1,000 Stories – Petite Sirah
Occasionally, I am able to come across some more unique wines and we will be emailing more of these offerings out as they are offered to us. The first selection of this category has a name that some of you might be familiar with, but the varietal hasn’t been seen outside of a few stores a year or so ago. We have been given a great opportunity to offer this to our wine club. 1000 Stories is well known for great Zinfandel, more specifically Bourbon barrel aged Zinfandel. “Years ago, when I was just starting out as a winemaker, it was almost unheard of to get French oak wine barrels and American oak barrels were for whiskey, not wine. But we still needed barrels to age our wine, so we purchased new and used bourbon barrels. Today, American and French oak wine barrels are commonplace, so the inspiration for 1,000 Stories is a nod to the way things were.” Working from such a great base of Zinfandel, they set out to work with another grape and found a great vineyard to work from in Lake County. Because this was such a special project, the selected only half of the number of barrels, 100, as they normally would for this inaugural batch. They wanted to show off the rich intensity of fruit from the Petite Sirah and needed the right barrels to do so. This is a complex wine with a striking balance of succulent fruit, savory notes of grilled herbs. Fig, cinnamon, graham cracker, and tobacco, with that subtle hint of smoke, probably from the bourbon barrel, keep you coming back for another taste. The Bourbon barrels for 1000 Stories Half Batch Petite Sirah started their life at Independent Stave Company in Lebanon Missouri before they were sent out to be filled with Bourbon. (This wine will be available starting March 6th, sorry for any inconvenience.)
Saint Lafayette – Sauvignon Blanc
The second wine comes to us from France in the Bordeaux region. Saint Lafayette uses not only Sauvignon Blanc, but also a splash of Sauvignon Gris in crafting their Sauvignon Blanc bottling. Also known as Sauvignon Rosé, the Sauvignon Gris grape has a more pinkish hue, and typically a higher sugar level. That extra sugar contributes lifted aromatics, as well as a richer and rounder, feel to the wine. Because of its low yields, many vintners abandoned Sauvignon Gris — to the point that it almost became extinct. But it’s now enjoying a revival in Bordeaux, as vintners realize it can add complexity to Sauvignon Blanc.
Saint Lafayette is a wine that’s crafted to be enjoyed young, and the 2016 vintage is no exception. Notable “grassy” aroma, with notes of apple and citrus fruits. This wine has high acidity with rich and complex flavors. Quite refreshing, it can serve as an aperitif, or paired with grilled white fish or jumbo prawns.
Milbrandt – Merlot
A newcomer to the wine by the glass option, Milbrandt Merlot has been a huge hit. Initially apple and potato farmers, Butch and his brother Jerry put down agricultural roots in Eastern Washington long before 1997, the year they planted their first grapevines in the area now designated as the Wahluke Slope AVA. Fast forward two decades and the Milbrandt’s are currently farming over ten distinct vineyard sites in the Wahluke Slope AVA and four vineyards to the north in the Ancient Lakes AVA. Now a multi-generational brand with Butch and his son Buck taking the lead, Milbrandt wines continue to deliver uncompromising quality – having earned more than sixty-five 90+ point ratings to date.
The wine is comprised of 86% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is produced from 3 vineyards in the Columbia Valley, which include Sundance, Rosebud, Northridge Vineyards. Grapes were harvested in October of 2017. After picking and pressing, 28% of the wine spent time in neutral American oak barrels for 14 months. This wine has bright aromas of cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate. It has a great intense fruit driven palate. This helps keep the fruit pronounced and powerful yet balanced at the same time.
Copertino Riserva – Blend
Our second offering is definitely unique. It is one of my favorite wines and the oldest on our menu. First, a small history lesson to understand where this wine comes from. When colonizing Greeks first roamed Italy they named it Oenotria – land of the vine. It was Puglia, located in Italy’s southernmost reaches that was the inspiration for this colorful offering. Today, Puglia is home to 25 production zones, most significantly the DOC Copertino. The Copertino Cooperative was established in 1935 when a group of visionary growers, from a tiny town in the heart of the Salento peninsula’s wine growing region, decided to produce a bottle of higher quality wine from their traditional indigenous grapes. Presently 1,000 growers farm as few as 1,000 acres of vineyard to provide the grapes for Copertino Riserva. Severino Garofano, long regarded as the most authoritative and respected enologist in the Salento, carries on and advances a proud tradition.
Predominantly Negro Amaro (95%) with a small percentage (%5) of Malvasia Nera, Copertino is a delight. It has good acidity and supple tannins which make this a very food friendly option. The Riserva is aged for a minimum of 2 years and the previous vintage and the current, 2009 being offered is drinking favorably now. If history serves the same, this wine even has a few more years to continue developing. Brick red and dense in color, Copertino has aromatics of blackberry, baking spice, tobacco, and smoked meats. It is medium-bodied and surprisingly complex, displaying well-integrated layers of leather, wild berries, cedar, tar, vanilla, and soft spices. The long finish lingers with dried cherry and port-like nuances. Perfect with pizza, burgers, red sauce and meat pasta, and ideal with barbecue.
Kung Fu Girl – Riesling
The first is the 2017 Kung Fu Girl Riesling out of the Ancient Lakes appellation of Washington State. This wine is 100% Riesling and has been described by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate as, “Juicy and lively, with lots of citrus blossom, lychee and a touch of lime… [this Riesling] is medium-bodied, vibrant and crisp on the palate, with terrific purity, integrated acidity, and a great finish.” This Charles Smith wine see 2 months in the barrel on lees to round out this great summer sipper. The vineyard is owned by a family we saw in the All Red category, the Milbrandt’s. Evergreen Vineyard was planted in 1998 by Jerry Milbrandt, the vineyard rows lie along a stretch of steep cliffs above the Columbia River in the Ancient Lakes AVA. A cooler site due to river influence, the nitrogen-poor soils are composed of fragmented basalt, gravel silt, and caliche deposited during ice age floods. This site produces fruit with a sublime mineral character and great acidity, a balance that winemakers adore.
Walnut Block ‘Collectables – Sauvignon Blanc
Another new member to the glass list is from Marlborough, New Zealand. Walnut Block ‘Collectables’ Sauvignon Blanc 2018 and all of the Walnut Block offerings is the vision of two brothers, Clyde and Nigel Sowman, who have joined together to create a range of wines reflecting their collective experience and passions. Situated in the renowned Wairau Valley, Walnut Block Wines takes its name from the landmark walnut tree within the vineyard itself. The 44-acre vineyard is located on the Wairau Valley plains, a dry ancient river bed which has created a prime growing area for Sauvignon Blanc. The brother’s say, “The belief that the vineyard is the key to a great wine is at the core of Walnut Block. Labor intensive vineyard methods produce consistent, exceptional fruit quality; the use of traditional winemaking techniques and attention to preserving delicate flavors & aromas. The commitment to organic viticulture has seen continual development in the flavor and mouthfeel of the wines as the vines become more self-sufficient and naturally balanced.” Among the vines stands the region’s oldest walnut tree, and to pay homage, the Collectables label depicts an adaptation of the 1898 Kiwi New Zealand stamp. Both the planting of the tree and the release of the stamp occurred over 100 years ago and celebrate the unique Kiwi history and roots of Walnut Block. The fruit is grown on 3 cane VSP, lightly leaf plucked to give good sunlight and airflow to ensure healthy fruit. They control the yield through shoot thinning. Grapes are harvested during the cool of night to maintain freshness and flavors. The grapes are de-stemmed and pressed, then slowly fermented in stainless steel at a cool temperature using carefully selected yeast. Extended yeast lees contact adds weight and texture to the plate for this wine. 2018 was a vintage for the record books. December was the second warmest on record and January was the warmest in more than 60 years. The heat didn’t quite continue though as February brought the highest recorded rainfall in that month’s history, courtesy of two cyclones ‘Fehi’ and ‘Gita’, making unwelcome appearances. “The result was vigorous sorting in the winery and very pleasurable, albeit intense, fruit. The ‘classic’ Marlborough grapefruit is nicely balanced by a bit more tropical fruit notes. There is great palate weight to the wines and they are sure to be crowd pleasers!”