Grochau Cellars RED, 2010 Columbia Valley

WARNING: this juice is seriously delicious.

As you may recall, one of my absolute favorite things to do (and something I suspect I’m pretty good at) is finding wines that represent truly incredible values.  This wine is spectacular because it is just that, and more…

photo 1 (16)

1.) it is an excellent price point of $17.

2.) $17 for a Columbia Valley Red wine, especially of good quality, is somewhat astonishing.

3.) add 1 and 2 together and THEN add in that this wine is very small-production.  what do you have? a tremendous value.

4.) GROW-shaw.  I had to write that down and say it about 15 times to myself before I remembered.

photo 2 (19)

So, more about this wine; it is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.  Like the Guild White (here), it is labeled as being from the Columbia Valley- the fun thing about the Columbia Valley is that most of it is in Washington State, but part of it is in Oregon.  So the grapes in this bottle are from the Columbia Valley, but you don’t get to know what specific percentages are from each individual state.  Kind of a fun way to make wine, in my opinion.  John Grochau has been making this particular bottling for several years, and every year the blend is different.  He also makes some pretty stellar Pinot Noir- check ’em out.

So moving on to more fun descriptive details about this wine and why you’ll like it!  It has a perfect alcohol content at 14.5%, giving it a great balance of fruit that has a little density, but not so fat as to knock you on your ass.  It makes a great sipper.  There are some beautiful ultra-smooth notes of blackberry, cassis, mocha and a subtle hint of brighter red fruits that really lift the palate up.  The most standout characteristic of this wine is definitely its effortless grace, smoothness and length- especially when you (once again) consider it’s pricetag.  It makes a great Summer red, too, as it is not tooooo rich- just a pleasant medium body.  I personally can’t usually fathom Red in the Summer months; but this one I can do.  The other great thing about this wine is its versatility- it is juicy enough to be good with a Wednesday Burger night, but could definitely stand up to a more luxurious Ribeye or other form of pick-your-poison carnivorous indulgence.  You could even lighten it up and do grilled Pork Tenderloin with a variation of a berry vinaigrette over mixed greens.  Or even Tuna the same way.  It covers all the right ground for you to pick up what it’s puttin’ down in all categories!

Here’s another good tidbit: this wine is currently by the glass at Cellar, AND will be at tomorrow’s (June 1st) WINE SALE from 12-2pm.  and I’ll go ahead and tell ya- tomorrow’s sale list is looking impressive.  Lots of new goodies!

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a mighty fine week for French!

Let’s talk about France, baby, let’s talk about you and me… let’s talk about all the gooood grapes that. come. from. France. Let’s talk abooouut FRANCE!  Let’s talk about France. (that was for you, Blythe)… 

Anyway, here’s the news from me this week- two things- 1.) I think Colombard is officially my favorite white grape of Spring 2013!  and 2.) Bordeaux is BACK!

frenchie frenchies.

frenchie frenchies.

Let us waste no breath in diving into this post- WINE NUMERO UN: Uby Colombard/Ugni Blanc, 2012 Cotes de Gascogne. This is the second Colombard I’ve written about this Spring. It will also serve as the second installment in what I will call my Summer Crack Juice Series (read first one here for definition).  We need those!  This is the time of year in Columbia where we are all bracing ourselves for Summer to really start.  Spring is bittersweet, as it doesn’t last long and in the back of our minds we’re trying to prepare for the upcoming heat.  So once it starts, we need to ease our pain with lots of refreshing Summer Whites to get us through until September.  Okay, October, really.

So, what’s this wine all about?  It is a blend of 80% Colombard and 20% Ugni Blanc.  Never heard of Ugni Blanc?  Not that shocking.  It is known as Trebbiano in Italy, where it is in plentiful supply.  Actually, Trebbiano is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world.  It makes simple yet refreshing whites, and I think in this case, serves to lighten up this wine overall- the Colombard is very zesty and citrusy, and so the 20% addition of Ugni just mellows it out a tiny bit.

uby

As the label so aptly describes, this wine is fantastically crisp and light; nice tangy notes of tangerine and pink grapefruit are met with exciting flavors of passionfruit, guava, and prickly pineapple.  Maybe a touch of fresh flowers, too.  Clean, alive and vibrant.  Absolutely perfect for Spring, and packs the right amount of acidity to really refresh you once the 90+ degree weather sets in.  Definitely make a spot in your fridge for a permanent bottle of this to be open at all times.  Even better?  It retails for a fantastic $12!  

Next?  Wine NUMERO DEUX: St. Glinglin “Carte Verte”, 2010 Bordeaux.  

glinglin pig

So, because I am a spoiled, lucky little General Manager and wine nerd, a few weeks ago I was invited to have dinner with the fellow who makes this wine, Richard Betts, who is a way cool Master Somm.  Actually the first MS I’ve properly met, aside from the ones who proctored the Intro Class to the Court of Master Sommeliers back in 07 (I think?).  I only remember them as being white haired, wearing suits and not overly memorable.  But Mr. Betts was lots of fun and definitely got my attention with his philosophy and energy.  And the wine is awesome!

So St. Glinglin roughly translates to “when pigs fly”– hence the cute little piggy on the label.  The idea behind this name is that Bordeaux will be accessible and affordable “when pigs fly.”  So here we are, with a flying pig!  Cuz this wine is both of those things!  So accessible, affordable- two attention-grabbing facts about this wine (it retails for $21).  And let’s not forget drinkable.  Because that is crucial.  This wine really grabbed me because it is standing on a very delicate precipice- an old world wine that, while it is attractive to a typical American palate, is also true to it’s roots; it is definitely still a Bordeaux.

glinglin back

This wine is deeply colored and has nice concentration.  Initially, it has a solid amount of that French stank that I love so much.  Yes, I love a good stanky red wine.  A tiny bit funky, a tiny bit musty, a tiny bit dirty.  Those bits give way to some nice powerful notes of black cherries, sweet tobacco, very mellow vanilla bean, plums, some bitter chocolate and no shortage of minerality on the finish.  This wine spends 18 months in cement, which makes the fruit notes pop, and at the same time really enhances the mineral content.  So what is the blend?  Wellll, I am debating not telling you.  This is a great wine to taste without knowing what’s in it!  But, I am not feeling especially cruel today, so I will tell you: it is almost all Merlot with a smidge of Cabernet.  (“Smidge” being a technical term).  But listen here: ain’t nobody got time for anyone out there sipping on a giant glass of haterade and being all “I hate Merlot!”  That time has passed.  There’s no more Merlot hatred.  You need to get over it.

But in all seriousness, I do believe this wine is something of a trend-setter among a younger generation of wine-drinkers. If you want to really geek out, here’s a few articles that tie into this theme- here and here and here.  And here is a piece written by Mr. Betts that will be a fun read for you, too.  Also, it should be noted that this wine is currently being poured by the glass at Cellar, and so if you really need to taste to believe, come by at your convenience and do just that.

That’s all for today, cheers and happy French wine drinkin’!