“Give me wine to wash me clean of the weather-stains of cares”
―Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you are anything like me, you are very ready to wipe the slate clean and start 2017 with clarity, consciousness and resolve. And massive amounts of snow, of course.
To help you achieve those goals (or whatever goals you may have ended up with) we are supplying you with a few solid bottles of red wine from Washington State (verses a Washington state of mind, which is really what I am drinking to forget). Washington State is a great wine region to explore, unburdened by history or high real estate prices. Winemakers there are free to explore varietals that would bankrupt a California winery overnight - grapes like Roussane, Reisling and Albarino. At the same time, the classics over perform. A reasonable price point can find world class, beautiful wines that are more familiar, and much easier on the budget than their California counterparts.
Wines like the 2014 Double Canyon Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon. Horse Heaven Hills is a special locale that seems to combine many aspects of exceptional wine regions from around the globe - very close to the same latitude as Bordeaux, France, with the hot days and cold nights of Spain, the well drained, wind swept soil of Provence, the isolation (and wind) that allows them to grow grapes on their original rootstock (VERY rare) like Chile and Argentina. It is unique among the unique. Think about this wine while you are tasting it - it has the quintessential Washington State character, silky, supple loam (like fresh tilled earth - not forest). For this newsletter, I am not going to pick the wine apart for more specific flavor notes. Just enjoy the big picture. Taste it, think “Washington”, and you’ll be good.
Our second Big House pick is the 2014 Tamarack Cellars Wahluke Slope Cabernet Franc. Again, the terroir in south central Washington is pretty perfect for growing wine grapes. Gravelly well drained soil, dry, long, hot days and cool nights concentrate the fruit wonderfully. The Wahluke Slope is a huge growing area and about 20% of Washington States grapes are grown here. It is recognized as producing particularly fine Cab Francs, of which our wine club pick is one. Classic Cab Franc, with some green leafy notes and (again) that core of Washington loam.
Our Pour House picks mirror the Big House. We start with the 2011 Chatter Creek Cabernet Franc. “Classic-Elegant-Balanced” are the works the winery uses to describe their wines, and to be honest, I cannot improve upon that! You will note that the vintage on this wine is 2011, so it has a little age on it. Classic Washington earth, highlighted with elegant Cab Franc fruit, balanced by French oak tannins. This is a yummy treat for mid winter beef stew kind of nights! Confession: I had this wine for breakfast with ham and eggs yesterday after shoveling water for an hour or so and it was perfect. What I won’t do in the cause of my wine club.
Our final wine this month is the 2014 Stone Cap Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The name Stone Cap comes from the typical, wind blown barren tops of the hills in the Columbia Valley. Similar to the Ice Cap on the top of Mt. Lincoln on Tuesday. Good times! All that light, porous soil, blown down into the valley, perfect for planting vines in. Stone Cap produces wines of great value, you will often find them on our $10 wall. Their Cab doesn’t disappoint! It is a robust and spicy red, with the Washington core of earth winding through it. Daily winter drinking at it’s best.
That’s a wrap!
2014 Tamarack Cellars Wahluke Slope Cabernet Franc
2014 Double Canyon Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Stone Cap Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
2011 Chatter Creek Cab Franc