September is just around the corner and we have been waiting months for one of our favorite releases of the year which include not one, but 3 Cabernet Sauvignons.
The first is our 2014 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, designed to showcase the region we call home. Red Mountain Cabernet sources Clone 8 from our favorite vineyard sites on Red Mountain. This go-to Cabernet is a classic with hints of black cherry, blackberries and an expressive finish. It’s the perfect accompaniment for parties, dinners, and taking in the end of summer.
The second wine to be released this September is the 2014 Quintessence Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s been months since we had our last taste of Quintessence Cabernet, so we are greatly looking forward to the release of this gem. Sourced from our favorite vineyard on the Northeastern edge of Red Mountain, clones 191 and 169 add an old-world style to this wine. We find earthy tones and dark berries on the palate, along with brown sugar and toasted almonds.
Last, but not least, our 3rd vintage of the 2014 Fidelitas Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Sourced from the 3 acre, 2009 planting just outside our tasting room we use clones 2 and 6 of Cabernet Sauvignon to create an intense and expressive Estate wine. The palate is bold and round, offering dark fruit tones of ripe raspberries, dark chocolate, and cedar. This beauty won’t be in a club shipment so don’t forget to snag a few bottles to add to the vertical you’ve been collecting.
During my visit to Tri-Cities this past weekend I was able to listen in on some blind tasting by the Fidélitas winemaking team. My previous experiences in “blind tasting” have been at dinner parties when each person brings a bottle to share or tasting a couple different combinations of varietals in the blending process. Our winemakers, however, were taking it to a completely different level.
Charlie, Hillary, and Mitch were sitting at the end of the long conference room table (it’s this type of business meeting that makes me excited to become a winemaker) with what seemed like 100 sample bottles in front of them, tasting 3-4 wines at a time, sitting in silence taking notes, swirling, spitting, then discussing their notes after each set. Once that was done, another set was sampled and the process was repeated – a testament to how a winemakers pallete must be built-up and trained over time. What they were doing was scientific and fascinating.
As a wine fan we all hear stories of consumers doing blind tastings and them rating a wine higher after the person running the study tells them it’s more expensive (even though it’s boxed wine) or even characterizing a white wine that has been died red with your typical red-wine descriptors. The point is that the human brain plays tricks on your taste buds which is why blind tasting is so important. A winemaker might love a certain barrel type or think that a certain fermentation method produces much higher quality, but can they really make that assessment fairly if they never taste it blindly? Pulling a barrel sample from their favorite barrel that was ferment in their favorite oak tank they are already gearing up to love the wine and even the most honest winemaker can’t be trusted to give their true opinion in that moment.
So back to our winemakers: they were going through and tasting barrel samples of a specific wine (our 2016’s in this case) pulled from a neutral barrel, and 2-3 other new barrel types to see what effects they were having on the wines at about the midpoint of the barrel-aging process. Different fermentation types were also sprinkled in to taste their effects blindly as well. To me this exemplifies how winemaking is the perfect blend of art and science – the method extremely scientific with it being completely blind and a control sample (neutral barrel) to compare everything against + them sharing their opinions on the different flavors, aromas, and mouth feel they’re experiencing. It also shows how committed Fidélitas is to staying true to Modern Craft winemaking techniques. Respecting what we’ve done in the past, but always testing our own opinions and seeing what else is out there to help us make world class wine on Red Mountain.
Harvest is right around the corner and my favorite time of year to go visit wineries. The vineyards are stunning, the weather is ideal, and the bolder/heavier reds start to make an appearance! Who doesn’t love drinking Cabernet while sitting on our Red Mountain patio in 65-degree weather with the sun shining?
We just recently launched our “Fidelitas Estate Experience” and we are so excited to start sharing this with our customers. We start by gathering in the Red Mountain Tasting Room at 10am for our first pour and some great Fidelitas background stories. From there, we will walk through the vines and listen to all the things you need to know about our vineyards. Of course, wine will be enjoyed during the entire tour.
Can’t make it to the winery? Don’t worry! Our Friday Tastings are coming back to Woodinville this September. For more information please refer to that events page or contact Will.
It's August which means that while we're excitedly talking about preseason football and back to school, technically we still have over a month of summer left and it’s still too hot to cook inside so my grill is working overtime. For weeks, we’ve been anticipating our late summer release of 2014 The Canyons Vineyard Malbec and it couldn’t have come at a better time as I’ve been needing something new to spice up dinner time. One can only drink so much rosé, am I right? Only kidding…
So, why do we love this Malbec for summer?
It’s has a bold aroma of black cherry and baked blueberries (two favorite summertime scents) which are really pleasing when you go in for that first sip. While it has darker fruit on the nose which would make you expect a big red, the bright fruit and tannins are softer on your pallet providing a smooth feel from start to finish. Sometimes it can be hard to sit down with a big, heavy tannin, Cabernet on a hot day. This Malbec gives you the bold flavor without being heavy. Win win!
When it comes to pairing it with food, bbq is always a go to. Generally, when grilling you are doing marinated meats with lots of flavors of fresh herbs and spices. Malbec works with those flavors without overpowering them. Try out this recipe for Grilled Pork & Plum Kebabs, pour yourself a big glass of The Canyons Vineyard Malbec, and watch the (smoky) summer sunset. Summers sticking around for a while, and the Malbec is here to help you enjoy it to the fullest.
As I pulled into the parking lot the other day, the vineyard rows were catching my eye a little more than usual. Every day I am fortunate enough to work directly from our Red Mountain tasting room, with that I get the joy of watching the vineyard change and grow with each day.
On this day, I noticed Veraison was taking place in the vineyard. Veraison is the change in color of the grape berries or the ripening of grapes. It’s the turning point in the grapes lifecycle, meaning it’s the moment the grapes begin to form sweetness. Up until this point the grapes are highly acidic. As Veraison is taking place sugar levels rise and the grapes begin to grow and turning them into juicy fruit clusters that make our favorite wines. After this point, we have anywhere from 30-70 for the grapes to become fully ripened, giving us a small countdown as to when harvest might begin. Then, it’s all about balance!
on the varietal, Veraison takes place at different rates. We also keep a close eye on the temperature as it could result in sunburnt grapes. Trimming the canopy and ensuring the vines are properly shaded, all while being exposed to the sun helps this process. As we see warmer temperatures on Red Mountain we need to ensure the acidity and sugar levels are in balance and the fruit is ripening at the desired rate. During Veraison white wine grapes are a yellow hue and red wine grapes are shades of red and purple. On your next visit to Red Mountain take a step out in the vineyard and look at the vines and watch the change!