Tag Archive | Sinistra

Sinistra – the Leftist Wine

Tonight I’m enjoying a glass of Sinistra, a wine produced by Tsillan Cellars in Lake Chelan, Washington.  I discovered this blend of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera when I visited Chelan last fall for a work conference.  Since then, I have purchased it when I found it (which to tell the truth was only once).  Sinistra is Italian for left – whether it be left-handed, or a leftist political party formed in Italy in the late 90s.  I’m not sure what the significance was in naming this wine, but it works.  If anybody knows, please let me know!

Tsillan Cellars sit on the hill above Lake Chelan, built in the Italian Villa style, with a beautiful outdoor patio and plenty of seating.  The size reminded me more of a Napa winery than most of the ones that we see in Washington and Oregon.  That said, the staff are friendly and down to earth, and more than happy to recommend a great wine with dinner – they have a restaurant too.

The wine is a blood red color, which a very acidic nose (not uncommon with the Italian varietals).  At first taste, it reminds me of a tart raspberry.  The oak that it was aged in is not apparent, leaving a lovely, approachable wine.  It is an excellent wine with food – tonight we had it with some delicious hamburgers made from locally raised, organic beef.  It complemented the richness of the beef nicely.

Jon doesn’t typically go for the Italian varietals, but he announced that this would be a winery he’d be happy to visit.  Hopefully we can make it over to Lake Chelan sometime soon!

Pre-conference tasting in Chelan

I had a conference to attend the third week of September in Chelan, WA, which is one of the newest designated AVAs. For those of you non-wine junkies, AVA stands for American Viticultural Area, which is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and United States Department of the Treasury (thanks, wikipedia!). I’m not sure why the Department of the Treasury is involved, but hey, I guess that is our government at work. The bummer is that Jon had to stay home and work, so I was on my own in such a beautiful area!

Fortunately for me, the conference that I was attending had a reception at the Tsillan Cellars Winery.  It is just a couple of miles outside of Chelan, and is a beautiful Italian style villa.  They had several whites and reds, and I was able to taste 3.  I started out with the Sinistra blend, which is 70% Sangiovese, 15% Nebbiolo, and 15% Barbera, which was delicious.  It was a nice soft red, that was smooth and easy to drink.  It was not heavily oaked, and I really enjoyed it.  Next I tried their Syrah, which was more bold, but still a nice balance between fruit and tannins.    We stayed for dinner, and I had their Gewurztraminer, and was a bit disappointed.  It seemed a bit stale, and didn’t really have the balanced sweetness that I was hoping for.  The food is a bit plain for the prices that they are charging, but all in all I enjoyed my visit.

I brought home two bottles – one was the Sinistra, and the other was their Syrah/Grenache blend that I didn’t try at the winery, but it was an interesting blend, so I wanted to try it.  At home,  Jon thought that it was too light and soft for his taste, but I really enjoyed it.  I would certainly buy it again.