While are starting to be able to host some visitors in Woodinville – and perhaps Red Mountain in the near future – we have found that our virtual tastings are such a fun way to connect with Fidelitas fans, near and far. None of us are going on any big trips anytime soon, so we thought it’d be fun to bring Red Mountain to you! See below for details on upcoming virtual tastings, excursions, and videos from Team Fidelitas.
July 9: Virtual Tasting Room with Bryce. We all miss tasting on Red Mountain and Bryce misses you. Let him host you for a virtual wine tasting on the Red Mountain patio, complete with a trip through the vines. On Instagram Live at 5pm.
July 16: Red Mountain vs. Napa. It's one of Charlie's favorite places to visit. We're putting Napa Cabs against Fidelitas Red Mountain Cabs to find out where they are different...and the same. To be hosted via Zoom webinar at 5pm. To register, EMAIL US.
July 24: Fireside Chat with Charlie and Will. Gather (distantly) around the Fidelitas firepit to hear Charlie chat about how Fidelitas came to be on Red Mountain and what may lie ahead in the future. On Instagram and Facebook at 5pm. Send us your questions in advance!
July 30: Red Mountain and Bordeaux-style Wine with Karen MacNeil. Auction of Washington Wines Honorary Chair and The Wine Bible Author, Karen MacNeil, is hosting a series of Virtual Tastings across the Washington Wine Industry. On July 30, join Charlie, along with Darel Allwine (Col Solare) and Chris Sparkman (Sparkman Cellars) to chat with Karen about Red Mountain and its coveted Bordeaux-style wines. Hosted at 4pm. Learn more and register on the Auction of Washington Wines site.
August 6: The Canyons Vineyard Malbec. This is perhaps one of our most coveted releases each year and is limited to just 98 cases, so doesn’t last long. Hear from Charlie on why he continues to be drawn to this unique block of Malbec on Red Mountain and how it stands apart from our other Red Mountain Malbecs. Don’t forget to grab a bottle (or a case!) in advance. The 2017 Canyons Vineyard Malbec goes on sales July 29. Hosted at 5pm on Instagram Live.
We look forward to connecting with you soon!
We are able to host groups of 5 or less and will be staggering reservations to meet social distancing requirements. In our current phase, we can host a total of 10 guests indoors and 4 guests on the patio in Woodinville, and appointments are for 1 hour. Book online or call 425.558.9001
Per Washington State guidelines, guests are asked to wear a mask any time that they are not seated at their designated table. Fidelitas Team Members will be wearing masks at all times.
Tables have been laid out to ensure 6’ distancing between parties. Please limit movement throughout the building.
During the early reopening phases, we are offering a 3-wine flight that is complimentary for Club or $15 for guests, along with glass pours and bottle sales. Curbside pick-up remains available and you can book in advance HERE.
Please sanitize your hands upon entry. Fidelitas has adopted increased cleaning and sanitization practices between all visitors.
At this time, we are unable to accommodate outside food and picnicking.
14467 Woodinville Redmond Road NE | Woodinville, WA | 98072
425.558.9001 | email@example.com
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?
In preparation for this Sunday’s Preview Tastings, Team Fidelitas sat down with Charlie to taste through the upcoming releases of 2017 red wines. As always, it was an awesome time to hear Charlie’s honest thoughts on each wine as he tasted through each one and fielded the questions from our staff.
side note: we started our tasting time with a 2006 Columbia Valley Malbec, generously shared by Therese from her cellar. All of us were floored by the fresh, bright fruit tones that appeared in the wine! I’m not going to lie: 2006 was a warm (not hot…warm) vintage. I vividly remember Charlie’s comment on that vintage when we released it: “sure…you can age them, but why? they taste great now.” This wine was amazing, fresh, and surprisingly bold upon opening but wasn’t as stunning when I tried it three hours later. It’s Malbec…not Cabernet…so don’t risk it. If you have it in your cellar still: it tastes great now.
I was in the tasting room recently, and someone asked me, “what is the plan of attack on the Preview Tastings?” and I honestly had a hard time coming up with the answer. To me, you taste the wines, you decide which you really like, and then you mark them down on your sheet and go. But what if you like them all or can’t make up your mind or are honestly overwhelmed by the whole thing?
I think that as a taster, you need to think about your drinking habits. If you know that you are going to drink your wines in the next few months, maybe you want to get one of each offering for your allocation (quick! try them and reorder any that are still available!). If you have a good storage system (cellar, garage, or cases stacked against your dining room wall) maybe grab 4-6 of those awesome, cellar worthy Cabernets and then round out your add-ons with daily drinkers. Charlie says he never buys a wine in a quantity less than 6 bottles because he wants to taste it over the years.
If you’re like me, you’re going to play the inventory game. I’m only able to grab 2-3 bottles of each wine at a time, but you know that I’m going to get the ones that will disappear the quickest. Get those first, then maybe 1 bottle of the others so I can check in on it in a month or two and order more before it runs out. Since I’m the one who gets to count Fidelitas inventory on a weekly basis, I’m going to share my thoughts on which wines to grab first. Watch for full tasting notes on each wine to come next week!
2017 Red Mountain Merlot: When we asked Charlie what he liked about this wine he grinned and nearly shouted “it’s Merlot! it’s just fun!”. My whole team could not stop making yummy noises about this wine. We’re Merlot fans, but this is one that you’re going to want as a daily drinker in your house. If you’re looking for a wine to round out your case with, this is the one. Remember: you get an extra 5% off mixed case orders.
2017 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon: We’re so excited to see this as one of our first releases of the year, versus one of the last. This means that we’ll hopefully be able to keep it in stock for a bit to enjoy over the summer. However, don’t assume it’s going to be around forever. This is such a lovely blend of Quintessence and Fidelitas Estate Vineyards that I don’t anticipate it will last too long.
2017 Optu Red Mountain: *currently sipping this wine and blogging at the same time* This is the one wine that we have produced in every single vintage since our first one, way back in 2000. About a year ago, I got the technical info from our winemaking team on this vintage of Optu, and had so many questions. It was an amazing lesson for me in looking at a wine by the BLOCK (i.e. individual rows of grapes within a vineyard) versus the name of the vineyard itself. Charlie told us that he has this wine on his mind through the growing season. He’s constantly tasting and testing each site to decide what will make it in to Optu. While this, like the Red Mountain Cabernet, is a higher volume wine for us (still less than 700 cases), I really doubt it will make it past the summer months.
On to the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard releases. If you haven’t already, read THIS BLOG POST on why we moved Ciel du Cheval wines to a spring release time slot. During the course of our tasting, Charlie said “Ciel du Cheval Vineyard has a tremendous reputation. If Washington state had Grand Cru designations for our vineyards, Ciel du Cheval would definitely be one of them.”
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Franc: Charlie says, “of all the varieties grown on Red Mountain, Cabernet Franc probably has the most finesse. We don’t go out of our way to make Cabernet Franc from other sites because they just don’t show quality like the fruit from Ciel du Cheval”. Only 142 cases produced on this guy…you’re going to want to GET IT NOW.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Merlot: Another very low production wine from Ciel, but with less volume allocated to Club selections. Basically, add-on with this wine because you can’t customize with it. While tasting, our team was nothing but joyous giggles as we envisioned drinking velvet. That is basically what it's like to drink this wine.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Wine: Do we all love Charlie’s Merlots? His Cabernets? His blends? Ciel du Cheval Vineyard? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. There is a reason that Team Fidelitas loves this wine. It is fully a blend of all things good about Fidelitas. By the time our members grab their allocations, there will be very little, if any, left of this wine.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Petit Verdot: Spoiler alert – we’re releasing our first ever Red Mountain Petit Verdot later this summer. It’s a multi-vineyard blend that is so much fun. We tried them both and I loved that each one was so different. The Ciel du Cheval, by comparison, was rich, floral, and focused. We’re finding that Charlie’s Petit Verdots are highly age-worthy, so definitely grab this if you have that storage system…whatever your style is.
2017 Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon: I am hoping that by the time we are done with the Club allocation, we might have 30 cases available of this wine. That isn’t much. Someone in our tasting mentioned that Ciel du Cheval has been nicknamed the “Queen of Red Mountain”: a perfect balance of elegance and power. We all agreed that this could be called Queen Cabernet. So powerful, present tannins, loads of fruit, yet delightfully…feminine. Don’t tell Charlie.
We can’t wait to see so many of you this weekend! For those of you who are coming, take advantage of our Team, and ask them questions as you taste through the line up. For those who cannot attend, we look forward to helping you customize your selections when the allocation season opens next Tuesday! Finally, for those who are not yet members…you really might consider joining.
T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the cellar
Not a creature was stirring, not even a pup (Griffey);
The stockings were hung by the barrels with care,
In hopes that St. Fidelis would soon be there;
The cellar crew was nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of Ciel-du-Cheval wines danced in their heads.
It’s the season of giving and let’s be honest, finding the perfect gift to give can be hard! I’ve notoriously been a horrible gift-giver. Now, I’m a gifting professional. My secret? Wine.
I keep a steady supply of Fidelitas on my wine rack- and not just for me. Fidelitas is the wine I grab for those that are close to my heart or for invites to holiday parties and meals. Not only is it the perfect 'thanks for hosting' gift, it pairs beautifully with food.
It's no coincidence that a stocking is the perfect size for a bottle of wine. Just be careful not to turn that fireplace on! Wine doesn't like to be too toasty. But, if you do enjoy chestnuts roasting on an open fire, crack open that bottle while you're at it.
For those friends who live too far to cheers with, Fidelitas ships wine at a flat-rate. Spoil them with a case and shipping is free. (P.S. members get 25% off on case purchases). We even have a crew of elves that will gift wrap each bottle and leave your gift message in a hand-written card.
If you are like me, and want to give more than just a bottle of your favorite wine, give the gift of membership. A wine club membership is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Choose between our Optu Wine Club for those that are local or the Electus Wine Club for those in far away places.
Finally, spending time with those you love is one of the best gifts of all. Our hearts grow five sizes when members introduce us to their friends. Our tasting rooms are open 11-5 pm on Red Mountain and in Woodinville until December 22nd.
The first white grapes were picked and pressed from Klipsun Vineyard, starting August 29th. Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon were all completed and to barrel, Ovium barrel, or concrete egg by September 5th. We got started on reds with our first pick of the year being Merlot from Quintessence Vineyard on September 4th. Now, all Merlot from Red Mountain is complete along with Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, which will be completed by next week. I imagine we will be finished with fruit for Fidelitas by the end of the week of October 7th. Things move quickly on Red Mountain.
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Block 75 Merlot in the Cellar
The quality level of this vintage is exceptional and reminds me of 2009 and to a certain extent, 1999. Both of those vintages turned out to be incredible years. We are consistently able to reach the flavors we are looking for at lower than normal Brix levels, leading to slightly lower alcohol levels and higher natural acids. My theory is that with more moderate summer temperatures, we had less days when the vines shut down to protect themselves from the heat. We were able to accumulate sugar at a more even pace and thus, a great year. It might be a bit premature to declare 2019 the vintage of the decade but it does show tremendous potential.
Clonal Cabernet from the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard
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
Dear Friends of Fidelitas:
2018 proved to be a banner year for Fidelitas. We recently completed our 19th vintage in Washington and have had a retail presence on Red Mountain now since May of 2007. Our first planting of the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard took place in 2008 and the future continues to look great for us.
In 2018 we released a few new products that proved to be highly sought after by you, our friends. Specifically, we released our Old Vines Merlot and our Quintessence Malbec. In the future, we will continue to offer these products along with a wide range of wines from what I believe to then finest AVA in Washington that being Red Mountain.
Looking forward to 2019, and the release of the 2016 vintage reds, we will introduce three more new wines. A new red blend that we will call Montis is a Red Mountain specific blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a tiny bit of Malbec. We realize the popularity of blends and will add this blend to the Optu Red Wine and Ciel du Cheval Red Wine. This is a very exciting wine from some of my favorite vineyards, with great concentration and layers of flavor. We will also offer two new wines from Quintessence Vineyard: a varietal Merlot and a clonal specific Cabernet Sauvignon (ENTAV 169) in very limited quantities. These new vineyard specific wines show what an outstanding vineyard site Quintessence is.
We continue to try and find ways that we can continue to improve the wines that we make for Fidelitas. Continuous improvement is a constant theme for our winemaking team made up of me, as well as Hillary Sjolund and Mitch Venohr. Areas that we are looking at include fermentation vessel size and shape, as well as the use of more wood during primary fermentation. We also continue to look at fermentation itself and how we can up our game and take our wines to new heights.
The Estate Vineyard from Fidelitas continues to progress with time. We now have nearly 12 acres of vineyard planted to five different red varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc. Although we were able to get a small crop off our new planting in 2017, from the second leaf, 2018 was our first sizeable crop. Every single block was kept separate during fermentation and we are evaluating the wines as they continue to age. Clonal Cabernet Sauvignon is big theme for our Estate Vineyard with six different clones planted. We are very happy with what we are seeing so far and how we will mesh these wines in to our current lineup. Many thanks to Dick Boushey and his entire team who farm this property on a daily basis. We could not ask for a better partner.
I cannot say enough about how great our staff is at Fidelitas. The people that interface with you as customers on a daily basis see this and share it with me whenever I have a chance to talk with you at our tasting rooms or many events. I feel very blessed to have such a great team lead by Jess Zander.
I would like to simple say thank you to each and every customer that continue be so supportive of Fidelitas. Needless to say, we could not exist without your Faithful, Loyal & True support.
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!