The Washington State crop wine industry’s 2016 harvest for grapes was a record.270,000 tons harvested last fall, Leading the way was Cabernet Sauvignon at a stunning 71,100 tons, making it by far the king of Washington wine. Click to go to Great Northwest site to read Andy Purdue's complete article .
The Oregon Tempranillo Celebration Grand Tasting runs 1-4 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites, where the public can experience examples of the big Spanish red grape made by producers in each of the seven American Viticultural Areas across the state. Click here to read more about this event on the Great Nortwest Wine site
I have lived on Camano Island for two years and enjoyed every minute of it but alas my time here has come to an end. My family and I are packing up and moving to California where I hope to enjoy a little warmer weather and new adventures in wine and whatever else life has to offer. If you would like to keep in touch, please feel free to follow along on my social media outlets:
Blog: www.deepredcellar.com (a post every week or two on wine knowledge, stories, etc. - much like you've seen on here)
Instagram: www.instagram.com/deepredcellar (daily wine-centric pictures and info.)
How can it be that summer is over! Kids are well into school, the days are shorter…and white wines are once again forgotten until next spring.
I have little prejudice when it comes to wine but I tend to drink white wine mostly during the warm months when the sun is shining and a chilled, crisp white is the perfect patio sipper.
So goodbye Chardonnay - I realize you’re the world’s most popular white grape variety but you can be fairly neutral. I mean you’re sometimes used as a blending grape! Time to move on from your green apple, pear, pineapple and mango aromas even though you can be deliciously full bodied with buttery nuances and toasty notes when aged in oak barrels.
So long Sauvignon Blanc - Let’s face it, some people have never really cared for your aromas of grass and green pepper. I will remember you more for your grapefruit, melon and gooseberry. Oh, and the fact that you pair so well with so many foods.
Farewell Riesling – I’m guessing not as many people drink you even though we are in Washington the Riesling producing wonderland, and you pair perfectly with spicy food. Your aromas of peach, nectarine, apricot, honeysuckle and jasmine will be missed.
Arrivederci Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris – I know, I know, your name means gray and it seems appropriate for you to be around for the impending gray skies but the weather will be too cold to enjoy your delicate, light bodied character. We’ve had enough of your aromas of apple, lemon, peach and minerals. And you’re just too confusing being the same grape variety from different origins.
WAIT! There is no way I can go on hiatus until spring to enjoy these beauties again. In fact, I may drink a Riesling at my favorite Thai restaurant tonight!
Have you ever wondered about the shapes of wine bottles? Are they shaped differently for a reason or is it just random artistry? As is often the case in wine, tradition is the major player for the different bottle shapes. There are four main types:
Bordeaux bottles have high shoulders with straight sides for wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. The high shoulders were created to help trap sediment due to prominent tannins in most of these wines.
These bottles are made of thick glass with a high punt (indentation on the bottom of the bottle).
Burgundy bottles are tall and wide with sloping shoulders for wines like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chablis and Pinot Gris. Much like Bordeaux bottles, these are made of thick glass. Purportedly, Burgundy bottles were the first to be created and the sloping shoulders made for easy stacking as well as achievability for glass blowers.
Champagne bottles are wide with low shoulders for wines like Champagne, Cava, and Prosecco. These bottles were created out of necessity due to the pressure inside the bottles (roughly 70-90 psi). They are made of thick glass, have a high punt and low shoulders to contain the immense pressure inside the bottles. By the way, the thick corks and cages securing them are no mistake either.
German/Alsatian bottles are narrow and tall with gentle sloping shoulders for wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The slender shape and lighter weight of these bottles were made for convenient stowing on ships during their voyage along trade routes in the early years.
Hopefully this bit of trivia may make shopping easier - especially the next time you and your fellow wine shopper are both trying to spot that last bottle of Bordeaux!
Interested in trying Italian wines, but not sure how to read the labels, determine the DOC or figure out who makes what, where? Look no further, click the image below to read Stacy Slinkard's article to learn how.
In America, we often purchase wine by the grape (Merlot, Chardonnay, etc.) but there are many wines not labeled as a single grape…these are called blends.
In the Unites States, a blend is any wine consisting of two or more grapes with less than 75% of each grape. For example, a wine with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot is considered a blend. Many blends have 3, 5, even 13 different grapes.
Our blends in the U.S. have origins back to Europe. Let’s take a look at some of these and set you up nicely for your next trip to the wine store:
A red blend generally consists of 5 grapes. They are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Often you will see wines with the first three grapes in any order. Spring Valley Vineyard in Walla Walla produces “Uriah” that is a Merlot predominant Bordeaux blend.
A white blend generally consists of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. DeLille Cellars produces a 95 point representation called “Chaleur Estate Blanc.”
SOUTHERN RHONE BLEND ~
A red blend generally consists of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvédre (commonly referred to as GSM). The famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine from this region consists of a whopping 13 grapes! Rôtie Cellars produces an excellent representation of a GSM with their “Southern Blend.”
A white blend that is easily accessible is Viognier rounded out with any combination of Rousanne, Marsanne, and/or Ugni Blanc. Yakima Valley’s Airfield Estates prouduces “Lightening White” consisting of Viognier, Rousanne and a small amount of Marsanne.
CHIANTI or SUPER TUSCAN BLEND ~
Generally speaking Chianti consists predominantly Sangiovese with a couple other (sometimes white) grapes. A Super Tuscan is a red wine that can be 100% Cabernet Sauvignon as it started but now-a-days is often seen as a blend using Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and other obscure grapes. Brian Carter Cellars produces “Tuttorosso” which is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
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It was a great day when the subdivision welcome committee came to our home, over a year ago now, for three reasons: (1) the “committee” was a lovely couple who became our friends; (2) they showed up with Camano Island Coffee (seriously good coffee); and (3) they told us about Kiona Vineyards Estate Bottled Lemberger wine (seriously good wine).
Kiona Vineyards and Winery was established in 1975 in the Red Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area) of Washington and has over 200 acres of vineyards. Kiona (pronounced Kigh-Oh-Na, meaning brown hills) produces approximately 30,000 cases of wine annually utilizing “environmental stewardship” in both the vineyards and cellar.
Lemberger (not to be confused with Limburger, the stinky cheese) is an obscure varietal hailing from Austria where it is known as “blaufränkisch.” Kiona Vineyards led the way in determining this varietal to be well suited to Washington’s climate and produced the first Lemberger wine in the United States in 1980. The Lemberger grape produces a delightful, medium bodied wine exhibiting red fruit, especially red cherry, with a good balance of earthiness and spice. Lemberger is often considered Washington’s equivalent of California Zinfandel, and Kiona refers to their Lemberger as “Pinot Noir on steroids.”
Kiona Vineyards has received numerous accolades for its wine and in particular, Lemberger. Wine Enthusiast gave Kiona’s 2012 Lemberger 90 points stating it’s flavor is “built upon chocolate and cherries with dusty tannins.” I have yet to try a Kiona wine I don’t like. In fact, I’ve been known to buy their wine by the case and their Lemberger is a staple in my home.
Just a reminder, it is "Washington Wine Month" so it is a good time to stock up on Kiona wine!
I wrote an article for www.winetouristmagazine.com about a visit to Red Mountain and Prosser I did in April with my husband and daughter. If you have not been to this part of Washington in a while, you may want to read the article for inspiration for a quick get-a-way.