Monthly Archives: September 2005
For the next three weeks I’d like to take you to some Spokane wineries that I visited last month. First up is Lone Canary Winery, with winemaker Mike Scott at the helm. Scott’s 2004 Sauvignon Blanc (about $10) is one of the better wines of this varietal that I’ve tried as of late. It exhibits lots of melon flavors and a gentle, citrus finish. At this price it’s an absolute steal.
Red wine offerings include the generically named non-vintage Red (about $13), 2002 Rouge (about $20) and 2003 Rosso (about $20). But don’t let the names fool you. Each of these wines is a beautiful blend of three varietals with generous and complex fruit flavors.
My favorite of the three is the Rouge, a combination of Cabernet, Merlot and Cabernet Franc that displays dark plum flavors backed by a touch of mocha. Spicy oak notes on the finish are accompanied by soft tannins. Delicious!
For future reference, look for the 2005 Barbera, which will be released next year. I was fortunate enough to try one of the last bottles on the planet of the 2004 vintage, which has already sold out to the public. The ’04 was an explosion of berry flavors. Hopefully the ’05 can follow in its footsteps.
Scott’s take on his own wines may be viewed as brash by some and self-confident by others. He notes that if we don’t like his wine to, “bring it back and I’ll drink it.” Not to worry, Mike. Your wines are terrific. We’ll help you drink them.
Lone Canary wines are available in the wine section of local grocers or can be ordered online at www.lonecanary.com.
2:30 to 4:30pm – We’ll be tasting 3 varieties each of Syrah and Viognier from the Northwest and around the world. Click on the “Wine Classes” Page for more information.
Ebenezer, Barossa Valley 2001 (about $30): This wine is cram-packed with dark berry flavors and plenty of spice. Because of the limited quantities you won’t find it in stores, but they do serve it at Stars restaurant at Resort Semiahmoo.
More additional information, please refer to the Category, “Bellingham Herald Articles” for the October 17, 2005 posting on the Barossa Valley.
Viognier has a reputation for being a bit difficult to grow. But I’ve spoken with several winemakers and they really feel that this isn’t entirely true.
One of the reasons more Viognier hasn’t been grown might be because it has comparatively low yields. Low yields = less wine produced = less profit potential.
But consumers are really beginning to take a liking to this wonderfully fragrant and flavorful dry white wine. And winemakers are paying attention, because sales are increasing.
This is a classic example of where consumer demand helps to dictate what’s going on the market. The more we say, “we like this wine and we want to see more of it,” the more winemakers are going to produce.
The bottom line: Look for increased selection of Viognier from Northwest labels in the next several years. Many of you like it and winemakers are listening.
Added note: Stephenson Cellars 2003 Cabernet received a double gold at the Tri-Cities Wine Festival on November 12, 2005.
I first discovered Stephenson’s wines at the Temple Bar in Bellingham last year and was thoroughly impressed. This is a winemaker who is really on top of his game, producing some awesome red wines that are well crafted, complex and packed with mouth-watering flavors.
His current releases include the 2002 Syrah (about $28). This is a beautifully balanced wine with just the right amounts of dark cherry fruit, spice and a delicate smoky, earthy quality that make it resemble more of an Old World style Syrah.
Also available is the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $32). Stephenson calls this a lighter Cabernet, but I think it’s loaded with plenty of character. Blueberry aromas lead to red currant and cherry flavors with a serious layer of chocolate and mocha on the finish. This is one wine that commands your attention.
Stephenson Cellars wines can be purchased in Bellingham at The Vines and the Zephyr Bistro and are also served at the Oyster Bar and Cliff House restaurants.