31 Aug 2010
Ahhh, Cabaret…what’s not to love about a good French Cabaret? Singing, dancing, fishnet stocking…some Cabarets even tease with a hint of nudity…the whole thing can be quite a fun experience…
What? Cabernet…oh…that’s a completely different thing! Let’s try this again!
Attention, cows! Run in fear! Thursday, September 2 is the official international Cabernet Day. For 24 hours thousands of people across the world will celebrate with the king grape of Bordeaux. Left Bank lovers will longingly lap up the thick juice and their food accompaniment of choice will be a perfect cut of filet mignon or NY strip steak.
Cabernet Day is happening wherever you and Cabernet Sauvignon can be found. You can join at hundreds of Morton’s Steak Houses, dozens of participating wineries, or open your favorite Cabernet and join the online conversation using Twitter or Facebook. Visit the event site for specifics and additional information.
Participate using Twitter:
- Sign in to Twitter
- Talk about your wine
- Make sure your tweet uses the #cabernet hashtag
- Follow the conversation by using http://search.twitter.com/ ( or a program like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck) and search the hashtag #cabernet
- Engage, connect, learn, and have fun
Participate using Facebook:
- Sign in to Facebook
- Go to www.facebook.com/tasteandtweet “like it”
- Talk about your wine by writing on the wall and commenting on others wall posts
- Engage, connect, learn and have fun
Cabernet is so much fun. If you have enough you just might end up with some singing, dancing, fishnet stockings and a chance of nudity too…
Spokane Cabernet Sauvignon
For those of you in the Spokane area, 12 of our local wineries have you covered with 16 different big full bodies Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve had the privilege of enjoying 13 of these wines and Spokane does Cabernet right! I encourage you to drink local for #Cabernet day and together we can show the world what Spokane winemakers are doing! If, for some reason you need another reason, check out “Eleven Reasons to Participate in #Cabernet Day” from my friend Ben Simons of Vinotology.
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $20 – This complex and full-bodied Cab is a delicious blend from five unique vineyard sites in the Columbia Valley. A great value at $20. 3+/5
2007 Sillwater Creek Cabernet Sauvignon; $32 – Fruit from the well- regarded Stillwater Creek Vineyard lends intense concentration and depth to this wine’s black cherry, current, chocolate and cedar flavors. A nicely layered wine that doesn’t go over the top with tannin and pairs well with full bodied food. 4/5 (Recommend)
2006 Kipsun Cabernet Sauvignon; $32 – From one of the warmest, driest and most respected vineyards in Washington State. Sadly I have not experienced this wine.
*This wine is on Paul Gregutt’s “Best Varietally Labeled Cabernet Sauvignon” for Washington State list.
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon; $22 – Made from grapes from Dineen Vineyards and Seth Ryan Estate Vineyards, this 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon is the good blend of fruit and structure. Boasting chocolate, black raspberry, and a hint of cracked pepper, this wine delivers. Enjoyed this wine during release weekend. Comes across as a big sipper would recommend with food. 3+/5
2007 Sagemoor Cabernet Sauvignon; $33 – This Cab is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon from Sagemoor’s Weinbau Vineyard blended with 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah, both from Sagemoor’s Bacchus Vineyard. The wine has a nose of black cherry, red raspberry and dark cocoa with a hint of vanilla in the background. The Cab has a soft but full mouth feel, a nice mid palate and a finish that will last until your next sip. One of my favorite Cabernet offerings. 4/5 (Strongly Recommend)
*This wine is on Paul Gregutt’s “Best Varietally Labeled Cabernet Sauvignon” for Washington State list.
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $19.95 – This elegant Cabernet Sauvignon sets out a smorgasbord of flavors: plum, cassis, smoke, loam, a hint of the barnyard. It’s nicely balanced, with polished but astringent tannins that carry the flavors into a lingering finish (Wine Enthusiast 90 pts). An incredible Cabernet value. Open and decant to smooth out the finish and aroma. 3+/5 (Value buy)
*This wine is on Paul Gregutt’s “Best Varietally Labeled Cabernet Sauvignon” for Washington State list.
2008 Bridgepress Cabernet Sauvignon; $39.99 – Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley. 60% New French Oak, 40% one year old French barrels. I have not had the opportunity to try this wine.
2005 Pepperbridge Cabernet Sauvignon; $29.99 – An intense Cabernet that competes with the big boys from Walla Walla. I really enjoyed the full bodied fruit on this wine. It is aging nicely and could see an additional 2-3 years in the bottle before reaching its prime. Recommend decanting. 3+/5
LIBERTY LAKE WINE CELLARS
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon; $28 – This bold Red Mountain Cabernet is loaded with blueberries, plums and cherries. Ample acidity and tannins of green tea strike balance and there is a finish of milk chocolate and more cherries. Love Red Mountain fruit. Big and bold with a little bit of chewiness on the finish. 3+/5 (Recommend)
2006 Walla Walla Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; $45 – This is a classic Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon with big upfront fruit, an amazing mouth feel, and a long finish. Two years in French oak. Only 50 cases made. Limited quantities remain available. One of the finest offerings out of Spokane. It may be pricy for most, be definitely worth it. Drinking well now but will drink even better in 5-10 years. 4+/5 (Strongly Recommend)
2007 LaTour Cabernet Sauvignon; $24 – This is a single vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Made in the new world style, your palate will sense cherry, caramel, chocolate and spice. Exhibits bold front and mid-palate with an elegant and lingering finish. Nicely done. 3+/5
2007 Duality Cabernet; $31 – The Walla Walla Valley terroir shines through in this incredibly complex 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Chocolate, coffee, cherry, spice, toffee and blackberry notes in perfect balance. A well made wine that is still showing a little young. If opening now, decant for 30 minutes or buy and hold for 3-5 years. 3+/5 (Recommend)
ROBERT KARL CELLARS
2006 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon; $30 – Pure varietal, this captures the house style perfectly, with a ripe blend of brambly berries set against crisp natural acids. Almond candy and chocolate graham cracker flavors appear, reflecting 28 months in 75% new oak barrels. The transition to the silky finish brings a refreshing minerality. -P.G. (Wine Enthusiast, 92pts). Loved this wine. 4/5 (Highly Recommend)
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon; $27.95 – Aromas of black cherry cola & blackberry introduce flavors of bright plum, blackberry & cherry with an earthy, smokey lingering finish. The oldest “new release” I’ve had. After spending 30 months in oak and FIVE years in the bottle the wine is showing beautifully with several years of life still to come. 4/5 (Recommend)
VINTAGE HILL CELLARS
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon; $25 – I have not had the privilege of having this wine.
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon; $28 – Spokane’s only fully estate vineyard operation, Michael Haig grows and produces a well balanced Cab that offers medium body, dark cherry fruit, coffee, and a slight minerality. The wine reminds me of an old world presentation of Cab. 3+/5
30 Aug 2010
Chardonnay, the grape conjures up many thoughts ideas and opinions. One of the world’s most planted grapes, and planted in more wine regions than any other grape, Chardonnay seemingly has developed a love / hate response. With many people practicing their ABC’s, “Anything But Chardonnay,” many say this regal grape of Burgundy has fallen out of vogue from its prominence in the 80’s and 90’s.
While American, particularly heavily oaked and buttery California Chardonnay, has developed a bad reputation among many, the grape is still a winemaker’s delight as it responds to the subtle nuances of the winemaking process and the surroundings in which it’s grown (terroir). Chardonnay can be crisp and subtle, as in a Chablis, it can be tropical and refreshing, as a un-oaked California Chardonnay, or it can be smooth, round and full bodied apple pie when aged in oak and undergoing secondary malolactic fermentation.
Even though Chardonnay is THE most planted white wine grape in California and Washington, it could be arguably said that the grape is the countries most maligned (although Merlot could compete for that crown too). I recently read an article on Corkd about the results from a survey of 5000 Esquire Magazine readers (male). When asked their beverage of choice (consisting of beer, cocktail, liquor or wine), only 10% chose wine. More interesting was their response to the following question.
“Would you rather order a Chardonnay or get beat up?”
The results, 51% said “Chardonnay, please,” the other 49% took the beating. While the Esquire man may not be keen on Chardonnay, someone must be. Who is drinking Chardonnay? It has to be more than just the desperate housewives of Jersey Shore. With Chardonnay plantings being as they are it certainly isn’t getting poured down the drain. Armed with this information, I decided to review three Chardonnay from three regions of the world. While I didn’t have Chablis to sample from, the wines below are from California, Washington and Chile. What is your favorite Chardonnay? Do you prefer oak or naked (un-oaked)? Sound off in the comments below.
- The Stuff: 100% Chardonnay from the Casablanca Valley. 14%ABV, no other information found
- The Swirl: Light gold color in the glass with a nice clean presentation.
- The Sniff: A moderate aroma of vanilla and pear with some hints of toast that indicate some oaked barrel storage or fermentation.
- The Sip: Crisp and clean on the palate with a full mouth-feel but very little fruit on the front or mid-palate. A single note of pear strikes a chord toward the end of the finish with a hint of tart lemon zest at the end.
- The Score: At $10-$12 the wine is an average offering but provides a decent value. It won’t embarrass you at a party but it won’t leave people talking either. 3/5
- The Stuff: 100% Chardonnay from Preston Vineyards. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and stored in 50% oak for 6 months. 13.5%ABV, 500 cases produced
- The Swirl: Lighter straw color reminiscent of wheat. In the glass the wine gives off a thicker viscosity
- The Sniff: Subtle nose (as typical of Chardonnay) with hints of toasted almond, honey, and cinnamon.
- The Sip: Very impressive with thick juicy flavors. A subtle effervescence greats the tip of your tongue and then gives way to an abundance of fruit. Lots of subtle layers in this full bodied white wine with honey, crisp pear, vanilla, and peaches. The finish on the wine has moderate acid and dissipates quickly.
- The Score: At only $12 this wine outperforms many at twice the price. This is a strong recommend and a definite re-buy for any food appropriate dinner or Chardonnay lover. 4/5
90pts Wine Enthusiast; Paul Gregutt
- The Stuff: 100% Chardonnay from 30 year old vines in Napa, CA. 28% new French oak with 8% of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation. 14.3%ABV; 640 cases produced
- The Swirl: In the glass the wine is a beautiful golden honey and coats the glass nicely.
- The Sniff: Subtle candy aromas with baking spices, vanilla and cedar.
- The Sip: A great example of how Chardonnay should be made. The fruit comes before the oak but the oak treatment adds a great balance of flavor to the wine. Never-ending flavors of peach, honey, butterscotch, vanilla, pear, and pineapple grace the palate of this wine. A slight lemon zest finishes out the flavor on the back palate. The finish is incredibly long with a wonderfully matched acidity that prepares the palate for the next sip.
- The Score: At $40 this may be out of reach for the typical consumer. For those looking / needing that perfect Chardonnay to compliment a nice meal or special event or for those with discriminating palates and the wallet to afford it, this is a must try! 4+/5
93pts Wine Enthusiast; Steve Heimoff
27 Aug 2010
Taste. Savor. Enjoy. I’m a valley boy; spent 23 of my years in the Spokane Valley. Went to Sunrise Elementary, Evergreen Middle School and am a proud graduate of Central Valley High School (class of 1990 thank you very much). Valley Fest was always an annual event to look forward to. Last year, the event got even better with the addition of Taste of the Valley wine tasting. This year, the event is coming together as one of the biggest Spokane wine bargains of the year!
Value! $30 gets you catered food from Red Rock catering, music from Kathleen Cavender and the Hot Club of Spokane on the CenterPlace outdoor stage. The evening continues with a spectacular hot air balloon night glow illuminating the Spokane Valley skies against the picturesque surrounding mountains. Sounds like quite a deal!
But wait, there’s more…if you act now you can double your…
Hold it…this is starting to sound like an infomercial or something. Actually there is more, a lot more. We haven’t even talked about the fact that $30 gives you access to taste wine from 20+ award winning Washington wineries. At a cost of just over $1 per winery, this is starting to sound like quite a deal. To top it off, if you find a wine you like you can actually BUY it. Most wine tasting events you go to are “pour only” events. Taste of the Valley has now become the perfect place to test drive some wine you’ve always wanted to AND take it home with you if you like it.
WINES AT THE EVENT:
- Caterina Winery Chardonnay
- Caternia Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
- Caterina Winery Merlot
- Arbor Crest Syrah
- Arbor Crest Sauvignon Blanc
- Arbor Crest Red Blend
- Chateau St. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet
- Chateau St. Michelle Dry Riesling
- Chateau St. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc
- Mountain Dome Chardonnay
- Mountain Dome Pinot Noir
- Mountain Dome Sparkling Wine
- Goose Ridge Chardonnay
- Goose Ridge G3 Red Blend
- Goose Ridge Merlot
- MaryHill Winery Winemakers Red Blend
- MaryHill Winery Sauvignon Blanc
- MaryHill Winery Pinot Gris
- Amavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
- Amavi Winery Syrah
- Columbia Crest H3 Chardonnay
- Columbia Crest H3 Merlot
- Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon
- Masquerade (3 wines)
$30 is quite the bargain for this little soiree. Tickets are limited, so don’t delay in getting in on the action. The event is Saturday, September 25 from 6-8pm. YOU MUST be 21 and have a valid ID to enter…duh. Join us at Mirabeau Point Park, CenterPlace event facility. Tickets will be available at the door, but I wouldn’t take your chances. Contact 509.922.3299 or visit www.valleyfest.org for tickets.
WANT TO GO FOR FREE?!?
O.K. Here is the deal. We need your help to spread the word about the event. We know you love wine (or you wouldn’t be here reading this), and we know you are on Facebook (who isn’t). To qualify for 2 FREE TICKETS to Taste of the Valley click the little tiny SHARE icon that is at the top and bottom of this post. Leave a comment to let me know you did it and you’ll be entered to win. Our goal is to have 100 people share the event so Valley Fest can save some money on advertising. Will you do it? THANKS!
The evangelists for Washington Wine, carrying the wine into tasting room battles around the world and helping raise the awareness for the state – this is the Washington Wine Commissions mantra. The Washington Wine Commission is a state agency that was established in 1987 to raise positive awareness and create demand for Washington wines. More has been written about Washington Wine in the last month than any time in recent memory, if not ever. After a recent article called, Are Washington Wines Coming of Age, I wanted to sit down with the commission to hear firsthand how they are spreading the “good news” of the states wine industry. Ryan Pennington, Senior Communications Manager, sat down for a Skype chat to talk about what’s on the commissions agenda, their struggles, and thoughts on the Wine Bloggers Conference.
Ryan covers some great topics in the video but due to time, we didn’t get a chance to talk about everything on our agenda. Below are the text responses to a few key questions.
Q: What Success Are You Seeing From Your Efforts?
A: In our past and current national target markets (Austin, Denver, Phoenix, and Chicago), we field consumer research before and after each campaign. In these markets, we’ve seen an average increase in consumer awareness of Washington State as a premier wine producing region of 169% over the course of each campaign. We’ve also seen an average increase in consumers who report that they are “extremely likely to purchase” Washington State wines in the future of 191%.
Q: Being from Spokane, I was very disappointed and frustrated when our regional Taste Washington event was canceled. Are there any specific plans in the works to continue to help promote Washington wine on the East side of the state?
A: We absolutely appreciate the local fondness for the Taste Washington event in Spokane. It was a great event for nine years. At the same time, the reaction from wineries (including wineries in Spokane) to the decision to broaden our local marketing in the Northwest (and broaden it both geographically and strategically) has been unanimously positive. We’re rolling out our first comprehensive local marketing campaign this fall, including around $100,000 in advertising. This truly is just the beginning. We’ll certainly continue to market Washington wines in Eastern Washington, and that marketing will extend beyond just consumer events.
Q: What are the benefits / results you’re seeing from your efforts on Twitter and Facebook?
A: Though we’ve definitely embraced social media, we also know that we’ve still got a long way to go in this space. We’re working right now on several improvements in this regard, including substantial upgrades to our website to better integrate various social media platforms. With that said, we’re pleased with the results that we’ve seen from our social media work so far. Fundamentally, social media is about establishing lasting relationships and engaging in meaningful conversations, and I think we’ve made great strides toward those objectives over the past couple of years.
Do you have questions for the commission? Leave a comment and Ryan will respond.
The goal of this series is to connect with wineries and wine business that use Social Media (Twitter and Facebook) effectively. These interviews can serve as a catalyst to help other wineries and wine businesses to see the benefits (and pitfalls) of joining the social revolution.
How long have you been using Twitter?
Milbrandt Vineyards has been using Twitter since August 2009. We started off updating the account once a week, now we make sure to update our status daily, sometimes more depending upon newsworthy items we have on a daily basis.
What prompted you to dive in?
We thought Twitter would be a great opportunity to extend the Milbrandt Vineyards experience beyond the tasting room and event pourings. Twitter gives us an opportunity to further develop relationships with consumers, trade and media. We also wanted to see what the rest of the wine industry is up to in real time.
What type of strategy or approach do you use when posting content?
Sometimes we will use twitter as avenue to inform people of special events or sales or maybe what we’re pouring in the Tasting Room that particular day. Mostly, it is just used to develop a rapport with fans of Milbrandt Vineyards wine, answer questions and keep our name in front of those enthusiasts.
What have been the benefits of using Twitter/Facebook? (increased traffic, increased brand awareness, customer connection, etc)
Our biggest benefit would be relationship building. We will have people message us through facebook or twitter and describe an experience they had involving Milbrandt Vineyards wine, such as a dinner or specific event. Often, it is first time tasters telling us how much they enjoyed the wine with dinner or at a party with a friend who introduced them to our wine. We think it is great that people who enjoy the wine so much that they want to share the experience with us. Increased awareness is a secondary benefit. It is the enthusiasts of our product who spread the word about us and that is how we are usually introduced to new consumers, by word of mouth.
Is there a single success story that you can point to with using Twitter/Facebook?
Milbrandt Vineyards pours at various events throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country. After maintaining conversations with several individuals, they make a point to stop by the Milbrandt Vineyards tables and will often retweet or repost our messages, further spreading what we have to say. There is no single success story, it is simply the overall shared experience of using social media.
What do you think is the single biggest barrier to why we don’t see more wineries actively using Social Media tools?
I see a lot of Washington wineries on twitter and I am sure that more and more are joining everyday. But if there is any single hurdle, I believe it is time. Maintaining a twitter account alone is a large time commitment. Many smaller wineries simply do not have the staff to keep up with daily postings, answering inquiries or just maintaining the page.
What advice would you give to wineries joining the stream or getting back into the stream?
Have a plan and have clear and concise message. Make social media a group effort. People like knowing what is going on with the owners, the winemakers, the tasting room, etc. People like feeling involved.
Briefly tell us about your winery, a new release, or something unique about you?
Butch and Jerry Milbrandt planted their first vineyard in 1997. In the ensuing decade, Milbrandt Vineyards earned a reputation for growing some of Washington State’s finest grapes. These grapes have found their way into many of Washington’s most sought-after wines and the Milbrandt name and vineyards are featured on many prestigious labels.
In 2006, under the talented direction of winemaker Gordon Hill, we began crafting signature wines using selected grapes from our reputable vineyards. Our first wines were released in June 2007 and have continued to create award-winning wines. The tradition for excellence established in our vineyards is inherent in every bottle of Milbrandt Vineyards wine and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
What is your favorite rock band and why?
We are a Frank Sinatra kind of tasting room. We keep it classy.