Located near Spokane, Liberty Lake Wine Cellars is a boutique Washington state winery focusing on bold reds from Red Mountain. Our kind of wines, right? Right! As background, original owners Doug and Shelly Smith released the first 2005 vintage in 2007. Fast-forward to 2016. Mark and Sarah Lathrop took over the Liberty Lake operation, moving to a larger tasting room and production facility. They also created a second label, TAHIJA, for non-Red Mountain reds and whites.
Mark recently sent us samples of four bottles of Liberty Lake wine. First, we tasted 2018 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, which won’t be released until next year. Second, we tried three releases coming out later this month: 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2018 Zinfandel and 2018 TAHIJA Sangiovese. Read on for details.
Don Sebastiani & Sons Pinot Noir has always graced our wine collection, so we were delighted to find out about how this California winery has expanded its portfolio to 14 brands with Big Smooth wines — a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon and a lush Old Vine Zinfandel packaged in a bottle with a velvet label.
“Big Smooth is inspired by the understanding that wine itself is an experience,” said Donny Sebastiani, CEO of Don Sebastiani & Sons. “Our vision for Big Smooth is to deliver big, mouth-filling wines that are not only smooth and sensual to drink, but extend that feeling all the way from first glance on the shelf to the last sip from your glass.”
The Sonoma-based winery also reinvigorated The Crusher wine series, with a new label design and new California label designation. The Crusher line-up: Merlot, Red Blend, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and the debut of Unoaked Chardonnay.
Vivino’spopular guide to decide which wines to pair with Halloween candy has been updated this year — what a fun initiative. And c’mon, who hasn’t thought about a glass of wine while handing out treats or going to a Halloween party?
According to Vivino: “The most important things in a Halloween Survival Kit for adults are wine, candy, and more wine.”
In this year’s “Halloween Candy and Wine Match Maker” list, there are tasting notes on pairings, too, for those who want to “really nerd out.”
For example, this is from the notes about the pairing of Whoppers and Cabernet Sauvignon: “The huge malty character of whoppers needs a wine with backbone and depth to keep from being overpowered by the malt and chocolate.”
For Hershey Kisses and Zinfandel: “The best wine contrasts creamy milk chocolate with ripe berry flavors. America’s sweetheart, Zinfandel, turns every bite into a raspberry cordial on the palate.”
These notes are just a taste (pun intended) of the fun pairings you can find in the guide. Have a look before, during and after Halloween!
Yes, we are major fans of Vivino, and back in February, recommended downloading the free Vivino Wine App. We use Vivino to help us find details about wines before we purchase them — either online, from a retail outlet or in a restaurant. We also use the premium feature to organize our wine cellar. Love it!
If you haven’t tasted wine from Kenwood Vineyards in awhile, it’s time to rediscover it.
Kenwood Vineyards is one of the pioneers of premium wine in Sonoma, part of the wine region’s landscape since 1970. The winery is now undergoing a renaissance with a focus on small-lot winemaking and a new look.
We recently attended an online tasting with Pat Henderson, who has been a winemaker at Kenwood Vineyards since 2003, and became chief winemaker last year. Ahead of the tasting, we received four wines in a gorgeous wooden box. The bottles had a a new look and modern labels.
2014 Kenwood Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99) Fruit from 28 vineyards went into this crisp summer sipper, and the result is a balance of citrus and tropical flavors plus some grassy characteristics and minerality. We will definitely be buying bottles of this Sauvignon Blanc to enjoy on our deck on the lake.
2014 Kenwood Vineyards Six Ridges Russian River Chardonnay($21.99) If you like your Chardonnays rich and creamy, this one is for you. Flavors of apple, peach, vanilla and spice combine in a chilled glass that will pair well with seafood or chicken.
2013 Kenwood Six Ridges Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($31.99) Zin lovers take note! This is big, bold, beautiful and well-balanced. And somehow it is both silky and zesty at the same time, too. It will pair nicely with spicy foods but also is strong enough to stand alone without food; to simply share a bottle with friends or enjoy at a party.
2013 Jack London Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon($35) This beauty will pair perfectly with BBQ steaks in the summer and roast beef in the winter. This is our kind of cab – full-bodied, rich, robust, well-structured and elegant.
The samples were provided by Kenwood Vineyards, which, in the name of full disclosure, is a Pernod Ricard brand and a client at the PR agency where I (Margot) work. However, I attended the tasting as a wine blogger and adhered to Write for Wine’s sample policy. If I did’t like the wines, I simply would not write about them. Word.