Pale straw color and star bright. Pretty nose offering candied lime, grapefruit, melon, peach, citrus blossom and wet stones with the slightest hint of bitter herbs. Fresh and lively with a core of citrus wrapped neatly in minerality, the finish is bright and crisp. Beefed up a bit by a sprinkling of S millon and fermented mainly in stainless steel with a sprinkling of neutral barrel. Fruity yet food-friendly, this wine offers balanced ripeness, minimal green-ness and should be drunk either as an aperitif, a partner for oysters and sushi, or a foil for rich, earthy dishes like gnocchi with mushrooms or jaeger schnitzel. W.M.
Killer juice from one of the great producers of Rhône varietals in Walla Walla. Don’t let the cartoon-y branding fool you; the team at Sleight of Hand makes some of the most seriously delicious and food-friendly wines in WA State. This blend is sourced from old vine sites in the Columbia Valley. Pale ruby in the glass, with an intense nose to be fawned over. Kirsch, raspberry/blackberry jam and violet aromas intermingle with pepper, smoke, herbs and black olives. Ripe and rich but graceful on the palate with a nice open-knit feel and spicy finish. Truly a wine of character and terroir. Definitely pay a visit to SOH if you’re ever in Walla, it’s the only tasting room I’ve been to where one can sip world-class wine and jam out to Soundgarden in a backdrop of wine-stained barrels and vintage concert memorabilia. Rock ‘n’ roll lives at Sleight of Hand! W.M.
Top bottling from Roederer Estate’s Mendocino property in the Anderson Valley. 50/50 Pinot/Chard topped with a “reserve dosage” aged at least 5yrs in French oak before an additional five months of bottle ageing before release. A gentle layer of fine bubbles appear upon pouring but quickly dissipate, revealing a medium-concentrated gold wine showing its maturity with rather dull reflections. True to the hot ’97 growing season, ripe, even baked bartlett pear and golden apple abound on the nose, along with hazelnut, brioche, butterscotch and toffee. Rich, full and broad on the attack, but cut nicely with a brilliant acidity that makes for quite an energetic finish for such a seemingly developed wine. Surprisingly complex, definitely enjoy this sparkler with rich dishes. Entrées, ideally. W.M
The Mendocino Ridge AVA is coastal with cool climate and high altitude located in the Mendocino County. It goes from the Pacific Ocean inland to the Anderson Valley.
This is a beauty from one of the most highly regarded California Pinot Noir producers. Ripe and expressive, there is no shortage of sweet citrus and tropical fruit on the nose, which is fairly intense. Very focused. Some wood frames the fruit nicely and adds a polished feel on the palate. The attack’s initial richness gives way to a piercing acidity on the midpalate that makes this a wonderful food wine (and an affordable one at that). Paired very nicely with beef stew over egg noodles. Imagine that. W.M.
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VARIETAL: Cabernet Sauvignon
ORIGIN: Walla Walla Valley
MAKER: John Grochau
VINIFICATION: Fermented in open top fermenters with manual punch down and manual pump overs for cap management.
AGING: 40% aged 20 months in new French oak barrels