Sunday, July 25, 2010

Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato, 2006

This red wine is from the Campania region of Southern Italy and is made from the Aglianico grape. Feudi di San Gregorio uses modern techniques to craft wines with distinctive characteristics of Campania; dark fruit, abundant tannins and crisp acidity. The 2006 Rubrato has a dark ruby red color and is nearly opaque. On the nose is aromas of fresh cherries, plums, violets and earth. This is a medium bodied wine loaded with flavors of black cherry, prune, cranberry, licorice, vanilla and cracked black pepper. There are moderate levels of grainy tannins and a crisp acidity that blend with some underlying minerality and essence of coffee. We enjoyed this lovely wine with a Grilled Flank Steak with Fresh Pesto and Balsamic Glazed Zucchini. This wine can be found in the Seattle area for about $15 and will pair well with a hearty grilled steak or a zesty Italian Pasta.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hogue Cellars Sangiovese, 2005 Zephyr Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills

Hogue Cellars has been making a full range of Washington State wines for more than 25 years. This winery produces over 650,000 cases of wine per year with most of them being considered "value" wines, coming in below $16. Hogue makes a small quantity of wines that they call their “terroir” series, that are only available at the Prosser winery. This past weekend we had the privilege to taste this single vineyard Sangiovese from the Zephyr Ridge in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. We enjoyed it very much and bought a case to enjoy and give to some friends and family. The wine has a deep ruby color with nice clarity and shimmer. On the nose are notes of mineral and blackberry with slight spicy overtones. There are lively red and dark berry flavors on a medium bodied frame complimented baking spice, fig and cedar. There are smooth tannins and nice acidity that help create a balanced, mature wine. This wine is more “old world” than “new world” and shows that Sangiovese has a place in the Columbia Valley. This week we enjoyed this Sangiovese with pan seared King Salmon with fresh Green bean and Potato Pesto salad...yum!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Washington Wine Country Weekend

Red Mountain Vineyards

This past weekend we spent a few days in the Washington Wine Country. Over the past 20 years we have visited many wineries from Yakima to Walla Walla. This time we visited Hogue and Airfield Cellars in Prosser, Fidelitas and Col Solare on Red Mountain and Wilridge and Harlequin in Yakima. The highlight of the weekend was the visit to Col Solare. Col Solare is a collaboration between Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle and Italy’s famed winemaker, Marchese Antinori. Their wines are Cabernet Sauvignon based with smaller amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Syrah blended for depth and complexity. We did a vertical tasting of their 2004, 2005 and 2006 Red Wines. All of these wines were fantastic and worth the $80 price point if your budget allows the expenditure.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano, 2007

Poliziano is a relatively new winery that was started in 1962 with 20 acres of vineyards in Montepulciano, Italy. Rosso di Montepulcianos are red wines that achieved the DOC classification back in 1989. These wines are usually produced by wineries that craft the more prestigious Vino Nobile di Montepulciano by simply downgrading grapes that are classified as Vino Nobile. However, Poliziano has selected a number of vineyards with particular characteristics in order to obtain a wine that is young, fruity and soft; a selection that allows them to classify their Rosso di Montepulciano as the “Second Wine” of the Poliziano. This Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano has a deep ruby color that is slightly translucent. This wine is more old-world then new, with a nose of fresh cut strawberries, leather, hay and flint. This is a medium bodied wine with ripe red raspberry, strawberry, dried cranberry, tobacco, mushroom and earth. There are smooth tannins and balanced acidity and just a slight hint of cedar on the finish. Being quite delicious and easy drinking, we managed to finish the whole bottle with a casual dinner of grilled summer vegetables and some artisanal salumi. We purchased this Tuscan red wine from Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $13.   

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fidelitas m100 Columbia Valley Red, 2006

The Fidelitas m100 is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec named in the memory of winemaker Charlie Hoppes’ 100 year-old grandmother, who passed away back in 2005. Winemaker/Owner, Hoppes, has distinguished himself as a world-class winemaker after starting as an assistant winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle (where he worked with head Winemaker Mike Januik) and then becoming a head winemaker for Chateau Ste. Michelle and then Three Rivers Winery of Walla Walla. In 2000, Hoppes started his own label, Fidelitas. The Fidelitas product line includes Semillon, a Bordeaux white blend, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc, along with vineyard designated blends and Cabernet Sauvignons. The winery is located on Red Mountain and they have a newly planted estate vineyard of three different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon. Up until now, their grapes have been sourced from the best vineyards in the Columbia, Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys. The m100 Red has a dark ruby red color with a purple hue. There is a complex bouquet of black cherries, cinnamon, crème de cassis and flint. This is a medium bodied wine that delivers a broad, chewy mouthful of ripe fruit with cherry and black currant framed by vanilla, baking spice, minerality and considerable smooth tannins. There is nice acidity that keeps things fresh and the finish is long and elegant. This Columbia Valley red blend over performs at the $16 price point.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel, 2000

Zinfandel is a red grape variety that grows well in Sonoma County, California. Genetic tests have shown that Zinfandel is genetically equivalent to the Primotivo grape grown in southern Italy. Edoardo Seghesio planted his first Zinfandel vineyard in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley in 1895. Since then, four generations of the Seghesio family have tended over 400 acres of vineyards in Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys. Back in 2003, this Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel was selected for Wine Spectators “Top 100 List”. We purchase a few bottles then, and tonight we decide to open one that had been in our cellar for the past 7 years. We remember enjoying this wine back in 2003, and we were excited to see what developed with 7 years in the cellar. I was hoping this wine would be a good companion for the Friday night Steak Dinner I was preparing. The wine has a dark red color with good clarity and a crimson rim. The nose is fragrant and complex with raspberry, cherry liquor, wet rock, oak and cinnamon. There is a full-throttle multilayer palate with red raspberry, ripe cherry, fig jam, caramel, vanilla and baking spice. The mouth feel is rich and elegant with a medium bodied frame supported by gentle tannins, sweet fruit and a long sappy finish. The complexity of flavors are delicious and this Zinfandel proved worthy of cellar aging. We purchased this Seghesio Old Vine Zinfandel at Larry”s Market, in Bellevue, for about $20. We really enjoyed this wine with the lovely Hanger Steak, Balsamic Onions and Summer Vegetables.