Showing posts with label washington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label washington. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon

Here's a brand new wine label that I frankly, hadn't heard of but of course, I'm always eager to learn something new.  This 2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon is staight out of Columbia Valley, Washington, where many of my favorite red blends were born and raised.  A combination of Cabernet Sauvignon (81%), Merlot (17%) and Merlot (2%), this easy-to-imbibe red is a little fruity on the nose and at first sip.  Blueberry, vanilla and sweet spices predominantly fill the glass and if you like a softer, more subtle Cabernet blend, this is your jam!  In the mouth is more of the same but black raspberry and sweet tobacco round out the flavor profile with a very short finish.   My recommendation is to drink this with a bloody, salty, bone-in slab of beef or some hot Virginia ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches with spicy mustard.  It would be a match made in heaven.

2015 MERF Cabernet Sauvignon label

ABV:  14.5%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $12.99

Drink The Bottles score:  82/100

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

2015 J Bookwalter Winery Conflict

2015 J Bookwalter Winery Conflict

The J Bookwalter Winery team never ceases to surprise me with their wines, whether with their more "value priced" Readers Merlot or with this savory and heart-warming red blend.  The 2015 Conflict is a product of the Conner-Lee Vineyard consisting of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (47%), Merlot (45%) and Malbec (8%), making it a powerhouse in color and flavor.  Black fruits with violet and whisps of peppered rare beef swim in the glass.  This wine is immediately mouth-watering and has a welcome brightness that is married by the vibrant red colors throughout.  The black fruits carry over in the flavors and I think a hint of cardamom is carried by the spicy, slightly woody finish that to me, is as beautiful as the legs in the wine glass.  This is such an easy drinking wine and one that I would avoid with food.  It would pair well with a number of beef dishes, but I enjoy this wine so much that I want to remember it just as it is.  I think you'll get enjoyment out of this for 15 years easily.

J Bookwalter Winery logo


ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  97/100


Monday, May 21, 2018

2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

I do not drink many French wines for one reason or another, so when I tasted this 2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon I was incredibly pleased and surprised by what I found.  I did absolutely no research on this wine before decanting and tasting it, and this wine immediately moved me to a quaint cafe, sipping this gem with good friends along the Champs Elysees under a mid day sun.  This medium to dark purple wine has very balanced aromas of blackberry pie, campfire smoke, seeping tea and cocoa powder, and none of these are overpowering.  This wine is an eyebrow raiser for sure and the flavors of blackcurrant, blueberry, smoke, dark chocolate-covered coffee beans and hints of grilling spices all combine for a velvety, savory broth-like feel that fills the mouth and lingers for many moments.  This wine was such a lovely surprise to taste and could end up as a "perfect" wine with a few more years under its belt in the cellar.  You'd never know that this is tipping close to an alcohol content of 15%.  It is made so beautifully and really puts a smile on your face. Simply incredible!  

2015 Betz Family Winery Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Label

ABV:  14.7%

Red Mountain, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $110.00

Drink The Bottles score:  96/100


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

NV Treveri Cellars Blanc de Noirs

NV Treveri Cellars Blanc de Noirs

I had so much fun tasting this sparkling wine that I had to share it with friends.  I mean, after all, isn't that what loving wine is all about?  Let me first start by saying that if I find out anyone is taking this Treveri Cellars Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine and making mimosas out of it, I might throat punch you.  Go buy some blah blah blah $6.99 rot gut at the grocery store for that.  You'd be completely remiss and wasting a fantastic opportunity to taste a beautifully made, delicate sparkling wine from Washington state.  Lovely bouquet of strawberry and warm, handmade biscuits on the nose and that carries through to the flavors and micro bubbles that celebrate in the mouth.  This sparkling wine is so good that it is difficult to take your time and sip it.  I served this well chilled and think that was the right call.  The finish on this is extremely fine and smooth and leaves you wanting more.  

NV Treveri Cellars Blanc de Noirs Label

ABV:  12.8%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $20.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100

2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon
I've thoroughly enjoyed tasting the "Readers" wines over the past 45 days and I'm so pleased every time I have the opportunity to do so.  This 2014 vintage from Bookwalter Winery stands up to Cabernet blends that are easily twice the price.  While I am a staunch supporter of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the blends that have been coming out of the west coast for the past 10-12 years have really helped pull in more non-traditional red wine drinkers and in many cases, have helped create wines that are more flavorful and expressive.  This blend boasts blackberry jam, dusty library books and a distinct mocha aroma that is reminiscent of your favorite coffee shop.  In the mouth is a solid wine that doesn't feel tight or young at all, but rather more mature than it is with predominant flavors of blackberry, wet stone and steak seasoning.  In the glass, this wine has sexy legs and a color that puts a smile on your face.  The Readers branded wines are an exceptional value.

2014 Readers Cabernet Sauvignon Label
ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley & Yakima Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $28.00

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100

Thursday, April 5, 2018

2015 Bookwalter Winery Suspense Cabernet Franc

2015 Bookwalter Winery Suspense Cabernet Franc

I've always kind of joked to myself that Cabernet Franc is the smaller, weaker cousin of Cabernet Sauvignon.  Maybe the middle child who didn't get enough attention?  I've just seldom had a truly grand experience with Cab Franc, but as the Monkees would say.....now "I'm a believer".  The 2015 Suspense Cabernet Franc from Bookwalter Winery will change the way you think about this wine.  While it's not 100% Cab Franc, the 17% Merlot blend is smart and adds some depth and complexity to this Columbia Valley wine.  After the gorgeous deep garnet color, the nose presents lively cherry aromas with earthly sage and whiffs of pomegranate.  Where this wine really, really got me was the surprise on the palate.   There was an unconventional and incredibly welcoming spice that joined the Cremè de cassis, cherry, raspberry and smooth-as-glass finish that leads to a very memorable tasting experience.  This is a healthy wine that is going to age amazingly and would be fun to taste every year for the next ten years and compare notes.  While this wine is a fun solo sipper, it would be well represented with a grilled ham steak, Polish sausage or a number of non-traditional meats.

2015 Bookwalter Winery Suspense Cabernet Franc Label

ABV:  14.8%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  93/100


Sunday, March 25, 2018

2015 Readers Merlot

2015 Readers Merlot

I'll admit that I've never been to Columbia Valley, Washington, but it seems that I need to make a trip sometime.  The wines that are coming out of this region are really putting a smile on my face these days, and the 2015 Readers Merlot from Bookwalter Winery is no exception.  What's the first thing wine snobs will look at when they see this bottle?  The screw top.  While I love the resounding "pop" of a cork, I also learned all too long ago that screw tops technically are the best best for most wines: no tainted corks, renewable resource in recyclable caps, etc.  Ok, I just realized I haven't talked about the wine at all and clearly it is the star of this show!  This is a blend of Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (10%) and it presents itself very stoically in the glass.  Aromas of black cherry, hints of blueberry and chocolate and it you're a super-swirler like I am, you might even pick up some green earth and cherry tobacco.  Incredibly soft tannins welcome the mouth and flavors of black cherry pie filling, chocolate chips, and cedar.  Don't let the alcohol content (pushing 15%) scare you; this is not hot at all.  This drinks incredibly well and would be a bison burger's best friend!

2015 Readers Merlot Label

ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $28.00

Drink The Bottles Score:  90/100

NV Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blancs

NV Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blancs

What do you see here?  Champagne!   No.  It's sparkling wine.  But we don't need to get into the whole conversation about sparkling wine and Champagne right now, do we?  If you want to know the history behind it and why this is sparkling wine....perform a quick Google search.  Now, me personally.....if someone says they are serving Champagne with hors d'oeuvres at brunch, well, I'm not going to get mad at them when it's American sparkling wine nor am I going to correct them.  In many cases, sparking wine has much more appeal than several Champagne I've tried over the years, both in flavor and price point.  This NV Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blancs is made in the Champagne style and expresses green apple and a beautifully balanced warm bread yeasty flavor that is delicious.  Beautiful pale golden color (this is a Chardonnay blend).  Micro bubbles help lift and muted apple and pear aromas and when served slightly chilled, this sparking wine is refreshing and an excellent pairing with finger foods like smoked salmon on toast points.  Here's a fact I just found out about Treveri Cellars:  Their wines have been served at the White House.  I think that says a lot about the quality and popularity.  And for the value, you'd be remiss not to have a couple of bottles lying around for your Sunday brunch.

NV Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blancs Label

ABV:  12.0%

Yakima Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $15.00  

Drink The Bottles score:  87/100


Saturday, March 24, 2018

2016 Hedges Family Estate HIP Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Hedges Family Estate HIP Cabernet Sauvignon

Incredibly dark, nearly black in the glass with blended aromas of dark fruits, licorice and tobacco leaf with hints of damp earth.  This 2016 Hedges Family Estate HIP Cabernet Sauvignon is medium bodied and very easy to drink with flavors of dark fruits, dark chocolate, flakes of fine pepper and cinnamon.  This wine finishes brightly and has velvety tannins that gives a welcoming and smooth feel in the mouth.  I like this wine.  The dark colors and peppery notes hint that this is a Cabernet blend, and for this price it certainly is a bargain!

2016 Hedges Family Estate HIP Cabernet Sauvignon Label

ABV:  13.5%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $17.00

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

2015 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon

I am so stoked about this wine I almost don't know where to begin!  Bookwalter Winery has created an amazing wine in the 2015 Protagonist Cabernet Sauvginon.  While not the most fragrant wine you'll ever experience, the flavors are the superstars here!  Dark cherry, graphite and a touch of sulfur smoke greet you warmly and are a stark contrast of the flavors leap from the glass.  This wine feels nice and tight and flavors of black berry, mineral and black currant dance around and introduce a finish that is welcoming and absolutely fulfilling. Smartly balanced blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (95%), Merlot (5%), Syrah (3%) and Cabernet Franc (2%), this wine has a beautiful medium-to-dark purple color and it is delicious now; I suspect will be just as wonderful in another 10+ years.  Beautiful!

2015 J Bookwalter Protagonist Cabernet Sauvignon Label

ABV:  14.9%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $60.00

Drink The Bottles score:  94/100

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend

2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend

There are a few wine phrases I've said dozens (hundreds?) of times over the years.  One of these phrases would be, "Good wine doesn't have to be expensive".  And that proves to be true with this 2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend.  Made up of a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (27%), Merlot (65%) and Syrah (8%), this wine has a very dark red color with purple center and a very nice layer of aromas like black raspberry, chocolate, dried cooking spices and a hint of pipe tobacco smoke.  This wine is much brighter than anticipated and fills the mouth with ripe berries and plum flavors, blended very evenly.  The chocolate and smokiness is realized on the back side of this tasting and the wine bids adieu with a memorable and strong finish.

2015 Hedges Family Estate CMS Red Wine Blend Label

ABV:  13.5%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $14.00

Drink The Bottles score:  87/100

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2016 Readers Chardonnay

2016 Readers Chardonnay

This Columbia Valley Chardonnay from Bookwalter Winery is a straight forward, fun  sipping wine that presents lemon, pear, dried grasses and hints of mineral throughout the nose.  It's not overly aromatic, but the flavors are the stars here.  The blending of Viognier helps make this sweet and bright.  Flavors of candied lemon, pear and honey on the tongue and all the way through the finish.  Although I taste and drink most of my white wines at room temperature, I think this wine would be incredibly refreshing served very cool and with oysters on the half shell or with a cobb salad.  For the price point, it would be easy to have 2 or 3 bottles around all of the time.  This wine is 76% Chardonnay and 24% Viognier.

ABV:  13.6%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $20.00

Drink The Bottles score:  88/100

2016 Readers Chardonnay label



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2017 Hedges Family Estate CMS Sauvignon Blanc

2017 Hedges Family Estate CMS Sauvignon Blanc

The 2017 CMS Sauvignon Blanc from Hedges Family Estate is a brand new, freshly bottled offering that is a very nice surprise compared to the thousands of other options you have.  This wine doesn't stun you with the color, but rather the incredibly aromatic displays of lemon peel, pineapple and pear.  It's not overbearing with lemongrass or fresh cut grass like many of it's brothers and sisters of the same varietal.  While that's quite typical of SB, a little can go a long way!  And just like 99% of white wines, I tasted this one at right around room temperature of 70 degrees.  I do that to get the real feel of the wine.  If you're looking for something refreshing, pop this in the fridge and drink it with a slaw dog and fried mushrooms!  Made in the traditional Sauvignon Blanc style, but this has a fuller mouthfeel with less brightness than typical SB's.  It's a very welcoming surprise and I'm a really big fan!

ABV:  13.5%

Columbia Valley, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $14.00

Drink The Bottles score:  89/100

2017 CMS Sauvignon Blanc close up



2013 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Blend

2013 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Blend

Oh what fun this gem is!  The 2013 Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain Blend is made up of a myriad of popular wines.  Very dark in the glass all the way to the edge and the well balanced acidity provides for a tart beginning to a semi-sweet, solid finish on this medium bodied, well rounded wine.  A lot of dark fruits are popping through here and they are balanced with the herbs and leathery goodness that come through on the nose and in the mouth.  This wine would pair extremely well with a French Onion Soup or a beautiful bone-in ribeye.  This has been in bottle for nearly 4 years and you could drink this in 5 years and be just as satisfied, if not more.   The makeup on this wine is Cabernet Sauvignon (59%), Merlot (28%), Cabernet Franc (5%), Malbec (4%), Petite Verdot (2%) and Syrah (2%).  Did I mention that I love the color?

ABV:  13.5%

Red Mountain, Washington

Suggested retail price:  $28.00

Drink The Bottles score:  91/100