Vars & Sundry

Bordeaux Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Wine, Zinfandel Comments Off

“Vars & Sundry” is an old wire service term that refers to various and sundry news stories that don’t necessarily fit in with other stories. So it seemed a fitting title for this blog post, which is about a number of wine samples that were sent to us from different wineries. They come from Washington state, of course, British Columbia, California and New Zealand.

L’Ecole No. 41 2008 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Regular readers know that L’Ecole 41 is one of our favorite wineries in Washington state, and this rich, layered Cab Sauv exemplifies why. This is a classic  — 100% Cabernet Sauvignon blended from several premium vineyards into one fine juice, sip after sip.

This robust red is showcased beautifully by the new elegant label unveiled by L’Ecole 41 earlier this year. If you missed the story about the new label, be sure to read it – and you’ll understand how this wonderful Walla Walla winery has grown from a small family-run favorite to one known as an enduring, sophisticated creator of quality wine. ($29)

Gnekow Family Winery 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel Reserve, Lodi:  Located about an hour from Napa Valley, Gnekow prides itself on producing wines that showcase the grapes from the region. This 05 Zin is drinking nicely, a mellow but jammy wine with structure and the complexity that comes from old vines. ($25)

Mission Hill Five Vineyards 2009 Cabernet Merlot Bin 88: This beautiful winery in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia is a pioneer in Canada’s wine industry. This is a medium-bodied, everyday wine that could be paired nicely with any red meat dish. ($17)

Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2010: We loved this refreshing New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with prawns on the deck during the warm weather. Bursting with grapefruit and citrus flavors, we were not surprised to discover it won gold at the International Wine Show in 2010. ($14)

Thanks for the samples! Cheers!

Goin’ Glamping at Destiny Ridge

Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Wine Comments Off

Glamour + Camping = Glamping – and that’s what we’re doing at Destiny Ridge Vineyard, where the estate wine begins for Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

A night under the stars — which, by the way, light up the sky in an extraordinary show that you’d never see in the city —  in a vineyard that overlooks the Columbia River in central Washington. Gorgeous!

So what does glamourous camping really mean? A large canvas tent with a luxurious queen-size bed on a Persian carpet, a down duvet, towels, a French Press coffee pot, mugs, dishes, a mini-refrigerator, an air-conditioning unit and a space heater. And don’t forget the enclosed, roofless shower, a propane barbecue on the deck, a propane fire pit to sit around a campfire and — of course — sip on award-winning Alexandria Nicole wines.

The tough choice is which wine to drink – perhaps the amazing 2009 Crawford Viognier during the warm days and the just-released rich and distinct Mr. Big Petite Sirah in the cooler evening. Or maybe the perennial favorite Quarry Butte? Or the refreshing Sauvignon Blanc? Or — well, here’s the list – you decide!

By day or by night, the views are spectacular.

No mobile phone. No laptop.

Goin’ glamping!

Glorious Cabernet Franc

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Wine 2 Comments

Cab FrancOne of my favorite wines is Cabernet Franc, which is one of the main varieties in Bordeaux blends. Cab Franc is typically used as a blending wine to add more complexity to Cabernet Sauvignon or more structure to Merlot.

But Cab Franc is also created as a single-varietal wine; in other words, a stand-alone wine. And one of the best we’ve tasted recently was a 2004 Cab Franc from Corliss Estates in Walla Walla.

This beauty was elegant and balanced, with a complex bouquet of cherry, spice, cassis, pepper and cocoa. We found it so rich that it was excellent without food. However, parmesan cheese went well with it, and later, we paired it nicely with a slow-cooked savory stew.

Many people don’t realize that Cabernet Franc is one of the genetic parents to Cabernet Sauvignon; the other is Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to Washington, you can find it planted in California and in the Bordeaux and Loire regions in France.

When blended, it adds both a subtly and an “oomph” to Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. But on its own, quite simply, Cabernet Franc is glorious.

Corliss 2004 Columbia Valley Cab Franc is a prime example.

Cheers!

Happy Canada Day, Happy 4th of July!

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Counoise, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Primitivo, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Wine, Zinfandel Comments Off

What a great weekend – Friday is Canada Day and Monday is the Fourth of July! And the weather is sunny, which means wine on the deck and BBQ’ing.

First, Dave and I wish all our Canadian family and friends a Happy Canada Day today. Tonight, we shall sip on both white and red wine (the colour of the flag) in your honour.

Then on Monday, we wish all our American family and friends a wonderful Fourth of July. In your honor, we plan to start with white wine on the deck, moving to a robust red later with some blue steak (the color of the flag).

What wines will you be drinking this holiday weekend on both sides of the border? Sauv Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Marsanne, Riesling, Chard? Cabernet, Cab Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Counoise or perhaps a nice Bordeaux blend? Let us know in the comments below.

We hope your holiday is wonderful and safe.

Cheers!

Margot & Dave

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