Monthly Archives: April 2012
The month of April has been quite a busy one for me, unfortunately I’ve been mostly busy with things keeping me
away from blogging. However, on a more positive note I think that Spring may have finally sprung, and the best way to celebrate the arrival of spring is by drinking some good wines. There is nothing like relaxing on the porch with a nice refreshing glass of wine, especially in the warm weather. About a week ago with temperatures pushing 80 degrees, I thought a Riesling would be nice, so I tried a 2009 by Latah Creek. Latah Creek is a winery located in Spokane WA, and just recently celebrated 30 years in the business. They have quite a lineup of wines, which includes a Huckleberry Riesling, and they are also known for producing some great Merlot. This Riesling was clear in color with a hint of pale green to it. On the nose I got aromas of honey and apricots, and it had nice acidity on the finish, with hints of tropical fruit along with just a touch of sweetness. It really was the perfect glass of wine for a hot day. Also, at $8 retail it was a fantastic deal for the price.
Another wine I recently tried was a 2009 Viura from Rioja, Spain. Viura, also known as Macabeo, is one of the most widely planted white wine grapes in Rioja. Aside from on its own, you can find Viura blended with Garnacha Blanca and Malvasia in White Riojas. This particular bottle called Vetiver was 100% Viura and produced by Bodegas Ontanon. This wine was a clear pale yellow in color, and had hints of tropical fruit and toasty oak on the nose. It was smooth on the palate with mellow acids and a creamy finish. This was aged in oak for 6 months, and the oak definitely stood out, but overall it was a refreshing wine, and also would be good on a hot day.
I also tried a red wine just recently that seemed to be good for the arrival of Spring. This was a 2009 Col Di Sasso, produced by Banfi.
Col Di Sasso which is Italian for “Stony Hill”, is from the Tuscany region of Italy and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. This was a very pleasant wine, and it had a bright ruby red color, with a nice earthy leathery nose with light fruit. It had a nice smooth finish with good acids and tannins with a hint of ripe red cherry. This was a perfect companion witthe grilled tri-tip steak that I had with it.
So if you haven’t yet, make sure you break out some of your favorite wines and celebrate the arrival of Spring!
The other day I was in the mood for a white wine, so I settled on some Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio is also known as Pinot
Gris, depending on if it’s from France or Italy. Also some areas in the US label it differently, such as Oregon (they call it Pinot Gris there). I haven’t really tried much in the way of Pinot Grigio in quite a while. The last time I tried one it was from Barefoot Cellars, which I wouldn’t really consider anything great; although a former professor of mine practically lives on the stuff. Anyways, I’ve tried a few good Italian wines recently, so I chose a bottle of 2010 Ca’ Del Sarto Pinot Grigio from the Friuli region of Italy, which is in the Northeast corner of the country. The specific DOC it was produced in is Grave Del Friuli, which is considered one of the most important DOCs in the region. DOC is an abbreviation of the appellation system in Italy, which is Denominazione Di Origine Controllata. This wine had a very clear, almost colorless appearance to it, with just a hint of pale yellow straw. It had a pleasant nose of fresh pear, and a clean, crisp refreshing finish with great acidity and a touch of that same ripe pear. I thought it was a nice glass of wine, and would be perfect for a warm spring or summer day. I compared this wine to another Pinot Grigio, a 2009 Columbia Crest Two Vines from Washington State. This was a product of the Columbia Valley, where there is currently close to 1,600 planted acres of Pinot Grigio. This bottle was about the
same with respect to the color; very pale and maybe a light yellow or straw. It was lacking in aromatics however, as I could not sense much in the way of fruit, with maybe a touch of honey. It had a nice smooth finish, although not much in the way of acidity with maybe a slight hint of honey to it. I thought the Ca’ Del Sarto was a much better wine, it had that nice crispness and pleasant aromatics that were lacking in the Columbia Crest; and it seemed like it would pair much better with a meal as well. The Columbia Crest wasn’t necessarily a bad wine, just didn’t seem to have any particularly great quality that stood out. It would probably be a good glass on a hot day, but I don’t think it would really pair well with a meal. So if you come across a bottle of the Ca’ Del Sarto, give it a try. I am thinking I might try out some more Italian white wines from this region, hopefully I can find another that was as good as this one. Also since the weather is getting better, it’s always nice to have a good glass of white wine on a nice warm day.
This past Easter weekend was a great food and wine weekend, as I drank some good wines, ate a lot of good food, and also had the opportunity to take a tour at Barrister Winery in Spokane, WA. This Winery is owned and operated by two attorneys (hence the name, Barrister) Michael White and Greg Lipsker, and is located downtown in an old classic brick building. The two started making wine in 1997 as a hobby, and then became a bonded winery in 2001.
Inside the winery it is nicely put together, with a tasting bar as well as art displayed on the walls. The winery is also set up for events, so weddings and other social gatherings are commonly done there. Our party arrived a few minutes early and spent that time tasting the wines. We then met owner / winemaker Greg Lipsker who proceeded to give us a fantastic tour of the facility. The tasting room had a nice lineup of wines available, which included one white and four reds. The white, a Sauvignon Blanc, was a 2011 made with grapes sourced out of Klipsun Vineyard in Red Mountain AVA. It was a nice pleasant wine, with fresh citrus on the nose and a refreshing grapefruit taste along with a clean, crisp finish.
The red wines included their blend known as Rough Justice (Non Vintage), a 2009 Artz Vineyard Merlot, 2009 Columbia Valley Cabernet Franc, and finally the 2008 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Of these four I liked the Merlot and the Cabernet Franc the best. The 2008 Merlot as mentioned was made with grapes sourced from Artz Vineyard, which also happens to be located in Red Mountain AVA. This wine had a ruby red color to it with aromas of ripe raspberry on the nose. It had a nice spicy taste with hints of ripe red fruit and chocolate, with just the right amount of oak along with a smooth finish. The 2009 Cabernet Franc had aromas of dark fruit along with a little earthiness and toasty oak. The first sip gave way to spicy red fruit and more of that toasty oak. I thought all of the wines were impressive, and the tasting staff was very friendly which made the experience all the better.
After tasting the wines we met up with Greg and he led us on a tour of the winery. First we stopped off where most of the winery equipment was, and explained the wine making process that takes place. I found it interesting that during the fermentation process, they are punching down the cap formed by all of the grape skins several times a day with a manual punch down tool on all of the fermentation vats, and there are quite a few of them (definitely a good way to get some exercise!). The next stop was down to the barrel room, which is accessible by an old elevator. This was the best part of the tour, as Greg gave us several different barrel tastings. We were given tastes of new oak vs. used, French vs. American, and also tastes of wines from different regions /soil types and vineyard plots. I found myself liking the used oak a little bit more than the new, and I think the French was more appealing than the American oak; it had a nice spiciness to it that really stood out. It was a great learning experience, and really gave me a great perspective on all the different types of flavors and aromas that can be sensed from the different oaks and other factors such as vineyard location and region. This was a certainly a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon on a holiday weekend. Barrister is a great place to try some fantastic wines, so if you find yourself in Spokane and in the mood for wine, don’t hesitate to stop at Barrister Winery.
Well it has been a pretty busy last few weeks, and unfortunately I haven’t been able to blog much, but I have of course
been able to sample a few good wines. This past Easter weekend I tried an excellent Riesling that was produced in the Nahe region of Germany. This is a smaller wine producing region known for producing high quality Riesling and is located in Southwestern Germany, between the Rheinhessen and Mittelrhein regions. There are around 12,000 planted acres of grapes, which include Riesling, Muller Thurgau, and Sylvaner. Most of The vineyards are found around the banks of the Nahe River, which is a tributary of the Rhine. There are some diverse soil types found here such as limestone, loess, and sandstone. On the sandstone is where the finest Riesling vines are grown. Wines from this region are quite unique in aroma and flavor, and this particular Riesling definitely was unique. This was a 2005 R Fusion, and it was quite a nice bottle. This wine had a nice pale, light green color, and on the nose a very pronounced hint of petrol along with honey and ripe apricot. Along with smooth acidity it yielded a nice crisp finish with a lingering taste of apricot. I thought it was a great glass of wine, and it paired nicely with the relaxing afternoon. This wine also went quite well with ham, and I’m sure it would pair well with similar meals. So if you are in the mood for a Riesling, think about trying out R Fusion if you happen to stumble upon a bottle, it will definitely be worth the effort.