Pontin del Roza Celebrates 30 Years

April 9th, 2014

Pontin Del Roza Winery is celebrating thirty years in the Washington State wine industry. What began as winemaker Scott Pontin’s high school FFA project has culminated into a 30 year legacy of estate winemaking.

Pontin Del Roza translates roughly in Italian to mean “Pontin family farm on the Roza”. The winery uses the grapes grown only from “the Roza”, an area of south-facing slopes in north Prosser. The Pontin family is no stranger to farming. Beginning several centuries ago in northern Italy, a wine-growing tradition was established by the Pontin Family. A pioneering spirit brought some of the family, including Scott’s grandfather Angelo, to the Yakima Valley nearly 70 years ago. Since expanding in the 1950’s, Nesto, Delores, Scott and the Pontin family have been farming in the Prosser area for over 50 years.

nullIn 2012, a new facility including tasting room, case storage, warehouse and offices totalling 5,000 square feet was built next to the family farm on Hinzerling Road north of Prosser. In 2013, a beautiful new outdoor space was added, complete with bocce ball court, barbecue, and expansive room for private parties and corporate events. Last year, Pontin Del Roza also introduced their Privilege Wine Club which allows members exclusive releases, special offers and private party invitations.

Pontin Del Roza produces several wines, both whites and reds. The 2009 Angelo Pontin Sangiovese was recently touted as Outstanding during an Italian reds competition for its aromas of cherry, chocolate and oak. The 2010 Angelo Pontin Dolcetto was recently featured in the April issue of Tasting Room Magazine as a Spring wine pick. The wine is a tribute to winemaker Scott Pontin’s grandfather who immigrated to Yakima Valley and planted terraced vineyards as his family had done for centuries in Italy.

Spring Barrel weekend in Prosser is April 25-27th, all wine enthusiasts are welcome at Pontin Del Roza and no passport is required. Please join us in celebrating this kick-off to the spring and summer season at the winery.The Pontin Del Roza tasting room is open daily from 10-5 at 35502 N. Hinzerling Road in Prosser, WA.

For more information on the winery, to purchase wine or schedule a private event please visit http://www.pontindelroza.com.

Vinostrology Wine Lounge Offers “Tax Relief”

March 7th, 2014

Vinostrology Wine Lounge & Merchant is giving consumers a break this season with a tempting combination of tax relief and good wine. The downtown wine bar’s “Tax Relief” package is being offered to all taxpayers who join its wine club for six months.

Members who join the 13th Sign Wine Club between now and April 30 enjoy their first month of membership tax free, for a total savings on carefully selected wines of nearly 20%.

“It’s time to tax your taste buds instead of your wallet,” says owner Katie Bechkowiak. “Our wine club has generous benefits like “Taste Treats” and 13% off purchases of 6 or more bottles.”

Featuring the area’s only WineStations,® which allow the host to offer a variety of wines without compromising quality, Vinostrology is a wine lover’s paradise with never fewer than 20 wines to buy by the taste, ½ glass or full glass. The selection of wines “on spout” is constantly changing, with a focus on wines of exceptional value from around the globe. Its “12 under $12” retail selection is an increasingly popular resource for wine drinkers and dinner guests who want the guarantee of a good wine without the hassle of figuring it out themselves.

Located in the heart of downtown Bellingham at 120 West Holly (near the Parkade) Vinostrology is open seven days a week with “Hours of Happiness” Monday through Saturday, 3 — 6 p.m. To sign up for the 13th Sign Wine Club visit the bar or call (360) 656-6817. Find your wine sign at www.vinostrology.com. Find Vinostrology on Facebook for updates on what’s pouring, who’s playing and other wine happenings.

Columbia Winery Rolls Out New Label, New Wines

February 24th, 2014

Woodinville’s Columbia Winery has a new label and four nicely priced wines produced by winemaker Sean Hails that have recently been released.

Hails is an Ontario, Canada native who gained experience in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley and California before moving to Columbia in 2012.

Here are my tasting notes on the wines, each of which retails for about $14:

null2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: This approachable, flavorful cab is filled with beautiful dark, black fruit aromas and flavors including cherry, berry, and currant. It’s a natural to pair with almost anything beef.

2012 Chardonnay: Do you like your Chardonnays big, buttery and full-bodied? This one easily has you covered with a mouthful of pineapple, baked apple and tropical fruits. The finish is round and lengthy with accents of toasted coconut and vanilla.

Non-Vintage Composition: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and a handful of other varietals join forces to produce this bold, hefty red wine blend. Aromas of coffee bean and chocolate lead off, with somewhat brighter red fruits of cherry, cranberry and raspberry on the palate.

2012 Merlot: Lovely blueberry and floral aromatics along with cranberry and pomegranate flavors highlight this Columbia Valley Merlot. The wine carries a bit of the plush, classic Merlot character you’d expect with just a bit of an edgy finish to provide it with a bit of lift.

A Look Back at 2013 and What to Expect From Washington Winemakers

December 24th, 2013

I’m down to my final two columns of 2013. So I ask myself, “Do I feature sparkling wines and Champagne the week before New Year’s or wait until New Year’s Eve?”

Then I remember this is Bellingham and nobody plans for New Year’s until a day or two beforehand.

That settles it…year in review this week, sparkling wines next week.

A look back at the 2013 vintage gets a one-word response from many Washington winemakers…hot.

Randy Tucker at Tucker Cellars notes, “The growing season (included) temperatures in the upper 90’s and 100’s for five weeks straight. There was some incredible fruit out there that yielded high sugars and strong flavors.”

Washington wine enthusiasts will likely find the wines of 2013 to be in stark contrast to the cooler 2010 and 2011 vintages and, to a much lesser degree, the more “normal” 2012 vintage.

The keys will be just how long the grapes were allowed to hang prior to harvest and the winemaker’s ability to curb the temptation of high-sugar, high-alcohol wines. My feeling is that you’ll see your share of big, full-bodied wines from 2013, with the majority of winemakers savvy enough not to encroach on the more heavy-handed, “fruit bomb” status. This isn’t Southern Australia, after all.

nullMy annual trek to the 2013 Tri-Cities Wine Festival in Kennewick last month also provided some great insight on what’s coming up and a retrospect on recent past vintages.

My first thought: where do these new wineries keep coming from? Richland’s Market Cellars, only in its second year of operation, scored a perfect 12 medals for their 12 wines entered. Monte Scarlatto Winery, which I passed by without even noticing during a visit to Red Mountain, also had a number of wines with great potential.

Varietals newer to Washington continue to grow in popularity at the Festival, with the Smasne Cellars 2010 Mourvèdre earning best of show honors. Still, my personal favorites included Washington’s more tried-and-true reds and whites; a gorgeous Cooper Wine Company 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla Valley and the delicious Apex Cellars 2012 Sauvignon Blanc.

Finally, let me offer a few recommendations from a couple of well-established wineries that really hit their stride this year.

Two Mountain Winery continues to impress and their 2010 Syrah has it all; a fragrant bouquet of berries and sweet cedar, spicy raspberry and red cherry flavors, and silky tannins with an undertone of minerality.

Lost River Winery also has a bevy of current releases worth trying. My top two: the 2010 Nebbiolo, a yummy, pinot-esque red with bright red currant, cranberry and pomegranate flavors; and the 2010 Cedarosa, a merlot/cabernet franc blend with spicy berry aromas, crabapple and cassis flavors, and excellent depth with tannic structure for additional cellaring.

Annette Bergevin of Bergevin Lane Vineyards Heads Up One of Walla Walla’s Best

October 5th, 2013

By Zacchoreli Frescobaldi-Grimaldi

nullRiddled with many wonderful wineries, Walla Walla is one of those places where one couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting an award winning wine maker. Annette Bergevin, co-owner of Bergevin Lane Vineyards, is one of those winemakers. Annette’s focused attention and nose-to-the-grindstone management of the winery and estate vineyard, and relationship with vineyard growers assures oenophiles an exceptional assortment of grape-centric libations.

While the tasting room has a certain “Pacific Northwest but wish it were Mediterranean” feel, it is still a comfortable place to meet a dozen friends and sample some exceptional wines. Sure, the tasting room rocks, but the craft of wine making actually occurs in the pristine stainless steel shrine that is the property’s epicenter. An onsite laboratory, 22 stainless steel tanks, three temperature controlled and humidified barrel rooms and an annual production of 11,000 cases of wine certainly puts Bergevin Lane Vineyards on the map to wine Nirvana.

There are, quite naturally, those who would eschew wine in favor of some other refreshment: Perfectly fine, even more wine for the rest of us! Of course, Annette will do her best to win these miscreants over. A third generation Walla Walla Valley farmer, she has demonstrated a pugnacious determination to successfully compete with some of the best winemakers in the region. In 2012 she was honored by Washington State University during the Feast of the Arts dinner with a distinguished alumnus award. Bergevin Lane Vineyards is definitely one of Washington’s wineries to watch: one may confidently anticipate a colorful and tasty future for Annette. Order these wines online at www.bergevinlane.com or better yet, visit the tasting room!

The 2010 “Wild Child” is a mouth watering Merlot, beautifully balanced with stone fruit, chocolate and tobacco notes. This is a wonderful wine by itself, yet paired with a nice juicy grilled hamburger, sun-dried tomato tapenade, or a nice Reblochon cheese gratin with crusty bread brings out the depth of flavor hiding in this rambunctious little wine. Hints of allspice and tarragon give away to subtle cinnamon notes. Merlot from Stone Tree Vineyard in Wahluke Slope spent 18 months in oak barrels where it took full advantage of its accommodations. Only 500 cases of this gem were produced, and at about $28 a bottle, inventory will be depleted in no time.

A production characteristic that one should value about Bergevin Lane Vineyards is the attention to detail. She-Devil 2011 Syrah is one of those wines that refuse to be ignored. One lingers over each flavorful sip, absorbed in the deep rich berry and chocolate flavors. Accustomed to being the center of attention, She-Devil would rather not share the spotlight; but if she must – she will tolerate a light salad dressed in olive oil and Asiago cheese. However, I must admit She-Devil pairs quite well with a lovely Salad Nicoise. Try it and discover how delicate flavors reminiscent of deep rich espresso and ripe juicy currants emerge. This 100% Syrah is a bargain at $24 a bottle, and – be warned – it won’t last long.

Love Struck 2012 Viognier is one of the year’s white wine best buys at $22 a bottle. It’s as if this wine can barely contain itself: the combination of tropical and stone fruits flood the olfactory senses. Paired with a creamy clam chowder, or mussels in a light curry cream sauce accentuates the nut, pineapple, peach and pear flavors. Of course, this wine is a terrific sipping wine, but oh, how it comes alive with just a little snack.

Fermented in small oak barrels, the 2012 Dreamweaver Rousanne is like sucking on a fruity butterscotch candy without the sweetness! The delicate soft and stone fruit notes come together with the soft vanilla of the oak to create an explosion of flavors. Preserve the delicate features of this remarkable wine, sip it in a sunny garden and leave the cheese plate alone. Annette made only 112 cases of this wine, and at $24 they will not last long!

The 2010 Calico Red, on the other hand, was produced in much larger quantities and it harbors rich raspberry and bing cherry aromas. At $13.99 a bottle, it is an unassuming little wine packed with rich smokey flavors reminiscent of decadently dark chocolate and vanilla bean pods. Sip a glass as your “everyday” red wine, or pair it with a marinara dressed pasta dish, spaghetti, ravioli – doesn’t matter – it’s all good.

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