January Domestic Wine: 2009 McKinley Springs ‘Bombing Range Red’ Red Table Wine, Horse Heaven Hills, WASHINGTON

“During WWII, the U.S. Government asked our family, and other families in the Horse Heaven Hills to leave our farms so the area could be used to train fighter pilots. Bombing Range Red is our tribute to our troops and the colorful history of the Horse Heaven Hills.”-McKinley Springs

History of McKinley Springs: Over 60 years ago Louise and Bob Andrews began farming the land her parents had acquired after World War II. They planted grapes in 1980, and soon after developed an award-winning reputation for the vineyard’s wines. In 1986, three of their children, Rob, Sandy and Scott, and their spouses, founded Andrews and Rowell with the mission of continuing the family farming tradition. They established McKinley Springs Winery in 2002 with a goal of producing balanced, flavorful wines offering excellent value. Today, four members of the fourth generation are also involved in the family business.

McKinley Springs grows over 20 varietals on its 2000 acre estate vineyard in the southern part of Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills. The region’s arid climate, high winds and low density vineyards provide ideal growing conditions. The family’s dedication to quality remains, evidenced by investment in vineyard technology. For example, shoot length indicators and water monitoring sites are implanted in all 200 blocks to help determine ideal watering times.

Rob Andrews, Grower, tends to the vineyards and Doug Rowell, Winemaker, oversees production. Together they make 10 wines, focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chenin Blanc. McKinley Springs also supplies 25 noted area wineries with grapes, including Andrew Rich, Northstar, Syncline, Hogue and Columbia Crest. Visitors to the winery may walk its pristine vineyards and sample wines in the tasting room, located in a two-story post and beam building.

Varietals: 52% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, and 4% Petit Verdot

Alcohol: 14.6% by volume

Tasting Notes: A deep garnet wine with coffee bean, dark fruit aromas and a hint of rosemary. Rich blackberry, mocha, and currant flavors with a long dry balanced finish.

Food Pairings: This is a great food wine — enjoy it with a Texas brisket style BBQ sandwich or vegetable stew.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Beefy, rich, and spicy! Great wine with rich soups and BBQ. I personally visited McKinley Springs a few years back, and I truly loved this wine in particular. I’m very excited to have this wine in the club! Cheers!”-JL

January Imported Wine: 2011 Chateau Roc Meynard Bordeaux Superieur, Fronsac, FRANCE

When Alain Raynaud, consultant winemaker to numerous Right Bank properties, says, ‘We’re more peasant on the Right Bank,’ it’s hard to know whether to take him seriously. There he is in his immaculately cut tweed jacket and a tie that probably came from Hermès, looking like a wealthy landowner at a Sunday drinks party. What he means is, of course, that he and his fellow Right Bank winemakers get their hands dirty. Whereas the Left Bank consists of châteaux worthy of the name – large, imposing and turreted, and very often owned by big, wealthy companies, big, wealthy families or zillionaires not from the wine world – on the Right Bank, the term ‘château’ is more likely to be a figure of speech than an architectural description, and the owner will live on the premises rather than in Paris.

Left Bank properties can be 50ha–80ha (hectares) or more; on the Right Bank, 5ha is pretty normal; 10ha substantial; 30ha exceptional. And yet these Right Bank serfs, supposedly with earth under their fingernails from toiling in their few miserable hectares day and night, are making the running in Bordeaux – sky-high prices are asked for wines that appear from nowhere, and names you’ve never heard of are now getting 98 points from Robert Parker. The spotlight has shifted, and you could be forgiven for thinking that a shadowy chill has fallen on the echoing salons of the Left Bank, as the millionaires struggle to catch up, struggle to copy the peasants across the river. For the first time, there is a sentiment that the Right Bank is exerting more of an influence on the Left Bank than vice versa

Read more at http://www.decanter.com/people-and-places/wine-articles/485578/bordeaux-right-bank-vs-left-bank#8mDHtcVGQppt6Scr.99

About Fronsac: Fronsac is an appellation for red wines produced in an area in the east of the Bordeaux wine region. It is located close to the northern bank of the Dordogne river, just a few miles to the west of Libourne – the town that gives its name to the Libournais region. Libourne is home to prestigious appellations on the Right Bank such as Saint-Emilion and Pomerol, as well as Fronsac itself.

Like Saint-Emilion, just a few miles to the east, Fronsac has a picturesque landscape made up of woodland and hills. It also has a rich history reaching back hundreds of years, when the area was much favored by French nobility.

Varietals: 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc

Alcohol: 13.0% by volume

Tasting Notes: Good structure and grace are the keywords for this delightful wine! With a nose of raspberry, blackberry and on taste turning blackcurrant-redcurrant towards a silky yet classic structure. Pepper and bay leaf arrive just in time at the finish.

Food Pairings: Perfect with “boeuf Bourguignon” or “coq au vin” (literally chicken cooked in wine), and great with hearty stew and chili. Enjoy this wine during the cold weather…it will warm you up!

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Polished and elegant. The wine is supple and soft, and has a long refined finish. Great balance and good complexity. A great wine to enjoy during these winter months!”-JL