Salida Open House September 8,2012

It seems the summer has almost disappeared before we knew it began! But I’m happy to say the word “summer” actually applies this year. The vines are progressing well in the vineyards of the Yakima Valley, essentially on schedule with a “normal” year (as opposed to the past two vintages).

So before things get too heated up with grapes rolling in, we’re hosting our summer Open House at the winery on Saturday, September 8th beginning at 1:00 p.m. Could be fall will be in the air!

We’ll be featuring the release of the 2010 ‘Tres Vinos,’ our three grape blend, and the 2011 Albarino, Spain’s version of the “Little Stinger.” ‘Tres’ is a fully-packed and beautifully balanced wine with great fruit depth and finesse while the Albarino is an uncanny knockoff resembling those classic whites produced in the region of Galicia in Northwest Spain.

Several tasty Latin dishes will be served, a delicious Guava Glazed Pork (or chicken alternatively) topped with a Cuban Mojo Drizzle, then Roasted Zucchini Salsa with Manchego Crust, and a fresh and lively Spanish Cruda. Back by popular demand, Commander in Chef Bill West will be at the helm of the cuisine.

If you were at our last summer event, no doubt you’ll again be in for a treat as Latin tunes waif through the air to liven things up and bring a festive flair to the day. We promise we won’t get in the way if someone wants to practice their tango steps!

We’re offering our two new releases at very affordable pricing as a big “Thank You!” to all of our loyal customers. Also, it will likely be curtain call for the 2009 ‘Vino Rojo’ as there’s very few cases remaining, and it too will be well discounted.

To join our mailing list just go to our website,, click on “contact” and fill out the email form. In the comments section, let us know you’d like a reservation and we’ll be back in touch. Alternatively, you can give us a call at 360.446.8466 and leave us a message that you’d like to join us for the Open House. If you do, just be sure to leave contact details.

Clearly, I’ve been remiss at posting my blogs as of late. So this will be the first of several to come as we keep updating fruit development in Eastern Washington, or simply have some thoughts to express.

While in the Olympia area, please come and visit our Olympia Wine Tasting Bar in the heart of downtown at 116 – 5th Avenue (between Capitol and Washington), located in the New Caldonia Building. The lovely setting features a Northwest version of a Vieux Carrie Spanish courtyard, and you’ll find our cozy spot towards the back to be warm and relaxing with great company and the very best of hosts.

We hope to see you at our Open House festivities! Alegria! Doug and Kim.

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Debut: 2009 Tempranillo & 2009 ‘Vino Rojo’

‘Tis the season for the reds! With the advent of the Winter Holidays we’re releasing two of our wines, the “classic” Tempranillo and the first version of ‘Vino Rojo,’ simply meaning ‘Red Wine’ in Spanish.

The 2009 Tempranillo greatly resembles the wines of the first two vintages, 2006 and 2007. The reason is simple: the Two Coyote Vineyard. The 2008 Tempranillo was a departure in a sense, having been sourced entirely from the Sugarloaf Vineyard’s first crop at third leaf.

With the 2009 vintage, the wine is a blend of both vineyards, half and half, bringing increased depth and complexity coupled with a more supple and rich texture. Essentially, we believe emphasis on Two Coyote fruit enhances a quintessential characteristic of Tempranillo, that being the “cigar box” or tobacco-like aromatic. For me personally, this element is a very distinct expression of the grape.

This vintage’s wine displays the classic descriptors associated with Tempranillo. It’s a big wine, yet is graceful and elegant with ripe blackberry and plum, stoney minerality, a medley of spices, dried herbs and a hint of tanned leather.

The story behind Vino Rojo is a bit complicated. Originally, the wine was destined to become Fuego Sagrado, which only has been produced once in prior vintages. Some confusion occurred in the vineyard and the Malbec was picked and sent to a winery other than ours. Once fermented and in barrel, it was transferred to our winery.

Fuego Sagrado is primarily dominated by Malbec, a deeply opaque wine with aromas of dark blackberry, coffee and chocolate, then enhanced by Tempranillo’s tobacco, spice, leather and herbs. Our first version, the 2008, displayed all of these elements. However, the 2009 Malbec was far less emphatic with a more restrained expression and a lighter wine in nature.

Once bottled and given about a half year, we re-tasted the wine and realized that it was quite different from its predecessor. Actually, the wine was very lovely with a more restrained expression, being almost claret-like. So we were faced with a decision; label the wine as Fuego or produce another label.

Our decision was to create a new label. The concern was simply that since there had been only one version of Fuego we didn’t want to confuse our customers and release a wine that was stylistically a contrast with the previous vintage. To make the planned Holiday Season release in tandem with the Tempranillo, we had to move quickly, so the name ‘Vino Rojo’ seemed a good choice and could also provide us with a more generic label for future wines that may not bear the labels already existing.

We don’t view Vino Rojo as a “lesser” wine, but one that required differentiation. The nose has an almost dusty-like feature of desert earth. It displays beautiful fruit emphasizing dark black cherry, cola, spice and an inference of mulberry, all wrapped up in a very elegant package.

Oh, and by the way, you can try both of these lovely wines in only a few days at our Holiday Open House this coming Saturday, December 10th. We do ask for confirmation as it’s not open to the public, but to those who are our wine club members and mailing list customers.

If you’d like to join us, simply go to: and let us know you’d like to join us for a great afternoon of fun with delicious tapas and both wines in their winter debut. Feliz Navidad!

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Tapas & Tempranillo – First Celebration

Last Wednesday evening (in spite of quite stormy conditions) we celebrated the first gathering of Tempranillo producers from Washington State, held at Wine World in Seattle.

It was a bit of history in the making and a milestone for the delicious grape, Tempranillo. The panel presentation was very well received with a focused audience and lasted probably up to one hour. I was quite impressed how their interest never waned and some very good questions were asked as well.

It was particularly good to have Javier Alfonso of Pomum Cellars as a panelist. His birthplace (and still his parents home) is the Ribera del Duero, so his inclusion offered great insight into Tempranillo’s Spanish roots, particularly aspects of climate, geography, soils and clones.

Following the discussion, we enjoyed excellent tapas provided by Restaurant Tango (located on Capitol Hill just east above the Paramount Theater at Pike & Boron). Also, Lenny Rede, co-owner of Wine World, made a delicious paello that was as good as it gets!

I felt that one of the most rewarding aspects of the evening was how well the foods paired with Tempranillo. So there’s no doubt in my mind that the wine is as “food friendly” as it gets.

All in all, it was a great evening and we had lot of fun in this inaugural gathering. Hopefully, we’ll repeat next year and expand even more on wineries, foods and venue.

Here’s a link to a review from Wine World’s website:

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Seattle’s Inaugural Tempranillo Feast: Tapas & Tempranillo

History will be in the making on Wednesday, November 16th at Wine World celebrating the first gathering of Tempranillo producers from Washington State.

It’s exciting to realize that the ‘Red King of Spain’ has found a home in Washington’s vineyards, and is adapting very well with all of the appropriate characteristics aromas and flavors similar to the wines of the Rioja and Ribera del Duero.

The event will feature six wineries, all of which are members of TAPAS, the organization dedicated to promoting Iberian varietal wines in the U.S. Approaching nearly 80 wineries, the growing membership represents Washington, California, Oregon, Texas and Arizona.

Wine World, located just west of I-5, at 400 N.E. 45th will host this inaugural evening of Tempranillo producers, beginning with a brief panel presentation on Tempranillo’s origins in Spain, it’s development in Washington’s vineyards, and the anticipated future of the grape as a preeminent varietal.

The evening will continue with a ‘Grande Tasting’ of the participating wineries paired with wonderful tapas prepared by Restaurant Tango, Seattle’s premiere Iberian-style eatry. Included in the lineup are Brian Carter Cellars, Camaraderie Cellars, Gramercy Cellars, Pomum Cellars, Salida Wines and Stottle Winery. Each winery will be pouring up to three of their products, including both reds and whites, all with origins in the vineyards of Spain.

You can make on-line reservations at:
or visit Wine World’s website for more information:

I’m truly excited in anticipation of this gathering; the first time Tempranillo has been brought into the spotlight of Washington wine! Please join us in the celebration!

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Latest Crush Historically

I can’t believe that the last entry was September 18th. It seems so long ago now. One month following, October 18th, we brought in our first fruit, Albarino, the spicy white hailing originally from Galicia, a really beautiful region in Spain’s northwestern corner.

This began crush! Essentially one month later than ever. It’s said from the people in the Yakima Valley that this year was the coolest and wettest summer since 1940! I can believe it!

Fast on the heels of the Albarino came the Two Coyote Tempranillo, crushed three days later. We were only able to receive 3.9 tons, but the fruit was lovely, and here we are, ten days later and it’s through fermentation and ready to go to barrel.

So now things have progressed. One week later on October 28th, in came Grenache, which presently is in what we call “cold soak” and I’ll probably apply it’s yeast tomorrow or Wednesday to get it underway.

That still leaves both Mourvedre and Malbec. I simply can’t believe that we’ll be doing crush in November, but it’s clearly the deal.

The good news is that even with a year such as this, all of the fruit is of great quality. We’ve just had to wait it out, and wait it out. I hear that there’s a possibility of snow in the Yakima Valley next week, so I think the waiting is clearly over. That’s just fine with me!

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Sitting on Hands

September is nearly two-thirds over. Looks as if we’re going to see a similar vintage as last year in terms of timing. So that means, crush “crushed” into about one month max.

The great warm weather we had in the beginning of September was a blessing in the vineyards, helping to move things forward far better than last year’s September when temperatures remained in the 70’s throughout the month.

So today, it’s cloudy with rain last night. It feels wonderfully refreshing as the air had gotten very hazy. Puget Sound returnith!

A little cooling over in the vineyards is fine, giving the vines a brief rest. And brief it is with forecasts calling for the mid-80’s all of next week. But by the last few days of September, the temperatures drop into 60’s and maybe even 50’s for daytime highs.

No doubt we’ll see the grapes ripening very quickly over the remainder of the month. So, I expect to see fruit on deck possibly by the end of next week and then “here it comes” the last week of September and into the first couple of weeks of October.

First off … Albarino and Two Coyote Clone 1 Tempranillo! Then, to be continued!

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Seattle Celebration of International Tempranillo Day, September 8th, 2011

In my prior post, I announced the emergence of International Tempranillo Day, a world-wide “lift your glass” to the King Red Wine of Spain. Being September 1st, it strangely conflicts with “Cabernet Day,” which seems somewhat of an enigma, puzzling no doubt.

I’m still confused as to how Cabernet Day evolved, but regardless, it’s still slated to be an occurrence with anticipation for much tweeting and twittering on the social media front. To what extent this will be significant, who knows?

Strangely, the first Cabernet Day was September 2nd last year, so when International Tempranillo Day was created, there was technically no conflict. Now we find Cabernet Day has been moved to the same day. If you Google the term, only about 25% of the first 20 listings refer to the one upcoming, the remainder to the one last year. More confusion …

Undoubtedly, it would be unfortunate to have a wine battle between the King of Spain and the King of France. That conflict was already fought in the early 19th century (actually, Napoleon was the French ruler), and eventually, France lost, although it was complicated.

All of this precludes our having made a decision to acquiesce in effort not to cause great consternation among Seattle wine lovers. So a week later, on September 8th, we’re celebrating International Tempranillo Day at Wine World Warehouse, David LeClaire’s massive wine store on north 45th just west of I-5. So this way, all can be copacetic and everyone will have two weeks in a row to celebrate both the Kings!

I’m pleased to express that this will be the very first gathering of Washington winemakers to explore the wonderful attributes of Tempranillo. It’s also a precursor to a larger event in 2012 where the members of TAPAS, an extensive winery organization focused on Iberian varietals, will invade Seattle for the first-ever Northwest TAPAS Grand Tasting.

Following a “casual mix,” we’ll spend the first hour in a panel presentation, exploring Tempranillo’s history and background as well as it’s evolution to the vineyard’s of Washington State and our perceptions on its future. Then we’ll host a tasting which includes six wineries: Vina Salida, Pomum Cellars, Cave B Winery, Camaraderie Cellars, Brian Carter Cellars and Stottle Winery. And to really kick things into high gear, Restaurant Tango (up on the lip of Capitol Hill above downtown on Pike St.) will be serving a variety of sumptuous tapas to round out the celebration. A little Latin music, maybe salsa, maybe Rodrigo, etc. should set the evening’s mood just right for a festival of “Iberia meets Washington State.”

I’d bet it would be a good idea to contact Wine World Warehouse and make a reservation to be certain that you can join in the fun. Best reach:

Kick-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.!

Espana ha Llegado a Washington!

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