Monday, March 14, 2011

Columbia Crest H3 Les Chevaux Red Wine, 2008

We have been big fans of Columbia Crest wines for many years. I can't think of another American winery that can produce such a tremendous quantity of wine and produce an excellent product at every price point. They have wines starting at about $6 and wines priced above $40. The Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, was selected as “Wine of the Year”(for 2009) by the Wine Spectator Magazine. The Columbia Crest “H3” wines are upper-mid level wines that sell for about $12 to $14 in the Seattle area. The name “H3” stands for Horse Heaven Hills which is the appellation of this wine and the home of the Columbia Crest Winery in Patterson, Washington. The H3 Les Chevaux is a blend of 34% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 8% Cabernet Franc and 8% Malbec. "Les Chevaux" is French for "the horses" - a reference to the wild horses that once roamed this region. In the glass there is a deep ruby/purple color and lovely aromas of dark berries, crème de cassis, minerals and some spicy oak. This red blend is both bold and elegant with zesty ripe blackberry cherry, currant, and blueberry balanced by espresso, licorice, flint and spice flavors. The medium bodied frame supports smooth tannins on a long, creamy finish. This is a delicious “new world “ blend that is a great value from the Horse Heavens Hills AVA. This wine can be found at Pete's Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $13.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera, 2009

We love many wines from Piedmont and Barbera is definitely one of the great "food wines" of the world. With crisp acidity, low tannins and fresh berry flavors, Barbera is one of the favored varietals to accompany the delightful cusine of the region. When we traveled in Piedmont, back in 2003, we stopped at Fontanafredda on a warm autumn day. Since that time, we have been buying this Briccotondo Barbera, every new vintage, and are definitely enjoying the ritual. The color is a deep ruby red with purple tones on the rim. On the nose there are notes of red cherries and plums with some wet rocks. This is a medium bodied wine with a smooth texture and rich flavors of blackberry, cherry, cranberry, burnt almond and earth. There is zesty acidity followed by gentle tannins that add to the long and harmonious finish. We bought this Barbera at the Seattle Wine Company for about $12. This wine is a good choice for your next Italian dinner or a pepperoni pizza!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whitman Cellars Syrah,Walla Walla, 2002

I recently read that Whitman Cellars, of Walla Walla, closed their doors after 13 years of wine making. So last night I decided to pull a bottle of the Whitman 2002 Syrah, from our cellar, and bid farewell to a winery I always respected. The wine has a deep ruby-red color and is nearly opaque. The nose is packed with black fruit, smoke, mineral, cedar, blueberry and blackberry. The palate is very rich and ripe with wonderful flavors of ripe black fruit, espresso, spice, vanilla and mocha commingle to create a luscious and balanced wine. The powerful dark fruit flavors are firmed by solid tannins and lifted by gentle minerality and acidity. It has plenty of complexity and structure and is still fresh and lively. This is a solid effort from a winery that is now a part of Washington State's wine making history. So long Whitman Cellars!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, 2007

This is a red table wine made from 100% Montepulciano grapes that are native to the Abruzzo region of Italy. Until recent times, many of the Montepulciano wines from Abruzzo have been of questionable quality and are characterized by cooked fruit flavors with very little distinction or pizzazz. The Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo represents a pleasant trend in wines coming from the Abruzzo region of central Italy. In the glass this wine has a deep ruby/purple color. Aromas of fresh cherries, tobacco and cocoa precede delicious flavors of black cherry, plum, fig and some earth. This is a medium bodied wine with smooth integrated tannins and vibrant acidity. This wine says “Italy” and will compliment any hearty pasta or flavorful aged cheese. This wine is available in the Seattle area for about $13.