November Domestic Wine: 2011 Revelry Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, WASHINGTON

“Revelry is an homage to the heritage and excellence of Washington States unrivaled winemaking tradition, creating wines of uncompromising quality at unparalleled value.  Revelry Vintners is located in the beautiful Walla Walla Valley, in the southeast of Washington State—a region famed as having some of the world’s finest soils and an idyllic growing climate.”-REVELRYVINTNERS.COM  

Revelry Vintners is a Washington State winery rethinking the crafting and enjoyment of fine wine founded upon the idea that truly great wine is created from quality fruit, and that it should remain both accessible and unpretentious.  As a progressive producer of premium wines, highlighting the viticulture movement and dynamic quality of Washington State’s Columbia Valley, Revelry is a winery building a tradition of excellence.

Revelry is the brainchild of northwest native Jared Burns. Jared, drawing on a unique and experience-filled upbringing, adopted wine as personal passion at a young age; the son of self-made entrepreneur Dennis Burns, founder of Pro-Tec Helmets, Gargoyles Sunglasses, and the inventor of the synthetic wine cork. In 1998, Burns was awarded the Golden Grape Award for his pioneering ingenuity, the product of which forever changed the course of an industry and ultimately the quality of wine.

Washington State’s Cabernet Sauvignon is distinctive for its deep red fruit qualities, defined tannin structure and developed balance.  At Revelry, they source their Cabernet fruit from vineyards around the valley, targeting warm growing sites.  It is in these areas [Red Mountain, The Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, Walla Walla Valley] that the ‘King of Grapes’ ripens most intensely.

Varietals: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Alcohol: 13.6% by volume

Food Pairings: This wine is phenomenal for casual settings and cocktail parties where food is optional.  It pairs well with just about anything, and though it is plentiful in body and flavor, it will not overwhelm your palate.

Tasting Notes: While the 2010 vintage was the coolest on record in Washington, this Cabernet Sauvignon is dark in color and has a wonderful balance about it. Distinctive for its deep red fruit qualities, defined tanning structure and developed balance, the wine has a graceful complexion on the palate, with a pleasant depth and structure through the finish.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Ripe and rich on the palate. Great intensity and mouth feel for a Washington state wine! It is definitely an overachiever in my book. Pair with lamb or steaks. Bravo to Revelry!”-JL

November Imported Wine: 2012 D Ventura Viña do Burato Mencia, Ribeira Sacra, SPAIN

Ribeira Sacra, meaning ‘sacred banks’ of the Sil and Mino rivers, is a region located near Bierzo in the heart of Galicia and works with the same red varietal, Mencia. Ramon Losada of D. Ventura has 80 year old vines in this ancient wine growing region. Everything is done by hand due to the steep terraces lining the two rivers that form the Denomination.

About Mencia: Mencia is a red-wine grape native to the northwest of Spain. It is most commonly grown in the province of Leon (it is particularly suited to the slate and alluvial soils of the Bierzo region) but is also a principal variety in regions such as the Valdeorras, Monterrei and Ribeira Sacra DOs in neighboring Galicia.

Mencia, which produces thick-skinned, violet-blue grapes, was once thought to be related to Cabernet Franc. Modern DNA testing has disproved this theory, however, but has uncovered that it is in fact genetically identical to Portugual’s Jaen.

In the past, Mencia wines were light bodied and astringent – simple, rustic, regional wines. However, improved viticultural methods and extra vigilance in the winery have recently brought about more promising results with the variety. Wines today are more likely to have a bright complexion with a vivid maroon color, fresh acidity and tannins, and dark-fruit flavors with a herbal dimension of mint or thyme.

Some producers are experimenting with carbonic maceration to accentuate the variety’s fruit characteristics and reduce tannins, and wines made using this method are more approachable in their youth. Mencia has all the attributes needed to gain popularity as more consumers become aware of it.

Varietal: 100% Mencia

Alcohol: 12.5% by volume

Food Pairings: A perfect pairing for Turkey Day! This wine will accent turkey extremely well, and leave everyone wanting more!

Tasting Notes: Deep purple color to the rim with funky, gravel and match strike aromas. These aromas tend to settle down upon decanting or extended aeration. Dark mineral components and violets upfront. Low tannins create a smooth finish with notes of Pomegranate.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Fantastic wine! A bright burst of fruit for your Thanksgiving meal. Loaded with layers of complexity; the Old World meets the New World. This wine is great with barbeque, turkey and everything in between.”-JL