Decades ago, Italy's Piero Antinori helped start a
winemaking revolution with a wine called the "Super Tuscan,"
a blend of the traditional Tuscan grape Sangiovese and such
Bordeaux varieties as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The
style has been successfully exported to the New World, where
it makes superb wines such as this offering from Spokane's
Lone Canary Winery. This blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and
Cabernet Sauvignon unveils aromas of vanilla, cedar and ripe
bing cherries that lead to flavors of ripe strawberries and
black tea. This is rich, elegant and well structured. Rated
Outstanding" by Wine Press Northwest magazine.
Food matches: A delicious and balanced wine to pair with
grilled flank steak or a plate of rich pasta.
Five Star Cellars Merlot 02 $31/$27.89
Just beautiful, essentioanl
Walla Walla fruit, from Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge, and Pheasant
Run Vineyards, this wine has the smell of a chilly fall morning
in Washington. It leads with an earthy spice, like sun-dried
tomatoes and cedar, lining generous fresh cherry compote flavors.
This is poised and elegant.
Cedar, roses, and spicy white pepper nose, followed by big black
cherry fruit with hints of vanilla cream, strawberry, amd dark
berries. Silky, smooth, thick mouth feel. Long long finish. A
Bright, fruity, creamy style.
Overt and pretty aromas of melon,
honey, cream, pear, nutmeg, almond and flower. Soft and rich
mouthfeel with generous flavors of pear, mineral, melon, cream
and spice interwoven with well balanced acidity. The finish is
vivid and long, with lingering cream, mineral and pear flavors.
From the winemaker, Bob Bertheau: "This
is the wine I drink at home as an aperitif. The Chateau Ste.
Michelle Dry Riesling
is a dry, crisp, refreshing style of Riesling, with an elegant
finish. It delivers pure cooler climate Riesling aromas and flavors
of honeydew melon, dried apricot and tangerine. "
"At the winery, we call this “baby
we usually take many of the lots for this blend that were in
the final running for our Eroica Riesling. It’s a favorite
wine of the winemaking staff
and our little quality/value secret."
Late Harvest White Riesling $13/$11.69
From the winery: "Eastern Washington’s
low annual rainfall and cool nights during the growing season
perfect area for producing
consistently great late harvest wines. Hogue has developed a
style with Late Harvest White Riesling that includes a moderate
level of sweetness, richness, viscosity and crisp balancing acidity
with just a hint of complexity from the noble rot, Botrytis cinerea."
"The 2003 bottling was produced from our
best Riesling vineyards, which have the ability to ripen to the
required 24+ Brix level.
At that level of ripeness the wine develops its trademark tangerine/apricot
flavors and being grown in the cooler climate of Washington
State it retains its acidity and crispness. The 2003 Late Harvest
Riesling has aromas and flavors of dried apricot, tangerine,
orange peel, vanilla, raisin, and powdered sugar. The wine
has good sugar to acid balance. Pair it with fruit sorbets, poached
pears or hot apple pie."
From the winery: "The '02 Lachini Vineyards Willamette
Valley Estate Pinot Noir is a blend of 80% Pommard and 20% Dijon
clones. It has concentrated aromas of chocolate, ripe cherries
and plums, with a touch of earth, coffee and vanilla. The color
is deep saturated ruby. Sharply focused on the palate it offers
an elegant and graceful silky texture with mouthwatering fullness
and layers of blackberries. The wine has good structure and depth,
minerals and integrated fine-grained tannins for a lengthy and
Fume Blanc 02 $10 case price $9.00
From the winery: "The 2003 Fumé Blanc
has good aromas of fresh flowers and herbs backed with vanilla
scents. This vintage shows good acidity and crispness. The flavors
are dominated by ripe
melon with faintly grassy hints in the finish. This wine has
great acidity and fantastic palate
impression. The 2003 Fumé Blanc could be the best vintage
I have made in years."
Vineyards and Growing Season: "The 2003 vintage year was a hot dry Washington State vintage.
That meaning a warm spring
followed by a hot and dry summer and a cool but dry fall for
longer ripening. The wines from
2003 are incredibly full with both great acidity and sugars
My winemaking philosophy is that in most cases a blend of different
vineyards will produce a
wine of greater character and complexity beyond the ‘one
The 2003 Fume Blanc is the perfect example of a great vintage
and my philosophy of
blending many vineyard sites to make a truly exciting wine."
From the winery: "This is a
great example of Washington Riesling - very fruit forward with
crisp acidity. An aromatic
wine with hints of spice bursting with apricot and peach in the
mouth. This wine will pair well with fruit desserts as well as
pasta with grilled chicken and scallops with a rich, cream reduction
Winemaker’s Comment: Our 2001
Chardonnay is bursting with flavors of green apple, pear, melon,
and spice, along with soft
hints of vanilla, cream, and toast.
Food Pairing Suggestions:
Although made to be served with food, this wine is also well-suited
as an aperitif. Try serving it with fish, chicken dishes,
salad courses, or with any style of lighter foods.
Winemaking: After harvest and pressing,
the juice was split between stainless steel tanks and barrels.
The tank portion was cool-fermented to conserve fruitiness, while
the barrel fermented
portion (50% French, 50% American oak) was allowed to remain
on the lees with frequent stirring throughout the winter. The
higher-acid lots were allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation.
These barrel fermented wines take on the vanilla and toasty
flavors of the wood as well as develop a creamy texture from
the lees. The tank
and barrel portions were blended together before bottling.
Henry Estate Winery
Chardonnay 2000 Unpqua Valley
$14 This big, barrel-fermented Chardonnay
from Southern Oregon is loaded with aromas of tropical fruit and
creamy flavors of pineapples
and pears. The oak is plentiful enough throughout, yet it doesn't
get in the way of the balanced fruit, clean acidity and terrific
length. A great wine at an even better price. Rated "Outstanding" by
Wine Press Northwest magazine.
Roses are wonderful summer wines because
of their delightful color and refreshing aromas and flavors.
More Northwest wineries are making "serious" roses,
meaning the wines are not just sweet and simple.
A great example is a Pinot Noir
rose from High Pass Winery in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Its
vibrant cherry and light raspberry colors are duplicated in
the aromas and flavors. Crisp, dry flavors lend themselves
to perfect food pairings. A classy, tasty, clean wine that
was rated "Outstanding" by Wine Press Northwest magazine.
High Pass is a tiny winery in the South
Willamette Valley in Oregon, and most of this vineyard's grapes
go to other
The small amounts
of wine made under the High Pass label are delicious and very
Giving Oregon Pinot gris
a run for its money, this is an exceptional value. Washington
to offer lovely Pinot gris at
very very good prices. This wine is a classic example of the
with lovely melon and pear notes in a refreshing quaffer with
a clean, crisp finish. Just lovely for the price.
From the winery:
"Pinot Grigio continues
to gain popularity throughout the U.S. Known as Pinot Gris in
France, the grapes are named for their characteristic grayish
they actually take on a pink and even purple hue as they ripen.
Pinot Grigio is a refreshing white with plenty of fruit character.
Our 2003 vintage has up front
aromas of pear, orange peel, cedar, apple, and lemon curd. Flavors
are similar: rich and soft, with pear, quince and a slight herbalness.
Pair this wine with light pasta dishes, pasta salads and trout
Brand new release, the grapes are from Chandler Reach, within eyeshot
of Red Mountain, and Fred Artz' vineyard on Red Mountain at the far eastern
end of the Yakima Valley. Grapes from these vineyards make for structured
wines that might be confused with the mouthfeel of Cabernet Sauvignon.
From the winery: "Cabernet Franc, speaking "francly",
is no weak cousin to Cabernet Sauvignon, at least not in Washington State.
If anything, this wine is what often makes a "Cabernet" a better
wine in a blend. At its best, Cabernet Franc possesses a liveliness that
an honest but more staid Cabernet Sauvignon can only envy.
Our 2000 example is from Fred Artz'
and Eve and Ed Shaw's vineyards on Red Mountain. Red Mountain,
the newest of the American Viticultural Areas, this wine showcases
some of the reasons that both Red Mountain and Cabernet Franc
are beginning to turn heads. Neither have to take second places
to any wine growing area or wine. Depth of color, flavor, mouth
feel; raspberries, not black berries, high palate tones, not
plums and cherries Ð these are marks of Cabernet Franc
for this vintage.
Wine maker comments include many "wow's" and
deep hum's, bordering on hymns of thanks to vineyardists who
are as proud of their fruit as the winemaker is of the wine.
Technically speaking, the wine was fermented on several yeasts
and barreled in mostly reasonably new to neutral oak. Lighlty
fined, the wine has just a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and
Merlot to blend. We can't help but think the Bordeaux family
of grapes is either smiling or wrinkling their brows over the
turnabout. Cabernet Franc is finally able to take center stage,
supported by its more well-known cousins. It's about time.
Camaraderie Cellars is a craft
winery that produces somewhere between 2,000 cases and 3,000
cases, depending on what vintage is being counted and the cogency
of the winemaker counting. All of them are much loved and celebrated
and meant to be shared.
It has long been a tradition in Southern
Bordeaux to let the white grapes hang on the vines until they
pick up enough sweetness
to produce the much sought after Sauternes dessert wines. In
2002, we first decided to leave the Sauvignon Blanc (one of the
2 great white grapes in Bordeaux) on the vines late into the
season to see if we could make our own rich, sweet version. The
finished product is a beautifully viscous, pear and pineapple
flavored delight with subtle tropical hints of banana. The is
the perfect evening finisher no matter what the occasion.
of the Barnard Griffin Zinfandel mentioned in Andy's email newsletter
this week has
been delayed, but we have some of the other wines he mentions
available for purchase:
Maryhill’s first reserve for Zinfandel is a late-harvest
style wine retaining almost one percent of its original grape sugars.
Aromas of freshly popped walnut shells and eucalyptus exude from
this 100% new French oak aged wine. You’ll be reminded
of fond Christmas memories as you taste spiced, cooked plums
goose with all the trimmings.
The past two vintages of Maryhill Zinfandel have amassed an
impressive four gold medals and set a new standard for this sun-loving
varietal in the Northwest. Affordable, high-quality Zinfandel
doesn’t just come from California anymore… Maryhill’s
third consecutive vintage is awash with holiday spice, cinnamon
and Marion berry flavors. A deep cherry undertone leads to a
velvety soft coconut finish.
This cool weather varietal
is grown 80 miles further west of the Canoe Ridge Vineyard® on the White Salmon River. The
vineyard was planted in the early 1980s and is dry farmed. It
is likely the coolest site that could consistently grow this
varietal to ripeness, which is key to its concentration and style.
It is a crisp, dry style Gewürztraminer with a spicy, pink
grapefruit and honeysuckle aroma.
The mouthfeel is well structured with a hint of sweetness that
gives it the ability to stand up to hot food, such as Thai. It
is also perfect before dinner and during the hot summer season.
Residual Sugar is less than 1 percent. The wine is barrel fermented
in 100 percent neutral French oak.
Wine Press NW says: "This
Germanic variety is an underrated food wine, and this dry,
version, from a 20-year-old
site along the White
Salmon River, provides an outstanding example. A combination
of honeysuckle, banana, rosewater, a hint of Orange Muscat
qualities and some characteristics of the 100 percent neutral
French oak barreling make up the aromas. Grapefruit with
tartness - a signature of this variety - and some orange
dominate the flavors. The acidity is clean, and there's not
bitterness sometimes associated with this grape. Residual
sugar is less than 1 percent. Rated "Outstanding" by
Wine Press Northwest magazine.
Food matches: Try with duck, a honey ham or a tart fruit glaze
Wine Press NW says: "The
wine won Best of Show this month at the Northwest Wine Summit,
following up the
success of the 2000 (which won Best of Show at the Northwest
Wine Summit two years ago) and 2001 (which Wine Press Northwest
rated the best Northwest Syrah last fall).
Wine Press NW says: "Here is a stunning bottling from the estate
boutique winery that winemaker/owner Willy Gianopulos opened
just five years ago. The complexity and abundance of fruit is
phenomenal, and the array of aromas is astounding with strawberry,
raspberry, pomegranate, blueberry, tea, tobacco and some light
toast. A tilt of the glass ushers in flavors of blueberry, huckleberry
and tea with pleasing tannins and terrific acidity.
It all makes for a rewarding and easy-drinking Pinot. Rated "Outstanding" by
Wine Press Northwest.
From the winery: "Grapes
were harvested on October 5th the earliest for the vineyard
in a long time. Very healthy
dark ripe fruit.
1.90 tons/acre. Similar to the 1999 vintage. The WV bottling
was done in September 2002 and the reserve was bottled July
2003. The wine is a nice dark garnet colored with soft tannins.
has a very creamy texture almost like a barrel fermented
chardonay and has hints of blueberry and cherry. Very long high
Chardonnay 01 $10.99
Refrshing style, crisp, hint of citrus, light on the oak. Have
with cheese fondue, chicken dishes, risotto, halibut.
Gold Medal Tri-Cities Wine Festival, 12/03. This wine surprised
the judges, coming out of nowhere to receive the highest ratings
in the competition. Big mocha and black cherry fruit, long, big
"Five Star Cellars Aims for
Five-Star Quality” By Christina Kelly
didn’t like wine,
and certainly never expected to be in the wine business.
Walla native graduated from a carpentry program at the local
community college and
started a career of “pounding
nails for a living,” working for a general contractor.
It turned out that the general contractor was building many
of the new wineries in the region and Huse, nail by nail, began
a transformation on his own. The process of winemaking intrigued
him, and while learning about that process, he tried many of
the new Walla Walla wines.
Not your typical Pinot Blanc, I compare this wine to Patty
Green's or Andrew Rich's superb Sauvignon Blancs.... If you
like those wines, this is one to try!
In the tradition of Jezebel herself, this is the richest,
most sensuous, full bodied Pinot Blanc from Oregon I've ever
tried. The nose is intense, with melon, peach, apricot, and
floral notes, then the flavor is thickly fruity, with a viscous
quality. Nothing watery or subtle here. You may argue whether
this wine is true to the grape, but you won't argue that it
is a delicious crowd pleaser.
Press NW Says: "The folks at Sineann
Cellars and Daedalus Cellars in Oregon have combined forces
on this new brand to put together price-friendly wines. This
fantastic Pinot Blanc is one of the first releases. Its lime
and mineral aromas give way to clean, exploding flavors of
citrus and fresh orchard fruit. It's crisp without any sharp
edges. Food matches: Pair this with raw or barbecued oysters."
Rated "Outstanding" by
Wine Press Northwest magazine.
April 6 2004
Malbec 2001 $21.99/19.80
by the case
A big, black delicious chunk of hearty red wine. Earl does it
again. Real popular with those who want the biggest red wines.
the winery: "This wine will grip you
with a bold statement of fruit and structure. Big plum and
from the glass followed
by touches of tobacco and earth. Subtle vanillins blend well
with the smooth tannins for a long full finish. This Malbec
while containing the same explosive fruit of past vintages
now with big steaks, shish kabobs, and lamb shoulder or
give it a couple years to enjoy with mushroom
risotto or sausage based paellas."
Press NW says: "From Southern
Oregon comes one of Bordeaux’s lesser-known red varieties.
This is dense and dark with aromas of blackberries and black
pepper and shows off delicious flavors with lovely balance
and terrific length. Rated “Outstanding” by Wine
Press Northwest magazine."
is one of our pair of Alsatian-styled whites. It has aromas
apricots and an unusual
(at least for this variety) dryness that makes it a beautiful
This wine’s full body and fruit flavors make it
ideal to pair with mildly spicy or smoked foods. It is especially
served as an aperitif, or as a picnic wine with chilled fresh
fruit and smoked cheese
Paul Thomas Cabernet
Sauvignon is a well-balanced, straight forward Cabernet from
several vineyards located throughout the Columbia Valley Appellation.
Well structured and loaded with ripe berry flavors the 2001 Cabernet
Sauvignon has hints of herbs
and light oak influences. It is well integrated wine, with a
complex and firm tannin structure, yet remains soft
and appealing throughout.
Food Friendly Pairings – Enjoy with a steak, rack of lamb,
pasta or other hearty fare.
Henry Estate Chardonnay Umpqua Cuvee 02 $10 From the winery: "
This is our ever popular, people- friendlyChardonnay ...smooth and easy to drink.
With just a little oak aging the wine expresses full varietal
fruit (citrus and grapefruit) in a nice, soft structure. Serve
chilled or at temperatures up to 60o F with simpler foods of
chicken, fish, and hors d’oeuvres."
This wine complements many different
cuisines aside from the usual recommendation of red meats.
Other menu pairings include salmon and pasta with meat sauce.
The spicy, juicy berry flavors and smoky aroma of the wine
echo similar flavors in these foods.
light bottling from Oregon, this Pinot Noir - redolent of ripe
strawberries and cherries - is perenially
one of the better wine buys around. Chill it for an
hour, and it's the perfect wine to take on a picnic.
delightful wine begins with aromas of honeydew melon, grapefruit
zest and lemongrass
tea. Hints of toasty oak and undertones of ginger touch the palate.
A wonderful creamy mouth feel makes for a very appealing wine.
The 2001 Two Vines Cabernet
Sauvignon offers lush fruit intensity with a supple, lingering
finish. The wine presents an intense ruby color with black
cherry, blueberry and cocoa aromatics. Similar flavors are perfectly
balanced on the palate." Ray Einberger, Winemaker
The Oak Knoll Pinot Gris displays
an amazing purity of fruit flavors, an elegantly balanced texture,
and a clean, vibrant finish. The absence of oak allows the subtle
floral, mineral, and spice notes to deftly bal
ance the wine’s melon and apple fruitiness. Recommended
with salmon, scallops, shellfish, pork, chicken and any smoked
items fresh off the grill.
From the winery: "Loaded
with melon and peach flavors, the rounded fruit characteristics
Columbia Valley grapes are integrated beautifully
into this rich Chardonnay. Clean and focused layers of fruit
are held in place by firm acids. The emphasis in this wine
is its complex structure of tropical fruit blending smoothly
the cedar essences imparted by French oak barrels. This Chardonnay
has enough body to stand up to, and enhance, flavorful foods."
The nose has floral and lemon
notes and aromas of spice and lychee that come through clean
on the palate. This Gewürztraminer is the perfect wine to
enjoy ice cold on the patio on a warm, summer afternoon. This
is made to
be enjoyed young, preferably before the end of 2004.
From the winery: "This wine
exhibits a dark garnet color and aromas of raspberry, clove, and
leather. On the palate, the
wine is supple and round with integrated flavors of raspberry and spice,
framed by subtle notes of vanilla and oak."
"Winemakers and some critics
talk about an Oregon style of pinot noir, by which I think they mean
red fruit aromas, delicate flavors,
soft tannins, and fine acidity...Oak Knoll's Willamette Valley Pinot
Noir is always one of the best-value wines in the region."
"Conde Naste Traveler"
Chenin Blanc 01
$9.99/8.99 by the case