November 21, 2010

It All Started With a Little Grape...

We arrived at Tildio Winery a little early and noticed there were palletes of gorgeous green grapes. We thought we missed the harvest as we took our drive East to Lake Chelan exactly 2 weeks after the harvest commenced. We truly lucked out, no crowds and a taste of freshly pressed Viognier juice. Sweet, a touch sour & tart, packed with a puckered punch! T loved it! A sunny lemon yellow juice loaded with antioxidants.

Viognier Grapes

At Tildio we couldn't have planned for a more perfect arrival. The winery was hosting a special luncheon and harvest pressing for their wine club members. The handful of members spent their morning picking these gorgeous grapes and upon our arrival they were getting ready to press. They invited us to come and watch and taste as you can see.

Freshly Pressed Viognier Juice

They didn't have any previous Viognier's to sample, so we tasted a few different varietals and ended up purchasing their Riesling. This Riesling wasn't over the top sweet, it was minerally and a touch fruity.

We then worked our way to A Hard Row to Hoe where we learned of miners and their venture to the local bordello during the 1920's. We tasted a very yeasty Shamless Hussy Sangiovese Dry Rose, followed by their Cabernet known as Laid Back Cab we purchased a full bodied Cabernet Merlot Blend known as Miss de Miner grapes grown in Wahluke fact all of the reds we sipped on this trip were grown in Wahluke Slope, Snipes Mountain or in Nefarious Cellars' case France.

We stopped by Chelan Ridge, a new winery owned by a lovely couple who chatted with us about their adventures with their vines. We walked away with their Chardonnay, not your typical Chardonnay here. Less oak, less fruit and more mineral.

Lastly, we raced to the other side of the lake to Nefarious with only moments to spare prior to their closing for the day and the weekend. We were greeted by none other than the lovely Lucy. Again a winery run by a married couple, however this time with a golden retriever named Lucy. They describe themselves as, "Just a chick, a couple of guys, and a dog striving to blow your mind." Lucy, the head of hospitality greeted us and immediately rolled over for belly pats. She laid on my feet obstructing the pathway to the door, she was irresistible so by this point if we didn't make it into the tasting room due totheir pup, I was fine with it. T and I both
gave her a few extra pets before finally making our way to the entryway.

Lucy (aka. head of hospitality)

We were delighted to make our way into the tasting room, with a few minutes to spare. We tasted a few reds and ended up taking home a bottle of their 2008 RX4; a Rhone Valley blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise & Cinsault. A blend that emulates the red wines made near the french town, Chateauneuf-du-Pape. It will definitely hold up to aging for a few more years.

My conclusion of Lake Chelan wines is that the soil is affected by the lake thus giving this overriding mineral quality to many of the grapes grown in this region; also all of the vines are very young, most under a decade. I'm looking forward to our local wine country development over the next few decades; the transformation has already started from apple orchards to vineyards

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