Grape Clones at Red Willow Vineyard

Red Willow Vineyard's stone chapel is one of the most recognizable buildings in Washington wine countryWe recently stopped by Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley and spent an incredible afternoon with the Sauer family, Washington wine royalty.

As mentioned in our previous post, one of the highlights of our visit was learning about Mike Sauer’s clone program, which he started with Master of Wine David Lake in 2005. The two Washington wine legends experimented with different cuttings certified from UC Davis Viticulture and Enology. Their clone program continues today.

 

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Red Willow Vineyard and WA Wine Royalty

Jon Sauer, Karen Sauer and Mike Sauer stand in front of signs from Red Willow Vineyard.Last week, we had the honor of visiting Red Willow Vineyard and spending an afternoon with the incredible Sauer family, Washington wine royalty.

We toured part of the vineyard with Mike, Karen and their son, Jon, and later were joined by Jon’s wonderful wife Kelly and their five lovely children. In this photo, (from left) Jon, Karen and Mike stand in front of old signs of grapes planted at Red Willow. Of note, the sign for the 1986 Syrah represents the first grape planted in Washington state.

During our visit, Mike told us about the harvest, which was almost but not quite over. He also discussed his clone project, and we tasted three wines made from some of those clones.

Although we spent time with Mike and Karen at a wine event in 2017, we hadn’t been to Red Willow in nine years. It was an amazing experience.
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Murrieta’s Well Wins Again

We have been fans of Murrieta’s Well blends, The Spur (red), and The Whip (white), since 2011, and their latest vintages continue to impress.

We enjoyed samples of these two blends, plus a few other wines in the portfolio of this popular Livermore Valley winery, at a recent Snooth virtual tasting with Murrietta’s Well talented winemaker Robbie Meyer.

But before getting to our tasting notes, Murrieta’s Well has credentials worth mentioning – it is one of California’s original wineries, propagated in 1883 with vineyard cuttings from Chateau Margaux and Chateau d’Yquem in France. The winery is owned by Philip Wente of Wente Vineyards, the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. And now, the wines …

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Le Bec Fin by Chateau Beck

Le Bec Fin by Chateau Beck is a new side project by Jean Claude Beck, the winemaker of The Woodhouse Wine Estates in Woodinville. We first met Jean Claude when he arrived at Woodhouse about ten years ago to lead their wine production, and we were immediately charmed and impressed.

He was born in the Alsace region of France, following several generations of winemakers; his family estate has been producing wine since 1579 in a small village south of Strasbourg. According to European gourmet magazine Feinschmecken, “everything this winemaker touches turns to gold in the bottle.” Jean Claude’s motto is “No boring wines!”

We also love another of his quotes: “As my Grandfather Char once said, ‘I don’t want to make the most expensive wine in the world, I want to make a wine that when you sit at the table and the glass is poured, you empty it and without hesitation you ask for another.’”

Jean Claude’s love for wine is evident in every conversation we have with him. (And you can see his creativity by his July 4th Facebook photo, above.) So we eagerly awaited the arrival of his three Le Bec Fin wines to sample: 2016 Vin Rosé, Vin Blanc and 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon. They were all lovely. Continue reading