cabernet sauvignon

A day at Bartholomew Winery

A day at Bartholomew Winery celo4life

On October 9, 2010, I had the pleasure of touring various wineries throughout the day. My first stop was Bartholomew Winery, where I had the pleasure of pouring for their opening weekend. Bartholomew Winery is an up and coming winery next to the old Rainier Building in the SODO District of Seattle. They feature 4 wines with 2 more soon to be released. In the early stages of existence, Bartholomew Winery is already receiving rave reviews.

As I walked in the door, I was surprised to see Antoine Pin from Parallel Winos Live filming a few segments.  After a few moments of catching up and making fun of DC United (GO SOUNDERS!), I was invited to jump in on the last two segments they filmed. For your viewing pleasure, here is a video review of two wines from Bartholomew Winery.

Bartholomew Winery 2007 Jaxon (Walla Walla Valley)


If you didn’t catch it from the video, this is a 50% Cabernet Sauvignon-%50 Merlot blend.

Bartholomew Winery 2007 Reciprocity (Horse Heaven Hills)


This wine is a 50% Cabernet Sauvignon-%50 Carménère blend

I hope you enjoyed the videos as we will have more on the way!

Bartholomew Winery is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm – 5pm. They also host various events throughout the year which you can find on the Bartholomew Happenings Website. You can also find Bartholomew Winery on Twitter (@BartholomewWine), on Facebook, or on their actual Bartholomew Winery website.

The Wine Shoppe

Wine Shoppe at Hawks Landing Napa Valley wine tasting

Wine Shoppe at Hawks Landing Napa Valley wine tasting 604 604 celo4life

The Wine Shoppe

On June 10, 2010, I attended a Napa Valley wine tasting hosted by Tracie Hogan, owner of The Wine Shoppe at Hawks Landing and Redmond Ridge. The Wine Shoppes host wine tastings at both of their locations: Thursdays (Hawks Landing), Fridays (Redmond Ridge) and Saturdays (both locations). In a future blog entry, I will tell you more about The Wine Shoppes’ offerings.

Today’s tasting featured two wines from Pahlmeyer Wines and one from Signorello Vineyards. Before I tell you about these wines, I would like to note that all the wines I tasted had at least 1 hour to breathe.

Pahlmeyer Wines

Right now, I would like  familiarize yourself with Pahlmeyer Wines. Here is an excerpt about Pahlmeyer from their website:

1972…a year for new thought and tradition-reversing headlines, world-wide: the Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional. Nixon opened relations with Communist China by sitting down for a chat with Mao Zedong. George McGovern, presidential hopeful, upset time-honored conservative notions by abandoning shirt and tie in favor of a white turtleneck.

That same year, while finishing law school, Jayson Pahlmeyer was at the starting gate of his grapes-to-wine quest. He and John Caldwell, a good friend and fellow wine explorer, had developed a penchant and a deep admiration for the Bordeaux style of grape growing and winemaking. Their shared wine palate and nose led them on investigative trips to the famous French vineyards where they acquired cuttings from the five classic Bordeaux varietals. Back in California with their Bordeaux cuttings, they began their grand experiment. For the complete story, click here

While I’m not familiar with Pahlmeyer wines or the Napa Valley region in general (except for the many stories I’ve heard), this was an excellent way to start. I tried two really great wines from Pahlmeyer that will cause you to change your misconceptions about red (merlot) or white (chardonnay) wine.

2007 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Chardonnay – $70

This wine features complex layers of ripe white peach, toasty vanillins, citrus, lemon curd and graham cracker crust. It is full-bodied with rich viscosity and perfectly balanced with lively acidity. The long finish leaves a juicy impression.” — Erin Green, Winemaker

Wow! If you’re one of those people who always says, “I don’t like chardonnay!”, this is one that will make you change your mind. This wine has a lot of depth and character. The nose on this wine is very pleasant and draws you in. When it hits your palate, the fruit just remains on your tongue and makes you beg for more. If you’re looking for very versatile wine that can stand-alone or for your next dinner party, this is the one!

2006 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Merlot – $90

“This is a concentrated wine with extractive notes of dusty cocoa, black cherry and generous spice accented with cassis. It is
perfectly balanced and the flavors are seamlessly integrated. The tannins are big, dark and supple and the finish goes on and on.”
— Erin Green, Winemaker

I tried this wine before and after it was decanted and found that it was a bit better after it was decanted. This wine has a great nose and doesn’t have that bite you find in most Merlot wines. Throughout this wine, I could definitely taste the black cherry as it lingered on my palate.  Overall, this is a great wine and tastes better with age! I would be very interested to see how this wine does in a few years. Maybe a few bottles will end up in my cellar 😉

Signorello Estate

Before I tell you about the final wine of the evening, here is an excerpt on Signorello Vineyards from their website:

Ray Signorello Jr. began his journey as winemaker and vineyard owner in the Napa Valley during the mid 1980’s. Ray, born in San Francisco, California, moved to Vancouver, Canada where the Signorello family continues to maintain a home. Ray divides his time between Napa, San Francisco, Vancouver and business related travel. Ray’s father, Ray Sr., initiated the vineyard project during the mid 1970’s by purchasing the 100-acre estate located on the Silverado Trail in the beautiful Napa Valley. Ray Sr. worked side by side with Ray Jr., establishing the winery’s reputation for excellence until his passing in the fall of 1998. For the complete story, click here

2006 Signorello Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) – $50

Our signature wine is a deep, dark red color and opens to raspberry, anise, chocolate and vanilla. The lush, full-bodied palette continues with flavor of red berry, cedar, leather and hints of tobacco. This wine’s incredible balance and long finish is accentuated by its integrated tannins and round, lush flavors. Enjoy with chocolate, cheese, Filet Mignon, NY Strip steak, Flat Iron steak or venison. Drinkability: Now to 2022.

This wine has very deep color and a nice nose where I picked up hints of vanilla. I also found it had a nice spice/smokiness to it. Maybe it’s the tobacco, but since I’m not real familiar with it (non-smoker), I can’t be for sure. As the tasting notes suggest, I would pair this up with your favorite steak or other forms of beef. Maybe a london broil would be great for this or some beef ribs! Another great wine that can stand-alone and or be paired with your favorite meal. If you do decide to purchase this wine, would suggest decanting this wine first and then putting it back into the bottle just in case you pick up sediment from the wine. Just something I observed at the tasting that I thought I’d pass along to you all.

For myself personally, this was a great introduction to Napa Valley wines and I look forward to learning more about the region!

June 3, 2010: Woodinville Wine Country Tweet Up @ Purple Wine Bar, Part 1

June 3, 2010: Woodinville Wine Country Tweet Up @ Purple Wine Bar, Part 1 1316 1600 celo4life

The other day, I received an invitation  to attend the Woodinville Wine Country Tweet Up at Purple Wine Bar in Bellevue, WA. I was surprised and honored to receive the invitation, considering that I’m relatively new to the scene. I didn’t know what to expect, but I love surprises :D.

When I arrived at the event, I was greeted by Cynthia Daste, executive director for Woodinville Wine Country. Around the table was a collection of bloggers from around the area and representatives from various wineries. After some initial introductions, I took my seat at the table and started on a whirlwind tour of 15 different wines. For this entry, I will introduce you to each winery & the wines I tasted, where you can find them (if available), and a few of my personal thoughts on each. So without further adieu….

Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter Cellars

Brian Carter Cellars is a winery I have yet to visit, but has been on my early list of wineries to check out in the Woodinville area. It was fitting that they would be present at the event so I can learn a little bit about their wines. Although they only had one wine at the event, it was enough motivation for me to want to try all their wines!

Brian Carter Cellars 2009 Abracadabra Rosé
Beautiful electric pink in color, aromas of ripe strawberries abound with more subtle notes of peaches and orange blossoms. On the palate is beautiful fruit backed up by deliciously crisp acidity.

My Notes: This wine was just released on June 1, 2010 and is a great addition to the collection of wines at Brian Carter Cellars. The wine had the kind of creamy finish that you’ll find with some rosé wines and had a very nice flavor. This is definitely a wine I could enjoy on many occasions and is one to pick up this summer. The current price is $20 and you can either pick this up online at Brian Carter Cellars, buy it at their tasting room, or limited retail shops.

Dusted Valley Vintners

Dusted Valley Vintners

Dusted Valley Vintners is another winery I have yet to visit, but is high on my list of wineries to check out. Their lone wine at the event was one of my top picks out of all of the wines throughout the night!

Dusted Valley Vintners 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon V.R. Special
The blood, sweat and tears that went in to growing this wine are dedicated to the loving memory of my Grandpa Vernon Rhodes. He was a truly amazing man. This Cab takes its name from his miraculous chocolate chip cookie the “V. R. Special”. I bet you wish you could dunk one in a glass of this wine right now. Rest easy Grandpa Rhodes. We love you!

This Cab has a beautiful bouquet on the nose, great fruit and silky tannin on the palate, and a lingering finish that will keep you wondering for minutes.

My take: This is a wine that has a lot of heart & soul and I highly recommend picking up a bottle. I found this wine to have a great earthy quality and it brought on visions of pairing this with smoked salmon or a dish that involved some sort of cream sauce, like pasta. This wine is only available at their tasting room and goes for $53.

Woodinville Wine Cellars

Woodinville Wine Cellars

Prior to this event, I had the pleasure of tasting four of Woodinville Wine Cellars’ wines and was really impressed by their depth and drinkability. So it was nice to revisit two of the four wines I had at a previous wine tasting which are currently in my wine cellar.

Woodinville Wine Cellars 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
After a long warm summer, we harvested amazing fruit from our two Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. The Artz Vineyard on Red Mountain is in a warmer region infusing the grapes with wonderful full-bodied tropical tones, while Stillwater Creek Vineyard is a cooler climate giving the wine more classic notes such as grapefruit, green apple and star anise. Together, they make a wonderful, balanced combination.

The nose has nice tropical tones as well as white peaches and mineral. Vibrant acidity washes over the palate with flavors of honeydew melon, and grapefruit. Citrus notes mingle together — reminiscent of biting into a cold green apple. A great complement to seafood, chicken, or your favorite soft cheese.

Woodinville Wine Cellars 2007 Little Bear Creek Red Wine
The fourth release of our favorite “entry-level” red, goes back to the 2005 Bordeaux style – predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon blended with hints of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. With aromas of red cherry and raspberry followed by huge red and black cherry flavors, this sweetly fruited, lengthy wine has the most “bang for the buck” yet. Bring this wine to your next dinner party or wine tasting and be the star.

My Take: The Sauvignon Blanc is a great wine for the summer time that should be enjoyed on your deck, boat, beach, etc. Make sure to enjoy this wine with a lot of friends because its great for parties. This wine is available at their tasting room for $18 or you can find it in retail wine shops around the area. The Little Bear Creek is a clear winner and at $20, is a steal. This wine goes down smooth and is great to bring to social gatherings or dinners. Since it’s in my cellar, you know I recommend it 😉

DeLille Cellars

DeLILLE Cellars

Another winery on my hit list is DeLille Cellars. I’ve been hearing many great things about the winery and have received many requests to invite them to a future wine tasting.  Their lone wine of the evening is a varietal that is starting to create some buzz in Washington and is turning out to be one of my favorite whites:

Doyenne 2008 Roussanne (DeLille Cellars)
This wine is so complex this year, we found ourselves trying to one-up each other with notes on the nose and palate. The trademark lime and floral notes on the nose are surrounded by subtle hints of sweet green tea, white pepper, hibiscus and chamomile flowers, wet stone and capsicum. On the palate, this wine has a balanced mouthful of lime, honeydew melon, Bartlett pears, and the aforementioned flowers and spices. The acidity perfectly supports the broad body of the wine, and echoes in the long and complex finish.

My take: This wine is great from the moment you smell the wine to when it hits your palate and goes down your throat. Very flavorful and balanced. Lucky for you, you can pick this wine up at QFC’s, Wholefoods, Metropolitan Markets, PCC’s, various wine shops, or you can either purchase it online through the winery or go to the winery! The price is $32 a bottle, but it’s well worth it.

Page Cellars

Page Cellars

We end part 1 with Page Cellars, a tasting room I have visited before. When you visit the tasting room in Woodinville, you’ll be greeted by a very friendly and knowledgeable staff. For the event, they presented us with a wine that currently resides in my cellar:

Page Cellars 2009 Sentimental Blonde Sauvignon Blanc

Unfortunately, there are no tasting notes available for this wine, but I can tell you that it’s a blend of 80% Sauvignon blanc and 20% Semillion. When my friend MaryCatherine tried this wine, she described it as girly. I kind of laughed and asked what she meant. She described the wine as having a flowery nose to it and I got what she meant 🙂 This wine doesn’t have much sweetness to it, but it does have a lot of flavor & depth. This is another wine that you can enjoy during the summer months or whenever you feel like drinking a white wine. This wine is available at QFC’s, Albertson’s, various wine shops, or online & at their tasting room

So that’s all for part 1. Coming up in part 2, we’ll go through the rest of the wines that include Pomum Cellars, William Church Winery, Patterson Cellars, and Matthews Estates.

A private wine affair w/ Kiona Vineyards and Winery

A private wine affair w/ Kiona Vineyards and Winery 346 459 celo4life

So as some of you may have noticed, I’ve organized a private wine tasting with Kiona Vineyards and Winery. Kiona will be featured at our 1st Clubvibes Seattle wine tasting series event on November 13th @ The Edgewater Hotel. Since I’ve never tried their wines before, I thought, what better way than to try their wines among good friends and staff 🙂 Here is what we’ll be trying tonight:

Kiona Vineyards 2007 Chenin Blanc
Citrus, melon and pear aroma with a moderately sweet, tart, green apple finish

 Kiona Vineyards 2006 Estate Lemberger
Consistent award-winner. Very drinkable red with spicy currant and blackberry flavors. Deep black cherry color with moderate hints of oak

 Kiona Vineyards 2003 Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon
Classic Cabernet crafted by selective blending with Merlot and Cabernet Franc

 Kiona Vineyards 2008 Late Harvest Riesling
World-class dessert wine. Subtle and delicate with lemon, citrus and floral aromas. Hints of honey and apricot compliment wonderful flavors

This is the first of many private wine tasting events we will be hosting before our wine tasting series. Make sure to take advantage of the next opportunity!

For more information about Kiona Vineyard and Winery, click the following link:

Wine acquisitions: October 23, 2009

Wine acquisitions: October 23, 2009 60 60 celo4life

Sooner or later, my blood will be filled with vino 😉 I’ve spent a few days over the past few weeks tasting wines and ports. It’s been great meeting new people in the wine industry. I even had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Harvey from the reality tv show, The Winemakers, on PBS.

Here is a list of what I’ve picked up in the last few weeks:

2008 C’est La Vie  Chardonnay Sauvignon (France)
2005 Torre de Barreda Tempranillo (Spain)
2007 Terrai Syrah (Spain)
2006 Elle Syrah (Columbia Valley)
2008 Airfield Estates Unoaked Chardonnay (Yakima Valley)
2008 Evergreen Vineyard Kung Fu Girl Riesling (Columbia Valley)
2007 Edge Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)
2007 Picada 15 Red Blend (Argentina)
2007 Maryhill Winemaker’s Red (Columbia Valley)

I’ll update this note when I have more time. Enjoy!

Wine acquisitions: September 28, 2009

Wine acquisitions: September 28, 2009 640 428 celo4life

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been acquiring a bunch of wine. Here are my latest acquisitions:

2007 The Chocolate Block by Boekenhoutskloof Franschhoek (South Africa)
Just by the name, you know this wine has to be good. And good it most certainly is! Hints of dark chocolate and ripe fruit dominate the aromatic profile of this wine. Rich and ripe, the wine has a generous mouth feel and mid-palate weight with a minimum of five years ageing potential. A blend of syrah, grenache, cabernet and others!

2007 Spice Route Viognier (South Africa)
2006 Dante California Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2008 The Ghost of 413 Columbia Valley Riesling
2007 The Ghost of 413 Columbia Valley Red Wine
2006 Murphy’s Law Red Wine (Columbia Valley)
2006 Valhall Wines West Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley (California)

I also have a few new sparkling wines
Montelliana Prosecco Extra Dry Sparkling Wine (Italy)
Cava Parxet Cuvèe 21 Brut Sparkling Wine (Spain)
Duval-Leroy Brut Champagne (France)

I’ll add descriptions on all of these later. Just wanted to get this list out!

2009 Yakima Valley & Prosser wine trip

2009 Yakima Valley & Prosser wine trip 453 298 celo4life

Awhile back, I was going to join the many Seattle Sounders faithful in LA for the big game against the Galaxy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t freaking find anyone to go with on the trip and I had an accounting nightmare with two freaking boat cruises. The backup plan you ask? Plan a wine trip!!! 🙂

I ventured back to the Yakima Valley and Prosser for my first major wine trip of the year. The goal was to rebuild my wine collection, meet some new wine makers for our new wine tasting series, and see what’s changed since my last trip. Let me tell ya, the region has grown quite a bit. It made me want to buy some real estate and start growing some wine! Below is a list of 41 bottles of wine Nicole and I purchased on our trip 🙂 Yes, you read that right. We came back with 41 bottles between the two of us 🙂

Piety Flats Winery
2007 Chenin Blanc
2007 Black Muscat
2008 Pinot Grigio / Chardonnay

Masset Winery
2006 le Petit Rouge, Columbia Valley, Red Table Wine
2008 le Petit Blanc, Yakima Valley
2005 Merlot, Columbia Valley
2006 Muscat Love, Columbia Valley, Dessert Wine

Severino Cellars
2006 Riesling
Severino Red, Lot #2 (I think this was a 2008)

Portteus Winery
2008 Rattlesnake Red
2008 Purple Haze Red Wine (Go Dawgs!)

Bonair Winery
Bonnie Bonair
2006 Estate Bottled Caberet Franc, Rattlesnake Hills
2007 Riesling

Christopher Cellars/Cultura Wines
2006 Christopher Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

Dineen Family Vineyards
2006 Heritage Red Wine, Yakima Valley

Note: This was the top wine we tasted on the trip. The guy was open randomly and had one wine. It ended up being the best red I had

Agate Field Winery
2005 Moon Rider Sangiovese

Coyote Canyon Winery
2008 Life is Rosé

Thurston Wolfe
2007 Lemberger
2007 Zinfandel
2006 JTW’s Port, Dessert Wine
2008 Sweet Rebecca, Dessert Wine

Martinez & Martinez Winery (New)
2008 Cabernet Blanca, Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon

Note: This was the last stop on our wine tour for Saturday evening. These guys were great. They just opened up their winery on that day, ran out of wine, but had one bottle left over for us! To top it all off, the couple was having a baby the next day. Needless to say, we had to pick up a bottle 😉

Milbrandt Vineyards
2007 Tradition Chenin Blanc
2007 The Estates Late Harvest Riesling

Maison Bleue Winery
2008 La Vie Douce

Note: The guy who worked at this winery was coo as fawk. He’s a DJ and since this winery is opening up in Woodinville, he’s going to come out and play for us hahaha! (Editor’s note: Since writing this entry, Maison Bleue has decided not to open a tasting room in Woodinville at this time. Look for my update in a later blog entry!)

Airfield Estates
2007 Chardonnay
2007 Syrah

Note: If you’re looking for a historical experience, this winery is it. We’ll be working with these guys in the future. Oh yeah, they had a hot singer there too 😛

Olsen Hills Winery
2007 Vintage Malbec
2008 Vintage Rosé

Gamache Vintners
2007 Estate Riesling
2006 Estate Boulder Red

We visited over 20 wineries, met a ton of people, and had a ton of fun. One thing to note, I think we’re actually missing two bottles 🙁 I’m looking into it. Be on the lookout for my wine and bbq event and the wine tasting series!