1st Bottle Red: 2018 Tamarack “Firehouse Red” Blend, Columbia Valley, WA

For the wine snob: Blend breakdown 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Syrah, 18% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 2% Mourvèdre, 2% Grenache, 2% Counoise, 2% Sangiovese, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Nebbiolo. Firehouse Red is aged in 40% new oak barrels, mostly French and American oak with a compliment of Hungarian oak, and 60% 2nd and 3rd vintage barrels. Only after one year in barrel do the individual lots of wine that compose the Firehouse Red get blended.

 

For the rest of us: Bright and tart red fruit leads on the nose, including red cherry and pomegranate, followed by subtle floral aromas and spicy notes. The palate is rich and focused with its tannins sitting in the mid-palate. Balanced flavors of red fruit are followed by fresh and pleasing savory tannins, showing notes of cocoa that lead into a long, smooth finish. This would pair with spicy marinaras, tomato based flatbreads, char grilled burgers, as well as bold flavored cheese.

1st Bottle White: 2 Fitapreta Branco Ancestral 2019

For the wine snob: The grapes come from 2 vineyards: Vinha da Nora (60%) is 35-37 years old, organically farmed since 2015, the varieties are Roupeiro (50%), Rabo de Ovelha (20%), Arinto (10%), Tamarez (10%) and Alicante Branco (10%); Vinha de Vale do Cepo (40%) is 47 years old, certified under integrated production, the varieties in the blend are Roupeiro aka Síria (20%) Alicante Branco aka Boal de Alicante (10%) Tamarez aka Trincadeira das Pratas (10%). Grapes hand harvested at 3-4 am, whole bunch pressing , separation of 1st and second pressing, cold decanting without any additives added for settling, racked 6-12 hours after, and first pressing fermented vertically and 2nd pressings e lay down tanks. Incubation with selected yeast strains, collected from the wild.

 

For  the rest of us: Pale lemon yellow color with an intense aroma of citrus and refreshing mineral edge. The mouth-feel has volume that builds in the mid-palate, ending with an impressive freshness and a persistent fruit aroma on the finish. Pair with grilled white fish, chicken piccata, mild cheeses.

2nd Bottle Red: Can Sumoi Garnatxa-Sumoll Red 2018

For the wine snob: Can Sumoi is the latest project from the Raventós family (Raventós I Blanc). Their new acquired estate in the Serra de l’Home in the Pla de Manlleu, DO Penedès, dates back to 1645 and comprises 20 ha of vines. Here, at 600 meters of altitude, is where the family, following their passion, produce their exceptional range of high-altitude natural still white and the latest addition a red wine from local varieties growing on limestone soils, farmed organically and made without the use of additives or any other manipulation. Can Sumoi red wine is a blend, half and half of Sumoll and Garnatxa, both grape varieties are hand-picked from sustainable, organic and biodynamic vineyards. Fermented with the skin in stainless steel vats at 22º-28ºC for 15 days, only using native yeasts. The wine has spent 12 months aging in stainless steel vats before being bottled unfiltered and unstabilized.

 

For the rest of us: 50% Granatxa (Granacha), 50% Sumoll (Before phylloxera, Sumoll was of the most widely planted varieties throughout Catalonia, especially in the Penedes region). The Sumoll gives freshness, roughness and aromatic complexity of wild fruit and aromas of Mediterranean plants. The Garnacha gives the wine finesse, elegance, delicacy and fruitiness.  This one will pair perfectly with grilled pork!

2nd Bottle White: Idlewild Flora & Fauna White 2019

For the wine snob:  Flora and Fauna loosely means the collection of plant and animal life of a certain epoch. In Idlewild’s version, it is the collection of varieties from the cellar that make up the blend for the year. For 2019, the blend compromises of roughly 56% Arneis, 42% Muscat Canelli (a.k.a Muscat Blanc, Moscato Bianco), and 2% Cortese. All three varieties predominantly come from the steep hillsides of Lost Hills Ranch in Mendocino’s Yorkville Highlands AVA, where the vines work hard to dig into the fractured sandstone and schist based soils. These small vineyards are progressively-farmed with a holistic approach, ensuring that both the site and vintage are allowed to speak. While not dogmatic in practice, this honest and sustainable approach is fundamental to the winemaking at Idlewild. In the cellar, wines are made naturally, with nothing added other than minimal additions of sulfites.

 

For the rest of us: This White has an intense depth of flavor while retaining a very moderate weight and a lithe finish. This white wine is always a balance of florals, minerals, and spice, but the 2019 has this ginger spice against the orange blossoms and wet stones. Just when the wine starts to feel intense and rich in its phenolics and aromatics, the palate turns to this near rain water like lightness with a crisp and clean finish. Complexity and texture are gained from allowing secondary fermentation and aging on lees in neutral oak for four months, while the structure and acidity from picking plenty early allow for great vibrancy and energy through the wine. A refreshing greens salads with a vinaigrette and salmon would pair well here, mussels with a white wine sauce or shrimp ceviche.

Reserve Bottle Red: San Fereolo 2012 Dogliani DOCG

For the wine snob: This 100% Dolcetto and only 1,000 case production of this Certified Biodynamic wine. The oldest Dolcetto vines were planted in 1936, while the youngest date back to 1978. Few in Piemonte have the courage, let alone the skills, to produce wine of this uncompromising depth and intensity, and Nicoletta’s wines have established themselves as among the truest and most thrilling in a relatively short time. This flagship wine of the cellar, comprises 40-to-80-year-old vines of high-altitude Dolcetto planted on Nicoletta’s best, most sun-drinking slopes, aged three years in large barrels and an additional four in bottle before ever even seeing the marketplace. Here, Dolcetto’s often foregrounded floral character takes a backseat to mouthwateringly savory earth tones, reminiscent of great Nebbiolo in its mineral presence but with a darkly spicy character that speaks to its variety of origin.

 

For the rest of us: The Dolcetto here is sourced from parcels found in prime positions, as well as the oldest vines of the estate. The 7-year wait from harvest to release reflects the importance of the “San Fereolo” to Nicoletta, who carefully tends the wine through its 3 years in large barrel before a 3-4 year hibernation in the bottle cellar. Fresh mineral notes, mint, licorice and savory elements. Great structure from the fine tannins and easy mineral note allow the fruit to showcase. This Dolcetto will go great with veal or venison, game or braised short rib with a rich reduction sauce.

Reserve Bottle White: Lucien Crochet Sancerre Le Chêne Marchand 2016

For the wine snob: 100% Sauvignon Blanc, Marked by its charming hilltop village in the easternmost territory of the Loire, Sancerre is famous for its racy, vivacious, citrus-dominant Sauvignon Blanc. Domaine Lucien Crochet stems from the fusion of the wine growing estates of André Crochet (Lucien’s father) and Lucien Picard (his father-in-law). The latter was one of the pioneers of bottling in the Sancerre region and one of the first to sell his Sancerre wines in Paris in the early 1950s. This wine is produced from vineyards in the village of Bué (principally the “Clos du Chene Marchand”) that are planted uniquely to clay-limestone soils, known as “caillottes and griottes” which yield a wine of particularly fine quality and exceptional length. Usually harvested earlier than the other cuvées because of the excellent exposure of the vines to the sun, “Le Chene” maintains an elegant acidity in support of the ripe fruit of these well-positioned vines.

 

For the rest of us: Aromas of white fleshy fruits like peach and pears, with a balanced roundness from the minerality on palate that makes every sip pleasurable. The limestone locally known as “Caillottes” gives depth to this French sauvignon blanc, but doesn’t over power the fruit and floral notes from the fruit.

2nd Reserve Bottle Red: 2016 Own Roe Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley, WA

For the wine snob: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in new French oak barrels. Yakima Valley is located in the southern center of Washington state, Yakima Valley is a high desert region. With plenty of sunshine, availability of water, and diverse range of microclimates, it’s an ideal location for winemakers and viticulturists to grow and craft exceptional wine. To create this Yakima Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, we did several tasting trials throughout our cellar to find the most representative barrels for the region. Our Yakima Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of some of our favorite Washington state vineyards, showcasing the best of each site and the overall diversity the valley has to offer. For the 2016 blend, we selected 38 barrels. Each of the sites we work with are tendered by true craftsmen of the viticultural trade. The principle of good earth stewardship is very important to everyone we work with, so no herbicides or pesticides are used in our vineyards

 

For the rest of us: Bright aromas of black fruits, ripe notes of crème de cassis, blackberry liqueur, melted licorice, chocolate, and graphite. While it puts its foot firmly on the ripeness pedal, it holds it together and is full-bodied, has a fruit loaded, opulent style, ripe tannins, and a great finish. Recommend opening up 30 to 45 minutes before enjoying with your meal. Enjoy this with a steak au poivre, or a steak with a red wine reduction.  Bold cheeses would also work really well!