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J Overstreet

Wine makes every meal an occasion, every table more elegant, every day more civilized... Andre Simon

There may be rules with wine but I do not necessarily like to follow them. I believe wine is personal and should be enjoyed on an individual level.

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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.)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/deepredcellar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/deepredcellar

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!

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Your avatar
Tess • 10/10/2016 at 10:50PM • Like

Looking forward to the reds!

Your avatar
J Overstreet • 10/19/2016 at 01:42PM • Like 1

Tess, remember with those reds, the higher the alcohol content, the warmer you will feel...at least temporarily in your throat. :)

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!

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Amy • 09/29/2016 at 10:50PM • Like

Interesting and informative, thanks!

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J Overstreet • 10/02/2016 at 05:46PM • Like

Thank you Amy. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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:

BORDEAUX BLEND~

RED...
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.

WHITE...
A white blend generally consists of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. DeLille Cellars produces a 95 point representation called “Chaleur Estate Blanc.”

SOUTHERN RHONE BLEND ~

RED...
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.”

WHITE...
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.

For more wine-centric fun, follow me on instagram: @deepredcellar

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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!

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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.
http://www.winetouristmagazine.com/wt-blog/2016/7/19/pzqohq35dvzfyxfb0ellwb5yd1qa0j

As a transplant to the PNW, I’m astounded by the clear, sunny days and breath taking sunsets of summer! The season is short so the window to enjoy chilled wine is now. For me, Rosé is on the top of the list. Besides it’s allure of beautiful hues, Rosé is easy drinking and generally affordable.

Rosé is made up of red grapes that have been crushed to extract color and flavor from the skins. Usually, a soak in the skins for a few hours up to a day or so does the trick. After the desired color and flavor is achieved, the wine is basically finished like white wine. Fermentation is carried out “low and slow” (low temperature, slowly) and oak aging is usually not a part of the production. Rosés can be dry to medium sweet with medium to high acidity. If on the sweet side, they are often called “blush.” Rosé is the French term widely used in America but other terms include Rosado in Spain , Rosato in Italy, and Weissherbst in Germany. In any case, Rosés are fruity, refreshing and perfect for summer sipping.

Below are some of my favorites (best served chilled, 45-50°F). Besides specialty wine shops, many can be found at local grocery stores.

Bieler Père & Fils Cuvée Sabine, Coteaux d'Aix-En-Provence, FR ($10-12)

Domaine de Triennes Rosé, Nans les Pins, Var, FR ($12-14)

Domaine Saint Aix AIX Rosé, Coteaux d'Aix-En-Provence, FR ($16-20)

Willamette Valley Vineyard, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Oregon USA ($24)

Domaine Tempier Bandol Rosé Provence FR ($35-40)

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I’ve been noticing an appealing trend on wine shelves lately - more and more Barbera. This lovely wine is easy to drink and easy to pair with food. Because it is so “quaffable,” Barbera is also a safe bet when selecting wine to take to a dinner party.

My admiration for Barbera began in 2007 when I moved to Italy for 3 years and became a big fan of the wine and food of “Bella Italia.” Last year, I visited friends who are grape growers in California and rekindled my fondness of Barbera tasting various styles throughout Amador and El Dorado Counties.

Barbera’s origins come from the Piedmont region in Italy and is the most widely planted grape of that region. Barbera, a high acid, low tannin grape was generally reduced to use as a “filler.” It wasn’t until the 1980’s, when Barbera was treated to barrel ageing, that it’s virtues emerged and it became a stand-alone wine. By barrel ageing the wine, tannins increase and the wine becomes fuller bodied. Barbera varies greatly but usually showcases red fruit (cherry, currant, raspberry) and can have nuances of chocolate, licorice, fig and toast.

The three Italian DOC’s (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) of Barbera are Barbera d’Asti, Barbera d’Alba and Barbera del Monferrato. The Barbera from Asti and Alba are probably the best versions and what I recommend if trying for the first time. Barbera is also widely grown in California, specifically booming in the Sierra Foothills region.

Keep a watchful eye on Barbera; it will soon be a bona fide member of the popular crowd.

Barbera to Try ~
Sobon Estate Barbera, Amador, $15
Renato Ratti Barbera d’Asti, $18
Pio Cesare Barbera d’Alba, $20
Scarpetta Barbera del Monferrato, $22
Vietti Barbera d’Alba Tre Vigne, $26

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You have probably been around someone who uses crazy words to describe their wine. If you drink enough wine, you may be one of those people. So why do we use these terms? Wine descriptors help us put words to our wine. Imagine if someone were to ask you to describe what an apple tastes like. What would you say? It taste like an apple! The only way to describe the apple would be to come up with similarities or comparisons. When someone says a glass of wine tastes like black cherry, plum, dark chocolate and spice you can hear the words and know exactly what they mean when you drink the wine.

So let’s break down some of those crazy descriptors:

Chewy/Furry – a wine has a ton of tannin and dries out your mouth so much that you almost feel like chewing; your mouth is dry to the point of being completely void of moisture and feels furry

Cigar/Cigar Box – usually found in refined red wines, the smell/flavor of tobacco or tobacco leaves like a cigar; when it is slightly sweeter and has cedar wood and smoke, that is cigar box

Creamy – white wine or sparkling wine fermented or aged in oak that takes on a creamy feel in your mouth; the term buttery is also used (can be due to Malolactic fermentation)

Grassy – it is no coincidence when you put your nose in a glass of sauvignon blanc you smell freshly mowed grass, that aroma in the wine shares the same chemical compound found in the smell of mowed grass

Green Pepper – some grapes carry the same savory aroma compound (pyrazines) as a bell pepper, especially Bordeaux origin grapes like sauvignon blanc and cabernet franc; the smell and taste will be similar to a cut bell pepper

Jammy – thick, cooked berry taste, smell and sometimes feel in the mouth often used to describe grenache, shiraz, and zinfandel

Leather – found in quality red wine because of tannin present in grape skins, seeds and oak barrels; tannins are also used to tan leather; smell and/or lick your belt or purse, you’ll get the idea

Toast – aroma due to wine being aged in toasted oak barrels; not bread toast, more like barely burnt caramel

(originally published in The Crab Cracker Magazine, June 30, 2016)

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Loy • 07/15/2016 at 05:27PM • Like 1

Nice article - can't wait to go in the next wine tour and test all the descriptors! :)

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J Overstreet • 07/20/2016 at 12:50PM • Like

Glad you enjoyed the article. Hope it opens your mind to exploring options of taste, just takes a bit of concentration

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