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.


May Wine Club: You say, ‘Garnacha.’ I say, ‘Grenache.’ Let’s call the whole thing spectacular!

May 4, 2017 by Sean  
Filed under Inspired Posts, Monthly newsletter

It’s one of the most widely planted grapes in the world, and stars in some of the most prestigious wines — Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and even Priorat.  Yet, here we are today where the humble Grenache aka Garnacha grape is still a rarity on restaurant menus and probably in individual wine collections.

This month’s Inspired Wine Club hopes to show what you’ve been missing from your wine glasses that habitually reach for Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Malbec – tasty varietals in their own right, of course.  But Grenache is a worthy wine, and one perfect for so many occasions that it should be recognized for far more than being a frequent component of rosé.

So, this month, we offer a comparison of Grenache and Garnacha. You get to sample a Spanish 100% Garnacha and see how it measures up against the Cotes du Rhone Grenache blend. Honestly, we love them both.  Best of all, they are versatile wines that seemed perfect for seguing from spring to summer.

2015 ReyNoble Garnacha, Navarra, Spain

The Navarra region is better known for its Tempranillo grapes, and this winemaker certainly produces those wines as well.  However, the Garnacha fashioned here is more subtle and jammy, and a fully satisfying quaff for a medium-bodied wine. This unoaked ruby-red wine provides wafts of raspberry, strawberry and red cherry, accented with an earthiness and black pepper.  In this case, the jamminess is of the red berry variety with mineral hints, soft tannins and a long finish. On the palate, the wine is dry, while also tasting fresh.  Perfect for spring.  Perfect for grilled meats, cheeses and even that gourmet Kobe hamburger topped with artisanal reserve bleu cheese. The name, “Rey Noble,” say it all: it’s a wine fit for a king (or queen!).

2012 Le Goeuil Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone, France

This lovely is an example of how Grenache magically makes everything taste even better when it’s the focal point of a red blend.  With a combination of 51% Grenache, 35% Syrah & Mouvrèdre, and 14% Carignan and Counoise, this wine is able to virtually transport you to an Avignon outdoor café in springtime. Of course, this blend will vary year to year, depending on which varietals provide the best taste profile. Because this region is slightly cooler than Navarra, Spain, the wines tend to be lower in alcohol and with an added subtlety. For example, the jamminess here provides twangs of pomegranate or rhubarb along with cherry. You’ll notice smokier or more tobacco-y herbal notes that include an air of Herbes de Provence, especially lavender and oregano. Again, this is a versatile wine, and one that marries well with grilled poultry, such as an herb-roasted game hen with garlic and lemon orzo. Another perfect red wine for the spring!


April Wine Club: A springtime palette

May 4, 2017 by Sean  
Filed under Inspired Posts, Monthly newsletter

Whether it is the eye-catching purple of budding crocus, the brilliant yellow of a mass of daffodils or the striking magenta of a patch of aromatic hyacinths, springtime is always that time of year that renews our spirit with a palette of beautiful colors we almost forgot existed.  Gardens spring to life. We ignore the remaining slight chill in the air.  And we celebrate the renewal that seems to be everywhere.

It was with this seasonal sensory experience in mind that we came upon two wines for our Inspired Wine Club members this April.  We think you will agree that they are as beautiful to the eyes as they are to your taste buds.  Whether you prefer the robust purple of the California Cabernet or the mesmerizing pink of this favorite crisp Spanish rosé, we think you’ll see how they make your springtime that much brighter this year!

2014 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California

“For Napa Valley Quilt, I source from a patchwork of prime Napa Valley vineyards to create a classic Cabernet Sauvignon made in the style my family has always loved.” So says this winemaker/”master tailor” Joe Wagner who has “seamlessly stitched” together a hearty, yet complex blend of cassis, hazelnut, cocoa, blackberry preserves and charred meat. Starting with an enjoyably smoky, dark fruit nose, this wine’s regal purple hues are also an instant allure. On the palate, it presents as a rich, earthy, jammy California cab with delicate tannins and a smooth and lingering finish. Love the vanilla accents!  Interestingly enough, this is Wagner’s first Cabernet from Copper Cane Wines, a company he founded. However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is beginner’s luck. Wagner comes from good wine stock as the son of Chuck Wagner from Caymus. Enjoy this delight with your first Porterhouse steak from the grill this spring or share it with friends as you indulge in a cheese platter of pungent, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie.  One of our very favorite wines right now!

2015 Los Dos Grenache & Cabernet Rosé, Campo de Borja DO, Spain

Even a rosé can benefit from a little cabernet, too!  This Spanish blend of Grenache (85%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) create a crisp, lush wine that is the perfect match for enjoying the show put on by your spring garden. Fresh, fresh and fresh – it is both elegant, and lively, on the palate with flavors of fresh raspberry, lychee fruit and white flowers. Stainless steel tank aging vs. oak make for a vibrant, perfect warm-weather wine. Enjoy the silky mouthfeel and long, lasting finish with those fresh salads, paté and light grilled chicken and seafood.


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