I had the pleasure to drink several Christian W. Klay wines at a friend’s wedding reception that was held very near the Klay winery’s home in Chalk Hill,Pa. I enjoyed their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, both displayed good structure and a medium body that paired well with my steak dinner. The Chardonnay I tried didn’t impress me as much as the Cab and Merlot. When I asked my wife for her opinion on the White Zinfandel she gave me a favorable comment saying it was pleasing and easy to drink. The Christian W. Klay winery has been a mainstay of the wine industry in Western Pennsylvania since opening in Fayette county in 1997 and has always raised the quality of their wines with every vintage. These wines, as well as the wines of many other W.Pa. wineries, continue to improve every year and I look forward to the offerings that will come from the superb 2013 vintage. www.cwklaywinery.com
This proprietary red blend provides a complexity that can’t be matched by comparable mono-varietals because it has a powerful blend of 55% Syrah, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot coupled with 14 months of aging in new French oak behind it. After starting with an aroma of sweet fruit, it is no surprise that the palate is one of lush black fruit which remains very persistent on your tongue and is then matched by the even longer finish. This cuvee would be an excellent addition to a steak dinner or a nice complement to an evening spent entertaining around your homes outdoor space while you maximize the culinary potential of your grill. Wine Advocate gave this wine a 93 point rating and it can be found in select P.L.C.B. stores at a discounted price of $24.99 with the product code 032370. P.L.C.B. lists the quoted price at $45.00 but I managed to find it listed on Amazon wine for $39.99 making the $24.99 price a very good deal for a wine of this caliper. The Arrayán family of wines are produced by La Casa de Las Cuatro Rayas in the Méntrida region of Spain.
- Bodegas Balbás Ardal Crianza 2005 (canadianwineguy.com)
The 14 Hands Vineyard in Paterson, Washington produces one of the best blended red wines made in the United States. This red was once only available to restaurants in selected markets but now can be found in wide distribution due to overwhelming demand. Hot to Trot is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvgion, Mourverde and Petite Verdot grapes harvested from vineyards in several of Washington’s AVA regions including Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley, Wahluke Slope and the Yakima Valley. It is made using techniques that are usually reserved for more expensive wines, these include cold soaking, performing a daily pump-over to extract color and flavor followed by aging in both French and American oak barrels. This extra care produces a medium body red wine with flavors of very lightly oaked red berries and dark fruit with a hint of vanilla giving way to refined supple tannins followed by a pleasant lingering spice and mocha finish. Reds from WashingtonState can be pricey but this blend always delivers a well crafted wine at a great price and its ability to pair flawlessly with a range of food makes it very difficult to beat. 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend can be found at P.L.C.B. stores for $12.99 with the product code 5213. I suggest using the in store product locator on the website www.finewineandgoodspirits.com to check for availability of this wine because of demand.
- Hot to Trot wine featured at Prosser WA winery (seattletimes.com)
- Snoqualmie wine tasting room in Prosser to upgrade for 14 Hands brand (oregonlive.com)
Have you ever wanted to bid on a great bottle of wine offered at a wine auction but could not stand the thought of sitting in a room filled with wine snobs while holding a little paddle with a number on it. If your answer is yes then you are in luck because Morrell & Company Fine Wine Auction is conducting an internet only auction on Wednesday February 27th at 10:30 a.m.(EST) on their website www.morrellwineauctions.com. Bids may only be placed by absentee bid and live bid. Absentee bids may be placed now and the live bidding will be available online at the commencement of the auction. To participate go to the website and register, peruse the catalog of offerings then place a bid if you find something you like. If you intend to bid live, Morrell recommends using their Live Bidding Simulator to check your computers compatibility to prevent any issues when live bidding starts. Need more information? Call 212-307-4200
I have just heard from Martha Macinski or Marti as she is known to everyone in the Finger Lakes. She updated me on the happenings around the Standing Stone Winery that she and her husband Tom have owned since 1991. They have just finished pressing frozen grapes to make Riesling Ice and Vidal Ice. The grapes are not picked frozen but are picked as late harvest and then frozen commercially so that they may be pressed to make Ice wine. The Riesling Ice 2012, Vidal Ice 2011 and the Riesling 2012 are all ready and will be bottled in early March. One of the nice things about stopping by the tasting room during the winter is that there are fewer people visiting so Marti and her staff will have more time to talk and share details about the wine. The vineyard crew is busy fixing any trellis components that have broken over the previous growing season. Pruning will start in February and after that task is completed the vines will be tied up before bud break in the spring. There was some concern that the recent spike in temperatures would reduce the snow cover that protects the vineyard during the winter but the cold nights and the return of normal winter weather prevented any damage to the vines. Marti made me laugh when she told me that ” You would be surprised how much work it is to taste 10 barrels of Standing Stone Saperavi.” I know it is a tough job but I guess someone has to do it :-). They will be bottling some 2010 and 2012 wines in April and May with the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and the Merlot being of reserve status and reportedly delicious! Thanks to Marti for keeping me informed on the latest news from Standing Stone Winery which is on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in Hector, NY. If you want more info you can visit the website www.Standingstonewines.com or go to their Facebook page.
- Standing Stone Vineyards: Ice Wine in the Banana Belt (lennthompson.typepad.com)
- Saperavi, the Great Red Grape of the Finger Lakes? Open Minds at Standing Stone Vineyards (lenndevours.com)
- A wine prescription for cold and flu (o.canada.com)
I like to try new wines but I also like wines that have a proven track record of high quality and consistency. DaVinci Chiantis are all in this category because they always provide dependable results at a fair price. DaVinci Chianti D.O.C.G. is the lowest priced offering from the DaVinci family of wines selling at the P.L.C.B. store for $10.99 (product code 9380) which is a $4 savings from the retail price. This Chianti is made from 90% Sangiovese grapes and 10% Merlot grapes with produce a medium weight wine with a deep crimson color. The grapes are crushed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and left to ferment to a dry wine for eight days, then 15% of the batch is aged for six months in new and used American oak barrels to add complexity. When recombined the resulting wine exhibits jammy flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit along with round tannins that linger in a soft peppery and mineral finish. The traditional pairing of pasta and meat dishes work well here and remember to serve this wine at slightly below room temperature to enjoy its complete taste palate.
This isn’t one of the old standards when it comes to ice cream flavors but surprisingly it is very good. We got the chance to enjoy this special treat on the lake shore in Geneva N.Y. Like any wine list we were offered the choice of red or white with red consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Zinfandel while the white options were Chardonnay and Chablis. We tried the Cab, Merlot and Chardonnay and found them all very flavorful because the character of the wine was prominent in the taste palate of all the selected ice creams. These ice creams are made with real wine and have an alcohol content listed for each which makes them only available to persons of legal drinking age. I think it is funny that the possibility exists that someone could be carded when buying an ice cream cone. I look forward to my next trip down Rte 14 so I can try a big piece of grape pie and a wine slushie.