As the spring of 2020 wears on, we seem to be getting into a bit of a routine: wake up, drink coffee, do some work, drink some wine, go to bed. The added bonus is that on Thursdays, we get to do virtual tastings, which are really just a good excuse to learn something will drinking wine.
So many kudos to Will for really spearheading these tastings. We’ve been learning and making adjustments and trying new things along the way. In all honesty, none of us know when we won’t be at home, searching for fun activities to pass the days. But what we do know is that these tastings are a great way to connect with Fidelitas fans all over the country, and we’re having a lot of fun hosting them. So, here is a summary of our next 4 Thursdays:
Thursday, April 23: a discussion of barrel selection and aging with Charlie and Mitch. This is a great opportunity to open a special wine from the cellar. Maybe go for a big Cabernet and see if you can get any of the oak treatment notes that they’ll be talking about. I think I’ll try to find a Red Mountain Cabernet from either 2009 or 2012 and pair it with pasta puttanesca, since I have all of that stuff in the cupboards, and no intention of going to the store this week. On Fidelitas Facebook and Instagram at 5pm.
Thursday, April 30: Will is chatting about unusual BBQ wine pairings, featuring the Optu White Wine, Red Mountain Merlot, and Ciel du Cheval Merlot. If you have a trip to the store planned, do it this week and see if you can grab some extra fun groceries. Call it a splurge away from rice and beans. Here is what I’m thinking of:
This event is happening on the Red Mountain AVA’s Facebook Live at 5pm.
Thursday, May 7: Charlie and Will chat varietal and vineyard blending with Optu Red Mountain and 4040 Red Wine. I’m not going to lie, you can definitely pick whatever vintage you have of either of these wines for the tasting. It’s all about blending, so vintage won’t matter. However, the 2017 vintage of Optu Red Mountain is close to one of the best I’ve ever had. I’m thinking that Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri is going to be awesome to enjoy with the rest of that bottle after the tasting is done. Fidelitas Instagram Live at 5pm.
Thursday, May 14: We're focusing on single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Ciel du Cheval Vineyard. Again – and I might be biased – I feel like this 2017 vintage is just amazing. Talking blends is fun, but there is something so intriguing and focused about single vineyard and single varietal wines. It might be a good excuse to try Charlie’s favorite: Ribeye Steaks and Broccolini. Fidelitas Instagram Live at 5pm.
Stay safe, everyone! We cannot wait to see you at one of these tastings in the near future, and in person not long after.
It’s been a bit since we last posted. Sometimes it’s hard to know the right words to say. However, our friends in the Washington Wine Industry kickstarted “SipGlocal”, which encourages us all to sit down and spend some time reflecting and writing with a bottle of wine. Once the letter is done, roll it up, place it in the bottle, and save it for another day.
Wine is a different kind of industry. It’s not a ‘make today, sell tomorrow’ kind of product.
At Fidelitas, we are just starting to release our red wines from the 2017 vintage. Three years ago, in the spring of 2017, I was 6 months pregnant with my second child. Charlie and I were working together to determine which grapes he’d source later that year and he then worked with growers to secure blocks of the perfect fruit. By that fall, my daughter was a few months old, and Charlie was deep into harvest, bringing in fruit and working long, long days in the cellar. For weeks on end, he cared for these wines before nestling them in their perfectly matched barrels where they’d hang out for the next couple of years.
In the winter of 2018, my daughter was going from walking to running, and Charlie was starting to put the blends together for his 2017 reds. We carefully charted out the exact number of cases to make of each product, knowing that we got to share them with our members later on. The following months, I was ordering glass, working with screen printers, and sourcing our corks. In the summer of 2019, about the same time that Charlie was bottling, we were celebrating my daughter’s second birthday. Finally, this spring, just after she was settling in at preschool, we are ready to share the 2017 reds with our members – passing them from our house to yours.
For three years, we’ve been working towards the point of sharing these wines, but suddenly, we’re doing so at such an uncertain time. Do we all want the wine on days like this? Of course! But as an individual, a mom, and someone who runs a small business, I know everyone is thinking about their priorities right now.
In writing this, I’ve learned that it is an emotional exercise to ponder all that has happened in the past three years. Even more emotional, is pondering what is coming in the next three.
What I do know is that we are more than fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing base of fans and customers. Life may look pretty different for a while, and that is okay. It’s a great time to get to the bottom of our to do list and to open a few awesome bottles from the cellar. And when we are able to leave our houses, go back to the tasting rooms, share wine with friends, we get to shape those interactions to be intentional and meaningful. Who knew that being so distanced from one another would be the thing that actually connects us and brings us closer than ever?
I don’t know about you, but I have spent many a year, too many, trying to create the perfect Thanksgiving gathering for family and friends. Now that I am of a certain age, I have become wise to the fact that shooting for perfection is boring for others and stressful for me – and highly disappointing for EVERYONE in the end. So PERFECTLY IMPERFECT is my mantra for the holidays now. Run out of time to make homemade cranberry sauce? No worries grab a can opener and embrace the art deco lines from the can on that jiggly version. No flowers for the table? Got it covered. Send the kids outside to gather some colorful leaves and a few interesting twigs and berries. Aunt Helen and Uncle Frank going to be there an hour earlier than everyone else? Hmmm. That’s going to be a bit more challenging. And that, as we all know, is why wine is so critical to the IMPERFECTLY PERFECT holiday season.
Trying to find the perfect wines to go with the Thanksgiving meal can add even more stress for some. But the real secret is to let go of the “perfect pairing” and simply choose “delicious”. Delicious wins every time. And fortunately for you, Fidelitas is the go-to wine for DELICIOUS across the board. We sadly sold out of our Optu White before summer even ramped up this year BUT it’s back and better than ever! You name the dish; the answer will always be Optu White for your white wine fans (and many red wine fans as well!). The creaminess the Semillon brings and the crisp, bright acidity that Sauvignon Blanc delivers is the best combination. It is perfectly balanced and will take you from appetizers to dessert. It’s the only white you need for the entire meal.
For the red wine lovers, the wines I would choose to please a wide audience is the Fidelitas Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Franc (current vintage is sold out, so those of you who have it, POP IT!) which always delivers softer tannins and subtle spicy and herbal notes. Others I would add to the table are the 2016 Ciel du Cheval Merlot (which is a Wine Club only wine) and the 2016 Red Mountain Merlot (available to all!). Both bring beautiful structure, velvety tannins and fantastic fruit like only Red Mountain can deliver.
Team Fidelitas wishes you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. And we are sincerely thankful for all of you and your support of the wines crafted by Charlie and his team! And just a final thought: keep in mind that at the center of every great gathering is the connection we make with everyone in that space not the appearance of perfection. We all want to feel included and seen and special, no matter our age or calling in life. In my opinion, there is no better way to say that than letting people know you love them just the way they are – knowing they will always be PERFECTLY IMPERFECT! Please take the time to just BE this holiday season and enjoy the moment just the way it is…...with a glass of Fidelitas in hand of course!
It hasn’t always been like this. For those who have been with for a while, you may remember that I used to throw full, themed dinner parties for my friends to try out recipes with each new release from Fidelitas. But, eight years and two kids later, I find myself in the middle of a 1.5 hour kid pick-up commute, listening to ‘Let It Go’ for the 119th time, and pondering the inventory counts I did earlier in the day. Could we really be down to 15 cases of Quintessence Cabernet? Only 35 cases of Malbec? When was the last time I went to the grocery store and what exactly am I going to make for dinner tonight? Somewhere between the Quintessence Cabernet and the thought of going to the grocery store with two kids after 5pm, I remembered an Instagram post I saw for a recipe that promised I had all the ingredients in my pantry…and then remembered I had Quintessence Cabernet in my cellar.
Was my finished product as beautiful as Smitten Kitchen? Certainly not. But did it turn out delicious, feed the fam, and pair awesome with Cabernet on a rainy night? Yes, yes, and yes.
|Deb's version||my version||kid version|
In one of the first wine courses I ever took – a food and wine pairing class – the teacher told us “it’s not so much about the perfect pairing, but about the perfect wine with the perfect meal with the perfect company” and that was certainly how this dinner ended up. Sooner than later, I am positive that I’ll be enjoying that glamorous wine country lifestyle again. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the small wins of grown-up spaghetti-os and awesome wine on a weekday night.
When I started with Fidelitas in 2008, my job was solely to work directly with the members of the Fidelitas Wine Club. Over the years, I’ve had the joy of interacting with so many of you on Red Mountain, in Seattle (remember that?), in Woodinville, and lots of time on the phone with those of you who live a little further away. I know dog’s names, locations of vacation houses, and your mom’s favorite beverage (which isn’t always wine). Members remember when I got married on Red Mountain and my kid’s names, but I still manage to confuse many on where exactly I live in the state.
Over the years, my job has evolved, and I don’t get to work with everyone on the individual level as often (shout out to Skye and Michelle on the Club Team who get the pleasure now). However, one thing remains the same since we as a company committed to the Club back in 2008: everything we do is for you. We make products designed with the Club in mind, many of which were requested by you. We’ve opened tasting rooms, hosted unique and educational events, and created a special Club just for people who live out of state.
Our vision for 2020 and beyond is to continue this trend and be even better at it. We have plans in the works to enhance the guest experience in all arenas of the Club and are so excited to share them with you. In the meantime, we’d love to know how you’re doing. Drop us a note, tag us on Instagram (@FidelitasWines), pick up the phone, or come visit us in the tasting room. We’d love to hear all about it.
Thank you for being a member. We truly appreciate your being faithful, loyal, and true to Fidelitas.
Jess Zander, Fidelitas GM
Magna Dinner, June 2019
Fidelitas fans made this year one to remember. We launched a brand-new way for our members to buy Fidelitas wines; allowing the Club to select from our newest releases and create their own, unique allocation. Through the loyalty and dedication of our Club, we have now (nearly!) sold out of every wine we released in 2018. These faithful, loyal, and true members push us to keep ‘making our best wine yet’ as we look for new ways to surprise and delight them in vintages to come.
Magna Dinner, Red Mountain, July 2018
Summer in the City, Seattle, August 2018
Charlie is what makes our jobs easy. Obviously, he makes amazing wines, and that is the best part. But he’s also just an amazing guy to work for and work with.
This year, Charlie was awarded 2018 Vintner of the Year by his peers at the Auction of Washington Wines. This recognition gave credit to the 30+ harvests he has committed to making wine in Washington. Charlie’s effort and dedication, along with that of his peers, is what continues to advance the Washington wine industry.
Charlie Hoppes, Honorary Vintner, and Marshall Edwards, Honorary Grower, at the Auction of Washington Wines, August 2018
Skye, Jess, Will, Charlie, and Michelle at the AWW Picnic and Barrel Auction, August 2018
We call this tiny AVA home. At just 4,040 acres, with nearly every plant-able acre now under vine, this is a really special place. Charlie often remarks that there are only a few growing regions in the world where you can stand in one spot and see the whole AVA, block by block. The unique terroir, devoted growers, and outstanding neighboring wineries, have established Red Mountain as one of the most premium wine producing regions in the world.
Fidelitas Estate Vineyard on Red Mountain, September 2018
Estate Vineyard Dinner, September 2018
We’d be nowhere without our staff! On a very personal level, I am so grateful to have such a dedicated, positive, and all around great team representing Fidelitas every day. They tell our story and share the wines with our customers, sweep the floors, pack boxes, haul wine, make dinner reservations, throw parties, and SO MUCH MORE.
Team Fidelitas Staff Vineyard Tours, July 2018
Team Fidelitas at the Mariners, June 2018
Team Fidelitas of the Future: Charlie and Brynn, January 2018
Seems simple enough. As a winery, you make wine, you pour wine, you sell wine. But our wines were somehow extra special this year and I am thankful for that.
10 of the 19 wines we released in 2018 were sold exclusively to our members in Club allocations, meaning they never even made it into the tasting rooms. We had exceptional releases such as varietal Malbec from Quintessence Vineyard, intense Cabernet from Blackwood Canyon Vineyard, old vine Merlot from some of the oldest blocks on Red Mountain, found in Kiona and Ciel du Cheval Vineyards, and of course our own Fidelitas Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
Washington wine is growing. Red Mountain wine is growing. But, Charlie’s longstanding relationships with growers allows us to select fruit from specific blocks to make exceptional wines for our members, and this is what sets Fidelitas’ wines apart.
Fidelitas 2018 Releases, start to finish!
This year’s Auction of Washington Wines’ Industry Honorees, Charlie Hoppes and Marshall Edwards have generously donated a full barrel of red wine from the acclaimed Quintessence Vineyard, but that is only a part of this amazing auction lot!
The winning bidder will become an honorary Vintner at Fidelitas. This unique experience will make their winery, your winery, not just for one year, but for years to come, as you harvest, blend, and bottle your own Red Mountain wine.
You will be invited to begin your journey during Harvest 2018. You and your guests will be involved in selecting grapes from Quintessence and Shaw Vineyards on Red Mountain, seeing them through the sorting process, and starting fermentation in the tanks. As the wines age in barrel, join us for your second trip to experience a hands-on blending trial with Fidelitas Winemaker, Charlie Hoppes. You will be able to taste barrel samples and blend with other varietals from the vineyards as the team comes up with their 2018 vintage wines.
The third and final trip will include bottling of your exclusive wines from your personal barrel. After your day on the bottling line, you will have ownership of 25 cases of wines that you can distribute as you see fit. Enjoy with friends, give to employees as gifts, or cellar to enjoy for years to come.
With each visit, two couples will enjoy hotel accommodations, meals, vineyard tours and library tastings to immerse yourself in the history of the winery and vineyard.
This lot includes:
One barrel contains approximately 300 bottles (25 cases) of wine. All Red Mountain experiences are based on a mutually agreed upon date. Transportation to Red Mountain not included.
“We are gathered here today, celebrating Jess and Ben, at a winery who’s name not only translates to ‘faithful, loyal, true’, but at a winery who’s owner, and our host tonight, embodies these words. And I cannot think of a better way to start a marriage.” Those are words that my uncle spoke during a toast at my wedding. And while I’ve pondered the meaning of the name ‘Fidelitas’ many, many times, the weight of it really struck me as I was sitting there, surrounded by the most special and important people in my life, marrying my husband.
That was 8 years ago this month, and while I seem to be attending more baby showers than weddings these days, wine is still my favorite gift for newlyweds. Here are my favorite three ways to share Fidelitas:
A bottle for now and a bottle for later.
This one is super easy. Grab a cute, reusable tote (I love my BUILT bag) and add a bottle of Red Mountain Malbec, which can be enjoyed this summer with BBQ, and a bottle of Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, which could be opened on the lucky couple’s 5 or 10-year anniversary.
This is kind of similar, in that you’re encouraging people to hang on to the wine to open for a special anniversary down the road. Even better, grab a couple big bottles and have friends and family sign well wishes right on the bottle with a metallic sharpie. My brother and sister-in-law did a 750ml, 1.5L, and 3L, (for one year, five years, and ten years) used this as their guest book, and then have opened the bottles with friends in the years since. (pro note: contact us for current availability on large formats. we may be able to find something amazing!)
A Wine Club Gift Membership is a great way to give a gift that will last a while. We can give you a gift certificate to include with your card now, and then will send bottles to the couple throughout their first year of marriage. If they live locally, they can come out to the winery to pick up or join us at our upcoming events!
Let our Club Concierge team help you put together a wedding gift that celebrates faithful, loyal, and true, and a happy wedding season to you all!
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate from Fidelitas, one of the flagship releases from the estate, spent 22 months in 71% new French oak. Its deep, inky purple/ruby color is followed by an impressive bouquet of ripe plums, black cherries, tobacco, and leafy herbs. Picking up more chocolate and graphite characteristics with time in the glass, this full-bodied, rich, nicely concentrated effort has fine tannin, good purity of fruit, and nicely integrated acidity.
preorder for September release
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Quintessence (100% Cabernet aged in 83% new French oak) offers more tobacco, spring flower, and violets characteristics, as well as a full-bodied, pure, balanced style on the palate. With lots of blue fruits, ripe tannin, and terrific purity, it's going to keep for 10-15 years. It's another high-quality, balanced wine from this estate.
preorder for September release
Another 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from this estate, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Blackwood Canyon (22 months in 71% new French oak) offers a plumper, more sweetly fruited, sexy style. Blackcurrants, blueberries, scorched earth and Asian spice notes all give way to a full-bodied, plump, rounded, yet still structured effort that has considerable depth and richness, all while not being heavy. It too will keep for 10-15 years. While I found all these 2015s to be outstanding wines, they're certainly more similar than different.
From one of my favorite vineyards on Red Mountain, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Ciel du Cheval spent 22 months in 29% new French oak. Black cherry, blueberries, violets, spring flowers, and lavender notes all emerge from the glass and it has a rich, rounded, voluptuous style on the palate. Nicely balanced, with sweet tannin, it's another rocking wine from Fidelitas to enjoy over the coming 10-15 years.
The 2015 Optu Red Mountain is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 4% Cabernet Franc. It's another inky-colored effort that gives up plenty of graphite, tobacco, and black cherry/currants styled fruits. It has lots of Cabernet Sauvignon character, the savory tannin of the Red Mountain terroir, and a great finish.
The classic 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain (100% Cabernet aged 22 months in 80% new French oak) offers pure, elegant notes of crème de cassis, crushed flowers, and violets, with a medium to full-bodied, silky, nuanced style on the palate. Less powerful and tannic than some of the other cuvées here, it still has beautiful purity and well-integrated acidity, and is a beautiful wine that's going to drink well for 10-15 years.
I know there are some devastated Seahawks fans that will be reading this but no matter who is playing in the Super Bowl, it’s always a great time! I thought it might be fun to share some wine friendly appetizers that I am sure most people will enjoy.
Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese and Capers
Pairing: 2015 Klipsun Vineyard Optu White
Pairing: 2013 Ciel du Cheval Merlot
Pairing: NEW 2014 Red Mountain Malbec
Pairing: 2013 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Who will you be rooting for? My husband finally has his time to shine since his home team, the Falcons will be playing! We wish you a fun and happy Superbowl Sunday!
Please note that both tasting rooms will be closed on Sunday, February 5th.