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.


Go big or go home…for the holidays

November 21, 2016 by Sean  
Filed under Inspired Posts, Monthly newsletter

It’s that time of year that we baste the turkeys, season the squash, spice up the pumpkin pie and lean towards those medium-bodied red wines that have likewise become holiday favorites: Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, or maybe even a Carménère or Bardolino.

But what if you took it up a notch?  Brought in the big wines for your special Thanksgiving feast?

For the lovers of “big reds,” we have found two very special Cabernet Sauvignons this month for the Inspired Wine Club. But these aren’t your usual Cabernets.  They’re better.  And they might be just the right addition to your Thanksgiving buffet, or at the very least, an excellent accompaniment to a festive cheese platter or that inevitable beef-centric meal that comes as we are just tiring of turkey leftovers.

Yes, this is a month for delicious Cabernets, worthy of any cherished celebration.

2012 Penley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Phoenix, South Australia, Australia

From the heart of Australia’s premier Cabernet region, this is a very beautiful and very drinkable wine. An inviting ruby red hue, this quaffer follows up with a nose of currants and cherries. Cassis, black currants, dusty tannins and a balanced oakiness and acidity blanket the palate satisfyingly with a long finish that allows layers of more subtle flavors from the tannins to pleasantly reveal themselves. This is a festive wine that is the perfect partner for an aged gorgonzola served with slices of warm crusty baguette, or maybe just the right accompaniment to your next boeuf bourguignon.

2015 House of Independent Producers (HIP) “La Mode” Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington State

With 75% Sagemoor Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Red Mountain Syrah, this wine may challenge your taste buds’ idea of what it means to be a Cabernet. Garnet in color with a lovely nose that radiates smoke and toast and spiciness with just a hint of chocolate, this Washington State Cabernet will surprise and delight.  On the palate, it’s a lighter, more old-fashioned style Red. Not an oak bomb.  Not a jam bomb.  This is a wine that lets the grape shine through, and it really could be a worthy accompaniment to your holiday bird, complementing (rather than overpowering) and perhaps surrendering or blending well with the many other flavors vying for attention on Thanksgiving day. Smooth, with a finish of dried cherries and rustic tannins, this wine is a versatile one. However, it certainly pairs nicely with a venison stew or cherry-glazed roast duck.


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