What’s Your Wine Style? This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast;  will be posted as soon as it is available, thank you.

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  It’s 2012 and I’m ready to rock this year’s vintage with you.  Together we are going to take a new approach and a new look at great wines that I can’t wait to share with you.

Pick up your empty glass and hold it up to the sky as you look out the window.  Imagine the beautiful color of your favorite wine adorning the glass, bend your elbow and pull the glass close and tip your nose deep into the glass.  Breathe deeply and imagine the wildest exotic aromas of your favorite wine rising from the juice in your glass.  Lower the glass to your lips, tilt your head gently back and take an imaginary sip of the finest wine you have ever tasted.  Swish the wine all about as it invigorates your palate.  Swallow the liquid nectar and imagine The Trail that it has left behind, the finish of the best wine you have ever tasted.  It lingers on your palate just like a song you hear on the radio and then it is stuck in your head.  You play it over and over, on your palate and in your mind.

That’s right this I’m going to take you on a new virtual wine journey week after week in 2012.  We are going to meet interesting new people from the vast world of wine.  Virtually traveling to new places we have yet to visit, experiencing wine in a way you and I have never imagined.  

Welcome to 2012.  Today I’m going to talk about style, your wine style preference is what I’m referring to.  So far this winter Western Montana has been a little bit strange.  Why you ask, well it has in the high 30’s to low 50’s and the last time I checked it is early January.  As memory serves me it is usually about zeroish this time of year in the Rocky Mountains.  This is more than a little disconcerting, it is just downright unusual.

Did you know that all throughout the decade of the 60’s that grape farmers in Burgundy, France harvested their grapes on average at the end of September?  In the first few years of the millennium that harvest took place in the first week of September.  I don’t begin to know what that means but it is a huge change.  When I think about having Spring in the middle of Winter in the Rocky Mountains and major climate changes in wine country around the world it is one of those circumstances that make me go hmm……………..

Old World, New World, what’s your style?  Let’s take a closer look and see if we can define this.  First of all let’s consider these terms; Old World wine, Old World winemaking, New World wine, and New World winemaking.  What do these terms mean and why are they relevant?

When I think about terminology that best describes Old World vs. New World these are a few thoughts that come to mind.

Old World; Ancient, Europe, tried, apprenticeships, craftsman, details, tradition, experience, patience, aged, practical, these are my thoughts when I think of Old World.

New World; Young, new, melting pot, now, in the moment, technology, science, instant gratification, excess, impatient, brash, learn as I go, these are a few terms that come to mind when I think of New World.

I’m not suggesting that one is better that the other, what I am suggesting is that when it comes to wine, these are styles.  Styles should be considered for the situation, perhaps a style to suite your mood, or your frame of mind.

For me Old World vs. New World could be compared to the difference between those who cook with feel and experience and those who cook with recipes.  Old World draws on centuries of experience thus allowing for intuitive multi-dimensional winemaking.   New World has decades of experience, it may still be developing its formula, striving to become more dimensional.  Experience enables chef’s to create and cook with intuition; the same can be said for winemakers as well.

Winemakers from the Old World are very much in the background.  Current winemakers are a result of many years of understudy and apprenticeship with the winemaker who made wines at that particular Chateau or Estate. Rarely do you know the name of a famous Old World winemaker, but it is common to be aware of a famous Chateau or Estate that produces excellent wine.  This is because European wine laws typically dictate what grapes can be grown, how much of them can be grown, harvested, and dictate how the wines are made.  Wine regions of the Old World have be growing grapes and making wine for centuries.  The New World does not yet have this type of experience to draw from.  The Old World quite literally has this down to a formula and they understand their terroir, or sense of place.

Let’s remember that Old World wine is made by design, it is made to complement foods that are indigenous to that particular region.  These wines are blends of grapes that are smooth and easy to drink and are easily enjoyed with foods they are designed to pair with.  Old World wines exude restraint but express subtle nuances of sense of place, are understated yet complex, these are sophisticated wines that present as simple.

Wine in the New World in the most historic sense may only be a century old.  Cavalier vineyard owners and young winemakers are still discovering new places to grow grapes as they understand terrior.  Historic floods, fossils, seismic activities, and cataclysmic eruptions up and down the west coasts of North and South America are now the home of multitudes of renowned vineyards with serious potential.

If you look closely at the pedigrees of New World winemakers almost all have wine related degrees of Enology or Viticulture from UC Davis or Oregon State.  What does this mean for you and me?  Most new young winemakers have these degrees prior to having the opportunity to utilize their specialties at a wine estate. This is unlike the Old World that is steeped in the tradition of apprenticeship.  New World winemaking comes at wine from a very different direction than Old World in some respects and I believe it is reflected in the wine, not that this is bad, it is just different. 

New World wines are not made as a result of foods indigenous to regions.  These wines are driven by science and now are also by an understanding of the terroir.  Vineyard owners and winemakers understand terroir now in a way the Old World has for centuries.  So how are the wines different, well to start with most New World wines are single varietal wines, although many winemakers that are beginning to blend wines well.  Most New World wine has a much higher percentage of alcohol than Old World wine.  This presents wines that are much bigger, much bolder than their European counterparts.  In general most New World wines are designed to drink and not necessarily made with a food pairing purpose in mind.  That is not to say New World wines do not pair well with food, they are not made to complement food localized to a region.

I find that New World wines have a much sturdier frame or structure, are much more pronounced visually, aromatically, and certainly on the palate.  This is the New World style of wine, is this better, less than, no they really cannot be compared because they are simply different.   As for me it really comes down to what is the circumstance and what kind of mood I’m in.  Do you want wine to enjoy dinner with or do I want to sip on wine to be social, a lot to consider.  New World and Old World alike both produce wonderful wines, but perhaps with a different focus.

2009 “In the Rocks” Syrah from Reynvaan Family Vineyards

This is an example of an Old World style of wine made by Matt Reynvaan who last year was noted as one of the top 30 winemakers under 30 years of age in the world.  Nobody does wine better that Reynvaan Vineyards from Walla Walla in the Columbia Valley AVA.

The 2009 “In The Rocks” is packed with dark fruit aromatics, smoked meats, crushed gravel, and white pepper.  It is very animalistic with hints of sweet creme brulee and will benefit from 5 years of cellaring if you are able to resist the temptation to drink it.  Terroir driven wine that is outstanding, you don’t want to miss this.  Check this wine out at Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

2009 Truchard Vineyards Syrah from Carneros Napa Valley

The 2009 vintage produced fruity wines with intense flavors, great texture, and beautiful balance.  This terrific example of a New World style of wine from the Carneros area in the Napa Valley has aromas of plum, boysenberry, and blackberry; highlighted with vanilla, earth, and white pepper.  On the palate this wine is fills your mouth with rich flavors of cassis and black cherry; followed by mineral and cracked black pepper.  Ripe tannins provide an opulent, long finish of fruit and spice.  This wine is well made and a beautiful wine to drink.

*Both of these wines are upscale wines that represent the Old World vs. New World styles reffered to in today’s blog.  There will be selections of both styles available at  your favorite place to shop for affordable wines too.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

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Have You Been Naughty Or Nice? This week on the Radio Show© WineGuyMike™ has Great Holiday Gift Advice


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/11/27/wine-guy-mike-for-november-27/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet, “Best of Beverage” in Downtown Missoula

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this Sunday morning.

Regardless of whether you have been naughty or nice, WineGuyMike has some great holiday wine gift advice.  The very thought of shopping for the “right” wine or wine gift can be cause for great trepidation within the hearts of many.  So Take a deep breath and remember-this is a great time of year to celebrate friendships, family, and to be thankful for the peace and abundance we enjoy.

The holiday season is nigh upon us and it is the time of year, and no matter what holiday we celebrate, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas or Festivus we can be assured of one thing-exchanging gifts.

Before you go shopping I recommend making a list of the people you are going to buy wine gifts for.  Ask yourself-what do they like?  What color or style of wine do they drink, how much does that special person usually spend, do they serve wine in proper glasses, or do they use tumblers from their favorite fast food customer appreciation collection?  You get the point a little thought prior to shopping will streamline your adventure.

Shopping for wine or wine related gifts, http://on.fb.me/uYQ1HN, should be a pleasurable and gratifying process, remember this can be fun shopping for the special people in your life.  I was shopping a few days ago at Liquid Planet in Downtown Missoula and realized this is the type of wine and gift shopping experience I desire.  Their retail manager, Heather, has done a beautiful job in merchandising the store, and in particular the wine section.  This probably is like girls gone shoe shopping.

When picking out a gift, there are a multitude of great wine gift ideas.  Let’s keep it simple starting with the wine; red wine on the simplest level is light, medium, or full bodied.  Red wine will have aromas of red or black fruit; you may smell spice, earthiness, or even some tobacco, leather, or maybe a little bacon.  That’s right bacon, many French winemakers would tell you that to have a sense of animal in their wines is a component of “Terroir,” or a sense of place.  Does the special person you are shopping for prefer red wines that express more fruit or do they like wine with more tannin or grittiness?

White wines present very different tastes and scents than red wines.  Aromas in white wines will vary, with scents of flowers, fruit, citrus, or beautiful tropical fruits being common.  In your mouth a white wine may taste tart, express minerals like stone or slate, or it may even be somewhat sweet.

How about wine glasses?  Many are unaware how important wine glasses are.  The Riedel wine glass company has been around for three hundred years.  Their glasses are a masterful combination, artfully blending form and function.  Good wine glasses are designed to allow you to visually examine wine, focus the aroma of the wine correctly, and then deliver the wine on your palate in exactly the right spot. 

Wine decanters are also a terrific gift to consider for a wine lover.  Decanting is generally a process reserved explicitly for red wines.  When a wine is poured into a traditional decanter the wine is thoroughly exposed to oxygen and helps to open the wine and settle the tannins.  There are a multitude of differing decanters; some are even attached right to the bottle-certainly not traditional, but clever nonetheless. 

Aerators are devices of decanting “in the moment.”  This process has gained popularity and can be terrific for spontaneous gatherings or an option when headed to a casual restaurant or bar.  I still prefer traditional decanting but if company arrives unexpectedly at your front door this holiday season, as it is apt to do, and you want to share a glass of wine the aerators are a great option. 

Please visit Liquid Planet in Downtown Missoula if you live or visit here to see the comprehensive selection of wines and wine gifts they offer.  You can also visit Liquid Planet online at http://www.LiquidPlanet.com.  It truly is a holiday shopping experience.  I wish you and your family a holiday season filled with good cheer, health, and abundance.

"from my table to yours", Happy Holidays

"from my table to yours", Happy Holidays

Riedel Wine Glasses, A Wine Delivery System by Design this week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links:

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/11/13/wine-guy-mike-for-november-13/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors     

 

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Liquid Planet, “Best of Beverage”, located in Downtown Missoula www.LiquidPlanet.com

Sleep City Missoula , “Giving A Good Night’s Sleep To Those In Need” 2401 North Reserve Street www.SleepCity.com

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike radio show.  I recently had the pleasure of attending a stemware demonstration with Maximillian Riedel.  The Riedel Wine Glass Company has been making wine glasses for 300 years and Maximilian Riedel is the 11th generation family member representing their wine glass company.

I personally have used Riedel stemware for 20 years to enjoy, savor, and taste wines.  After two decades of experience and familiarity with a product one would “assume” the knowledge gained by use or consumption of a product that you might qualify as somewhat of an expert.  Boy was I wrong, ouch, humbled once again.

I have studied wine nearly my entire life but the 90 minutes I spent in the wine glass demonstration with Maximilian was not only the best presentation I have ever attended, but also the most compelling.  This demonstration truly stirred my wine soul.  If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Riedel Wine Glass demonstration please do not miss it.

We have all heard the term “form versus function”, for the Riedel Wine Glass Company it is all about form and function.  I’ll get back to this point but first I would like to share a few insights about wine.

When we open a bottle of wine to let it breath, decant, or aerate the wine with one of the devices that have been developed to enhance our wine experience.  Oxygen “opens up” wine and brings out the aroma of the wine.

There are 2-3 elements of wine that create aroma and flavor.  The first one of these elements is the fruit.  The second element is the yeast that is used to ferment the wine.  Whether the winemaker uses a natural or commercial strain of yeast the fruit and yeast combine during fermentation to produce aroma and flavor or sense of taste.  The third influence upon the wine in your glass may be the oak barrel that the wine was aged in.  Some varietals of white wine are fermented and aged in steel, in this case there is no oak influence to the sense of taste or aroma.  Many white wines today are fermented and aged in steel tanks with some or all of the white wine spending a brief amount of time in oak barrels.  This will influence the taste and aroma of a wine.  Today’s trend though, “Oak is Out”.  Most white wine styles today are trending towards crisp, bright fruit in white wines.

Red wine and some varietals of white wine like Chardonnay spend more time in oak barrels.  Red wines in particular benefit from barrel aging. During fermentation red wines get their color from the skin of the grape. Tannin occurs as a result of grapes and their skins soaking together during the fermentation process.  Barrel aging allows the red wines to develop depth of color and refine or settle tannin which is the grittiness you experience when drinking a red wine.  Different varietals produce different amounts of tannin.  For example Pinot Noir will express less tannin than Cabernet Sauvignon.

So we know fruit, yeast and wood produce aroma, flavor, and tactile sensation when you drink wine.  Your palate or more commonly known as the tongue can sense four different tastes and possibly five.  Our sense of tastes are;  sweet, bitter, salty, sour, and perhaps an ability to sense MSG otherwise known as umami.  The mouth also has the ability to “feel” cool, warm, dryness, tingling, a coating feeling, and a feeling of numbness.

Sweetness is perceived immediately when you taste a wine as this area is located right on the tip of your tongue.  Acidity in a wine is recognized in the cheek area, on the sides of the tongue which is the area that senses “sour” flavors, and then also in the back of the throat.  Lighter red wines and white wines generally have a higher degree of acidity.

The middle of the tongue is the area that recognizes anything salty.  In the case of wine this is where tannin which is a tactile sensation, not a flavor, is felt.  When wines are young the tannins are what make a wine present as too dry.

Fruit and its individual varietal characteristics are smells not tastes.  But the weight of the wines fruit will be felt on the middle of your tongue.  This is why  wines are referred to as light, medium, or full bodied.

The aftertaste or what is referred to as the finish of a wine is what happens when you actually swallow wine.  In a good wine this is a very pleasing sensation as all of the components of a wine come together in harmony and balance then linger in your mouth and mind.

So why is the glassware such an important companion to good wine?  The Riedel Wine Glass Company has designed a wine delivery system, the wine glass, which is varietal specific.  The Riedel wine glass presents the aroma and the taste of wine perfectly.  Form versus function is not so much a term that describes conflict but better describes the intersection of form and function united for a best purpose.  This is exactly what a Riedel wine glass delivers to our nose and our palate.  A varietal correct wine glass from the Riedel Wine Glass Company has the ability to make 10 dollar wine taste like 100 dollar wine. 

Prior to setting in on the stemware demonstration with Maximilian I was very much of the mindset that great stemware was reserved for expensive wine.  Most of us may enjoy a daily glass of wine; this is what I refer to as a daily drinker, a bottle of wine for twelve dollars or under.  The right wine glass will really enhance an affordable wine.

I’m going to share pictures of five Riedel wine glasses that you must have.  Once you have tasted wine from a Riedel wine glass you will understand that these varietal specific wine glasses accomplish three things.  First the glass holds the wine within the shape of the varietal specific body of the glass.  Due to the quality and shape of the glasses it is very easy to visually examine your wine.  The opening or rim of each specific glass allows aroma from the wine to be revealed, and enjoyed.  The glass allows a person to discern the aromatics of a wine.  Secondly the Riedel wine glasses target and direct wine onto the correct area of the palate.  This is also specific to each varietal of wine, for instance drinking wine from the Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc glass is delivered directly to the tip of the tongue where it is best recognized for its varietal nuances.  If you are drinking a big Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley the Riedel wine glass delivers this wine onto the mid to back palate where the nuances of this varietal are best distinguished.

The pictures that I share visually demonstrate how the trajectory of wine will be delivered to the palate.  It is important to note the shape or pattern of wine as it lies in the body of a glass that is held at an angle.  I have tipped the glass and allowed the wine to flow to the rim of the glass.  Notice how the wine spreads both vertically and horizontally in the glass once it has been tipped.

The first glass is Riedel’s Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc glass, notice the wine as I hold the glass at an angle and allow the wine to flow to the lip of the glass.  This is how this wine will be trajected onto your palate.  You can see this wine will hit the palate right up front.  This allows the palate to enjoy the sweetness of the fruit on the tip of the tongue.

Riedel Riesling & Sauvignon Blanc Wine Glass

Riedel Riesling & Sauvignon Blanc Wine Glass

The diamond shape you see in the newest Riedel Chardonnay wine glass is truly reflective of today’s style of Chardonnay as demanded by consumers.  At most gatherings you taste wine at you will often hear comments from wine drinkers that they no longer desire heavy handed oak in their Chardonnay.  Riedel has responded to the consumer by designing a glass that is diamond shaped.  Many Chardonnay wines now have much more influence from cold fermentation.  The result is a Chardonnay wine that is bright with fruit and acidity.  The new style of Chardonnay may be aged in a combination of steel tanks and oak barrels.  Chardonnay is a full body white wine whereas a Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling are much lighter in body and are non-oaked in flavor and style.  When you examine both pictures that I have shared with you it is very easy to see the pattern of wine that will be transferred onto the palate is very different.  The diamond shape glass focuses the bright, and bigger fruit aroma to the nose while the pattern of wine that flows to the palate is broad.  This is in direct comparison to what is delivered by the Riesling style glass.  Once again Chardonnay is a fuller fruit that typically has some influence from oak aging.  This will vary depending on the style dictated by winemakers.  The dry nature of the Chardonnay grape combined with a slight nuance of tannin from oak aging is delivered mid-palate.  Wine delivery by design, this is what Riedel has engineered into each and every wine glass.

Riedel's newest style Chardonnay Wine Glass

Riedel's newest style Chardonnay Wine GlassRiedel Pinot Noir Wine Glass

 Red wine glasses from Riedel.

Riedel Pinot Noir Wine Glass

Riedel Pinot Noir Wine Glass

The Riedel Pinot Noir glass as you will note in this picture delivers wine close to the tip of the tongue so that the sweetness of the fruit will be enjoyed. You will notice that the wine near the lip of the glass is not nearly as broad as the Sauvignon Blanc, thus the wine is projected just behind the tip of the tongue.   As you will also note that the pattern of the wine in the glass suggests that the wine will then spread to the mid-palate.  Remember that the fine tannin and acidity of the fruit will be recognized by the middle of the tongue and cheek areas of the mouth.  

Riedel Bordeaux Wine Glass

Riedel Bordeaux Wine Glass

Riedel’s Red Bordeaux glass and their newest large Bordeaux style glass which appears to be a Bordeaux style wine glass on steroids are great examples of form and function.  The new large red wine glass is designed to accommodate a new style or trend in red wines that are being produced in warmer climate zones like Napa Valley.  Some of these big powerful red wines have high alcohol content approaching fourteen percent with some even reaching 15%.  Riedel recognized that wines this big and powerful need a deep glass with a large body. Examine the different pattern that the wine forms within the glass as they are tipped at an angle. The Pinot Noir and Bordeaux style wines lie very differently within their respective glasses when tilted at an angle.

Large Riedel Red Wine Glass for big red's high in % of alcohol

Large Riedel Red Wine Glass for big red's high in % of alcohol

Perhaps one of the most important things to understand about the Riedel Wine Glass Company is that evolution of design never stops.  They currently are developing brand specific wine glasses for special wines from around the world.  They also recognize that styles and trends in wine and grape growing continues to change.  Viticulturists worldwide now understand that some grape varietals may be best suited to a valley, the hillside, or grow best on the hiltops.  Rest assured that The Riedel Wine Glass Company is paying attention and designing glasses for what is to come.

Try these two wines with your Thankgiving dinner, they will not disappoint.

2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Riedel's Pinot Noir and Champagne glass. That's right now recommended for Champagne too

Riedel's Pinot Noir and Champagne glass. That's right now recommended for Champagne too

This dark, garnet-colored Pinot Noir is floral with aromas of rose petals, spice, ginger, cassis and fruit aromas of raspberry.  There is a bit of dusty earth with just hint of vanilla too. This wine is showy with a seamless viscosity that is balanced with a healthy bit of tartness to keep the wine fresh and lively. It’s full in the palate with fine, coco-powder-like tannins.  A long beautiful finish.

Here is another wine that will pair nicely with a Thanksgiving meal and guests will certainly enjoy.  Both of these wines are available at Liquid Planet in Downtown Missoula. 

Gentil Hugel 2010

Riedel Riesling & Sauvignon Blanc Glass

Riedel Riesling & Sauvignon Blanc Glass

This white wine is a beautiful blend of the Noble grapes from the Alsace region in France. It displays a light youthful color in the glass and is ripe with floral, fruit.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Grape Farming the South Central Coast Wine Country of California with Nicholas Miller on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/09/11/wine-guy-mike-for-september-11/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at http://www.CiaoMambo.com

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© is 5th generation farmer Nicholas Miller.  The Miller family began farming in California growing lemons and avocados, but in the late 1960’s Nicholas’s Late Uncle and Father purchased land in the Santa Maria Valley AVA in the South Central Coast of California.

Originally Franciscan Missionaries from Mexico traveled North to what is now California in the late 18th century.  Wine was a daily staple and was part of a daily ritual with each of the missions.  The Padres planted vineyards that supported the mission’s use of wine.  Between 1848 – 1855 the California Gold Rush brought many Europeans to California and the focus on wine became even more important.

Farming grapes in the South Central Coast wine country region of California began in earnest in the early 1960’s when William De Mattie and Uriel J. Nielson bought 100 acres of cattle ranch followed by Bill Collins who planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sylvaner.  These vineyards were the first commercial operations in the Santa Maria Valley.

The Santa Maria Valley AVA is the Nothernmost area of Santa Barbara County, not to mention that it is one of the most unique viticulture areas in the world.  The Miller Families Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills vineyards are located in this unique Santa Maria Valley AVA.  What makes this area so unusual are the way the mountains run perpendicular to the coast as opposed to  all other mountain ranges in California that run parallel to the coast line.  This is the only occurrence of transverse mountain ranges on the coast of North or South America. The San Rafael mountains on the North and Solomon Hills on the South literally create a natural funnel of cool air and moisture that is like a pipeline to the Santa Maria Valley AVA.  This is a Region 1 zone with 1 being the coolest and Region 5 being the warmest.

The cool northwest maritime breezes and the Santa Maria pipeline push this cool moist air directly into the Bien Nacido Vineyards while Solomon hills is situated in the western most area on the Santa Maria Valley AVA and enjoys the constant cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean.  Being located in this Region 1 zone provides the grapes in this area the longest possible growing season or as its known, hang time, of any grapes in California.  What does this translate to in the bottle of wine you and I will enjoy; wines that are complex, nice acidity and a balance of fruit with intense flavor due to a naturally low yield.

The vineyards in this Santa Maria Valley AVA are planted mid-slope and plentiful with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals.  The Eastern area of this AVA supports Bordeaux and Rhone type varietals.

In 1969 the Miller family decided to get into the business of growing grapes and with their expertise of citrus and avocado orchards they had a good idea about where to grow grapes, in some of the best grape terrior in the world, the Santa Maria Valley AVA.  The Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills vineyards are known and respected world wide.

It was an honor to have grape farming expert and Thornhill Companies spokesperson(Miller Family Companies), Nicholas Miller, on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this week.  Nicholas was kind enough to walk me through the family operations. 

Let’s start with the Bien Nacido Vineyard; this vineyard is planted primarily with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, and Syrah. The original plantings came from stock grown by the University of California at Davis and grow on their own rootstock. Bien Nacido also has the distinction of being the first vineyard in California to grow cool climate Syrah.

Solomon Hills Vineyards is the most recently developed vineyard by the Miller family.  Soils in the Solomon Hills Vineyards are composed primarily of ocean floor sandy loams.  The maritime influence results in wines that are crisp, bright, and an elegant balance.  Two of the highest rated Pinot Noirs by Robert Parker Jr. have come from this vineyard in the Santa Maria valley AVA.

What I really took away from this story besides the fact that the Miller family produces world class grapes in their vineyards from the South Central Coast wine region is their level of commitment to the wine industry.

Thornhill companies which is the parent company umbrella of not only the vineyards but other Miller family companies that provide a complete array of  support facilities and services.   These facilities and services have been   made available to small boutique labels and larger winemakers alike.

Central Coast Wine Services supports the Wine Industry by providing a full Wine Service business.  This operation assists both grape growers and wineries by expanding their alternatives for fermenting, aging, storing, finishing, bottling, tasting with their clients, and storing their case goods production. In addition, the Miller family provides a quality wine laboratory, a retail delivery service, local consolidation, less expensive nationwide shipping, direct shipping to reciprocal states, and wine club operations that now can operate under a single roof.

Central Coast Wine Services has a truck size scale, a crusher-destemmer, multiple presses, almost 2,000,000 gallons of stainless steel tanks, space to store more than 10,000 barrels, two bottling lines, room for approximately 485,00 cases of wine, a small producers crush pad, a rail siding, numerous truck docks, a conference room with an attached kitchen for wine tasting, and space rented both to other wineries and wine related, services businesses, including one of the foremost wine labs in California, currently comprises over 250,000 square feet.

The remarkable growth of the Central Coast Wine Services has paralleled the growth and recognition of Central Coast wine production.  The Central Coast Wine Services has recently started a sister organization; The Paso Robles Wine Services, which is located in Paso Robles, to serve small and moderate size wineries in that area.

When I asked Nicholas to suggest a few great winemakers that you and I should watch for he had these recommendations to share:

Qupé; is dedicated to producing handcrafted Rhône varietals and Chardonnay from California’s Central Coast. They employ traditional winemaking techniques to make wines that are true to type and exhibit terrior. Their goal is to make wines with impeccable balance that can be enjoyed in their youth, yet because of the good acidity from cool vineyard sites can also benefit from ageing.  http://qupe.com/

Au Bon Climat; The winery has cultivated an international reputation for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat, is recognized worldwide for his classically-styled wines (in addition to his Burgundian-focused ABC wines, Jim is also highly regarded for his Italian and other French varietals). In 1989 and 1990 Au Bon Climat was on Robert Parker’s short list of Best Wineries in the World.  http://www.aubonclimat.com/about.html

Tantara; Since 1997, Tantara has been dedicated to producing the very finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Located on the beautiful Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley (Santa Barbara County), our wines are sourced from top Central Coast growers and vineyard designate from vineyards such as Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills.  http://tantarawinery.com/

J Wilkes; They are dedicated to producing only small lots of handcrafted wines from the Santa Maria Valley while maintaining the natural delicacy of the grapes. Over the past two decades, J. Wilkes wines have been made by sourcing high quality fruit from Bien Nacido and Solomon Hills Vineyards.  http://jwilkes.com/

I would like to thank Nicholas Miller for joining me on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© this week and sharing the rich history and story from 5 generations of the Miller Family.  Congratulations Nicholas to you and your wife on the birth of your new baby, the next generation.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

“Wine Fusion” with Reynvaan Family Vineyards from Walla Walla on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/08/28/wine-guy-mike-for-august-28-2011/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at http://www.CiaoMambo.com

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© I’m pleased to introduce you to Reynvaan Family Vineyards and Mike Reynvaan. 

The Reynvaan Family

The Reynvaan Family

You’ll notice in the title of this piece I refer to “Wine Fusion”, and for a good reason that I will be sharing with you.  This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© my special guest was Mike Reynvaan founder of Reynvaan Family Vineyards.  This winery and vineyards are a small family agricultural business whose mission is to produce quality fine wines and boy have they done that and then some.  In wrapping my head around just what the Reynvaan family has achieved in their quest to produce great wines I just kept thinking about what they have, how they got there, and what does that mean for all of us wine lovers.  And so the story begins with a very engaging conversation with Mike Reynvaan; Podcast http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/08/28/wine-guy-mike-for-august-28-2011/

The Reynvaan philosophy and path to making world class wine is really through great terrior and viticulture.  The greater Columbia Valley has eleven AVA’s that all produce great wines but the one we are focusing on today is the Walla Walla Valley AVA.  This area is one of the most unique terrior’s in today’s New World of wine. 

The Walla Walla Valley AVA was established in 1984 and grape growing began in the 1850s by Italian immigrants. There are over 100 wineries in this region that have planted vines on over 1,600 acres.  The predominant varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Sangiovese also grows very well in Walla Walla which is one reason why the Italians chose this area.  Other varietals  are also becoming more common in the region; Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, and Viognier.

The soil in this region is the result of layers of alluvial soil from the Lake Missoula floods and volcanic eruptions.  The Missoula Floods were a series of perhaps 35-40 geologic cataclysms that swept across Eastern Washington and down the Columbia Gorge at the end of the last ice age around 12,000 and 15,000 years ago.  These massive floods were a result of ruptures in the glacial ice dam that created Montana’s Glacial Lake Missoula.  The flood level reached 1200 feet at its greatest depth which resulted in layers of soil and deposits from volcanic eruptions.  This left behind a layer of bedrock that facilitates an incredible growing ground for the Reynvaan Family Vineyards grapes.

The Reynvaan Family Vineyards are located near the base of the Blue Mountains which adds one more dynamic layer to the terrior table, Basalt bedrock and boulders. There is a layer of soil known as “Freewater cobbly loam” that sits atop a stratum of 10,000 feet depth of bedrock.  This is one of the largest deposits on earth outside the floor of the world’s oceans.

What does this all have to do with wine?  Once you begin to study wine you realize that the best wines in the world are grown in and on what appear to be the worst of vineyard conditions.  In reality these tough conditions force the grapes to work hard to survive and that is exactly what happens.  The growing grounds around this Blue Mountain area in Walla Walla allow the vines roots to dig in deep seeking nutrients in soil that has great drainage.  This along with the generous sunshine and heat warm the rocky soil which aids in the grapes development.

It is important to understand the geology from this Walla Walla Valley AVA because this is the beginning of a great bottle of wine that expresses concentrated fruit with distinct minerality.  Mike Reynvaan understood this clearly when he purchased land to establish the Reynvaan Family Vineyards.  Viticulture also plays a significant part in producing a great wine.  The Reynvaan’s vineyards are planted in a very dense manner, if fact some of the most crowded conditions in all of Walla Walla.  This along with reducing fruit from the grape clusters forces the grape clusters to grow smaller berries that have tremendous fruit concentration.  This in the hands of a skilled winemaker all translate to great wine.  Welcome to Reynvann Family Vineyards wines, some of the best you will ever taste if you can get your hands on some.  Yes these wines are so good that they sell out every vintage.

It was so hard for me to get my hands on these highly coveted wines this week it reminded me of high school and the pretty girl you always admired from afar and never had a chance to date.  Lucky for WineGuyMike™ his sponsor Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana who supply the Reynvaan Wines made it happen for the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©.   

When I started this story I mentioned “Wine Fusion.”  This entire Reynvaan story immediately reminded me of the late great Miles Davis, the Godfather of Jazz Fusion.  Different elements coming together that result in amazing music or in this case Reynvaan Wines.  You may wonder about this analogy but stay with me for just a minute.  France and Walla Walla share similar latitudes, Walla Walla may be the new Châteuneuf-du-Pape of the United States, a terrior created by floods and volcanic eruptions, Old World and New World viticulture and winemaking.  Okay you probably get my point of “Wine Fusion,” how about that in your glass with a little Miles Davis. 

Mike Reynvann combined forces with one of the great cult winemakers from France who also settled in Walla Walla, enter Christophe Baron.  Christophe owns Cayuse Vineyards and also produces world class wines.  He has been consulting with Reynvaan Family Vineyards since 2004 when Mike purchased his vineyard land.  Now enter Mike’s son Matt Reynvaan who honed his winemaking skills in France to and now he and Christophe work as a team in producing wines for the Reynvaan label.  Matt was bestowed a very special honor this week by Wine & Spirits magazine.  He was named one of the 30 Under 30 top wine talents in the world, and I’m here to tell you that after drinking his wines, yes he is.  Congratulations Matt!

The Reynvaan Wines are made in a very French Northern Rhone wine like style.  There is a great deal of terrific Old World technique and style involved in crafting these fine artisanal wines.  The Old World countries just have a leg up on the New World because of time and experience in working with wines, especially when it comes to blending varietals.  European wines also tend to be lower in alcohol content and are a product of being made to complement the indigenous foods from the area in which the wines are produced.  In this case Matt Reynvaan has produced a horizontal flight of three Syrah wines that are some of the best in the world from the 2008 vintage.

These three wines are all blended and co-fermented with small amounts of white wine varietals; Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne.  This winemaking technique helps a wine to be a bit more restrained and less aggressive in your glass.  Syrah wines can be bold and spicy but when blended in this Northern Rhone style the wines become refined, elegant, supple, with silken like tannins which is exactly what Matt has accomplished with all three of these beauties from Walla Walla.

All three of these wines have scored 93-95 points in Wine Spectator reviews out of a possible 100 points.  Let’s get to these three wines; The Unnamed Syrah, In The Rocks, and the The Contender all from the 2008 vintage.  I share these wines in the order in which I tasted as Mike Reynvaan led me through the flight of Matt’s masterpieces.  You might wonder how three Syrah wines can all have such distinct personalities but they do. 

A common theme that each of these wines express are beautiful fruit, great on the nose, elegant structure, superb balance, silky tannin, perfect acidity, a finish that leaves you longing for more, and a mouthfeel that leaves a beautiful mid-palate impression.  These are red wines that are extremely approachable even in the summer.  The French style in which the wines are made lend themselves to a style that is a bit lighter in body, not too heavy and meaty like some of their counterparts that are a straight up Syrah varietal produced wine.  Not that that is a bad thing but perhaps a bit much in the middle of summer.  The other important thing to note is the style and balance of these three Syrah’s in which they are made make them perfect food companions.  I would recommend pairing these wines with Veal, Pork, and Lamb chops.  A great prime Sirloin steak, Leg of Lamb, or any Wild Game Meat will also do nicely with Matt Reynvaan’s wines.

The Unnamed Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $40

Rating: */** (Excellent/Exceptional) The Unnamed Syrah is loaded with aromas of peach, tangerine, wild blackberry, smoke and hints of lavender and a trace of caramel.  This elegant wine is created to be enjoyed in its youth but will evolve over the next 7-8 years.  90% Syrah co-fermented with 10% Viognier.  13.8% alcohol.  Approximately 450 cases produced.  WS 95pts.

In The Rocks Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $45

Rating: ** (Exceptional) The In The Rocks is packed with dark fruit aromatics, smoked meats, crushed gravel, and white pepper.  It is very animalistic with hints of sweet creme brulee and will benefit from 5 years of cellaring if you are able to resist the temptation to drink it.  2% Syrah co-fermented with 6.5% Viognier and 1.5% Marsanne. 13.2% alcohol.  Approximately 450 cases produced.  WS 93 pts. 

The Contender Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $55

Rating: ** (Exceptional) The Contender has amazing aromatics that are bursting with Marshmallow, white flower, crushed rocks, wild mushrooms, Asian spices and crushed raspberry.  The minerality of this wine is so powerful with the balance of aromatics that will make it hard to take your nose away from the glass. The finish goes on and on.  94% Syrah co-fermented with 4% Marsanne and 2% Viognier.  Approximately 450 cases produced.  WS 95 pts.

Seattle Metropolitan Magazine just released their list of 100 Best Washington Wines, the 2008 The Contender was #2, 2008 The Unnamed Syrah #6, Cayuse, Cailloux #1, Quilceda Creek #3.

Stay tuned because this is just the beginning of what is happening in the New World of wine.  With great young winemakers like Matt Reynvann Oregon and Washington wines have only just gotten started, the potential is scary and I can’t wait to share those wine stories with you.  For now I wish that your glass may be full of wine from the Reynvaan Family Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington.

A special thank you to the Mike, Gale, Matt, Amanda, and Angela Reynvaan for all that you do to produce some of the best wine there is, cheers to all of you.

This flight of wine all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval® as for Matt I dub him the “New World Grape Slayer.”

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

WineGuyMike™

Sherri Swingle and the Auction of Washington Wines Benefit Event on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/08/07/wine-guy-mike-for-8711/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at http://www.CiaoMambo.com

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© meet Sherri Swingle, Executive Director for Auction of Washington Wines.  This wonderful event is one of the most anticipated wine events of the year in Washington State.  The Auction of Washington Wines takes place August 18th through the 20th.

Sherri Swingle, Executive Director

Sherri Swingle, Executive Director

The auction is yet another example of good people doing great things with wine and I’m grateful that Sherri Swingle could join me as WineGuyMike™ featured guest this week.  As I know you can imagine she is extremely busy with all the last minute details in next ten days when the event begins.  Let me give you a little background on the event, its beneficiaries, and the Washington State Wine Country also.  The Auction of Washington Wines truly celebrates the Wines of Washington State to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation.

Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children's Hospital

It’s one of the most anticipated events of the year and this fun-filled event showcases Washington State’s growing wine industry with four days of sipping, tasting and partying with nearly 3,500 individual and business participants.  It all benefits Uncompensated Care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation.  

Washington Wine Education Foundation

Washington Wine Education Foundation

Auction of Washington Wines

The Auction of Washington Wines is an annual event held in Washington State that benefits uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation.  Originally created by a partnership between the Washington Wine Commission and the Enological Society of the Pacific Northwest, the Auction of Washington Wines is now structured as an independent entity.  Northwest Wine Benefit Foundation, the official name of the organization,  is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was established in 1988.

Since 1988, Chateau Ste. Michelle has hosted the auction, which has grown dramatically in attendance and dollars raised in each of its 23 years.  In 1988, slightly more than 100 people gathered at the Chateau for the first Auction of Washington Wines, raising more than $20,000.  Today, the event is comprised of five events over four days with a total attendance of approximately 3,000 people and a fundraising total of more than $24 million.

Washington States wine industry is the fastest growing agricultural segment in the state with the number of wineries seeing a 400% increase over the last decade.  Washington sees an extra two million dollars directly related to wine tourism in the state.

Washington State is blessed with great terrior for grape varietals that an experienced viticulturist recognizes as perfect for the grape type.  The states latitude is very similar to that of a couple of other great wine growing regions you may recognize, Burgundy and Bordeaux in France.  These famous regions in France sit at approximately 46ºN latitude as do the 11 AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas) of Washington State.

Grapes were first grown in Washington State in the early 1800’s by immigrants from Italy, France, and Germany.  Italian and German grape varietals were planted and vineyard acreage saw rapid expansion in the early part of the 20th century.  Over time and given understanding of all the particular grape growing areas within the state wines are being produced  that now Washington State must be recognized as one of the premier wine growing regions of the world.

Most of Washington’s grapes are grown on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, about 99% in fact.  Ten of the states eleven AVA’s are located on the east side of the mountains in the Columbia Valley.  The Columbia Gorge AVA runs west and south from the west edge of the Columbia Valley AVA following the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon.  The Columbia Gorge AVA can perhaps produce more grape varietals that any other region in the world due varying micro-climates along the Columbia River.  The other well known sub-regions of the Columbia Valley AVA include, Walla Walla Valley AVA, Red Mountain AVA, Yakima Valley AVA, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills, Snipes Mountain, and one of my favorite wine growing areas the Wahluke Slope.

There are a couple of up and coming areas in Washington State too; Lake Chelan AVA which is located in the north-central part of the state that also borders the Columbia River, near Wenatchee which produces amazing fruit.  It is one of my favorite areas to travel through.  As you graze your way through the area from fruit stand to fruit stand the area’s natural beauty features steep slopes with all types of fruit trees and the majestic Columbia River.  Both of these areas have applied for distinct AVA status so they can be recognized separately from the Columbia Valley AVA.

Now let’s get to the important part of this story, the individual happenings within this wonderful benefit event known as the Auction of Washington Wines.  I’ll set these up in the order in which they all happen for you. 

Events

Revelry on Red Moutain-Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 6:00pm

The Red Mountain AVA was established in 2001 on the eastern edge of the Yakima Valley.  There are 1,199 acres of grapes planted in this region on steep slopes that face Southwest toward the Yakima River.  There are 20 or so wineries in this area and their focus are on the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sangiovese, Malbec, and Petit Verdot varietals. 

Revelry on Red Moutain was held at the Col Solare Winery and 300 guests were WOW’d with area winemakers on the terrace of Col Solare for panoramic views of Red Mountain.  Revelry on Red Mountain was a tremendous success, raising over $24,500 for uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation, which supports industry programs such as viticulture and enology at Washington State University.

The beautiful evening at Col Solare set the stage for attendees to experience some new wines while making new friends and mingling with our 20 fabulous Red Mountain wineries.

The Who’s Who from Revelry on Red Moutain …Andrew Will (made by our 2011 Honorary Vintner, Chris Camarda), J. Bookwalter Winery (a winery started by our 2011 Honorary Grower, Jerry Bookwalter), Col Solare, Cooper Wine Company, Corvus, DeLille, Fidelitas, Gamache, Goedhart, Grand Reve, Hedges (pioneers on Red Mountain), Hightower Cellars, Kiona, Mark Ryan, Obelisco, Portrait, Quilceda Creek, Seven Hills, Tapteil and Terra Blanca.

Picnic & Barrel Auction-Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 4:00pm

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Woodinville

The Picnic & Barrel Auction will feature a myriad of activities on the grounds of the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.  Participants will rub elbows with Washington winemakers as they mingle among the crowd to pour tastings of their newest and oldest releases. Guests will enjoy bidding on some of Washington’s most coveted limited-release wines during the exciting Barrel Auction while enjoying gourmet picnic fare presented by the talented team of chefs from Tulalip Resort Casino.

The Barrel Auction

Twenty-five of our state’s finest vintners will be offering samples of their still-aging wine from a future barrel for you to taste and to buy.  When you find a wine you like and are ready to bid, simply write your bid number and name on one of our wooden placards and give it to our volunteers.  It will then be placed on the bid board for that winery.  Each winery will offer five cases and at the end of the auction, the top five bidders will win one case each.

WOW! John L. Scott Foundation will be challenging bidders to bid high during the Barrel Auction.  For every barrel that gets bid to its fair market value, John L. Scott Foundation will donate $1,000!

Winemaker Dinners Friday, August 19, 2011 at 6:30pm

These intimate dinners held at private estates, wineries and area restaurants are a favorite part of this weekend.  Enjoy the company of Washington winemakers whose wines are paired exquisitely with a gourmet meal created by a guest chef.

Andrew Will and Boudreaux Cellars with Chef Lauri Carter, Lecosho

Hosted at the home of Jen and Len Jordan

Magnolia Point of View

Chris Camarda, our 2011 Honorary Vintner of Andrew Will Winery, along with fellow vintner Rob Newsom of Boudreaux Cellars invite you for an unforgettable evening under the stars among old friends.  The setting is the gorgeous home of Jen and Len Jordan overlooking the Puget Sound on the western edge of Magnolia.  Enjoy the sunset while Chef Lauri Carter and owners Jill Buchanan and Matt Janke of Lecosho orchestrate dishes to complement the wines of their old friend, Camarda.  It is an evening to celebrate fine wines and notable winemakers.

Throwdown in Gig Harbor

Hosted at Canterwood Golf & Country Club in Gig Harbor

You’re invited to experience the best show in the South Sound!  The Canterwood Golf & Country Club and Brix 25 in Gig Harbor, come together for an evening you won’t forget!   This dinner brings together two of the South Sounds finest Executive Chefs, Dino Cruz from Canterwood GCC and Thad Lyman from award winning, Brix 25 for a Throwdown.  To add to the excitement, we’ve challenged four of Washington’s winemakers – Randall Hopkins of Corvus Cellars, Heather Neff of Nefarious Cellars, Ned Morris of Reasons Wine and Gordy Venneri of Walla Walla Vintners – to an extravagant five course food and wine Throwdown. At the end of the dinner, you’ll vote on your favorite.  The south sound won’t be the same after this history-making evening of battling Chef’s and winemakers!

Covey Run Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 8:00am

Redhook Ale Brewery, Woodinville

Be WOW’d at your ability to run, walk or crawl through a 5K or 10K course in the beautiful Woodinville wine country. Great fun for the whole family.

Presented by The Run for Children’s Guild, the 5th Annual Covey Run will take place with more than 1,400 runners and walkers. 

To participate as a sponsor, or for more information contact Aileen Kelly at aileen.kelly@seattlechildrens.org or call 206-987-4816.

The Wine Gala Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 4:30pm

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Woodinville

Be WOW’d at the industry’s original and most celebrated wine party of the summer under the stars on the lawn at Chateau Ste. Michelle.

The 24th annual Wine Gala will be held on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle.  Guests will enjoy a six course meal prepared by some of the area’s best chefs. Each table will be hosted by a Washington state winemaker, who will pair and pour wines from their collection.  Entertainment will include our celebrity auctioneer, Dave Reynolds, as he auctions 30 one-of-a-kind opportunities to experience Washington wine as no others have before.

We are proud to partner with Blue Nile as our first ever Diamond Sponsor. Blue Nile will be featured at the Wine Gala where guests will have the opportunity to take home beautiful jewelry gifts and one lucky lady will walk away at the end of the evening loaded with diamonds!  Wow!

Rich Gray will entertain the crowd with his original compositions during the live auction, and later Ruby Nevada will showcase their hits in the oak aging room.

Seating at the Wine Gala is limited.  Tickets are $500 per person.  Corporate and Friendship tables are available.  Please contact us for more information.

Formerly a black-tie event, this year will be cocktail attire, no jacket required.

The Beneficiaries of the Auction of Washington Wines

Seattle Children’s Hospital

Benefiting Uncompensated Care at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho).

Uncompensated care ensures that all children in our region receive the best medical care available, regardless of insurance coverage.  With the current recession, more families are losing medical insurance and premiums are rising. These unexpected expenses can be quite devistating.  When a hospital bill exceeds a family’s ability to pay, Seattle Children’s financial assistance program provides relief.  Thanks to you the Seattle Children’s Hospital can bring healing to children and peace of mind to families during difficult times.

In 2010, Seattle Children’s provided a record $102 million to service nearly 100,000 patients in uncompensated care alone.

It’s a misconception that they treat children from the metropolitan Seattle area only—they are a regional hospital serving Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.  

Recognized as one of the best in the world and consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s is recognized internationally for advancing discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics.

Seattle Children’s comprises Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation.  Children’s also serves as the primary clinical, research and teaching site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

For more information visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org.

Washington Wine Education Foundation

Washington State’s wine industry has become an important part of the state economy, contributing more than $3 billion annually and providing nearly 15,000 direct and indirect jobs and wages of $579 million.  With more than 650 wineries and more than 31,000 acres in wine grape production, Washington is the second largest wine producer in the nation.

The Washington Wine Education Foundation aims to strengthen the quality and reputation of the Washington wine industry by providing support toward a world class enology and viticulture research, education and training program specific to Washington state.

A portion of funds raised during the Auction of Washington Wines goes toward the WSU Viticulture and Enology Program to support the growth of the industry by providing cutting-edge research and by training the next generation of vintners and grape growers

I will be featuring wineries and wines from the participating wine producers contributing to this important event.  Each day between now and the 18th of August I will share a wine story with you and for today’s blog post I share with you Reynvaan Family Vineyards.

Reynvaan Family Vineyards

Reynvaan Family Vineyards

Reynvaan Family Vineyards is a small family owned winery started by Mike and Gale Reynvaan in May 2004 in Walla Walla, Washington.  They initially purchased a 37 acre parcel of land on Cottonwood Road at the base of the Blue Mountains.  Reynvaan Family Vineyards is dedicated to creating fine wines exclusively from the terroir of Walla Walla Valley. 

They have two vineyards planted that represent each end of the terroir spectrum.  Their first vineyard has 16 acres under vine that they call “In the Rocks,” to demonstrate where and how they were planted.  It was first planted in 2005 with the goal to create wines that would clearly express that vineyard’s unique terroir and minerality.  They began planting small 5 acre blocks each year to better understand the terrior and choose the best vines for particular locations.  Their first vintage, 2007, comes from that first 5 acres of vines, creating three wines: a Rhone white varietal blend, “Queens Road White”, a Syrah co-fermented with Viognier called “In the Rocks”; and a second Syrah co-fermented with Marsanne called “The Contender.”  The vineyard now includes two red varietals: Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon; plus three white varietals: Viognier, Marsanne and Grenache Blanc.

Their second vineyard, “Foothills in the Sun,” was planted in 2007.   This hillside vineyard is one of the most densely planted and highest elevation sites in the State of Washington.  With vineyard density, the vines seek out water and nutrients, become stronger and produce clusters of small berries with intense concentration.  A southwest facing hillside vineyard at this elevation has several advantages: maximum exposure to the sun; substantial temperature variation between day and night; and beneficial wind patterns.  The vineyard currently is planted in two red varietals: Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon; and one white: Viognier.  Working with the highest quality Walla Walla grapes grown meticulously in our own vineyards allows the family to control virtually every aspect of farming and wine production and ultimately to respect the natural expression of the soils of the vineyards.

The winemaking philosophy is quite simple at Reynvaan Family Vineyards, harvest perfectly ripe clusters that reflect their distinct terroir, guide the wines through a natural upbringing and bottle them only when we feel the true characteristics of the wine have been revealed.

MV SUBPLOT No 25

MV SUBPLOT No 25

MV SUBPLOT No 25 from BookWalter Winery

The Story; Lush red and vibrant white wines from the Columbia Valley.

Located in the Heart of the Columbia Valley, Bookwalter Winery has been producing small lots of high quality wine since 1983.

The Subplot number represents how many non-vintage table wines Bookwalter have produced since 1983.

Each lot of wine selected for Subplot is carefully chosen each year after they have made their final blends for their top tier wines.  They attempt to create a flavorful, full-bodied yet approachable wine by layering vintages, vineyards and varietals in their Subplot wines.  Press wine from their oldest vineyards are aged longer in the cellar to help soften the tannins and create more mature flavors and wine from their younger vines and more recent vintages are added to the blend to bring the lush, young fruit characteristics forward in the wine.  The result is a wine that offers, fruit, structure, approachability and exceptional value.  Although these wines are meant to be consumed in their youth, the wines have showed graceful aging potential.

Gramercy Cellars

Just as it takes great ingredients to make an exceptional meal, a great wine begins with the best grapes.  Gramercy Founder and Master Sommelier Greg Harrington spent his career overseeing some of the most prestigious wine programs in the country.  His goal was always the same – to find balanced wines with limited new oak influence that taste of a specific place.  This ambition continues at Gramercy Cellars.

 They believe that great wines share common traits – great vineyards, minimalist winemaking, time and patience.  Gramercy’s philosophy is simple – to develop or partner with the best vineyards, harvest ripe – not over-ripe – grapes, intervene minimally in the winemaking process, and use as little new oak as possible.  They believe that too many wines have excessive alcohol and new oak, are overly fruity and taste as if they could be from anywhere.   They created Gramercy Cellars to make different wines that display balance, both fruit and earthiness, restraint and elegance.  Their wines may require time to develop and open, but reward patience.  This is their passion.  At Gramercy Cellars, they seek to produce wines that complement food, provide great pleasure and stand out as uniquely in Washington.

 Prior to founding Gramercy Cellars, Master Sommelier Greg Harrington spent his career managing wine programs for top chefs such as Joyce Goldstein, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck.  Since becoming the youngest American to pass the Master Sommelier Exam at the age of 26, Greg has been passionate about someday making his own wine.  His Washington odyssey began in the spring of 2004, at a backyard picnic in Brooklyn, hosted by the Walla Walla Wine Alliance. There, Greg and his wife, Pam, tasted wines that surprised them.  They were very different from what they had come to expect from American wines.   These were wines that displayed earthy characteristics and balance.   A marathon tasting trip in Walla Walla later that spring (and Pam’s discovery of the term “palate fatigue”) convinced them that Walla Walla was in their future.  First, this meant “when they retire.”  That quickly became “5 years from now.”  Meanwhile, Greg worked harvest in 2004 in Walla Walla and was more convinced than ever that Walla Walla was the place in the United States to make the wines he loves.   Soon thereafter, Pam gave him the green light to leave his restaurant industry job to seize the opportunity to finally follow his dreams full time, resulting in Gramercy’s first harvest in 2005.

Gramercy is at one with their terrior, they make unbelievable wine.

2009 Buried Cane Chardonnay

2009 Buried Cane Chardonnay

2009 Buried Cane Chardonnay

Washington State wine country has warm sunny summers and cold frosty winters.  One time-honored practice to protect grape vines from damaging cold is to bury low-growing vine canes.  These buried canes can be unearthed after winter freezes pass, assuring a grape harvest in the following season.

Cool climate vineyards produce wines with plenty of natural acidity and balance.  This Chardonnay has crisp apple and melon fruit flavors, a touch of citrus, and balanced oak-spice and butter notes.

The 2009 Buried Cane Chardonnay is 100% varietal and is blended from two distinctive vineyards.  It’s 95% Arete Vineyard from the Columbia Valley AVA and 5% Champoux Vineyard, from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

The Arete Vineyard, planted in 1985, straddles Radar Hill near Othello, Washington.  It’s a very cool site. This area is noted for producing wines which are delicate and fruity in nature; Chardonnay excels here.  The Champoux Vineyard was planted in the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Paul Champoux began managing the vineyard in 1989 and has consistently worked to improve quality in his 170 acre site.  The vineyard has 16 acres of Chardonnay, along with numerous other varieties.

The finished wine is light yellow in color, with a lime-green tinge. The nose shows distinct Chardonnay character, but with plenty of cool-climate focus. Green apple and macadamia nut aromas dominate the nose, with creamy citrus backnotes.  They all combine to make an almost apple-pie aroma.  The wine is bright and zingy on the palate, with green-apple flavors and crisp acidity.  It finishes clean and refreshing, with supple texture.

Arbor Crest owners The Mielke Family: Harry, Marcia, Elisa, John, and Kristina

Arbor Crest owners The Mielke Family: Harry, Marcia, Elisa, John, and Kristina

Arbor Crest Wine Cellars

In 1982, the Mielke family started on a venture that would eventually grow into the Inland Northwest’s premier winery.

Taking advantage of the budding Washington wine industry, they purchased a winery in California and moved the operations to the family’s old cherry-packing facility near the Upriver Dam in central Spokane.  Soon after, their very first wine, a Sauvignon Blanc from the Bacchus Vineyard, was sold from this location in March of 1982 officially starting Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, the 29th winery in Washington State.

Two years later, in 1984, the Mielkes acquired the historic Spokane Valley estate of Royal Riblet to serve as the idyllic new headquarters of the winery.  The company’s management offices moved into Riblet’s inventor’s workshop and for many years the quaint old garage of the estate’s Florentine-style mansion served as Arbor Crest’s unique tasting room.

Located atop a 450 ft. cliff with exquisite views of the city, The Cliff House Estate, as it is now known, has since become a destination for exceptional wines and memorable public events.

In 1999, the family business came full-circle as Kristina Mielke-van Löben Sels, the daughter of the Mielkes, came from her position as associate winemaker at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards in Sonoma County, California, to take over as the head winemaker for Arbor Crest.

Kristina and her husband, Jim van Löben Sels, who has a strong background in agricultural economics and viticulture, are now celebrating over a decade of elegant, award-winning varietals. While continuing to refine and hone their craft, they hope to produce even more exciting wines from the best Washington State fruit sourced from some of the oldest and most respected vines in the state.

Since their arrival, several things have changed at Arbor Crest. The tasting room moved from the garage to a beautiful new facility built on the estate in 2003, and a second tasting room was opened in Downtown Spokane’s River Park Square Mall.  Furthermore, both the level of production and selection of varietals has expanded, and Arbor Crest wines can now be found on store shelves around the world.

Despite continued growth, Arbor Crest’s family values, wonderful wines, and beautiful surroundings have remained unchanged since the winery’s founding nearly 30 years ago.  The entire Arbor Crest family looks forward to many more years of providing quality, award-winning wines.

Hedges Family Estate

Anne-Marie Liégeois was born in Champagne, France, in a small village near the beautiful medieval town of Troyes.  Her upbringing was very much routed in traditional French culture where work and French formalities took priority over idealism.  Within the confines of a “maison bourgeoise” surrounded by organically cultivated gardens and edible game, three generations of family lived and worked side by side for the greater good of name and property.  The Dupont-Liégeois family business prospered, the rewards of which were the enjoyment of traditional French life focused around the dinner table.  Interesting animated discussions, traditional home cooked meals, and wonderful local wines were the norm.  What Anne-Marie was accustomed to, Tom would desire.

Tom was born in Richland, Washington State, a government conceived engineering town for the nuclear sciences.  He is the product of a traditional American home of strong work ethics steered by the Department of Energy’s demands on his apple and dairy-farm-raised father.  A firm hand, the pursuit of sports, and the focus of fast eating were typical life patterns for the young American.  The eastern Washington State surroundings of shrub and sand—his terroir—carved a lifestyle of Americana most would find uninspiring at best. However, rigid European customs did not bind him down, as they did for Anne-Marie.  The American sixties allowed Tom to rebel, to free his mind, to act on impulse with minimal consequence, something Anne-Marie must have desired during her year at a Parisian finishing school for women.

 The history of Hedges Family Estate begins in June of 1976, with the marriage of Tom Hedges and Anne-Marie Liégeois in a 12th century church in Champagne, France.  The convergence of separate cultural upbringings provides a strong backdrop for creating a modern day, but traditionally inspired wine estate.

Ten years after their wedding, an opportunity to become entrepreneurs seemed like a positive move to economic independence, contrasting from the previous decade of working for large multinational agricultural firms.  In 1986, this unique opportunity presented itself; Tom and Anne-Marie created an export company called American Wine Trade, Inc., based out of Kirkland, Washington State; they began selling wine to foreign importers.  As the company grew, it began to source Washington wines for a larger clientele leading to the establishment of a negociant-inspired wine called Hedges Cellars.  This 1987 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot was sold to the Swedish Wine and Spirit Monopoly, Vin & Sprit Centralen, the company’s first major client.

Tom and Anne-Marie quickly learned that the success of this ancient trade would be based on the site of its vineyards.  This concept resonates strongly in Europe, but to less effect in the new world wine regions, where land is less important than brands. Three hours south east of Seattle an opportunity presented itself in a developing wine region called Red Mountain.  Tom and Anne-Marie, as new owners, felt its potential for greatness.  At this location, American Wine Trade transformed itself from negociant and wine trader to the classic model of a wine estate.  Today, this biodynimacally-farmed Red Mountain property continues to be the fundament of the Hedges family.

Authentic wine estates must live on for centuries to achieve acceptance amongst the world great properties.  The second generation has begun to make its mark at Hedges Family Estate.  Tom and Anne-Marie’s children, Christophe and Sarah, are now involved in the business, and each has a special set of skills for understanding the terroir.

Sarah prefers the fermentation arts, skillfully touching and understanding the world of the microbial spectrum.  As the assistant winemaker under master fermentation artist, Pete Hedges (younger sibling of Tom), she carefully observes the forging of a great wine vintage after vintage.  Pete, a man of the cloth of science, is open to nature’s will.  He must work in tandem with the disparate concept of terroir and chemistry.  Indeed, it is a dance of patience and of mind, which works to allow the terroir a path to geographic typicity.

The eldest of the two, Christophe, spends much of his time sharing knowledge of the terroir and the estate during his travels as national director of sales and marketing.  To ground his teachings, he farms his own property using the concept of modern Biodynamic arts, carefully observed under the eyes of John Gomez, Hedges Family Estate vineyard manager.  An artist at heart, the Hedges labels are the product of his love for design.

Tom, Anne-Marie, Christophe, Sarah, and the entire Hedges company believe place of origin is the keystone of authenticity.  Our goal is to treat our wines with reverence and let the Red Mountain terroir speak for itself.

It was a privilege this week to visit with Executive Director, Sherri Swingle, for Auction of Washington Wines.  I whole heartedly endorse this event and would encourage you to participate in this worthwhile opportunity by making your donation.   Use this link to contact Sherri and make your donation; info@auctionofwashingtonwines.org or to find out more about this event, http://www.auctionofwashingtonwines.org/

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

Join me on a trip to Sangriaville on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©, and all things Sangria


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

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Sangria in Sangriaville

Sangria in Sangriaville

This week’s WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Topic; Sangria.  I would like to wish all of my listeners, readers, followers, and fans a happy 4th of July.  May your celebrations be wonderful and safe.  This week I wanted to share an age old crowd pleaser from around the world that everyone wants to claim to as their national drink.  Who knows for sure but what I can tell you this wine punch is refreshing and approachable for any of your family and friends you have gathered with to celebrate Independence Day.  I’m going to share with you what it is, where it came from, and how it is made.  Join me for a trip to Sangriaville, won’t you?

Sangria is a wine punch that I love because it falls right under the WineGuyMike’s™  rules of order and you may ask what is that, there are “no rules”.  That’s right when it comes to Sangria there are regional, cultural, restaurant, and family influences that incent hostesses and hosts of parties to create their own version of Sangria, whether it’s red or white.

The other thing I like about Sangria is the very definition of this Spanish Punch; Sangría; meaning “bloodletting”.   Okay this stuff sounds dangerous so that means I’m in on this.  All kidding aside this is one of the perennial summertime favorites from around the world, and why not, it’s big on flavor, it quenches your thirst, and it’s a great drink to share with friends at any social gathering.

Spain may lay claim to this drink but upon further research I found that may not exactly be the true story.  A British East India Company traveling in India tasted a drink known as Pac.  This drink that the British discovered had five ingredients that were referred to in its name; Eau de vie, sugar, lemon, water and tea. The British group took this recipe back to the West Indies and the name of the drink evolved into punch.  The French have also laid claim to this drink historically too.

The base of Sangria is a nice table wine that is not expensive.  Typically a wine that is light to medium bodied is what is best to use in Sangria.  In Spain they will use a Tempranillo or a Grenache from the Rioja region, the French will use a Beaujolais or a Gamay, and the Italians will use a Bardolino, Dolcetto, Grignolino , Freisa, or some Lambrusco.

If you prefer a Sangria that is white you might use a Pinot Bianco(Blanc) or possibly a unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Gris(Grigio), or a Sauvignon Blanc will do nicely as well.  In Spain this is known as Sangria Blanca. 

Next comes the fruit which is sliced or chopped; lemons, oranges, apples, peaches, pineapple, melon, berries, or mangos.  Now it’s time to sweeten things up a bit; sugar, simple syrup, honey, or the nectar from the fruit.  At this point you will add Orange Juice and a splash or two of something fortified, I prefer Brandy, or some spirits followed by ice and something carbonated, my suggestion is seltzer water.  If a person were so inclined they could use a dry sparkling wine in place of the seltzer water.

To prepare Sangria you will slice all fruit thinly and place in you large wide mouthed pitcher or punchbowl and add your other ingredients minus ice and anything that may be carbonated.  Then place in the refrigerator for the day so all the flavors will meld together.  Now before serving you will add the ice and carbonated beverages.

This drink is served in the summertime in most Latin American countries, Italy, and America.  But you can bet where it’s hot even in the wintertime they’re drinking Sangria.  Here are some great Sangria recipes for you to try.

*I would recommend a pitcher with a strainer for the top as it makes the drink easier to pour with the fruit in it.

Here are some of WineGuyMike’s™ favorite Sangria recipes and wines that I recommend to make your Sangria with.

2009 Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay

2009 Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay

2009 Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay

The Layer Cake Virgin Chardonnay is so named because it never comes in contact with any oak. Wine lovers have expressed a shared interest in getting back to what Chardonnay used to be: Clean, crisp, layered, refreshing fruit, a hint of summer, with none of the overbearing heaviness of oak.  If the taste of buttered popcorn is what you crave, you’d do better finding it at the movies than in a bottle of wine.

By taking grapes from excellent vineyards on California’s Central Coast, gently pressing them and fermenting them in stainless steel tanks, Layer Cake produces a wine with the characteristics of some of the greatest white wines including fresh fruit and floral aromas, crisp and refreshing on the palate, plus a long lingering finish.  All of this can be achieved best by not mauling the wine with oak contact.

Layer Cakes Monterey vineyards border the Santa Lucia Highlands.  Shallow granitic soils lend mineral characters and beautiful citrus blossom aromas to the wine.  Cooling winds fill in from Monterey Bay each afternoon, preserving crisp acidity and delicate aromatics.  This is a must drink Chardonnay, Jayson Woodbridge hits yet another grand slam with this “Virgin Chardonnay”.  Extreme value in this wine and Layer Cake wines are now sold at Costco.

Steele Pinot Blanc 2009

Steele Pinot Blanc 2009

2009 Steele Pinot Blanc

As Jed started seeking alternatives to Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc emerged as a personal favorite. This grape is the colorless expression of the red Pinot Noir grape.  The Pinot family have very unstable genetics and the result are the many clones of Pinot Noir, the dusky colored white grape called Pinot Gris and this grape the Pinot Blanc.  Santa Barbara, with its maritime desert climate provides just the right combination of tropical and apple notes, while preserving a crisp acidity that makes it a refreshing food wine.  The grapes are sourced from Bien Nacido Vineyard outside of Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County.  The vines are mature (10+ years) but not old. The vineyard block is one of the westernmost on the property, adjacent to fields of strawberries, cauliflower, and bell peppers.  This end of the vineyard is a little lower in elevation, and most exposed to both fog and coastal breezes.  The fruit is harvested in late September or early October, depending on the year.  Yields rarely exceed three tons per acre. The soil is sandy loam, over a layer of ancient sea bed, filled with shells and fossils.

 Tropical fruit aromas and flavors, as well as peach and melon characteristics and we also find the hallmark green apple character common in Pinot Blanc.  The nose is aromatic with a soft and creamy mid-palate.  Jed ferments his Pinot Blanc in neutral oak barrels, so there is great weight and mouthfeel but the wine is not over oaked.  

2008 Desert Wind Ruah

2008 Desert Wind Ruah

 2008 Desert Wind Ruah

 This wine is crafted from fruit grown on Eastern Washington’s Wahluke Slope, the Desert Wind Ruah is an affirmation of the area’s viticultural prowess.  Their full bodied, Bordeaux-inspired blend is enveloped in a lush core of concentrated blackberry fruit with a hint of anise on the palate.  The wine has hints of toasted oak and spice and a rich garnet color, which is complemented by soft, velvety tannins and a lingering finish.   This wine offers great value and can be found at Costco for under $15.00.

14 Hands Merlot

14 Hands Merlot

 14 Hands Merlot

 The grapes for this wine are sourced from vineyards throughout Washington state, including the Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley and the Wahluke Slope.  The fruit is gently de-stemmed, crushed and then allowed to soak in its cool juice to maximize flavor extraction.  The wine was aged in a combination of American and French oak barrels for 12 months.  Barrels ranged in age from new to 4 years old.  All varieties were vinified and aged separately.  Blending occurred near bottling to enhance mouth-feel and complexity.

 “14 Hands Merlot offers classic Washington aromas of blackberries and black cherries.  Expressive flavors of dark stone fruits are joined by subtle notes of cocoa and toast. While soft and approachable, this wine maintains a sturdy frame of tannins.” A classic Washington State Merlot dominated by notes of blackberries with nuanced hints of cherries and spices to add complexity and depth. Luscious and velvety on the tongue, a very sensual wine.

 Lemon Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Superfine Sugar
  • 2 Lemons, sliced
  • 6 oz Lemon Juice
  • 4 oz Cognac
  • 1 liter seltzer water
  • 1 Bottle Red Wine

Directions:

Cut lemons into slices and add to the mixture of wine, 7 up and Cognac and sugar.

Peach Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle white Wine
  • 3 ounces Brandy
  • 2 ounces Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce Simple Syrup or to taste
  • 3 oz peach puree
  • Fresh sliced peaches or berries for garnish

Directions:

Combine all ingredients but garnish and chill overnight or at least 8 hours.

Raspberry Mango Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bottle Spanish Red Wine
  • 1 Mango, sliced
  • 2 cups of fresh raspberries (or thawed frozen)
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 3 oz brandy
  • 2 tbsp of suberfine sugar if desired
  • 1 Can club soda

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl or pitcher except for the club soda. Let sit in refrigerator over night or at least 8 hours.

Add club soda just before serving.

Classic Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 bottle spanish red wine
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup chilled seltzer water

Directions:

Wash and slice fruit. Dissolve sugar in cognac and orange luqueur. Add sugar, cognac and orange liqueur and fruit to a pither or punch bowl. Pour in wine. Stir to mix in fruit.

Add seltzer just before serving and add ice cubes if desired.

White Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle fruity white wine (avoid an oaky white)
  • 1 pear
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 lime
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar ta
  • 1 cup club soda or ginger ale

Directions:

Dissolve sugar in wine and add grand marinier. Wash and thinly slice the fruit. Add to wine. Refrigerate overnight or for several hours at least. 

Add club soda or ginger ale just before serving.

Sangria de Cava

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine)
  • 1 cup orange juice (
  • 2 oranges, thinly sliced
  • 2 apples, cut in chunks
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 6 not cinnamon sticks
  • crushed ice
  • mint leaves

Directions:

Put sugar, water and cinnamon sticks in a sauce pan and heat until sugar is dissolved (simmer about 5 minutes).

Let mixture cool and remove cinnamon sticks

Slice fruit and prepare orange juice. Combine all ingredients except for ice and mint, and let chill several hours.

Garnish with mint and serve with ice.

Lambrusco Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 Peach, slived
  • 1 plum, slived
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 bottles of Lambrusco — frizzante red Italian wine
  • 1/2 cup of brandy or fruit schnapps

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or bowl with ice and serve.

From My Table to Yours™, have a great 4th of July and I hope you enjoy these wonderful Sangria delights!

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"