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Grilled Sausage Pizza

Pizza is my favorite food. Maybe it’s because I am a baker at heart, but I love Pizza. I am not a Pizza snob, I have a very ecumenical approach to flatbread; I love traditional Naples style, Chicago, thin crust, thick crust, bring it on.

A couple of grilled pizza‘s, a big green salad, an antipasti plate and a couple of bottles of a lighter bodied red and you have yourself a party. There are number of great bottles out that are perfect for company and affordable enough for a party! Mason’s Red by Casey Coble is a perfect example.

ROBERT RAMSAY MASON’S RED 2015 $14.99 

 Mason’s Red was created as a “food friendly” wine with generous acidity to complement all foods-except maybe breakfast cereal.  Enjoy Mason’s any night, whether you’re eating a fresh harvest from the farmers’ market, oven-fired pizza, or creamy sauces that demand a wine with a structure that cuts through with a pleasurable balance.  Mason’s is a Cinsault-based blend that changes every year-picking up the flavors and the personality of the winemaker, Casey Cobble

Hightower Murray Cuvee 2014 $14.99 

Hightower’s entry red is a one of Washington State’s best red wine values! Layered and complex, with ripe blueberry and cassis flavors and hints of tobacco, Bing cherry and black currants. Murray a big genial Pup that loved parties!

If you have company pull out some nice stuff like a Bottle of Baer Star from Woodinville. Baer winery is a family run winery in Woodinville that has been making waves for number of years. The Baer Ursa has an almost cult like following, and since receiving 95 points and claiming the #6 spot on the Wine Spectator’s TOP 100, the Ursa has been getting harder and harder to get your hands on. The Baer Star is affectionately called the “Baby-Ursa’ around the shop, this new single vineyard blend from Baer is another Merlot driven blend and just plain delicious.

Grilled Pizza with Sausage 

Dough:
1 Cup Water
2 Tbl Olive Oil
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 Cup (11oz) OO flour, plus more for work surface
Cornmeal for peal

Topping:
1 14 oz Can Crushed tomatoes
1 Tbl Olive Oil
1 each Garlic clove, Minced or Pressed
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp Oregano

8 oz Sausage
4 oz Mozzarella, low moisture
4 oz Fontina
Red Pepper Julienne, for Garnish
Fresh Sage leaves, for garnish

Dough
1. In large mixing bowl combine water, sugar and yeast. Let bloom.
2. Add remaining ingredients and combine with hand. Let rest 30 min.
3. Punch down dough and need for a few minutes. Lest retard in refrigerator for 20 – 30 minutes.
4. Pull out and divide into two dough balls
5. Roll out dough into 12” circles.
Sauce
6. In bowl combine Tomato, garlic, olive oil and seasoning
Prepare Charcoal fire or preheat Gas grill (medium Heat)
7. Lightly spread pizza peel with cornmeal and place one dough on peel
8. Slide dough off onto grill and grill 1 – 2 minutes
9. Remove from grill and invert onto peel
10. Spread precooked dough with Sauce and top with cheese and fresh sausage
11. Slide back onto grill and close cover and cook for another 3 – 4 minutes
12. Remove from grill and garnish with fresh sage and red pepper julienne

Paul Hobbs : A Farmboy at Heart

Join us for special evening Wednesday Feb 14th 6 pm with Paul Hobbs winemaker Greg Urmini RSVP 206 682 7374

Photograph Copyright Mitch Tobias

Paul Hobbs is one of the most respected and influential winemakers in the world. Paul started his career in 1977 and over the last 40 years has worked with Robert Mondavi, Opus One, Simi and most famously in Argentina with the Catena family and was the first winemaker bottle varietal labeled Malbec. He founded Paul Hobbs Winery in 1991 and Vina Cobos in 1999. Twice named Wine Personality of the Year by Robert Parker, Jr., he continues to be a leading consultant winemaker around the globe. He has made wines everywhere from Hungary to Uruguay.

Photograph Copyright Mitch Tobias

Paul is highly regarded as winemaker and has inspired a number of nicknames among the press, from “Trendsetter” to “Prospector”. Forbes recently called him “The Steve Jobs of winemaking”.

In 2004, Paul Hobbs Winery 2002 To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon earned 100 pt score in Wine Advocate and Hobbs was named “Most Important Winemaker in California” by Robert Parker

 

Paul Hobbs Winery focuses on single vineyard varietal wines sourced from some of the best sites in Northern California – Hyde, Beckstoffer, Stagecoach to name just a few. A farmer at heart, Paul is a true vigneron. They have put together a solid team of vineyards and growers. It is these strong relationships that the winery is built on. The focus is small production, vineyard designated wines. Meticulous vineyard management, hand harvested, low intervention winemaking, all native ferment, aged in French oak, all unfiltered and un-fined mean that these wines taste of place.

“Terroir- driven chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet are the focus at Paul Hobbs Winery.” –Paul Hobbs

In addition to his eponymous winery his second label CrossBarn is not so much a lesser wine but a place to put all that fruit that he finds. CrossBarn began as just one small lot of Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2000 vintage but its popularity has inspired the introduction of chardonnay, pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and more.  With CrossBarn, Paul ventures beyond the vineyards sourced for Paul Hobbs wines while holding to his ideals of sustainable vineyard practices and gentle winemaking techniques, to bring you wines of stunning quality and exceptional value.

With as much as Paul has going on it is not surprising that he needs a little help.

Greg Urmini a Sonoma native and graduate of Cal Poly came to work as a summer intern in 2007. Greg progressed up the ranks from Cellar Worker to Production Assistant then to Assistant Winemaker. In 2014, he was promoted to Winemaker at CrossBarn. Then in 2016, Greg was promoted to Director of Winemaking.

“Working for Paul Hobbs has been a true honor and blessing. To learn and grow with an organization makes me feel like I’m part of a family. Paul’s winemaking and personal philosophies coincide with my own. Care and nurture for the fruit from vine to bottle which then turns that great fruit into a beautiful glass of wine. I enjoy waking up each morning with a burning passion for the industry as well as curiosity of how we can make our wines great,” said Greg.

CrossBarn is named for the Family farm in upstate New York. His father grew apples, as well as few table grapes. He and his father always talked about planting Vinfera and making wine. He tells the story of tasting Chateau Yquem with father at an early age, and how he was transported by the experience. Seems poetic that would name the winery after his Father’s farm. Goes to show you can take the boy out of the farm but you can’t take farm out of the boy.

Children of the Vine : Bodegas Lurton Araucano Clos de Lolol

Dynasty noun – a succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics, or another field.

The Lurton Family can trace its winemaking roots in Bordeaux back to the 17th century. But it was the marriage of Denise Recapet to Francois Lurton in 1923 that the story of this family dynasty begins. Denise and François Lurton had four children, André was born in 1924, Lucien in 1925, Simone in 1929 and Dominique in 1932.

André, married to Elizabeth Garros, received the family home, Château Bonnet. In 40 years he amassed property totaling 600 hectares situated primarily in Entre-deux-Mers and the Pessac-Léognan appellation, of which he was one of the founders in 1987. Today, the fourth and fifth generations of Lurton’s control 27 Bordeaux châteaux. Everything from Bordeaux’s largest producer, Chateau Bonnet which is run by patriarch Andre Lurton to 2nd growth Margaux property Chateau Brane Cantenac to Château Cheval Blanc and Château d’Yquem.

Today the family has wine interests on most continents and almost all major wine growing regions. In their turn, Andre’s sons, François and Jacques, acquired wine estates in Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Spain and the Languedoc.

 

“If I were a vine, I would choose to be planted in Chile.” François Lurton

François and Jacques Lurton found this “dream land” whilst working as consultants for the San Pedro vineyards. The first bottles of Araucano, the name of the last of Chile’s indigenous people, was first released in 1997. In 2000, François bought 200 hectares of land in the valley of Colchagua. The valley around the town of Lolol, had that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’, that combination of high altitude clay-limestone soils, radical diurnal temperature change and the cooling influence of the morning fog.

 

The estate is located in a high valley that runs from East to West, which funnels cold air from the Pacific Ocean. The large temperature differences between the sea and the land causes a white fog “Humo Blanco” to develop, which can be seen most mornings just above the estate vineyards. Hot, dry days and foggy, cool nights, textbook perfect conditions for growing great wine.

The Lurton family bring literally centuries of winemaking knowledge to bear on this project. But, Francois is a forward thinking man with a vision. Francois Lurton employs 10 full time enologist that work across France, Argentina, Spain and Chile. 2012 the Araucano wines obtained organic certification. In 2013, Hacienda Araucano obtained biodynamic certification (Demeter). The winery is also 100% solar powered.

Lolol is one of the new coastal appellations in Chile. This wine represents the essence of the cool climate of Lolol. It is made up of the best plots of four grape varieties that excel in the valley: Carmenère, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc. This blend was put together by Francois himself. The grapes are handpicked, double sorted and then left for a lengthy cold soak to gently extract the fruity aromas and smooth tannins. Once fermented separately the different grape varieties are blended together and are aged in French oak for 18 months. A true Chilean wine with a French touch.

Clos de Lolol Red Wine 2013 (Chile) $14.99 / Save $10

“Woodsy, spicy aromas of herbal plum and berry come with a light coating of chocolate. A round, rubbery palate is tight in the long run. Saturated plum and blackberry flavors are oaky in front of an extracted finish that runs long and doesn’t hold back. Drink through 2022.” 91 pts Wine Enthusiast

92 James Suckling, 91 pts Wine Advocate

“There’s never been a better time to buy Chilean wine.” James Suckling, “Indeed, hundreds of outstanding quality wines are entering the market. It doesn’t hurt that the current vintages available, especially for reds, are fantastic – mostly 2013, 2014, and 2015.”

@Chef_Lenny

Lenny’s Quick Cassoulet and Cahors

 

Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, made with duck confit, sausage and beans. Served with good crusty bread and a good bottle of hearty wine Cassoulet is just about the finest warden against the cold dark night.

There are as many versions of Cassoulet as there are French grandmothers and Chefs. Some include Lamb, pork shoulder or even partridge. Below I give you a basic version that comes very close to traditional.


Lenny’s Quick Cassoulet
4 ounces bacon, diced
1 cups chopped onion (3/4 lb))
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrot, peeled diced
1 lb Sausage links, cooked and sliced
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp thyme
1each bay leaf
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (14-oz) can stewed tomatoes, chopped with juice
2 each confit duck legs*
1 14 ounce can white beans
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbl tomato paste
2 Tbl olive oil
1 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

In a large pot render diced bacon
2. Add carrots, onion and celery cook until translucent
3. Add sliced sausage
4. Add herbs and season
5. Add tomatoes, beef broth and tomato paste
6. Add duck confit legs
7. Drain and rinse beans and add to pot
8. Cover and simmer for 1 hour9.
Remove bones from cassoulet adjust seasoning if necessary. In a pan heat olive oil and toast bread crumbs. To serve portion out cassoulet and top with bread crumbs and chopped parsley. Serve with crusty bread and a hearty red wine.

Cassoulet calls out for a hearty wine, say Cotes du Rhone, Madiran or Cahors. Malbec has been made famous in Argentina where it produces lovely fruit forward reds, in Cahors where the grape is called Cot the wines are a little more rustic. Cahors is a small AOC wine region located in southwest France (the land of Cassoulet). The AOC is only for red wines, which must be made from a minimum of 70% Malbec and up to 30% Merlot or Tannat. Cahors Malbec tend to be deeper in color, more structured and fuller bodied than their Argentine counterparts.

Château Eugénie has been in the hands of the same family of winegrowers for generations. Their great great grandmother gave her name to the property.

Chateau Eugenie Cahors Tradition ’13 (France) $9.99 btl / save $4
Like most Tradition wines in Cahors, this fruity and perfumed wine has been aged in stainless steel to keep the fruitiness. Blackberry flavors are cut with acidity and a tight tannic character. Drinking beautifully right now!

With the weather the way it is I suggest putting on a pot, open a nice bottle of Cahors and don’t forget the bread.

K Vintners Powerline Syrah 2014

So what do you do when get a case of one of the most sought after wines in the world? You post it to Facebook and see who shows up. Today, I present K Vintners Powerline Syrah 2014 $55.99 Limit 1 bottle per person in store only! That’s right you must come into the store to get your wine. No phone, no email, no madwine. We want to see your smiling faces!

K Vintners Powerline Syrah 2014 $55.99
Damp earth, campfire and stone wafts up from the glass. It gives way to the density of flavor of the palate. Cured meats and olives abound. Tumbled river rock is the home of these vines. From the heart of Walla Walla to your glass. – Winemaker Notes

 

#2 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2017
“A knockout Syrah, precise and impeccably built but explosive with personality. Smoky roasted meat and floral blackberry aromas combine with bold, supple flavors of dark plum, pepper and licorice. The tannins are big but polished. Drink now through 2024.”
95 pts Wine Spectator

A new cuvee that’s all from the Powerline Vineyard in the southern part of the Walla Walla Valley, the 2014 Syrah Powerline is all from the Phelps clone, was fermented with 100% whole clusters and aged in puncheons. One of the more bloody, meaty, iron-laced and savory Syrahs in the lineup, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a thick, unctuous texture, ripe tannin and a finish that makes your heart beat a touch faster. Give bottles a few years in the cellar and enjoy over the following decade.
97 pts Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

In store only no phone orders first come first serve, limit 1 bottle per customer.
Cheers!
Lenny

Left Coast Cellars is Walking the Talk: A Model of Authenticity.

In an ever crowded wine world, where brands are created by marketing executives in cubicles, it is always exciting to see, and taste, truly authentic wine. In this increasingly virtual world it is refreshing to see/ taste authenticity.

Left Coast Cellars is not just an estate winery, it is a fully functioning farm. The 150 acres of vineyards are laid out over a 356-acre estate, along with fruit trees, Oregon oaks, vegetable gardens and bee hives. Ducks, chickens along with wilder fowl rove the estate.
From the hilltop tasting room beyond the stretches of vineyards you can see the Eola Hills and to the north the Amity Hills, the Van Duzer gap. It was here in 2003, the founders Susanne and Robert Pfaff laid out a vision for something a little more than a just a winery or family farm, “building a lasting and enduring legacy for generations to come.”


Sustainability is a core value at Left Coast. Certified LIVE and Salmon Safe, ensuring only the best viticultural practices are used in both the vineyards and winery. The winery itself is powered by a solar array and the water for the gravity powered irrigation is generated by the estates own watershed. In addition, Left Coast is a founding member of the Oak Accord, which is a voluntary partnership of private landowners seeking to preserve Oak habitat in the Willamette Valley.


The location at the head of the Van Duzer Corridor, an east-west valley that creates a break in the coast range of mountains that shields most of the Willamette Valley from the Pacific Ocean. The break allows for cool marine breezes and fog to roll into the valley in the morning, preserving freshness and acidity in the grapes. The grapes planted include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Syrah, Viognier and (my favorite) Pinot Blanc.

Viticulturist and GM Luke McCollum has been with winery since 2003 is graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and work includes stints at Harlan Estate and Meridian. Winemaker Joe Wright came on board in 2011, but has been working in the Willamette Valley since 1996, with stints at Tualatin, Belle Vallee and Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Lead by matriarch Suzanne Larson, the family works the land with loving care and kindness.


When talking about wine, wineries and terroirs, we often speak in terms of generations. It is not uncommon to meet the fifth generation of and French Chateau or the 8th generation of an Italian Villa. Dame Suzanne and her team are building a winery for the generations.

-Lenny

Underground Wine Project

“With my idle hands there’s nothing I can’t do
But be the Devil’s plaything baby and know that I’ve been used”
-Idle Hands by the Gutter twins


To say Mark McNeilly and Trey Busch like to keep busy is literally an understatement. Both have made a name for themselves in the wine business, not just as winemakers but as leaders in the industry. Both Mark Ryan Winery and Sleight of Hand Winery garner scores in the 90’s across the board in the press. Both, these guys are not just successful winemakers but champions of the Washington wine industry. They are also great friends, lovers of good food and great music.


“Let your hands do what they will do
Stand inside, make your maker’s move”

Launched in 2009 with a wine called Idle Hands, the wine quickly became a cult hit. ‘Idle Hands’ was named after a song by Gutter Twins – Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees and Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs.

Both of the Underground wine project wines are sourced from Red Mountain. Idle Hands is a 90% Syrah 10% Cabernet Blend sourced from Red Heaven Vineyard. Devil’s Playground is the inverse, 90% Cabernet and 10% Syrah sourced from Quintessence Vineyard. Both these wines are great expressions of Red Mountain fruit.

“My eyes have seen, they have been shown
This is an occupation to stand alone”

In the highly competitive world of wine it is rare to see this sort of collaboration and camaraderie. These guys make great wine and are the sort of guys that make working in the business fun.

DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 (WA)  $37.99 

This is a delicious, lively and very luxurious Red Mountain Cab for the price. Lots of vanilla laced blackberries, cassis and mocha flavors, with bright, refreshing acidity and juicy tannins. The wine is full bodied and definitely drinks with some sizzle. A nice buy in small batch, top shelf Cab.

IDLE HANDS CAB SYRAH 2014 (WA) $32.99

Super rich and full bodied Syrah based blend From Mark Ryan and Trey Busch using Red Mountain’s top vineyards. Dark, sexy and full of mocha, blackberry, plum and roasted coffee bean notes. Delicious with a big steak.

Familia Zuccardi Malbec and Asado

I have the distinct privilege of having Asado in Argentina, in Mendoza, on the Pampas.
The Asado. It is not just a dish, it is a social gathering, it is a celebration of meat and flame and sauced with liberal amounts of Malbec. The National dish of Argentina, an Asado consists of Beef, sausages and pork cooked over a charcoal fire. Out on La Pampas the cattle graze on the plains overseen by the Gauchos. Beef in Argentina isn’t just what’s for dinner, it is part of the culture.
It seems only natural to serve up beef with a great bottle of Argentine Malbec. I love Malbec. Bright fruit and refreshing acidity balance out the tannins give Malbec the unique ability to be both a great food wine and easily quaffable while you are waiting for your steak to grill.
Malbec is Argentina’s flagship variety, and the country has the largest Malbec acreage in the world. This variety originally comes from South West France, where it is called Cot and features a hard, tannic style. But with high altitudes and cool nights Mendoza can produce Malbec of beautiful aromatics, bold fruit and silky tannins.
There are many great producers of Malbec in Argentina. Just one of my favorites is Familia Zuccardi.
Alberto Zuccardi came to Mendoza in 1950 when he was 30 years old, not to plants grapes and make wine but to install fancy new cement irrigation pipes. He decided the best way to demonstrate his irrigation system was to use it the way they in California – by planting a vineyard. One thing lead to another and by the 1970’s he had winery and had expanded his vineyards and was selling wine in the bulk market.


In 1976 his son Jose had joined him in the family business. It was Jose who saw that future lay in the export market. This was the 1980’s and even though Argentina was the fifth largest producer of wine globally, little if anyone outside of Argentina had tasted let alone heard of Mendoza Malbec. It was that push into the world market that drove the winery and also drove Jose and Alberto to constantly improve the wine both in the winery and vineyards.
In the 2000’s, Jose’s son Sebastien joined the team. It was Sebastien who saw what was happening up higher in the Andes in the Uco Valley. ‘The character of the high-altitude grapes spoke for itself, so looking toward that area was natural.’ So impressed with e grapes they made a wine called Zeta, a blend of Cabernet and Tempranillo. A stand-alone wine of place much like a Bordeaux.

Last year they completed construction on their new 100 percent concrete winery in Altamira. Zuccardi Valle de Uco boasts concrete eggs and amphorae for fermenting, concrete vats and neutral barrels for aging. The concrete vats are made from all natural materials including sand, clay, rocks and silt coming from the land around where the winery was built. The Zuccardi family keep advancing in their search for excellence, for purity and freshness. Oak can hide a lot of mistakes, it can also disguise the true terroir of a place. By removing all the makeup and airbrushing these wines have an honest expression of place.


“Familia Zuccardi produces wines from the local terroir, placing focus on the region and essence of the wine and the variations found in different zones throughout 
the Uco Valley,” says Sebastian Zuccardi. “We want our wines to have personality and to express the region where they were created.”
The winery is truly state of the art as is the research and development lab. The focus and culture of Zuccardi has always been one of constant improvement. The have planted experimental vineyards all around to see what untapped production areas there might be and what other varietals hold potential in the Uco Valley. Oh and not surprisingly Familia Zuccardi also place emphasis on the study of irrigation and water management, working to preserve the essential resource that is all too scarce in the area.


These are simply some of my favorite Malbec’s.

ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2015 $17.99 btl / save $5
“Wow. This is exciting. Blackberries, flowers, dark fruit and hints of walnut shell here follow through to a medium to full body, fine tannins and a juicy finish. This is tight and polished. Give it two or three years to soften, but it is already very pretty.” 94 pts James Suckling

ZUCCARDI SERIES A MALBEC 2016 $13.99 btl / save $3

 

“The 2016 Malbec Serie A is sourced from different vineyards across the Valle de Uco (San José, Los Árboles, Tupungato, El Peral, Gualtallary, Vista Flore and La Consulta) and was fermented in concrete vats an used 500-liter French oak barrels. There is more than fruit here, there is some expression of the soil, with subtle nuances and more complexity, hints of aromatic herbs and lower in alcohol (13%). The profile of all the wines is very clean, precise, juicy with good acidity. This is a superb example of it, with even some chalky sensations in the texture. Great value too.” 91 pts Wine Advocate

ZUCCARDI Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 $19.99 btl / save $3
A refined and savory red, featuring notes of white pepper to the cherry and crushed red plum flavors. A wine of great personality, aromas and black pepper spices. Lengthens out on the palate, with medium-grained tannins. Silky finish. Great aging potential. 92 pts Tim Aiken

 

Argentine Asado
Serves 20 – 30

The National dish of Argentina, an Asado consists of Beef, sausages and pork cooked over an charcoal fire. You can do a simple version of an Asado at home with a charcoal grill, some select cuts of meat and copious amounts of Malbec. The secret to great Asado is patience, sea salt and Fresh ground pepper

Ingredients:

2 – 4lbs Rib Eye Steak, cut 2” (Bife ancho)
2 – 4 lbs Short Ribs, cut 2” (Tira de asado)
2 – 4lbs Flank Steak (Vacio)
2 each Pork Tenderloin (Lomo de Puerco)
4 lbs Chorizo (Spanish or Basque)
Coarse ground Sea salt
Coarse ground Black pepper
Olive Oil
12 bottles Malbec
4 each Lemons, wedges
4 each Baguettes
One Big Simple green Salad
2 cups Chimichurri Sauce (below)

1. Start your coals. When Coals are ready begin with the Ribeye and Short Ribs. Rub steaks with olive oil and liberally dust salt and pepper. When ribs are about half way done 30 minutes or so turn.
2. To grill add the Flank steak, Pork and Chorizo. Turn after 10 minutes
3. Remove meat to platters and cover and let rest 10 minutes before carving.
4. Serve with lemons, baguettes, salad and Salt & pepper and plenty of Malbec!

Chimichurri Sauce
________________________________________

Ingredients:
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 each Onion, diced
3 ea garlic cloves, minced
½ cup Chopped Parsley
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in bowl of food processor and pulse until well combined.

Ross Andrew Mickel and Red Mountain Cabernet

10 years ago, the 2007 vintage marked one of the best in Washington State. Quilceda received another 100 pts score, Cayuse and K Vinters both received 99 pts for Syrah and a little project on Red Mtn got the highest score 97 pts, for a Cabernet sauvignon from Red Mountain in the Wine Spectator.  The Grand Rêve Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Collaboration Series Reserve 2007 was jointly made by Ross Mickel and Mark Ryan using Ciel du Cheval fruit. “No Washington Cabernet has rated higher in Wine Spectator annals.”

Grand Reve Vintners started as a collaboration between Paul McBride and Ryan Johnson to focus on the Red Mountain AVA. This was a fascinating project where five top winemakers made wine from the same vineyard. Ben Smith (Collaboration I) made a Cabernet blend, Ross Michel (Collaboration II) a Rhone blend, Mark McNeilly (Collaboration III) a Syrah, Carolyn Lakewold (Collaboration IV) a Merlot, and Chris Gorman (Collaboration V) a Grenache.

One of the releases was that Cabernet Reserve, made with Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan and Ross. Harvey Steiman wrote, “Supple, generous and beautifully focused, accenting its ripe currant and raspberry fruit with hints of licorice, sage, red meat and mineral, lingering on the expressive finish. Combines ripeness with power and exceptional grace.” Only 100 cases were made of this wine. Drink ‘em, if you got ‘em.

Ross got his start in the wine biz working at Canlis with Master Sommelier Rob Bigelow. He went on to work with Chris Upchurch at Delille. (Interestingly Chris’ Eponymous vineyard is on Red Mtn.) He then went on to work with Master of Wine, Bob Betz. For almost ten years he worked at the masters side fine tuning his skills not only as a winemaker but as a scholar and taster.  He has traveled the world (Australia, South America, Europe and South Africa) to learn all he could about wine.

Let’s just say Ross knows his way around Cabernet and Red Mountain. What I am writing about today is his 2013 Red Mountain Cabernet.  This is made using Red Mountain fruit: Quintessence & Ciel du Cheval and just flat out rocks!

ROSS ANDREW RED MOUNTAIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 $19.99 btl / save $10

Rich and dense with black fruit, licorice and spice. Well-structured and refined. This is a powerful blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon & 4% Merlot. This is what Washington State Cabernet should taste like! Seriously the best deal on Cabernet in the state!

This is a great example of Red Mtn Cabernet at $29.99 it is a remarkable value. At $19.99 well it’s just stupid good!  get yours while you still can!

Lenny

Thanksgiving Wine Picks

When pairing to all the flavors at a Thanksgiving dinner there are many strategies – mine is to find wines that will pair to the widest range of foods – from sweet to savory, light and fresh to creamy and rich!
Lighter wines with good minerality, plenty of fruit and good acid have the broadest pairing flexibility; sparkling also helps keep the palette refreshed. But, as in all things drink what you like; you are always better off drinking a wine you like than a wine you are supposed to like.

Thanksgiving Wine Picks:
1. Champagne
Greeting your guests with a glass of champagne will automatically put them into a celebratory mood.

JACQUES CHAPUT BRUT CHAMPAGNE NV $24.99 Reg $39.99 SAVE $15

80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay aged at least 24 months on lees. Light golden color. Fruity nose combining apple and raspberry notes white blossom and citrus. Intense on the palate with soft full fruit and a good length. Crisp and clean with a long finish. This Champagne is Excellent as an aperitif, but could also accompany your meal perfectly.

 

2. Rose
Rose is a profoundly food friendly wine. Light and refreshing with a generous fruit and mineral it makes a great aperitif before dinner and will pairing easily with broad range of foods.

CLOS ALIVU ROSE 2016 $19.99

A profoundly delicious Rose’ from one of Corsica’s top producers. Made from a local variety very reminiscent of Sangiovese, this rose’ is pale salmon in color, bone dry and possesses amazing delicacy and complexity. A subtle salinity graces the wild herbs and spring berries on the nose while the palate is citrusy and utterly delicious on a long finish. Of the ilk of Provence’s top offerings!

3. Riesling
Lighter styled Riesling with lower alcohol, good acid and a touch of sweetness is a perfect default wine for Thanksgiving.

SCHLOSS HOWIE RIESLING BY LONG SHADOWS 2014   $8.99

Made by Gilles Nicault with help from Sommelier Erik Liedholm, this wine shares the same lineage as the famous Poets Leap but made in a softer, lighter more “Kabinett style”. Loads of citrus, lime, orange blossom and apricot. Crazy delicious, a perfect aperitif – this is perfect wine for your holiday gathering. Great accompaniment for appetizers or turkey.

4. Gewurztraminer
Gewürztraminer is an excellent option for it has a natural affinity for the holiday spices and it’s off dry character allows it to pair with a wide range of dishes. A personal favorite is the Gundlach Bundschu out of Sonoma.

GUNDLACH BUNDSCHU GEWURZTRAMINER 2012 $9.99

A beautiful expression of 158 years of Gewurztraminer expertise, this pairs with everything from Asian cuisine, to Thanksgiving turkey! An entirely varietal wine, aged in a majority of stainless steel, this smoothly textured experience begins in peach and apricot with balanced acidity, dry as a bone. It entices with rounded creaminess and inviting floral and lemon highlights. 92 pts WE

5. Pinot Gris
Pinot Grigio is often dismissed as being unsophisticated, but it can be a wine of great elegance and complexity.

J VINEYARDS PINOT GRIS 2016 $12.99

J Vineyards’ version of this variety is crisp with bright fruit and a kiss of minerality. J Pinot Gris combines the best of both New World and Old World styles. They draw fruit from a combination of warm and cool climates for a blend of citrus and tropical notes with a notable fleshiness and firm acidic backbone.

6. Beaujolais
Many people know only of Beaujolais Nouveau, but many a Cru Beaujolais can have the complexity of a Burgundy. Morgon especially is one of my favorite of the Cru’s.

DOM DUPRE MORGON VIGNES DE 1935 2015 $13.99

Planted in 1935, this single vineyard wine is rich and structured. At this stage, it is dominated by firm tannins as much as by the perfumed juicy black fruits. As the wine softens with age, this generous fruitiness will come through to give a deliciously ripe wine. 94 pts WE

7. Pinot Noir
With Oregon’s Willamette Valley right down the road Pinot Noir is a staple on my Thanksgiving Table.

TRISAETUM WILLAMETTE PINOT NOIR 2015 $22.99

This Pinot Noir is a combination of barrels from three estate vineyards. Ruby garnet in color with a striking aroma of freshly ground nutmeg, Marionberry, and wood spices. The palate exudes grace with red fruit flavors that finish with a hint of toasted oak. The lively acidity is balanced by finely-textured tannins and a firm, long finish. 91 pts Wine Enthusiast

8. Grenache
If you really want to impress your guests open a bottle of Chateaunuef-du-pape.

BROTTE LES HAUTS DE BARVILLE CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2015  $28.99

Relatively open knit and ready to go, the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Hauts de Barville offers outstanding notes of cherries, spring flowers, spice and Provenl garrigue in a full bodied, rounded, already hard to resist style. It is a killer wine to drink over the coming 4-6 years.

9. Nebbiolo
Italian wines are probably the most food friendly wines on the planet.

SIMONE SCALETTA ‘SAN PIETRO’ BAROLO 2011 $29.99

Aromas of oak, coconut and baked plum lead the way. The extracted palate offers stewed plum, steeped cherry, oak extract and dark spices alongside chewy tannins.

10. Barbera
My favorite wine for Thanksgiving is Barbera. Also from Piedmont Barbera has that wonderful mix of Fruit, Acid and minerality that make it a perfect wine for food.

LA SPINETTA BARBERA D’ASTI ‘CA DI PIAN’ 2013 $22.99

“A tasty, entry level wine, the 2013 Barbera d’Asti Ca’ di Pian is juicy and flamboyant from the very first taste. Blackberry jam, creme de cassis, chocolate, violets, lavender and sweet spice meld together in a deep, unctuous wine to drink now and over the next few years. This is a screaming value from La Spinetta.” 90 pts Vinous

 

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