Tag Archives: red wine

C.M.S. by Hedges Family Estate

Cost: Average price $13

Where buy now: Stinson Wine & Spirits

Grapes: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot & 12% Syrah

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington

Vintage: 2010

Hedges Estate CMS Columbia Valley

I’m such a bonehead for not yet writing about the wines I’ve enjoyed from Hedges Family Estate! This C.M.S. is now the third varietal I’ve savored, and I have NO excuse for not sharing the first two with y’all. I’m a complete fan and trust any wine they produce. Let me tell you why you should, too.

Hedges Family Estate, out of Washington State, is run by Washington born and raised Tom Hedges, and his French wife, Anne Marie. They both cut their teeth working for large vinyards in the 70s. In the 80s, they created their own wine exporting company and their own {tip Merchants who purchase grapes, juice or bulk wine from small farmers, which they then produce, bottle and market on a larger scale under the négociant’s label.}négociant{/tip} called Hedges Cellars. An opportunity arose 3 hours East of Seattle in an up and coming wine region called Red Mountain. Volia! From the get-go, the Hedges Family Estate began making wine in a biodynamic way, very much working symbiotically with the terroir. While this may sound trendy or cliche these days, it was not the norm 25-30 years ago.

The marriage of American and French styles really emerges through their wine: New World but in an Old World way. Let’s chat about this C.M.S. which stands for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah (though I like to think it’s something like “Coat My Stomach”, “Crush Me, Studmuffin”, or “Caress My Slippery-stuffs”). The blend is nothing less than superlative.

Deep ruby juice fills your glass and aromas of black cherry, raspberry and toasty cocoa waft up your nose. It drinks like a New World wine, fruit forward with hints of toasted vanilla and chocolate. An “any occasion” wine, it’s medium bodied and pleasingly smooth with balanced tannins and acidity. Not too sweet, not too dry, with a decent little finish on it. I served it to guests and everyone liked it the best of all the wines we tried that evening. I’ve also been impressed by their Bacchus Merlot and their unoaked HIP Chardonnay (drinks more like a French Chablis, my fave American unoaked Chard to date!). You easily can spot their wines by their fetching labels featuring uniquely modern, yet baroque fonts.

Open this bottle day or night, weeknight or weekend. Sit back and enjoy a beautifully balanced estate made glass of wine. You’ll be impressed. I know I found a new staple- especially for the price!

Birichino Grenache

Cost: Average price $20

Where buy now: Sunfish Cellars & Zipp’s Liquors

Grapes: Grenache

Region: California

Vintage: 2010

Birichino Grenache

Grenache lovers: unite!

I’ve found my favorite American Grenache in this bottle of Birichino. [biri-kino]

I first had this at Sunfish Cellars by the glass ($4/glass!). It’s a wine that haunts you, though not in a “Poltergeist” sort of way. You can’t get it out of your head. Yes, this is a wine you’re going to love instantly.

When I saw it was from California, I assumed this was going to be very alcoholic, ripe with sweet cherry flavors- indicitive of “New World” wine making. Man, was I taken aback when I tasted it! This wine tastes far more “Old World” to me. “Old World”, “New World”?  What is THAT you’re saying? Is that anything like “Red Fish, Blue Fish”?

I shan’t assume we all know what that means. “Old World” refers to wines made in Europe. “New World” refers to wines made in, well, NOT Europe. North or South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. . .basically, anywhere that is not Europe [who ever said wine making wasn’t Eurocentric?].  Wine Folly does a great job of breaking it down for you: http://winefolly.com/review/new-world-vs-old-world-wine//Old World vs. New World

This Birichino Grenache gives great, bright cherry scents right off the bat. The flavors of that bright cherry and strawberry explode on your tongue along with some herbal hints. This Grenache evokes layers of spice and smoke with a soft tang; not acidic but more in a way that tea evokes layers of flavor. While subtle, it’s well enough to know it’s there.

I’ve seen Birichino Grenache for around $20, maybe a couple bucks less if it’s on sale.  If you are a lover of Grenache, though, don’t even hesitate to plunk down the money for this bottle. Pick it up at Sunfish Cellars or Zipp’s and let me know how much you love me for introducing you to this wine!

Made by G

Cost: Average price $20

Where buy now: France 44 or Sunfish Cellars (call ahead as they may be sold out)

Grapes: Gamay

Region: France

Vintage: N/V (Non-vintage)

Made by G

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: never underestimate the power of Red.

When doing some Thursday sipping at Sunfish Cellars, the manager, Erica, suggested I try a “fun wine” called Made by G. While I’m always up for “fun wine”, I’m not a huge fan of Gamay (also known as Beaujolais) so originally, I passed. To my taste, Gamays tend to be a bit light and, well, dull, mostly because they lack the depth and flavor red wine gains from the aging process.

After gorging myself on a lovely flatbread pizza of garlic sauce, spicy salami, tomatoes, pepperoncini and mozzarella followed by a red wine flight, I wanted something sparkly to clear the pallet of spice and heavy red wine. I decided not to be so obtuse and ordered a glass- what did I really have to lose, right? To my delight, it was just what I was looking for. What’s more, I believe it’s what several of you are looking for in a New Year’s Eve wine.

Made by G is bright red with a celebratory effervescence. It’s both fruity and tart, reminding me of sour cherry balls. Alas, it has some structure and made my lips pucker, so it wasn’t too sweet and fruity (looking at you Bartles & Jaymes). The bubbles cheered me up, the tart cherry made me think of childhood delights. It then dawned on me: I needed to be ringing in 2013 with this wine.

I chatted with a couple Sunfish regulars, telling them about how pleasantly surprised I was with this Gamay and how I think they’d dig it, too. The gals decided to share a glass. Not only did they enjoy it, they went next door to the wine shop and each bought two bottles! How’s that for a ringing endorsement?

Trust me on this: if you’re not going with [my tried and true] Prosecco on New Year’s Eve, stand out from the New Year’s crowd with this red, sparkling number. Drink it chilled as this wine will be enjoyed by both white and red drinkers alike. Heads will turn and you’ll be the hit of the party! This bottle is priced at my “Snob wine of the month” category but this is NYE and I figured we are worth the splurge this week!

Made by G is a sparkling Gamay sure to titillate your senses & pucker those kissable lips!