Tag Archives: Washington

The Renegade Wine Company Red Wine

Cost: Average price $12

Where buy now: Zipp’s Liquors, South Lyndale Liquors

Grapes: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot

Region: Columbia Valley, WA

Vintage: 2012

The Renegade Wine Company Red Wine
The Renegade Wine Company Red Wine

Renegade Wine Company, a value brand produced by Sleight of Hand Cellars, is a label made for the savviest of all wine lushes. From their website, “Sleight of Hand Cellars has two basic goals in its vision statement: to make world class wines and to have fun while doing it.” Since I like world class wine, and having fun while doing it, how could I refuse?

A big time score for us cost-conscious drinkers, I first had Renegade Wine Company’s 2013 Rosé, which I adored! Sadly, it appears our market did not receive the 2014, which is a huge bummer. If you do happen to see it in a store, swipe it up — just don’t tell me about it (unless you’re planning to share… With no one else but ME!).

So, I’m moping around the store like a spoiled, First World, teenager who just cracked the screen on her Apple Watch. Since I couldn’t find the Rosé, I settled for their Renegade Wine Company’s Red Blend instead. I didn’t drink this bottle right away. In fact, since I thought it to be such a consolation prize, I just threw it in my wine rack figuring I’d run out of bottles at some point and try it.

Fast forward five days, a cooler than expected evening had me craving a red wine. Hmmmph, I _guess_ I’ll open this… red… blend.

What?!? This vino is delicious! Could it be that my low expectations going into it are skewing my perception? Perhaps, but there is only one scientific way to find out – back to the lab. And? Long story long: I bought the Renegade Wine Co.’s Red Wine again and it still drinks like a dream. A beautiful, splendid red blended wine dream.

Renegade Wine Co.’s Red Wine is Washington’s answer to a Bordeaux Blend. Let me explain. It is Cabernet dominated followed by Merlot. This one-two punch gives the wine it’s main structure: dark red fruit with hints of cocoa and tobacco. The depth of flavor is livened up by the addition of Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. These aid in it’s deeper dark color, hints of blueberry and coffee along with it’s moderate acidity. All in all, it’s a palate pleaser for everyone.

My dear friends, I deem this another bargain gem, my red wine of the week. Coming in around $12, we’ll gladly have these folks make world class wine, and we’ll have fun while doing it.

Boom Boom Syrah

Cost: Average price $17, on sale $12.99

Where buy now: Solo Vino Wines, Elevated Wines and Spirits, Surdyk’s, Byerly’s

Grapes: Syrah

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington

Vintage: 2011

Boom Boom Syrah

You may have noticed, I’d taken a 4-month hiatus from blogging. This was an odd Summer. Not only did I endure two family members’ deaths in the same week whilst my day job got crazy busy due to staff turnover, but also, I lost much confidence thanks to overriding and paralyzing perfectionism.

You know what? I’m glad it happened. Did it stop me from drinking wine? Oh, hell no. My husband can attest to the oodles of bottles strewn about the kitchen and dining room awaiting review.

Where did my mojo go and, more importantly, how would I get it back?

You know that old adage, “be careful what you wish for”? I [or, perhaps more accurately, The Savvy Lush] was receiving tons of invites to primo events, tastings and other general ballyhoo. I loved it. I was in full on sponge mode, learning as much as possible while meeting as many people as possible. Hell, I even made it as a finalist for the International Wine Blog Awards’ “Best New Wine Blog” award! I was on Cloud Nine.

Then, suddenly, I was disqualified.

On a technicality. Turns out, all finalists in the “Best New Wine Blog” category had to be new as of 2012. While I didn’t officially launch the blog until late January of 2012, I did upload a test article in December of 2011. Bam! Done. Name removed. Parade rained out. Twitter stopped blowing up; my Facebook fan count was leveling off. This led to a post-euphoric low air of desperation. I became obsessed with social media: was I gaining enough followers? Who is tweeting me? Who’s NOT tweeting me? I had 652 Facebook fans one day, the next I had… 651? Who dare unlike me?

I had only been at it for a year and change, but I felt entitled to more. The stress of success started to short-wire my brain. I lost sight of my vision and had to back away for a little while. I went into self-imposed exile, embarrassed that I hadn’t written anything in such a long time. Was The Savvy Lush dead? Done for? Finito? Kaputt?

Was I just going to give up when things got tough? I slowly realized that it was my own insecurities, pressure, stress and perfectionism that hindered any momentum. I crept back into the social media realm posting and having fun again. I began saying “no”. It killed me at first but turning down a couple gigs and events to save/regain sanity was a necessity. At last, the creativity has begun to flow back into my veins.

And this wine helped: The Boom Boom Syrah from Charles Smith. What better wine to help catapult you back than a wine called “Boom Boom”?

I’m a fan of Mr. Smith’s wines. I’ve raved about Kung Fu Girl http://bit.ly/13zf5fb/Kung Fu Girl. Boom Boom is a go-to red at my house. In the course of my hiatus, I cannot tell you how many bottles I bought.

This is some good ole Washington State dark, plummy, jammy red Syrah and I love it. It’s an explosion of blackberry and raspberry flavors, countered by mild tannins and low acidity. It’s a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. I wouldn’t consider this an overly complex wine. It’s fruit forward. It’s simple, it’s delicious and it has “everyday wine” written all over it. When I can find it for under $15, I will always buy a bottle (or two or eight). Drink it alone, or hell, have it with a burger and fries, maybe some ribs. It’s a real crowd pleaser.

So, if you’re experiencing overload and need to power down, do your body good. When you’re ready to kick-start again, pick up some Boom Boom Syrah.

As for my relationship with social media, let’s just say I’ve found a better balance. Someone who helped me find perspective is Louis C.K. Enjoy his brilliant musings about social media: http://youtu.be/xSSDeesUUsU/Louis C.K. talks social media

That said, please feel free to “like” me on Facebook http://facebook.com/TheSavvyLush/The Savvy Lush and/or follow me on Twitter (@savvylush).

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!