Saturday, May 28, 2011
We have been big fans of Columbia Crest wines for 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 $35. The Vineyard 10 Red Wine can be found in the Seattle area for about $6 and represents excellent quality at a very good price point. This is a modern, fruit-forward blend of predominantly Syrah with Cinsault, Viognier and Mouvedre. This is a medium bodied wine loaded with flavors of plum, black cherry and cassis. The texture is surprisingly rich and smooth with low levels of tannins and gentle acidity. French and American oak barrels added a creamy caramel cloak to this straight forward, easy drinking wine. At this great price, this wine is a slam-dunk for the summer barbecue season.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The "Morgon" is from the Jean Descombes estate in the Beaujolais Provence of France. It's made from the Gamay grape that is traditional to the Burgundy region and rarely found throughout the rest of the wine world. In the glass this wine has a deep garnet color and strong aromas of tart red berries, wet rock and raspberry leaf. This is a medium bodied wine with vibrant sour red cherry, red raspberry, strawberry and flint. There is zippy acidity and very light tannins that work together to keep this wine light and refreshing. Distinctive for it’s crisp red fruit, this is a nice “food wine” that could pair well with Beef Bourguignon or a simple grilled chicken sandwich. We purchased this red Burgundy from Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $14.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Bridlewood winery is located in the Santa Ynez Valley and is included in the Central Coast AVA that stretches 250 miles along California's coast from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. With the popularity of the movie “Sideways”, the Santa Ynez Valley became renown for Pinot Noir and as a casual travel alternative to the ever popular Napa Valley. The 2009 Bridlewood Cabernet Sauvignon is made from about 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot from Paso Robles. This is a delightful, easy-drinking Cabernet that is very fruit forward, well structured and vibrant. In the glass there are aromas of cherries, plums and baking spice. Flavors blackberry jam, cherry and cassis are rounded by hints of chocolate and creamy caramel. There are supple sweet tannins supported by zesty acidity and some spicy minerality. Bridlewood is best known for producing excellent estate Syrah, however, their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely worth trying. This wine can be found at Pete’s Wine Shop, in Bellevue, for about $13.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Last night we tried a newly opened Black Bottle in downtown Bellevue. This is a modern gastro pub with a slick, industrial, open-air space softened with the abundant use of warm wood and the gentle glow of stylish incandescent lights. We sat at the bar and had some big decisions to make. On the beverage side of the house, they have an extensive selection of interesting draft beers that showcase many small handcrafted brews representing a large variety of flavors and styles... no Bud Light here! Their wine list is equally impressive with a well chosen diverse selection of wine from around the world and from our own pride and joy, the Columbia and Walla Walla Valleys. We ordered a bottle of the 2008 Tapiz Cabernet Sauvagnon, from Mendoza Argentina, to enjoy with some tasty food from their eclectic menu. “Food designed to be shared", we were told, as we ordered the Lamb Meatballs and a Flatbread of Nicoise Olives, Feta, Roasted Tomato and Arugula. Both food choices were well made, delicious and satisfying. The Lamb Meatballs dish had a Middle East meets India feel as savory meatballs were accompanied by grilled vegetables, Tabouli salad and Tandori spiced cubes of Paneer. Our flatbread was served in a rectangular tinned steel fluted tart pan and had a crisp, chewy crust that was perfectly topped with high quality cheese, olives, roasted tomatoes and arugula. We had the pleasure of conversing with the Black Bottle’s Beverage Manager, Noah Goldman, about their interesting wine list and how these wines have been carefully selected to represent wines of high quality and diversity at a reasonable price point. Bottles are fairly priced with many in the mid-twenties to low thirties and no bottles over $50. Since yesterday was the last day of my birthday month, I decided to celebrate and finish our meal with an order of warm Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce. Sweet, fragrant and gooey, this house-made confection was a perfect ending to a fun evening. Last night, the Black Bottle was abuzz, packed with a high energy crowd enjoying the nightlife in yet another Bellevue "hot spot" for excellent food, libations and camaraderie.
Tapiz, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008
This wine has a deep opaque ruby color with a purple hue. On the nose this wine reveals complex berry notes, chocolate, licorice and hints black pepper and cinnamon. It delivers a broad mouthful of dark fruit with cherry, currant, black raspberry balanced by mocha, coffee and some toasty oak. There is excellent depth and length and it shows plenty of complexity with sweet tannins and enough acidity to make it versatile with food. This was a solid wine to pair with our flavorful food.