Don’t fear the Darkness

When I tasted the recent and limited release of Apothic Dark, 2013 I can’t help but think of what Katasai Rakshasa stated “Those who fear the darkness have no idea what the light can do.” Apothic has two other lines, “White” and “Red” but their “Dark” is very different and in my opinion, their best. It’s a blend of Petite Sirah, Teroldego, and Merlot. The aromas were prominent of hickory smoke, cured meats, all spice, and a hint of tobacco. When I tasted, I noted chewy tannins, fig, coffee, and dark chocolate covered cherries on the finish. Although this did not need any food you could easily pair a meal with it, I’m thinking a Monte Cristo sandwich… I had some fun with pairing the wine with dark chocolate infused with hickory smoked uncured bacon. It was delicious! With a $12 price point it’s very affordable. At the end of the day this wine is not meant to be super complicated – this is something to uncork, drink with friends, and have fun. Don’t fear the dark, have fun with it. Sláinte! TCW

Maison Champy Chambolle-Musigny 2009

Burgundy can be impressively elegant, I’m not talking about Ron from that one movie but rather France’s Pinot Noir (Burgundy). From that first aroma, sipping and swishing around, all the way through the finish - it is an incredible experience but difficult to articulate.  

Burgundy wine is from the eastern region of France. Generally speaking (there is a lot more to write but to keep this brief), Red Burgundy, as I stated previously, is made from the Pinot Noir grape and white Burgundy is made from the Chardonnay grape. Burgundy has a higher number of appellations d'origine contrôlée (AOCs) than any other French region and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully outlined Grand Cru vineyards down to more non-specific regional appellations. Wow that was a mouth full. Let’s talk about this wine I had…

I was drinking Maison Champy Chambolle-Musigny 2009 and wow did this show me what’s up! This has beautiful scents of sweet strawberries, soft wood, red currant, and earth. I thoroughly love the palate as ripe and light red fruits showed through followed by a mild-spiced finish. It is elegantly rounded and absolutely delicious. I can’t stress how elegant this wine is.

Retailing for about $50 it is sure to please your wine enthusiast(s) at Thanksgiving paired with your perfectly prepared turkey. If not this delicious bottle I would encourage you to check out another Burgundy. Sláinte!  TCW

What’s your Reason?

There are so many reasons why I enjoy wine. It’s truly incredible sharing good wine with family and friends while having some great conversations, laughs, and reminiscing. Recently I celebrated my 40th birthday and that’s exactly what happened although some of my friends reminded me of the days I drank Zima and Mad Dog, a memory I’d like to forget. Alas, we were all young once.

I decided to share a couple of bottles that I sat on for a bit with the good folks that celebrated my mid-life. I opened Reasons from Horse Heaven Hills, Washington.

Reasons “The One” Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: Aromas of blackberry preserves, black cherry, and cassis. An excellent mouth feel with flavors of black fruits, leather, and tobacco but with time to breathe it kept evolving. The wine maker handled their fruit superbly as it was reserved and very soft.

Reasons “The Prequel” Cabernet Sauvignon 2007: Aromas of pencil lead, spices, oak, and ripe dark fruits. Flavors of ink, carbon, and smoky dark fruits. It is unbelievably plush, ripe, and has this complexity to it that was ever evolving and made it difficult to really identify all of the notes in this wine. I decanted this for well over an hour and reaped the benefits.  

Although I preferred “The Prequel” both wines were nearly flawless as they balanced both styles of old and new world wine. These $25 wines drank closer to $50 in my opinion and are great now but will only get better with more age. With another birthday that has past and a few more bottles missing from my cellar I can’t help to be thankful for many reasons.

Sláinte! TCW

Meet Mercer Wine Estates

Readers, I’d like to introduce you to Mercer Wine Estates. Mercer Wine Estates, meet the readers. I think you’d all get along. I mean Mercer produces GREAT wine and the readers love drinking GREAT wine. In fact, this may be a perfect match, especially with your variety of price points and wines to accommodate many wine drinkers out there.  With the introductions aside I’d like to tell the readers more about you, Mercer, if that’s OK. Just hang out in my glass for a while until I need you again…

Mercer Wine Estates is now on their fifth generation of farmers showcasing Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington. By the way Horse Heaven Hills is 25% of the state’s wine grapes – not too shabby. Founded in 2005, Mercer has been “quietly growing” and produces wines from across three tiers ranging from $10 to $42 – from Riesling to Cabernet Sauvignon. OK Mercer, I need you now…

Pinot Gris, 2013 from their Mercer Estates line is up first. Aromatics of juicy honeydew melon, ripe peach, and a hint of orange blossom escaped from my glass. The flavors continue through the palate adding creaminess, bright fruit, nice acidity, and just a touch of minerality all added to the delicious balance in this wine. Retail price is around $13 – yum!

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 from their Mercer Canyons line is next. I’m detecting aromas of warm blueberry pie à la mode. This has flavors of cherries and spice, mouth gripping tannins, and a lasting finish. Wait, what? This retails for $14? Uh, I’m in!

Ode to Brothers, 2011 from their Reserve line is the last - a GSM blend (40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, & 20% Mourvèdre). With this being a blend of classic Rhône varietals I let this one breathe in the bottle for over an hour and it still evolved in my glass. Notes of raspberries, smoke, cured meats, pepper, and minerality. Excellent body, structure, and a super long finish! You can cellar this bottle for years and I’d expect it to improve that much more (although it’s pretty amazing now). Expect to pay about $42 for this bottle but expect it to be worth every penny!

Now that we are all introduced I suspect a long lasting friendship. Based on just three of their wines tasted I’m already a friend and fan.

Sláinte! TCW

Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup Rosé, 2013

Pic Saint Loup is a mountain in the Languedoc region of Southern France. Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup makes wine that represents this region characteristically but also using entirely biodynamic methods when cultivating their vines. Simply put and as their website states, they are the Forerunners of this technique since they started, the brothers simply turn over the ground and use no pesticides.”  

I uncorked their classic Rosé, 2013. The vines are grown in soil of red chalky-clay, scree from the slope bottom, and gravette. Their 2013 Rosé is a blend of 30% each; Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and 10% Cinsault. My glass of wine bloomed with discreet aromas of stone fruit and minerality and after some time in the glass, creaminess showed through. After several sips (for research purposes only) this had delicious flavors of exotic fruit, spice, and finished with a very subtle sour cherry. Again, with time in the glass, allowing it naturally aerate, the wine got even better – becoming softer. In fact, let it roll around your tongue for a bit, it’s pretty fantastic. Serve at about 53-55 degrees for maximum gratification. I picked up my bottle at Wine with Me (Itasca), upon a recommendation from the owner, Mark. It’s wine like this one that makes me question why I don’t drink more Rosé.
Sláinte! TCW