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…

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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.

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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!

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.



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):


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!

Kung Fu Girl Riesling, 2009 Columbia Valley

Man oh man am I loving life right now!  It’s gorgeous out, it’s not even noon, and I am sipping on one of my all time favorite wines!  And as an added bonus, I get to go pour wine at an art show opening at Frame of Mind (1520 Main St) from 6-9 tonight!  Thus today is off to a good start.  Unlike yesterday, when I ran out of gas on the way to work.  Could’ve used a glass of wine then. 

I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this wine all week! 

And here she is!  I’m fairly certain many of you will recognize the label on this one- as I’ve said before, I love a great wine label and genius marketing, both of which are at work here.  So many people remember the Charles Smith wines, and in particular the Kung Fu Girl, because of the sleek, sexy packaging.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that- especially when the wines are awesome, so it’s not like you’re being tricked into buying something because of the label- which I detest.  And I’m sure most of you would agree.  No one likes to be tricked.  Here’s a better look at Miss Fu:

And yes, I’ve done it again- chosen a summer white to write about this week.  To all you people who think you don’t like white wine, or think that white wine is for sissy’s- hopefully you’ve been reading this blog for a while now you’re starting to get over it.  White wine is fantastic.  And if you live in South Carolina and you don’t like white wine- well, have mercy- because nothing gets you through a hot SC summer quite like a refreshing white.  Kung Fu Girl is no exception.  A lovely, aromatic riesling with a nose of white peaches, tangerines, flowers, and a handful of wet stones that you have just plucked out of a body of water in the Columbia Valley that looks something like this:

I stole this picture off of a “hike of the week” website for the Washington Trails Association.  Now, I do not hike- but if I did, it would be in a place like this!  And to all those outdoorsy types that I went to college with that made me feel guilty for not really enjoying hiking- let me say this; I love to be outside.  And I have nothing against exercise- I do it with frequency, actually.  But if I want to enjoy a lovely day outside, I don’t want to have to work hard.  I just want to chill.  So that’s why I don’t hike.  I’m not ashamed of it anymore.  I think Nalgene bottles are sort of gross (but I like reusable water bottles made of other materials), and the stickers that cover them that are supposed to show off all your pursuits, hobbies, passions, etc. are irritating to me.  I hate roof racks, I hate huge backpacks, and I think clothing made of special materials to wear outside are a rip-off designed for elitists.  Phew- that was something of a rant that had aboslutely nothing to do with Riesling… sorry about that!  It’s who I am. 

So more tasting notes would be helpful, I suppose- since this is a wine blog!  This is the third vintage that I’ve tasted of the Kung Fu Girl, and I’d say it’s definitely the best.  2009 was apparently a “near perfect” year in Eastern Washington, and in my humble opinion, this is as close to perfect of an expression of Washington state Riesling that you can purchase for $13.  Most of the fruit is up-front and on the nose, so by the time you get to mid-palate, you’re left with a fantastic dose of lemony-lime tartness, with perfect minerality and an edge of slate.  It’s light and racy, much like a Mosel-style Riesling from Germany, but softer.  It’s an extremely clean wine, that might fool you into thinking it’s wimpy based on it’s near-translucence- but definitely don’t underestimate- she has a-plenty of sophistication.  It’s like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Riesling.  This is how I picture her:

My gosh Michelle Yeoh is beautiful, isn’t she?  But she kicks ass, too.  At least she does in that movie.  Much like Kung Fu Girl Riesling!  So give ‘er a try!  She will be at the Wine Sale at Cellar this Saturday April 3rd from 12-2.  Yes, the free one!  They’re all free!  So stop in, say hi, taste wine, and enjoy your Saturday.  Hope to see lots of you then!