Tag Archive | WA wine

Two Good Cabs

I’m not a huge fan of Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly not Washington made Cab.  I too often find that drinking some of those big, bold Washington Cabs is like chewing on a hunk of wood.  Dry oak.  But I have had a couple recently that have surprised me, in a good way.

2010 La Playa Claret

This is a big wine, and while it isn’t predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, it still has quite a bit of Cab.  The blend is 41% Petit Verdot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cabernet Franc and 4% Carmenere. It is a big tannic wine, but it isn’t too dry though – it has a nice balance.  On the nose, there is the strong scent of tobacco.  On the palate, it has flavors of stewed plums and leather.  It was harvested by hand and aged for 8 months in French and American oak.

This wine really reminded me that living in Chile was the main reason I started loving wine.  And I do love Chilean wine!  I really should drink a lot more of it.

2011 Revelry Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Jon poured me a glass of this wine when he couldn’t offer me any more La Playa, because…. you guessed it… he drank it all.  Revelry is a Walla Walla winery, sourcing their fruit from several areas in the Columbia Valley.  Although they are a fairly new winery, with their first vintage in 2005, they have managed to secure fruit from several elite vineyards, including Sagemoor Vineyard, and vineyards on Red Mountain and the Horse Heaven Hills.

On the nose, I got lots of blackberry, and on the palate, it had medium tannins and wasn’t super dry.  It was a fruity Cab, almost slightly jammy, but in a wonderful balanced kind of way.  Not a fruit bomb by any means, but certainly more fruit than your typical overly oaked Washington Cab.  I loved it!  The grapes for this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon came from various vineyards, including Red Mountain, The Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, and the Walla Walla Valley.  It spent 12-16 months in the 100% French Oak barrels, with 30% being new French Oak.

Jon and I both loved these two wines, which is unusual because we tend to go for something very different in a big, red wine.  If you have had either one, let me know what you think!

A Cop Makes Wine: 2007 Guardian Cellars Syrah

After a long day at work (lately they have all been long days), I came home and put together a dinner of baked Bratwurst and veggies.  Jon told me I could open whatever wine I wanted, so I went exploring in the wine fridge and came out with a 2007 Syrah by Guardian Cellars.

Guardian is a relative newcomer to the Woodinville, WA wine scene, opening the doors to its tasting room in 2007 with the 2003 and 2004 vintages.  They sold out on opening day.  They have increased production over the years, from 300 cases to 5,000 cases in 2012, but it continues to be a labor of love for Jerry, a local police officer who makes all of the wine himself.  His wife manages the tasting room, which closes down for periods of time when they sell out of the current releases.

Guardian wines consistently get high scores, which is no surprise considering I haven’t tried a Guardian wine that I didn’t love.  Jerry makes several big, bold reds, with complex flavors that are nicely balanced and tannins that aren’t overwhelming.  Each of the wines, while robust, is also smooth and approachable.

Although they have found success in their second careers, they are still as friendly as ever, giving each customer special attention in the tasting room and making you feel like a friend.  They have decorated the space with concert posters, detailing musical tastes that are in line with Jon’s, and the modern style is trendy and minimalist without feeling cold.  It is a great place to hang out over a glass of wine.  And if it isn’t super-busy, Jerry will happily show you around the production area, where all the wine-making action takes place.

guardian-logo

The 2007 Syrah comes from Stillwater Creek Vineyard grapes, and was aged in 75% new French oak for 18 months.  It has blackberries and smoke on the nose, and follows with flavors of berry, wood and spice on the palate, with just a hint of that same smoke.  If you can find a bottle, you won’t be disappointed.  Wow.

The Italians make great wine!

I’m home from my conference in Yakima, and surprise, surprise, it has been raining.  The story of my life this spring.  So, this evening, I’m drinking a wine that reminds me of sunnier places – Italy.  It’s a Facelli Winery Cabernet Franc.  Facelli is located in Woodinville, Washington, and we visited the tasting room in September 2010.  It was on that trip that we picked up this particular bottle.

This Cabernet Franc has a chocolate and cherry nose, and it tastes like tart dark cherries and raspberry.  The tartness is a characteristic of the Italian wines, and is one of the things I really like about it.  One of my favorite things about the Facelli wines is that they don’t have the heavy oak that so many of Jon’s favorite wines have.

All in all, this is a wonderful light red – it would be great with a pasta dinner!