Shield

February 2016

Domestic Wine: 2012 Hedges Family Estate C.M.S., Columbia Valley, Washington

Hedges Family Estate:  The history of Hedges Family Estate begins in June of 1976, with the marriage of Tom Hedges & Anne-Marie Liégeois in a 12th century church in Champagne, France. The convergence of separate cultural upbringings provides a strong backdrop for creating a modern day, but traditionally inspired wine estate. In 1986, Tom & Anne-Marie created an export company, American Wine Trade, leading to a negociant-inspired wine called “Hedges Cellars.” They quickly learned that the success of this ancient trade would be based on the site of its vineyards; a developing wine region called Red Mountain. At this location, American Wine Trade transformed itself from negociant & wine trader to the classic model of a wine estate. The second generation of the Hedges Family Estate belongs to Tom & Anne-Marie’s children, Christophe & Sarah. Each has a special set of skills for understanding the terroir. Sarah is the head winemaker of the estate, doing her best to express the terroir with minimal intervention, while Christophe is working on the completion of the estate using modern biodynamic arts. Tom, Anne-Marie, Christophe, Sarah, & the entire Hedges company believe place of origin is the keystone of authenticity. Their goal is to treat the wines with reverence & let the Red Mountain terroir speak for itself.

About:  2012 was another excellent & more normal vintage in Washington State. The “fading” La Nina current brought warmer & even spring and summer temperatures & an extended warm, dry autumn with perfect 80-85 degree afternoon highs and 40-50 degree lows without rain. The result was great set that yielded ripe, disease free fruit with good natural acidity. The resulting wines reflect the excellent qualities of the fruit and are a pleasure to drink; probably one of the top 5 vintages in Washington State’s history.

Varietals:  50%Cabernet Sauvignon, 44%Merlot, 6% Syrah (60%French Oak & 40% American Oak).

Alcohol:  13.5%

Tasting Notes:  Dark, deep ruby color leads into a nose of black cherry, blackberry, plum fruit & sweet toasted oak, dried herbs, & vanilla with hints of cocoa powder. Good body on the palate with lively acidity, dark berry fruits, cocoa, sweetness, & a well integrated tannic structure linger on the finish.

Food Pairings:  The balance of acid & tannin make this a great wine for roasted red meats, steaks, venison, or lamb. Use C.M.S. to sauté some onions & mushrooms to accompany a juicy ribeye!

Jim Lutfy’s Thoughts:  Rich & flavorful, loaded with black & red fruits and a long, lingering finish. Best served with any red meats.

April Domestic Wine: 2013 Lone Birch Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, WASHINGTON

Vintage: The 2013 vintage was the warmest since 2003. Harvest began in late August, which was the earliest that they had ever experienced at Airfield. Temperatures cooled off by mid-September, causing the ripening process to slow in the vineyard. Eventually, the vines adjusted to the cool temperatures and picking proceeded steadily at normal pace. The overall result was ripe fruit without excessively high alcohols or overripe flavors. This vintage provided solid crop yields with no fruit shortages. Every block met its estimate.

Vineyard Source: All of the Lone Birch wines are sourced from fruit from our 950 acre estate vineyard located in the Yakima Valley. Their vineyard site offers a long 190 day growing season, which allows for slow, steady fruit maturation. The warm days and the cool nights provided by the high desert environment allow the vines to produce exceptional balance with ripe fruit flavors and plenty of natural acidity.

Style: This wine is handcrafted in a balanced, approachable style that showcased the quality of fruit from Washington State.

Vinification & Maturation: The Lone Birch winemaking began by hand-sorting fruit to ensure only ideal clusters were vinified. After the destemming process, the must was transferred to stainless steel fermentation vessels. Gentle pump-overs, rack & returns, and punch-downs were used to extract tannin and color from the skin. After the wine finished fermenting, it was pressed and settled before going to barrel. The wine went through malolactic fermentation while in barrel and was racked every 3 months. After nearly 1 year of oak maturation, the wine was bottled.

Varietal(s): Cabernet Sauvignon

Alchohol: 13.9% by volume

Food Pairings: Serve with grilled lamb and vegetables. Yummy!

Tasting Notes: The Cabernet Sauvignon has a red garnet color, with a bouquet of dark cherry and spice. On the palate, it is approachable with good acidity and lingering tannins. Drink now through 2020.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Lush, ripe and rich with layers of complexity. This is a wine that is in complete harmony. A great value in my opinion, and drinks well right off the cork. Pairs great with anything on the grill! Enjoy!”-JL

August Domestic Wine: 2011 Desert Wind Merlot, Wahluke Slope, WASHINGTON

Desert Wind Winery and its History: “From the very first harvest in 1994, the Fries family marveled at the intensely concentrated fruit produced by their Desert Wind Vineyard–fruit perfect for crafting wines with immense structure and aging potential. In 2001, the family introduced Desert Wind wines in order to showcase this exceptional vineyard through its own wine brand. The original lineup consisted of just four offerings–an elegant Semillon and three refined reds, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and their flagship red blend known as Ruah, each with 3-5 years of barrel aging.”

In 2004, the family built a crush pad and wine production facility in Prosser, Washington, allowing them to process the fruit and age wines in close proximity to their vineyard sites. Three years later, they opened Desert Wind Winery, an immense Santa Fe-inspired destination housing a tasting room, restaurant and luxury overnight accommodations.

Desert Wind Vineyard: The Fries family began planting the Desert Wind Vineyard site in 1993. Today, the vineyard totals 423 planted acres, with large blocks of Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. The vineyard also contains smaller plantings of Viognier, Semillon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Mourvedre and Carmenere. The vineyard is planted using 9 x 6 vine spacing with 806 plants per acre.

Desert Wind Vineyard lies on the Wahluke Slope and ranges in elevation from approximately 800 – 1,000 feet. Its rocky soil is covered by shallow topsoil; the unique soil makeup places extra stress on the vines, forcing them to funnel energy into fruit production instead of excessive vegetation. The fruit from this vineyard is highly pigmented with firm tannins that lend structure to the resulting wines.

Several Northwest wineries purchase fruit from Desert Wind Vineyard for their own winemaking; they often refer to this site as “Fries Vineyard” on their labels.

Vineyard Notes: The Wahluke Slope is located in Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley. The site is considered  Zone 3, the hottest in the region. Our 480-acre vineyard is a southern facing block with a two percent slope and shallow, rocky soil. The vines are irrigated with an underground drip system; double catch wires are used to increase air circulation during the growing season. Leaf pulling and cluster thinning are important steps in aiding the ripening of the grapes.

Varietals: 98% Merlot and 2% Other Reds

Alcohol: 14.5% by volume

Food Pairings: Often you’ll get a lot of herbal, earthy and mushrooms from Merlot, which makes this wine a perfect match for herbal preparations of meat (such as marinades or herbal sauces). Merlot can handle the bitter flavors of fennel, eggplant, broccoli, raw onions, garlic, and even radicchio, just as long as the Merlot is not heavily oaked or sweet.  Try a cool pairing and see how you like it!

Tasting Notes: Intense, late summer fruit flavors are a hallmark of the Desert Wind Merlot. The wine is full-bodied and rich with ripe flavors of plum, marionberry, with a hint of chocolate. Winemaker Mark Chargin uses oak and patience to bind these qualities into a well-integrated and supple wine. Our Merlot pairs well with full-flavored foods including hearty pastas, grilled meats and game.

88 points – Wine Advocate, Issue #213 (June 2014)
“The 2011 Merlot is a very good effort that’s also a solid value. Giving up ripe black fruits, mulled spices, chocolate and hints of herbs, it hits the palate with a medium-bodied, rounded, supple and deliciously texture profile that’s perfect for drinking over the coming couple of years.”

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts: “Rich, bold layers of complexity . Full throttle with plenty of punch. A wine that is very strong and bold, but has an elegance. Perfect with grilled meats, especially lamb, or anything on the barbeque. Cheers!”-JL

November Domestic Wine: 2009 REVELRY VINTNERS Merlot, Columbia Valley, WASHINGTON

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 a 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. Harvesting fruit throughout the Columbia Valley’s distinct and varying microclimates and employing both traditional and modern winemaking techniques, Revelry is a homage to the heritage and excellence of Washington State’s unrivaled winemaking tradition, creating wines of uncompromised quality at unparalleled value. Revelry Vintners is located in the beautiful Walla Walla Valley, in the southeast of Washington State’s unrivaled winemaking tradition, creating wines of uncompromised quality at unparalleled value.

History of Merlot and its Relation to Revelry Vintners:  Merlot is a darkly blue-colored wine grape, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to derive from the Old French word for young blackbird, merlot, a diminutive of merle, the blackbird (Turdus merula), probably from the color of the grape. Merlot-based wines usually have medium body with hints of berry, plum, and currant. Its softness and “fleshiness”, combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

In the 1980s, Merlot helped put the Washington wine industry on the world’s wine map. Prior to this period, there was a general perception that the climate of Washington State was too cold to produce red wine varietals. Merlots from Leonetti Cellar, Andrew Will, Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste. Michelle demonstrated that areas of the Eastern Washington were warm enough for red wine production. Today it is the most widely grown red wine grape in the state and accounts for nearly one fifth of the state’s entire production. It is widely planted throughout the Columbia Valley AVA but has earned particular notice from plantings grown in Walla Walla, Red Mountain and the Horse Heaven Hills. Washington Merlots are noted for their deep color and balanced acidity. The state’s climate lends itself towards long days and hours of sunshine with cool nights that contributes to a significant diurnal temperature variation and produces wines with New World fruitiness and Old World structure.  Other US regions producing significant quantities of Merlot include New York State‘s Long Island AVA, Virginia‘s Shenandoah Valley AVA and Oregon‘s Rogue Valley AVA.

Varietal:  100% Merlot                                                          

Alcohol:  13.8% by volume

Tasting Notes:  The 2009 Revelry Merlot exhibits ripe blueberry and the fresh acidity of cherries. Aged in primarily American oak cooperage, the wine has undertones of cocoa and toffee notes. The 100% Merlot wine was harvested from Doval, Sagemoor, and Stillwater. It is an incredibly balanced wine from front to back with an exceptionally smooth quality on the palate.

Food Pairings:  Pair this great Merlot with fatty or heavy meats, pastas with rich Bolognese sauce, hearty cheese, and spicy ethnic foods.

Jim Lutfy’s thoughts:  “Rich, supple and elegant. A complete wine from start to finish. The best of Washington state’s cool, sandy climate and terroir shine through. A great addition for the Thanksgiving table.”-JL