Drinking my words

A few months ago, I tried a Chilean wine and I was not a fan (check out my past blog). But, before I judged  just one bottle of wine, from one winery, I knew I would have to try a Chilean wine again. I was out to dinner one night, took a gamble and ordered the Chilean wine on the menu. Again, I was disappointed. I wanted to give up on the region all together… figured the taste and flavor didn’t mesh well with my palate. However, I was saved.. and now I must drink my words.

One of my co-workers introduced me to one of her friends, Cliff, about a year and a half ago. She figured I would have a lot in common with him. He is a Physical Therapist like my husband and he enjoy’s good wine like me.  Cliff was kind enough to invite us to his yearly wine party about a year and a half ago. I was blown away by this knowledge, collection and enjoyment of sharing his beloved wines. His knowledge surpasses mine and I envy his nose for wines. Even though I am a novice (and will be at his level someday.. I hope) he still reads my blog. He did not want me to give up on this South American country. He was very generous and sent me a bottle of wine from Chile.

All I have to say is vino sorprendente!! Gracias Cliff!

Tonights Tasting:

Concha Y Toro Don Melchor 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon (wine.com $41.99) – Wine Spectator 94 points (although, not the end all be all, but they are conservative with their points, so it must be a serious wine to receive that score)

At first smell, this wine is full of chocolate and plum. We let this wine decant for about 25 minutes, which I believe helped to open up. The smell of this wine only increased in richness, which also matched the taste. I tasted a little spice and coffee along with chocolate and plum. After a few more tastes, I also noted a smokey flavor. This wine far exceeds my expectations. I think I might have tasted heaven, or close too.

The price is not a bargain  and I am not even sure where you can buy it. According to wine.com this vintage is sold out. And I can see why. If you happen to stumble upon this wine, invest. I promise you will be in love at first sip. Plus, you will really impress wine and non-wine connoisseurs alike.

Muy hermoso el vino, disfrutar de!

Concha y Toro Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

Grocery Store Challenge 1

Alright, it has been a couple of months since I decided to take the “Grocery Store Wine Challenge”  and I now have my first chain grocery store finding.  This was hard for me… since I am so partial to my local stores. So as I stopped by Safeway, with a sleeping baby, I decided to use my time wisely and peruse the wine section. I went in to this, with a sour attitude,  but to my surprise the wine section  at Safeway wasn’t horrific (meaning, there was more than just Carlo Rossi boxed wine!). So, to my fellow novices who are unable to hit West Seattle Cellars, Picnic on Greenwoood, Esquin wine merchant, and/or Vino Verite on Capital Hill (or any other wine shop in your neighborhood), there are decent options at your local grocery store. Here are some of the wines I found at Safeway on Roosevelt (and 75th). I am sure that each store (especially in a different state) has different wine selections, but take a look at these wines the next time you pop by Safeway.

*** I also have a wine tasting tonight, so take a look below!

Grocery Store recommendations – Safeway

Just a little information – if you purchase 6 or more bottles, you receive a %10 discount – with their Safeway Club card

L’ecole 2006 Caberent Sauvignon  $26.94- A Walla Walla red. I have only had L’ecole once, but loved it. For the most part Walla Walla wines are smooth and full of flavor. This wine is worth the investment. You can also find this wine in local wine shops as well.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Columbia Valley

Kestral – Lady in Red  $14.99 – Prosser WA – another great wine. I have been to this winery twice and have always enjoyed their wines. Great everyday drinking wine.

Gascon Malbec – Argentina  $11.49.  I have had this wine once. Not my favorite Malbec but has a nice, light flavor. Good wine to take to a party.

Red Bicyclette Syrah – France  $8.99. A can’t beat price. I purchased a glass of this wine in a restaurant once and had a nice flavor – a hint of pepper if I remember correctly.  

Powers Cabernet Sauvignon 2007  – Tri-Cities, WA $10.84. I met one of their wine makers about a year ago. Very nice gentleman and his wines do not disappoint. They also own Badger Mountain Vineyards as well. Once fact about Powers, is that all their wines are organic. Exceptional price.. pick up a bottle.

If in doubt and need a wine in a hurry – Bogle Vineyards  in CA make inexpensive wines that hold their own. Make sure to drink this wine last. Always start with your more expensive, hard to find wine first – then end with the cheap stuff. Bogle wines are around $10.00 and I have seen them at most major supermarkets.

Tonight’s Tasting:

Tre Donne – D’Arc 2006 Italy ($15.00 West Seattle Cellars):

This wine is a blend of 40% Barbera D’Alba, 30% Pinot Noir, 20% Dolcetto D’Alba, and 10% Freisa.

We opened this wine with our dinner – which was vegetarian Chili. Wow!! That is pretty much all I have to say.  A smooth, vibrant and intense wine, I was more than impressed.  I was planning on having just a glass with dinner, but I have a feeling this bottle may be gone by the end of the night. If you can find this (and it won’t be at Safeway) – please grab a bottle. They say this wine goes perfectly with pork, but I beg to differ. It goes great with a vegetarian meal. Take my suggestion, grab this wine while you can.

I hope you have a great time searching for tonight’s tasting or grabbing a Safeway wine!

Wine Trails on the Hood Canal

The Hood Canal in WA… brings back many memories of me as a sullen teenager, dreading weekends and summer because I would leave my friends and social life to drive 2 hours and spend time with adults (and a stinky younger brother) on Hood Canal – away from civilization (and malls).

As I age, with grace, my memories of our cabin on the Hood Canal have changed. I completely understand my parents fascination with going so often. They sat around all weekend (with friends or other family members) eating seafood and drinking wine (or various other cocktails) – usually around a fire pit, overlooking the canal. This weekend, we packed our two daughters (ages 4 and 4 months) and set out on our two hour adventure to the place that used to torture me as a teenager. We met up with our close friends to have an Easter weekend, away from traffic, noise and internet. We experienced the exact same weekend I witnessed as a teen. We ate amazing amounts of halibut, clams, and oysters. Enjoyed some nice glasses of wine and created many new memories. However, this blog isn’t going to be about the wine we drank (a favorite I have told you on many occasions – The Stump Jump) – but what the Easter Bunny brought up to the cabin and what fellow Washington novices need to invest in.

My girlfriend Natalie (aka the Easter Bunny this year) bought me a wonderful new book you need to find before you explore wineries of Washington. The book is called Wine Trails of Washington – A Guide for Uncorking Your Memorable Wine Tour by Steve Roberts. www.winetrailsnw.com

What I have noticed about most books on wineries and wine tours, both in CA and WA ,is that they promote the big, well-funded wineries. They usually don’t include the smaller wineries. This book is completely different – they not only include those gigantic wineries, but also the little one’s that most people have never heard of – which I am partial too. I’m pleased to add this book to my wine collection – and cannot wait to explore some new wine regions.

This book maps out the wine trails by region – Northwest Washington wine country, Olympic Peninsula wine country, Puget Sound wine country, Woodinville wine country, Southwest Washington wine country, North Central Washington wine country, Yakima Valley wine country, Red Mountain wine country, Horse Heaven wine country, Tri-Cities wine country, Walla Walla wine country and Spokane wine country and of course some other tips like wine room etiquette. If you think you know your WA wines, I guarantee this book will change your mind, and give you new wines to experience.

I would love to sit and tell you some of my favorite places to stop at along the Wine Trail, but it is  more fun to explore on your own. If you would like suggestions, let me know – otherwise Happy Trails to you!