Wine tasting preview August 1
August? August? What happened to June and July??
The 25th was an interesting tasting. We had our first visitors who had actually discovered us on Facebook, where Leigh had given us a presence last month sometime. Amazing!
As expected, the Argiolas vermentino from Sardinia made everyone smile, it is SO delicious. Could possibly be August wine of the month. Similar in some ways to the verdicchio we poured on the 18th, which was also very yummy.
We also had our first somewhat controversial wine this past weekend: the Viñas de Vila Tinto Fundación Argentine blend of bonarda, malbec, and cab. The first bottle had a decided funkiness to it (not a “fault,” just a personality characteristic) that stopped a number of people in their tasting tracks and aimed them toward the spit bucket. I have to say I kinda liked it. It had a slight pitchy note (think Retsina or one of our old favorites the Chuckanut Rockslide Red of a few years ago) and the textured mouth you sometimes get with an unfiltered wine. The second bottle was milder, showing notes in the direction of cranberry and thimbleberry. Finished the bottle last night with a pork chop from the barbie, and it was a nice match. I think it would also do well up against spicy salsa.
The two malbecs were both winners, with some preferring the Mt Baker, some the Catena. My sense was the Catena had more structure and just kept getting better, while the Mt Baker was nice out of the gate and stayed at about the same level. Tasted the last bit of the Catena on Sunday night, and it had “continued to open up to a smooth-textured, layered, rich wine bordering on opulence”…(Parker 91pts).
Supposed to be hot all week, so not sure what will be appropriate for the coming weekend. I am leaning toward a side by side of two Portuguese vinho verdes (literally “green wine” because they are so fresh) which are light and just a bit sparkly, the perfect hot weather wine. I suspect they will be hard to tell apart, but we shall see! The other thing I like about this wine is that it is grown by just about everyone in the region, often on pergolas:
Then we will need a couple of reds…I am thinking of going in the opposite direction with a couple of cabernets. This could change, but for the moment the lineup looks like this:
Aveleda vinho verde (Portugal) $9: High acidity makes it refreshing, and a bit of spiciness tempers the melon, green apple and peach flavors.
Casal Garcia vinho verde (Portugal) $9: A lightly effervescent white with notes of lime and melon, with crisp acidity and a palate-cleansing minerality.
Altas Cumbres Cabernet Sauvignon ’06 (Argentina) $10: Rated one of the New York Times “Best Wines Under $10,” “lingering, jammy flavors of cherry and licorice are offset by a mineral note that adds further depth…an excellent value.
Townshend T3 blend (Washington) $18 : Soft oak and chocolate aromas with blackberry and chocolate flavors; robust yet smooth and rich.
Wine tasting preview Saturday July 25
Got a late start last weekend. Thought we would make a quick stop at the Annual Chili Cookoff at Otto Preserve beforehand, but by the time we had walked the dogs, visited, and tasted all 17 chili recipes, it was 2pm before we opened the door. DOH! Apologies to any early arrivals! All the chilis were very tasty; it was a stunningly beautiful day, and there was a great turnout, must have been half the island out there!
This was our first all-Italian tasting, with the new arrivals that had been on order since early spring. The verdicchio and nero d’avola-syrah blend were the stars, the montepulciano and the “rosecco” also drew appreciative “yums.” The Erio “super-Tuscan” was a bit disappointing from how I remembered it, so it might need some more bottle time before we pour it again.
This weekend we can look forward to these gems:
Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino 2006 (Italy-Sardinia)–Supple aromas of citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits and honey are wonderfully supported by a zesty acidity. Delicate and pleasantly refreshing on the palate…(I love this wine!) $18
Viñas de Vila Tinto Fundación (Argentina): A blend of 50% Bonarda and 25% each Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, it is cropped at 4 1/2 tons per acre and aged in a combination of cuves with innerstaves and 2 – 5 year old barrels. It is rich for the price and surprisingly polished…$10
Mt. Baker Malbec (Washington): A well balanced, well-crafted, fruit-forward wine that is a wonderful accompaniment to hearty summer fare and a nice comparison with the next wine…$20
Catena Malbec (Argentina): On the nose is the sweet scent of black cherry, currant and cocoa, medium to full bodied, with flavors of dark berries, cranberries, chocolate and caramel. The tannins are smooth and well submerged and help offset the bold acidity. The finish is smooth and lingering…$21
Wedding rehearsal wine tasting Friday July 17
For our first catered wine tasting event outside the shop, we catered a tasting on the deck at Scenic Estates clubhouse. The event was the wedding rehearsal dinner for Heather Larsen, whose dad lives on the island, and who has visited Artisan Gallery a few times on recent visits from Arkansas. It was a spectacular evening. Only got a couple of photos, one of Heather in a pensive moment, and a nice shot of Mount Baker in the distance. Congrats to Heather and John, and thanks for including us in the planning!
Wines included Casal Garcia vinho verde, Marchetti montepulciano, Legoe Bay syrah, and Alberti malbec before dinner, and Legoe Bay Reefnet White and Reefnet Red with dinner…all showing very well in the splendid setting!
Wine Tasting Review-Preview Italian tasting 7/18
It all started out innocently enough, a beautiful sunny day the likes of which are rare and glorious in these parts. Not too hot, not too cold (well, hot enough to turn on the AC in late afternoon, when the sun came round to shine in the windows), and no one coming by till around 2:30. So we figured everyone was on the garden tour, or at the rummage sale/ picnic/ beer garden. 2:30 is about when Anne and Jerry usually amble in, cuz another neighbor comes in about then most Saturdays to clean their house. This is a great treat for anyone and a really good idea: take Saturday afternoons off, pay someone else to do whatever task you were going to do, and come celebrate in the wine shop. I love these people, they have their priorities in the right place!
After that a few others trickled in, then a few more, and it got quite festive there for awhile. Near the end of the day Judy and John came in with more wines to taste, and anyone who was lucky enough to be around got to try a few more. It is great to be able to get instant feedback from our patrons about what we should stock!
All the wines showed very well, with the consensus favorite for the hot afternoon the Montinore Borealis white, which was really delicious. More is on the way, should have it this week. But every wine was someone’s favorite of the day!
This week we are expecting a shipment of six very interesting Italian wines from small artisan producers. They are all super values, with the most expensive around $15. Who knows, maybe we will taste them all…!
- Marchetti Later Harvest Verdicchio… Full-bodied with lush notes of pear and melon, and beautiful acidity. A one of a kind wine from one of the great winemakers of Marche $14
- Martorana Colonna nero d’avola/syrah: Lush, Rubenesque aromas and flavors of ripe plum, Moroccan spice, mincemeat, and sweet ginger…$13
- Perazzeta Erio Sangio, cab, syrah blend (“Super Tuscan) Balance, extract, and raw power so intense it induces sensations of actually chewing cherries, prunes and fresh dates!”…$14
- Marchetti Montepulciano: Laced with intriguing smoky cranberry spiciness over vividly flavored dark cherry and plum fruit. A joy to drink.…$10
- Trevisiol Rosecco: light and effervescent sparkling rose that dances on the tongue with fresh berries, lively acidity and gentle bubbles…$14