Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fall is in the air

Sorry that posts have been so sparse lately. October has been a fairly crazy month here at the winery. Not only have the guys been bringing in fruit like mad and trying to wrap up harvest, but we’ve been busy in the tasting room and out on the market. With all the fruit ripening at once and then the early freeze the first of October, we actually finished a bit ahead of schedule. In fact, Colin, our French intern, had the distinction of being one of the only interns to make it all the way through harvest. He also has the distinction of, hands down, eating the most food and also having the best knowledge of American slang. Colin joined us from the Purpan University in Toulouse, where we get an intern from each harvest. With school starting back up for him next week he has already left us to return to France, and we wish him the best of luck!

The first of October, we hosted dinner for the 2009 Road Trip Washington Wine. For the past couple of years the Washington Wine Commission and 65 wineries throughout the state of Washington have joined together to put on a wonderful opportunity to bring in 40 wine buyers from throughout the United States and show them what Washington and Washington wine is all about. Here's a link to a local news station's clip on the trip. Notice which vineyard they are shooting the footing at and who is in it! “Road Trip” this year started with a reception in Seattle Sunday evening at the Space Needle. The group was then up bright and early Monday morning for the bus ride over to Walla Walla for a full day of wine tastings and educational stops that concluded with a wonderful dinner here at Woodward Canyon that was hosted by us and our next door neighbors, L’Ecole. Chris and Island Ainsworth, Saffron Mediterranean kitchen located in downtown Walla Walla, were gracious enough to come in with the staff from Saffron, on their night off, to prepare the meal for us. And they did an amazing job! The meal was beautifully paired with wines from L’Ecole and Woody that culminated with dessert and library wines from all the wineries in attendance. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that many older vintages from big producers in the same place. The next three days took the group back through Washington with stops in the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Richland and Kennewick), Yakima, Red Willow and finally Woodinville.

The tasting room staff has been gearing up for Fall Release weekend, November 6th, 7th and 8th. This weekend has progressively become a busier and busier weekend for the wineries here in the valley. We’ve decided to do a couple of different things for Fall Release this year. We will be releasing the 2007 Charbonneau Red this year. If you haven’t had the Charbonneau Red it’s a wonderful Bordeaux-style blend that we produce, sourced entirely from the Charbonneau Vineyard which overlooks the Snake River outside of Pasco, Washington. Rick started making the Charbonneau Red back in 1985 and we’ve been producing one whenever we get a vintage that yields excellent fruit. The 2007 is no exception – soft and subtle, with a typical Charbonneau Red nose of sweet pipe tobacco and complex spices, integrated with cherry and cassis. I’ve always said that the Charbonneau Red has a softer side to it, one that on the first sip, invites you in and holds you captive. Black cherries and leather lingers on the palate and with it’s lush mouth feel, it’s another great showing of the Charbonneau Vineyard.

Also new Fall Release weekend is the fact that we are hosting most of it in our new “Reserve House”. Starting Friday, November 7ththrough Sunday, November 8th, we’ll pour through our flight of wines next door and we’re accompanying the wines with specially matched bites. If you haven’t visited the “Reserve House” yet, now’s your chance without having to make an appointment.

One last quick note of interest, is that we are running a Fall Special featuring the 2006 “Artist Series” Cabernet and both the 2007 Nelms Road Merlot and 2007 Nelms Road Cabernet. We are offering a 20% discount if you purchase a full case of any of the three wines or a mixed case of any combination of the three. You can either order online or call the winery at (509) 525-4129.

Hope to see everyone through the winery in the next few weeks. It’s going to be a fun fall!