Category Archives: Wine News

Arbor Crest Sauvignon Blanc

I always enjoy a nice, crisp Sauvignon Blanc.  Normally a great wine for sitting outside in the summer heat, but also not a bad choice on a cold winter night.  The other day I noticed a Sauvignon Blanc made by Arbor Crest was on sale for $10 retail, so I decided to give it a whirl.  This 2010 was made with grapes from the Bacchus Vineyard in the Columbia Valley of Washington State.  The wine presented itself in a clear pale yellow color, with a nose of fresh citrus.  The first sip yielded a crisp flavor of pink grapefruit, and left off with a nice pleasant finish.  It’s a great wine to relax and enjoy the evening with.  Also, if you happen to be in the Spokane, WA area, Arbor Crest is a superb place to spend the day tasting some great wines.  The winery is on a bluff overlooking the SpokaneValley, and is a nice spot to relax and soak in the view, as well as some wine:)  I would definitely recommend it. 

Other fun stuff…

New Zealand is famous for it’s Sauvignon Blanc,  but recently kicked off the first “Summer of Riesling“.  Sounds like a good time to be in New Zealand!

The Super Bowl seems mostly like a beer occasion, but here are some great suggestions for pairing wine with all that game day food.

That’s all for now…




Washington State Chardonnay and Other Notes

  I always enjoy a good Chardonnay, and there are some really good ones being produced here in Washington State. 

 One I tried this weekend is made by Snoqualmie Vineyards, and was a great buy at $6 retail.  The 2009 I tried has a pale straw color to it, with a hint of oak and aromas of fresh fruit on the nose.  On the palate I got a nice refreshing flavor of  ripe melon along with a bit of tropical fruit.  Along with a good balance of acids and tannins it leaves you with a nice  smooth finish.  A cool note to pass along about Snoqualmie is their sustainable viticultural practices, and they also have their own line of certified organic wines.

Another good Chardonnay I would recommend is made by Arbor Crest Cellars  in Spokane, WA.  A good bargain at $10 retail, their 2009 has a pale gold color with hints of fresh crisp apples on the nose, and a nice crisp finish of apricot and mellow oak.  Last but not least, Waterbrook has a nice Chardonnay as well. This 2008 I tried has a nice light straw color to it, with a hint of citrus on the nose, and a finish of fresh ripe apples with just the right touch of oak.  For a retail price of $7.50, it was a good deal. 

 Other news in the wine world…

Two of the biggest wine corporations in the world, Gallo and Constellation, have just settled a class action lawsuit dealing with fake Pinot Noir.

Here is an interesting article written by Jon Bonne of the SF Gate, about what he thinks are 5 things about wine to look out for in 2012.   The one I find most intriguing is about issues facing the European wine industry.

And from the world of food,  here’s a cool article from Food & Wine featuring the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the U.S.

 Have a great Sunday!


Thursday Night News

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday, I’m pretty much buried in snow at the moment, but I found a few interesting news notes to pass along…

The topic of wine closures has always been controversial.  Many people believe that natural cork is the best form of closure.  Others will say that synthetic cork and screw caps are the way to go, claiming that too many bottles with natural cork become tainted with TCA, or become “corked.” A lot of money has been invested in synthetic closures and screw caps in recent years. It is difficult to say which option is really the best; there have been many studies done to prove or disprove that one enclosure is better or worse than the other.  Just as long as they don’t get rid of corks altogether, natural or synthetic.  There is something about the pop of the cork that makes a bottle of wine that much more enjoyable…anyways, here is an interesting article about a new synthetic wine closure, with a short video as well.

 The Spanish wine region of Rueda is known for white wines made from the Verdejo grape.  Located  northwest of Madrid, the climactic conditions in Rueda  are very favorable for growing Verdejo and other grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc and Palomino.  The wines produced in this region are fresh and crisp with good aromatic qualities.  An article today predicts the wines of Rueda may rival the white wines of New Zealand.    

 Here is an interesting bit which points out that of the top 100 wineries in Germany, 20 of them produce wines that are organic or biodynamic.

Have a great night!


Friday Wine Reviews and News

 It’s Friday the 13th, hopefully you are all having a a great evening so far…

Tamarack Cellars is a winery based in Walla Walla, WA that has a great red blend known as Firehouse Red.  They threw just about everything in the pot when making this wine (39% cab sauv, 23% syrah, 12% merlot, 11% cab franc, 6% malbec, 5% sangiovese, 2% zinfandel, 1% petit verdot, and 1% carmenere) and the finished product is nothing short of excellent.  The grapes for this 2009 vintage were sourced out of the Columbia Valley.  This glass of wine had a nice deep reddish purple color to it, and on the nose I got black fruit with hints of spice and oak.  On the palate the wine has nice tannins, with spicy black cherry, blackberry and and nice smooth finish.  This is a very well structured wine, and the alcohol at a touch under 14% at 13.92%, balances it out nicely.  There are no overpowering aspects of the wine, and it makes for a very enjoyable glass.  I would say this would go nicely with a grilled steak or a rib roast.  Definitely one of the best Washington State red blends I have had, and a great deal for the $14 I paid for it.  

 If you have already tried the Firehouse Red, another red blend out of the Columbia Valley you might like is the Desert Wind Ruah.  I purchased this 2008 for $12, and it is a nice Bordeaux blend of 40% cab sauv, 15% cab franc, and 45% merlot.  It has a nose of black cherry with a hint of vanilla, and on the palate blackberry with a note of coffee, and comes with soft tannins and acids and leaves you off with an excellent  finish.  The alcohol is a bit higher at 14.5%, but it also balances out nicely in the wine.  

 Not in the mood for red? Tamarack Cellars also has a great chardonnay.  I tried the 2008 vintage, and it was quite pleasant.  It has a nose of ripe red apples with a hint of oak, and the palate has good acids with flavors of crisp apples and a nice creamy finish.  At $14 it’s a great buy.

 Other news in the wine world:

 There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of days about the news of a wine researcher being accused of fraud.  This University of Connecticut professor had published studies about the health benefits of wine consumption. 

China has become a large wine market, and according to a source has just overtaken the U.K. as the no. 5 wine consuming nation in the world.  On a similar note, the U.S. has moved into the top spot ahead of France and Italy as the world’s top wine market.

Chile produces some great wines, and now is aiming to become one of the best when it comes to sustainable viticulture. 

That does it for now, have a great night!




Tuesday Evening News

I hope the week has been good to everyone so far, tomorrow is Wednesday, so the work week is almost to the halfway point!

 Normally when I think about Chenin Blanc, the first thing that comes to mind is the Loire region of France.  But South Africa produces quite a bit of Chenin Blanc themselves.  Also known down there as Steen, this white wine grape can make some great flavorful wines.  An interesting article in the South African wine news talks about the work being done on this grape and also gives a list of producers that will be featured in their news this month.  I tried a Chenin Blanc from South Africa a while back, and I was impressed.  This 2009 produced by Essay, was clean and crisp with flavors of melon and tropical fruits.  And at a price of $8, it was quite a deal. 

 I also recently ran across an interesting press release which concerned sales of sparkling wine in the United States.  According to report, Americans are drinking more sparkling wine then ever, and aside from domestic sparkling wine, Cava and Prosecco (sparkling wines of Spain and Italy) are quickly gaining in popularity.  

At  the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition two award winners were wines produced in Washington State.  Barnard Griffin’s 2011 Rose of Sangiovese and a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon from Milbrant Vineyards came away with victories.  Congrats!

All for now…




Sunday Evening Notes

I’ts hard to believe the weekend is already just about over; who was in charge of making weekends only 2 days long?  Anyways,  I tried out a cabernet sauvignon this weekend from California that was pretty decent.   There is a lot of great cabernet sauvignon that comes out of California, most famously from Napa and Sonoma. This particular cab made by BV Coastal Estates, sources there grapes from the Napa Valley, most notably from Rutherford AVA and Carneros AVA.  This particular vintage was a 2009, and was overall a good easy drinking wine.  It had a nice ruby red color to it, with ripe jammy black fruit on the nose.  The same black fruit was on the palate with pleasant tannins and acids.  It was easy to sense the oak, but it wasn’t too overpowering and actually balanced out the wine pretty nicely.  The 13.5% alcohol was just right for this wine.  I paired this with some pasta, and it turned out to be a pretty good fit.      

The winery itself was started by Georges de Latour back in 1900,  and has a pretty cool story to it as well.

 In other exciting news…

 This link is actually from a couple of weeks ago, but I found it interesting. I found it in the Organic Wine Journal, and it features a wine bar in New York City that is all about organic and biodynamic wines.  Sounds like a pretty cool place if you ask me!

This interesting bit is about the wine industry in Pennsylvania of all places.

Hope everyone has a great  start to the week!


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