Three things draw me to Cana’s Feast Winery; 1) the biblical tie to their name with Jesus’ first miracle as he turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, 2) An Oregon winery that uses lots and lots of Washington fruit, 3) Tamara Belgard – a friend I met on Twitter who used social media to land a marketing job at the winery!
Cana’s Feast Winery is located about an hour south and west of Portland, OR sand south of the Yamhill wine area. Located in a Tuscan style villa in Carlton, OR, Cana’s Feast focuses on several Italian varietals (Nebbiolo, Primitivo, Barbera), and Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Counoise, and Pinot Noir. With price points under $30 (except the Pinot Noir), Cana’s Feast offers a good selection of well priced quality wines.
This 100% Barbera is grown in Washington from Coyote Canyon and Ciel du Cheval vineyards and is aged in a combination of new and neutral French oak. The aroma was bull of under-ripe (green) berries with reminders of Christmas tree fragrance. In the mouth the wine is slightly disjointed with strong acidity and tart raspberry. Admittedly, I am not a huge Barbera fan and know that this wine would be rockin’ with a big plate of spaghetti. For sippin’, I would pass on this wine but would definitly give it a go with food. At $22, I can give this a 3/5.
Hands down, the best 100% Counoise I’ve ever had! Okay, honestly this was the first 100% Counoise I’ve ever had. I was excited to try this Chateauneuf –du- Pape region blending grape. The wine hails from Washington’s Coyote Canyon vineyards and was aged in once used and neutral French oak. With a high alcohol of 14.9%ABV the wine has a vibrant aroma of cherry fruit and a subtle hint of perfume. The medium acidity is balanced out by the semi-sweet cherry flavors and medium fine tannin. With only 116 cases made, this wine alone is worth a trip to Cana’s Feast. With a retail price of $25, I want this wine again! 4/5
With a strong pedigree of 75% Ciel du Cheval fruit and 25% Coyote Canyon fruit, the 100% varietal Cab Franc started strong with good aroma of blueberry and bell pepper. In the mouth the wine is above average but doesn’t provide the wow-factor that I equate with other Cab Franc’s in my memory bank. At $29, this is a good wine that showcases the quality of Ciel du Cheval fruit. The nearly 15%ABV alcohol is balanced by the fruit and acidity without being overwhelming. A good wine that doesn’t quite live up to its pedigree 3+/5
2007 Cana’s Feast Primitivo
With a heritage from Croatia and closely tied to Zinfandel, Primitivo can be a big, jammy Italian wine. When tasting Primitivo, I make immediate mental comparisons to some of my favorite Zinfandels that hail from California. Only a few Washington vineyards produce Primitivo. 100% of the fruit comes from Coyote Canyon. The BIG 15.5%ABV is hidden underneath the thick berry and spice. The fruit flavors are strong on the front palate with an odd off acidity on the back palate. The wine has more layers than a typical $10 California Zin, but lacks the structure to compete with the $25 Seghesio Zins. A solid offering and worthy of a taste test 3+/5
06 Oct 2010
Two months ago I celebrated my centennial video with a visit to Napa, California’s V. Sattui winery (the visit was virtual through a wine review). Today, we make a return virtual visit to preview three more of their wines. V. Sattui is in the midst of celebrating 125 years. Established in San Francisco in 1885 by Vittorio Sattui and then re-established in St. Helena in 1975 by Vittorio’s great grandson Dario, V. Sattui is one of the few remaining established family businesses in the wine world.
Truly a unique Napa destination winery, V. Sattui is 100% self distributed through their tasting room, and through the old fashion phone and interwebs. The majestic grounds and picnic areas add to the enjoyment of visiting. If you want to see some amazing pictures, check out the V. Sattui wedding blog!
For today’s tasting, V. Sattui sent three different cheeses from their Italian Marketplace-Deli. With pasta, Panini, charcuterie, deserts, breads, salads and 205 different cheeses from around the world you may get more than a little distracted from the wine. The cheese didn’t quite make it to wine tasting but I can vouch that it was yummy.
2008 V. Sattui Sauvignon Blanc (Vittorio’s Vineyard)
- The Stuff: 99.8% Sauvignon Blanc and .2% Semillon (not sure why?). This wine was fermented in stainless steel but a portion (18%) of the wine spent time in neutral French oak. 773 cases were made; 14.5% ABV
- The Swirl: The wine is much lighter in color than I would expect for a Sauvignon Blanc.
- The Sniff: An amazing amount of aroma jumps out of the glass. The wine starts as a tropical blast with subtle hints of almonds and lemon zest.
- The Sip: The soft subtle initial attack wraps around your tongue and then gives way to gentle melon flavors, pineapple, and moderately tart lemons. The traditional flavors are very well integrated and offer fantastic layers of enjoyment. The wine keeps evolving in the mouth and with each sip!
- The Score: At $22 this is a bargain. The layers of quality flavor won’t disappoint. Easily a 4/5
- The Stuff: The Alexander Valley fruit is 93.8% Cab Franc, 3.9% Cab Sauv and 1.4% Merlot (sadly I misspoke in the video). Fermented in stainless steel and aged in 50% new French oak. 14.8%ABV, 637 cases
- The Swirl: Colors of grapey purple, dark and medium bodied.
- The Sniff: The initial impression reminds me of taking a plum and rubbing in the dirt for a while. There are also aromas of green pepper.
- The Sip: A soft attack of plums and blackberries that transform into black tea or coffee on the mid-palate. The medium bodied wine offers a slight zip of pepper and a smooth finish.
- The Score: At $30 this is a 3+/5
- The Stuff: 100% Zinfandel from Howell Mountain AVA. Aged 16 months in 50% new oak, 14.5%ABV
- The Swirl: Slightly tanned colors with a medium thin rust color that is about 60% opaque
- The Sniff: Definitely not your big berry Zinfandel. The wine offers a soft aroma of cedar and hints of pepper and earth. If you’re looking for a strawberry jam pie, this isn’t it.
- The Sip: The V. Sattui Zin comes off a little thin on the fruit and then offers licorice and mocha flavors. This isn’t a poorly made wine, just different from what I’ve come to expect from a California Zin. At $40, give it a try before you buy, 3/5
*wine was provided as an industry sample with the intention to review
04 Jun 2010
“Red wine, that’s what I like, that is what we make,” says Michael Haig of Whitestone winery. The Whitestone vineyard is located on the shores of Lake Roosevelt 60 miles west of Spokane. The vineyard microclimate is perfect for growing Bordeaux style grapes (Cab, Merlot and Cabernet Franc). For a full history of Whitestone and my previous interview with Michael Haig, see the DrinkNectar review.
I’m a huge fan of Bordeaux style blends. I feel that each grape brings individual characteristics to a wine that when properly done create a symphony of flavor and character. Whitestone is known for their Pieces of Red blend (reviewed here) and has recently released a Meritage blend using the best from their vineyard and highest quality French oak barrels. Whitestone holds the distinction of being the only estate grown, produced and bottled winery in Spokane.
Reviewed here are the Merlot, Cabernet Franc and the Lake Roosevelt Red non-vintage blend.
2006 Whitestone Merlot
- The Stuff: 100% Merlot from Lake Roosevelt Shores estate vineyard; 14.6% ABV
- The Swirl: Light plum with ruby edges and about 60% opaque. The wine is beginning to show some browning due to aging.
- The Sniff: A moderate bouquet of thin sour cherry fruit with hints of tobacco and oak
- The Sip: Thin on the front palate with the fruit coming late to the party. There is a cranberry / pomegranate flavor that starts tart then goes to a nice elegant finish. Slightly hot on the finish but has good acidity. Not a full flavor sipping wine but a nicely made wine to pair with food (grilling).
- The Score: The lack of structure and flavor at the $22 price point leads me to score this wine as 3 out of 5. I would hold off on buying this wine just to sip but would certainly recommend it with dinner.
2006 Whitestone Cabernet Franc
- The Stuff: 100% estate grown Cabernet Franc; 14.5% ABV
- The Swirl: Light plum with a browning aged color. A bright bluish hue can be detected. The wine is about 60% opaque.
- The Sniff: A mild presentation of under-ripe raspberry and blueberry tickles the nose and contains subtle hints of black tea and a dash of pepper
- The Sip: The mouth feel is similar to the merlot with a thin front palate with fruit that shows up toward the mid and back. A little more multi-dimensional with medium bodied old world earthiness, spice and subtle under-ripe blueberry flavors. There is a good amount of tannin strength that leaves the finish slightly chalky.
- The Score: At $20, I score this wine 3 out of 5. There is nothing off-putting about the wine, it leaves me longing for a little more flavor but would be a nice pairing with beef, and pasta dishes.
NV Whitestone Lake Roosevelt Red
- The Stuff: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 20% Cab Franc from the estate vineyard; 14.9% ABV
- The Swirl: A tawny plum that is about 70% opaque. Color is good out to the edges
- The Sniff: Once you get past the hot perfume smell of the alcohol, there are very nice aromas of red raspberry, cranberry and dark dark chocolate. The smell is bright and fragrant.
- The Sip: This shows why I like blends. Cabernet Sauvignon shows up and joins in the Franc and Merlot party providing a great sweet cherry flavor and a bold middle palate flavor of spice, wood, and tobacco. There is a good tannin structure but doesn’t feel chalky. The only off piece of the wine is the strong alcohol heat when you swallow.
- The Score: At $17 retail this is a very good value red blend and I score it a 3+ out of 5. It shows good drinkability now with an additional 3-5 years in the cellar.
Whitestone Winery is open from Noon – 6pm Thursday – Saturday at 111 S. Cedar in downtown Spokane. They have live music most weekends and are participants of the First Friday festivities. Their wine club gives members 10% off of single bottle purchases, 15% off of case pricing and merchandise and complimentary tastings for up to four people.
*Wine was provided as industry sample with the intention to review