Goedhart Family Syrah, 09 Washington, Red Mtn

So I’ve had to create a new category to file this wine under, for blog purposes.  If you’re not familiar with blog-speak, a category is a “tag” that you assign to each post that is sort of a “heads up” to search engines as to what the post is about.  So this wine is filed under “Washington”, “Syrah”, and …. “unhealthy obsessions.”  The reason for this is that I couldn’t stop thinking about this wine since I first tasted it last Thursday.  I could hardly stand having to wait until yesterday, which was our next delivery day.  So my adoration for this wine might border on a little intense.  But this NOSE, y’all…. once you get an inhale, hopefully you’ll understand.

sexytime

sexytime

So my interest in this wine has spurred me to research a bit more about the Red Mountain AVA in Washington.  And has thoroughly deepened my appreciation for Washington State wines in general.  I’ve always had a fondness for Riesling from Washington State, and knew there were amazing reds to be found, but I don’t find our market to be especially “flooded”, the way we are with California wines.  Especially top-notch Washington reds get pricey fairly quickly, and sell out fast.  Which is why this wine is such a gem.

So here is a map of Washington State wine growing regions (also known as AVA’s):

map_WA_AVAs_lrg

It’s not a terribly BIG map, but whip out your glasses and take note that the Red Mountain AVA is that teeny tiny little red one- and this wine is from just one vineyard site- Bel’ Villa Vineyard- located within Red Mountain.  It is the smallest in Washington at just over 4000 acres, and just 600 of those 4000 are planted with grapes.  It is also the most expensive.  The Hedges family of Hedges Family Estate, have been making wine in this region since the late 80’s.  Sarah Hedges Goedhart (daughter of Hedges founders and also their assistant winemaker) and her husband Brent produce this wine, to quote their website, “in their basement.”  Hence, it’s super-small production and hand-crafted.  And wicked cool.

So all of these facts contribute to a trifecta of amazingness and here’s why: 384 cases produced?  from the most special spot in Washington?  AND (drumroll please…) this wine costs a wicked $32 retail!!  That’s absurd.  If this wine was from the Stags Leap District in California, it would easily set you back $75-$100.

Alright, alright so that’s enough economic/wine-nerdy facts about this wine.  I’m sure you’re more than ready to hear me go to town about how freaking RIDIC it tastes. But first the nose.  A fellow wine-buyer friend shares my affinity for this wine and stated that when he first smelled it, he just looked at their sales manager and said: “YES.”  So simply, YES.  yesyesyes.  It’s a big nose, and actually it’s gotten a bit bigger this afternoon since I opened this bottle last night. Even now, I can’t smell it without wanting to squeal with delight.  It has a great combination of dark fruits with hints of red fruits.  This is due to the fact that they pick some grapes early, and some grapes later.  I don’t know a ton about this, but once I read it, and tasted it, it kind of clicked.  I hope it does to you, too, because it’s an interesting little tidbit.  So back to the smell.  Dark fruit- blackberry, blueberry, and touches of black cherry.  A suggestion of graphite and maybe a bit of smoke.  Today, with the overnight to open it up, I get more round aromas of cocoa powder, and some warmth- like blackberry liqueur.  And some graceful, feminine floral notes as well.  It’s much more forthcoming today.  Aged for 10 months in French oak, 30% new, it would definitely age beautifully, as it’s sleepover sluttiness might suggest.

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The thing I LOVE about Syrah, and THIS Syrah is that it is a perfect combination of masculine and feminine.  This is something I really admire in a wine.  It strikes the balance so well.  Rough and scratchy like a 5:00 shadow, yet also silky and graceful.  Dark colored and deeply flavored, and just 14% alcohol.  Lean and mean.  Also, a side note- I love this packaging.

I should have an open bottle for sampling purposes all weekend, and we will have a by-the-glass special on it for Friday and Saturday nights!  And open at the wine sale this Saturday from 12-2!  So that gives you plenty of opportunities to taste it!  And swoon over it, and take it home.  And promise to love it forever.  This is $32 well spent.  That’s all I got for today, happy drinking!

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Tikves Vranec, 2010 Macedonia, Special Selection

Huh?!  This one’s a doozy, folks!  I’m hurlin’ a double-whammy at you today- new grape, new (to some) country!  But it is a new year, after all.  So buckle up!  I love this wine.

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Okay, first things first- what in tarnation is Vranec?  It’s the grape!  And it’s an indigenous Macedonian one.  Vrah-nick is the closest I can reconcile as far as a phonetic pronunciation guide.  And the name of the winery (one of the oldest in Macedonia) is Tikves – Tick-vees.  This wine is imported by Eric Solomon, one of my favorite importers of mostly French and Spanish wines that all focus on a sense of place; he works a lot with indigenous varietals, so it’s no surprise that he has this funky little wine.  It is not listed on their website, so I’m guessing it’s a relatively new acquisition.  It was reviewed by Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate in June 2012 and given a sweet little 90 point rating!  Which is pretty awesome considering its $12 pricetag! 

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So not a ton of information exists on this grape, or even on Macedonia as a wine region.  According to a bit of Googling, Vranec is a genetic relative of Zinfandel.  It grows vigorously, and produces large grapes that are deeply colored with moderate to high tannin.  The wine is a deep garnet/purpleish color and has a fairly big nose, mostly of dark fruits- prunes, plums and blackcurrant- but with a pleasant briary and spicy structure.  It does indeed reminisce of a Zinfandel, stylistically- but not a stone’s throw from a Zin would be a Primitivo (an Italian cousin of Zin) and to me, it drinks this way.  Perhaps due to the oaking and old-world personality.  But still, enough up-front fruit is present to appeal to the average New-world wine drinker.  It may take a little getting used to, but trust me, this is a profile you’re gonna want to embrace!  Eastern European countries are poised to make a real impact on our wine market, and we should definitely take note.

Also, I admit to needing to learn a refresher on where exactly Macedonia is.  So, here it is:

macedonia-map

It is roughly on the same parallel as Southern Italy, so it’s no surprise that there’s good wine to be found here.  I’d like to think of this wine as a true diamond in the rough; it’s accessible, inexpensive, and unique.  And it’s also interesting to note that Macedonia, as a country, has only been a democracy (and its own country) since 1991, but they’ve been making wine for centuries.  Along with several Slovenain wines I’ve tasted, it seems like winemakers from this part of the world don’t make a big fuss about their wines.  Wine is just something they do.  No frills, no fancy marketing or  packaging.  Just good wine.  So as much as ratings can be a double-edged sword, I think it’s great to see this wine earn a good rating and a bit of press.

This wine can be purchased at Cellar on Greene for $12!  It is not currently by the glass, but chances are there will be an open bottle lingering for the rest of the week.. if I have anything to say about it.  Which fortunately for you, I do!

Happy (late) New Year!  I resolve to blog more.