Cellar Notes Spring 2019
Will Spring hurry up and get here already! Until mid-February, winter was a proverbial piece of cake. No real weather, no big storms, no real cold snaps, then the doom storm hit. Compared to the mid-west and northeast, we are complete wienies when it comes to snow and ice, but this storm even had the stalwarts on the eastern side of the mountains locked down. We still have some piles of the white stuff hanging around and some sloppy stuff in the forecast for this week, but as I write this, the vineyards are expecting even more snow.
Even though it dropped to below zero in a few spots and stayed below freezing for days on end, we have not yet heard of any snow damage from ‘Stormageddon’, but keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully, the blanket of snow kept any damage to a minimum.
Even if we cannot tell by looking outside, spring is supposed to be on the way and with it, spring releases. We are tasting new rose wines from all over, the first of the 2018 whites and some 2017 reds, so the march continues. Check out all the fine print for some scrumptious new releases, both red and white, a snippet on the new ded.reckoning Sauvignon Blanc and about our newest club, ‘Bubbly of the Month’
Welcome to all that sparkles! Each month, you will receive a new bottle of fascinating sparkling wine from around the globe. Sometimes it will be true Champagne, sometimes a Cava or Prosecco and sometimes a cool discovery from elsewhere. As with all our clubs, there is no fee to be a member, the wine is always discounted and reorders of the same wine will always get the ‘club’ price. No set dollar amount on this one, but it will average in the $30-$40 each month, with some months being less and some a little more.
The last weekend of March is the annual biggie wine event for the state, ‘Taste Washington’. We will be manning the ded.reckoning and BBQ Wine Co. booth all day on both March 30th and 31st and I will be leading two seminars this year as well, one on Saturday Morning and one on Sunday morning. For information and tickets, please contact Taste Washington directly through their web site, or visit Ticketmaster.com. We do not have tickets for sale this year.
Bring on the sun!
Doug, Will, Laura, Sandy, Shelly, Chris and Theodore (from afar)
Jean Paul Gascogne Blanc 2016 $7.99
Gascony has now become one of our standby areas for insane white wine values. It seems that every year, we see more and more of these delightfully refreshing wines and the prices still remain in the bargain basement category. This is one of the benefits of looking beyond the ‘normal’ varietals and more famous appellations and focusing on flavor not grape names. After all, these grapes are most famous in this part of France for making Cognac and Armagnac, not wine. Lots of gorgeous notes of oranges, passion fruit, Granny Smith apples and that dash of ‘mineral’ which is hard to define. If you are an oyster or shellfish lover, this wine is right in your wheelhouse. Also great for those spring and summer weddings. We can get really aggressive in terms of pricing on larger quantities of this gem.
Carmin Reguengos Alentejo 2017 $7.99
The economy in Portugal is not in the best of shape, so the always spectacular wine deals coming from there are even more profound now. As is typical for Portuguese reds, don’t even try to figure out the grape varieties. Again, this wine is all about flavor, not famous varietals. This can slip in that section of your cellar normally reserved for Spanish wines and it will seem right at home. Red currant, raspberry, cherry pie and notes of mint, fresh herbs and a dash of magnolia blossom in the nose. These are really fun and serious wines from a vastly under appreciated wine region. People know about ‘Port’ and ‘Vinho Verde’, but little else from this old and significant wine producing country. Best to get on the bandwagon now, before everyone else does and the price goes up accordingly.
Greenstone Point Waipura Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $9.99
The white wines of the Southern Hemisphere are without question, our top white category in the shop, and the wine most in demand is typically New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Here is a beautiful example at a fantastic price. Imagine essence of lime zest, gooseberries, grapefruit and a hint of that gun flint aroma which is that unique sent when two rocks are banged together until one splits open. Hard to define, but if you have ever smelled that, you know what I am referring to. Normally, a Kiwi Sauv Blanc of this level of sophistication is upwards of 50% or more in price, so at under a ten spot, this is a deal to latch onto and hoard until the heat of summer. Perfect wine for seafood now, but come July and August, this is going to be hard to beat. Not sure how long this price or the supply will hold out.
L’Antica Cantina Sangiovese Puglia 2017 49.99
In terms of versatility in pairing with all sorts of foods, be it pizza, spaghetti, burgers or steak, Sangiovese and the wines dominated by it is hard to beat. If you are into pairing foods and wines from the historic regions from which they were both spawned, like I am, one just needs to look at the historic foods of Tuscany, from whence Sangiovese is king. Pasta with red sauce, Porcini mushrooms, cured salami, the famous T bone steaks as big as your head and as I found out on my last trip there, anchovies. The tangy acid of Sangiovese is a match made in heaven for the fattiness of beef or pork, the tang of garlic and even the pungency of salted and cured fish. Whereas a pretty penny can be spent on a Brunello, Super Tuscan, Chianti Reserva or Vino Nobile, not all Sangiovese is spendy. This is a perfect example. Bright and tangy red berry fruit, pomegranate, some thyme and tomato leaf aromas and a thirst quenching finish, which is all wrapped up at a price for daily consumption.
Notre Dame Des Pallieres Cotes du Rhone 2016 $9.99
It should come as no surprise that another Rhone shows up in print here. We are huge fans of the wines of the region for their versatility, style and value. The 2015 and 2016 vintages have both been hallowed for their greatness and long lives ahead, and subsequently have been gobbled up. However, the first of the 2017’s are showing up and they are no slouches either. Maybe a tad darker and brooding than the previous vintages, but that is not a bad thing. A little riper in style, this wine is the perfect counterpoint to the other reds in this newsletter. More emphasis on black currant, blueberry, cracked pepper, lavender and rosemary, with a kiss of smoke and game for good measure. Killer stuff with game meats, lamb and beef and a remarkable value as well.
ded.reckoning Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2018 $14.99
The long awaited return of the ‘crab wine’! Made by Sean Boyd of Sightglass Cellars of mostly Quintessence Vineyard on Red Mountain, it is again done with 100% stainless steel aging. Sean’s trademark bright acidity with a citrus and green apple profile, and a long, lemon zest laden finish. Designed for spring and summer sipping and the glorious seafood of this region, it is perfect with our local shellfish and crab. A bit fuller bodied than either of the other two whites featured here, as is typical for the white wines of Washington state, where we get things Most of this wine has been pre-sold to the members of ‘club ded.’ and the ‘book of the ded’ mailing lists, so this may actually be already gone by the time you read this. Let us know if want to get on the mailing list, so you don’t miss out again.
Taste Washington, March 29-31, in Seattle
This is the largest, all Washington food and wine event each year, and this one will be no different. In addition to the over 200 wineries and restaurants showing their wares, ded.reckoning will have a booth, and I will be leading two seminars over the weekend, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. We are not selling tickets this year, so go directly to Ticketmaster or Taste Washington for all the specifics and to grab tickets.