist.  You will have to visit their vineyard and tasting room in Manson to hear the story and see some mementoes of the area’s ribald history.
The Hard Row to How 2012 Burning Desire Cabernet Franc has a nose featuring dark berries, dried herbs and flower petals with a palate of dried dark fruit, white pepper and funky herbal notes that are followed by a pencil lead and tannin spice fueled finish.

Make a plan to visit Lake Chelan the weekend of May 21st and 22nd to get a sneak peak at the upcoming vintages from this up and coming Washington state AVA.  You will be met by some down to earth people making seriously delicious wines in one of the most beautiful places in our state.


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