July Wine Club: It’s about getting the right blend

It’s our nation’s birthday, and we continue to be a melting pot nation.  Seems only fitting that to celebrate the occasion we do so with some impressive wine blends that are definitely greater than the sum of their parts.  No need to choose between Cabernet and Zinfandel. And that goes for the decision making of sorting between Chardonnay vs. Sauvignon Blanc.  These winemakers know how to bring varietals together somewhere in the middle and come up with blends that take the best of each and come out with real winners.  And, of course, that obviously makes us winners too.

2014 Duckhorn Paraduxx Proprietary Napa Valley Red Wine, California

Want an irrepressible, irresistible and utterly lavish Red to be just as spectacular as the grilled Porterhouse you are serving on July 4th?  Then, this mix of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Zinfandel and 5% Merlot is calling your name.  James Suckling has awarded this all-American red blend 93 points, and you’ll quickly see why. On the nose are cherry and ripe wild strawberry, combined with hints of wood smoke and toasted marshmallow from barrel aging. Follow on to the palate, and you will be treated to juicy layers of brambles, black cherry and nectarine supported by firm, yet refined, tannins and impressive weight. The Cabernet provides an excellent structure, drawing this wine to a full, rich finish.

2013 5OS (aka 5 O’clock Somewhere) Project White Blend, South Australia

Don’t let the quirky name fool you. It is clearly more a nod to the playful, yet dare we say, perfect summer quaff.  With 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Chardonnay (both fermented in oak) and 25% Riesling (fermented in steel), this is a refreshing wine that appeals from the start with its green hues and slightly nutty nose with a bit of musk and a bit of lime and peach. Your palate then gets a sensory treat, sorting between flavors of lemon, pineapple, nougat and even licorice. This medium-bodied wine is fruit driven, and marvelous sipping on the screened-in porch at dusk as you wile away a happy hour with friends.  Equally enjoyable with a grilled chicken Caesar salad or freshly caught, pan-fried rainbow trout.


June Wine Club: Three great Pacific Northwest winemakers equals one great wine collaboration

It’s the best kind of wine riddle:  what’s better than one fabulous winemaker? Three, of course, and these are three who know how to maximize their strengths and produce impressive, yet reasonably priced wines that are sure to please.

Guild Winemakers is an exciting collaboration between three dynamic young winemakers based in the Pacific Northwest. John Grochau, Anne Hubatch and Vincent Fritzsche have banded together in a unique and tasty collaboration.

John Grochau is owner and winemaker of Grochau Cellars, and produces Pinot Noir, Gamay Noir and several whites from the Willamette Valley, as well as wine from eastern Washington. Anne Hubatch runs both Helioterra Wines and Whoa Nelly. She makes Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Syrah, other reds from eastern Washington, as well as a range of aromatic Oregon whites. Vincent Fritzsche is owner of Vincent Wine Company, producing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Gamay Noir, all from vineyards around the Willamette Valley.

The grapes for Guild wines are sourced from all over the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Columbia Valley that straddles Oregon and Washington. By working with different lots and grapes each year, the trio is able to produce wines that reflect their vintage and provide a unique drinking experience.  That’s why this month, we felt “inspired” to offer some of their latest to our faithful wine club members.

2015 Pinot Gris “Lot #10,” Willamette Valley

This is why this wine region produces such interesting wines.  Volcanic and sedimentary soil in two vineyards that are approximately 15 years old bring out the nuanced flavors of this light and bright white that is 100% Pinot Gris.  Think terroir!  Fermented and aged in stainless tanks, this vintage of Pinot Gris offers flavors of orange peel, pineapple and lemon cream that are nicely balanced with bright acidity and a round mouthfeel. A refreshingly long finish makes for a delicious dry white wine that can stand alone or be enjoyed with your favorite grilled chicken souvlaki, crab cakes, light cheese – even spicy dishes.  Yes, this is a versatile wine that can stand alone or pair with…whatever is on the menu.

2014 Red Blend “Lot #11,” Columbia Valley

Here’s a hearty Red that you will soon always want to have on hand.  Sourced from multiple vineyards across the Columbia Valley, the Guild Winemakers’ Red is always a Syrah-based blend with a variety of other Rhone grapes. This aromatic blend is 56% Syrah, 22% Mourvedre, 14% Counoise, 6% Carignan and 2% Grenache.  Fermented in stainless steel, but then aged in a mix of oak barrels for 18 months, this vintage offers a deep red color and rich aromas of blackberries, cured meats and flowers. On the palate, it’s flavors of wild berries, pepper and earth. This is a perfect Red to marry up with a grilled bison steak or spicy lamb tagine.


C’est Si bon! C’est l’amour!

It’s February, and if your significant other hasn’t already reminded you, this is the month of love, per our favorite saint:  St. Valentine.  And, of course, we know the language of love is often à la Français, so we’ve got you covered.  Your inspired wine club has found wines not only irresistible, but also French!  Yes, these are delectable treats that will help set the tone with your sweetie on Valentine’s Day or any other day you seek some romance.  Whether you lean toward whites or reds, this month features two amorous wines ready to bring a little passion to the day. In the immortal words of Earth Kitt, c’est si bon!

Schröder & Schÿler 2015 Chartron la Fleur, Bordeaux, France

With 86 points from Wine Enthusiast, you’re bound to enjoy this light and bright Sauvignon Blanc sourced from the Entre-deux-Mers region of Bordeaux. This wine is light, crisp and fruity, simultaneously citrus and floral. Its lime and grapefruit notes provide a vibrancy.  A tang of lemon zest give the wine an even fresher character. Celebrating your Valentine’s Day with a lobster Newburg?  An elegant seafood soufflé?  Maybe oysters on the half shell?  This is the wine to round out that meal. It complements any fish or seafood.

Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras, Rhone, France

Another award-winner, this wine has been described by the Wine Advocate as “a more modern-styled, less –typique- as the French would say, well-made, dense wine with more pain grille/toast notes intermixed with espresso roast, kirsch, black currants and licorice.” We would probably just say that it’s a gorgeous blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre. Its origin from old vines and 12 months of aging in oak barrels provides an impeccable richness. It is a bold, full-bodied wine, ready to marry up with a creamy steak au poivre, a succulent prime rib or even a garlicky pork roast.  The only thing missing is Cupid.


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