Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mid-Summer Night's Dream: Washington Wine Tasting

Bookmark and Share As the simmering month of July wound down, it was high time to gather the crew for a special tasting to sample a selection of wines from the recent trip to Washington State – along with some tasty selections from elsewhere.
The lineup:
  • J. Trees Cellars 2008 Dry Riesling, Michigan
  • Peconic Bay 2007 Chardonnay “La Barrique',” North Fork of Long Island
  • Thurston Wolfe 2007 Doctor Wolfe’s Family Red, Washington
  • OS Winery 2008 Cabernet Franc, Champoux Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington
  • Gilbert Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, Washington
  • Alexandria Nicole 2007 Jet Black Syrah, Columbia Valley, Washington
  • Alamos 2007 Malbec Seleccion, Mendoza Valley, Argentina
We served the J. Trees Cellars as a mystery glass to SaxMan and Wine Chic, the first arrivers and the area experts on Rieslings and dry whites. Their impression was very favorable. Green Dragon and I enjoy Dry Riesling as well so this minerally, acidic wine hit the right note with us. Glorious T, more of a smooth red drinker, found it a bit too acidic.

The La Barrique Chardonnay from Peconic Bay is a tasty, lightly oaked Chardonnay. This is a quality Chard from Long Island.

The Thurston Wolfe Family Red is a great blend with 64% Primitivo. One of our tasters called it “husky” while Green Dragon called it big in the mouth. It had a smoky flavor that had one guest calling for a cigar.

For the reds we used the Vinturi aerator plus served it in a decanter. I found a rather odd piece of glassware at a church rummage sale. It is like a giant goblet, but with a little pinched lip for easy pouring. After trying to figure out what it was, one day I poured in a bottle of wine and found it fit easily. We dubbed it the “bird of paradise” decanter and gave it its first workout at this tasting.

The OS Cabernet Franc, from the funny sounding Champoux Vineyard (very cleansing) was smoky with a fruit aroma. It had a bit of pepper. The finish was quick, but then resurfaced. Enjoyable, but this would benefit from additional aging.

The Gilbert Cellars Cab is a sophisticated wine with layers that shift and change as the wine opens up and as you sip. It opens with a taste that is earthy and tannic, but then became mellow for a smooth finish. This was a great match for our chocolate from Madagascar. Several of the tasting team picked this as the top red.

The Jet Black from Alexandria Nicole is a smoothly made Syrah. Its inky color creates an aura of mystery and allure. There is a touch of tobacco with dark berries. My favorite for the evening.

The Bird of Paradise decanter continued flying well into the late evening while the group enjoyed conversation and the flicker of a fire pit and tiki torches. Spiderman wasn’t ready to call it a night and Wine Chic suggested Malbec.

A quick trip to the cellar produced a 2007 Alamos Seleccion. The grapes are hand selected from the La Consulta cool climate district which lies close to the Andes Mountains. Boom! This was a hit with Glorious T. It is fruit forward, easy on palate with flavor notes of rich, red fruit. This is a crowd pleaser and was a great way to finish the evening.

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