‘Tis the Season of last minute gift grabbing: heading to someone’s house, a party, or an appointment, and wanting to give something better than a regift from last year. Keep a case of easy drinkers and pretty tissue handy all season long so you never show up empty handed.*
Perhaps the most obvious, but for a reason! People work hard to throw a party at their home and always appreciate the acknowledgement of a gift. And – if you call it a hostess gift instead of a bar contribution, they feel like they get to keep that special bottle to themselves.
…are always better with a little wine. Don’t trust Uncle Jack to have enough supply to keep everyone going through the course of a family get together. Bring a bottle of your own to make sure there is enough for the duration!
I was getting my hair done 2 weeks before Christmas last year and someone popped in to give my stylist a bottle of wine. There I was, a winery employee, and totally empty handed. A nice bottle can go a long way for the people with whom you have a great relationship, but maybe didn’t make the major mall shopping list.
*Note: in no way am I suggesting that these wines should be consumed in your car, which is illegal. If you think you might be tempted, keep the corkscrew at home. Also, be careful about the weather! Wines left outside overnight when the temps drop could freeze, and that is really sad.
We’re just a few days away from Thanksgiving and I’ve officially been dreaming about mashed potatoes for the last three weeks. I’ll pack up my bags and leave my home in Seattle and travel over the questionably snowy mountain pass to get home to my family in Tri-Cities where we spend the majority of the weekend eating, drinking, watching football and enjoying days off from work. The good stuff!
As I am packing my bags I’m also packing up the wine for the weekend. My initial response is to hold back my most treasured bottles for an occasion where I can selfishly drink them myself… but what’s the point? Isn’t the point of the holiday to celebrate and be thankful for everyone around you? Why are you saving that bottle of 2009 Red Mountain Red anyway? My guess is your answer is the same as mine “to drink on a special occasion.” This Thanksgiving try bringing one or two of your fancy bottles of wine and use them as a tool to bring your family and friends together to enjoy the good things in life. I bet you it will spark up some stories you've never heard about your father in laws time living in France or the first time your mom snuck wine out of her parent’s liquor cabinet.
Most importantly, enjoy one another and enjoy that special bottle you’ve been saving for an occasion just like this.
My husband just sent me a picture from the grocery store that already had a bunch of Christmas decorations on display. He was truly sad that “the grocery store skipped Thanksgiving!” and also confused as to why someone would want a planter in the shape of Santa’s boot. I can’t blame him on both accounts.
In all honesty, I don’t mind getting a little ahead on Christmas and gifts and whatnot (I’ll be honest…I just sent out a gentle gift pack blast to our email list…but waited until after Halloween!). It’s always been a personal goal to have my shopping done before Thanksgiving, with an extra case of wine on hand for last minute gifts. That way, I can just enjoy the weeks that follow.
However, I am not okay with skipping Thanksgiving all together. It is truly one of my favorite holidays. Good food, beautiful décor, and my best friends and family all in one place. I keep hearing people talk about serving cheap wine at Thanksgiving so one’s obnoxious uncle doesn’t get into it. However, I don’t worry about that in my house, and would like to drink good wine that pairs well with great food on this day of feasting.
This year, my picks for Thanksgiving are 2014 Klipsun Vineyard Optu White (quite possibly my favorite vintage of Optu White), along with 2012 Red Mountain Merlot and 2012 Champoux Vineyard Magna Red Wine. The Optu White is to serve with appetizers – a simple cheese board and a gorgeous crudité platter.
Both of the reds are perfect for Thanksgiving. They have bright acidity (good because they’ll help cut through all of those rich foods on the table), soft tannins (good because they won’t overwhelm any of the dishes), and are down right elegant wines to drink. We’ll serve these wines with the dinner itself to match all of those rich and earthy toned foods common to the Thanksgiving table. If you have people that want to drink white wine with dinner, I guarantee that Optu White is rich enough to stand up to the dinner and is going to be an awesome pairing with the turkey.
While we’re at it, I think I’ll throw in a bottle of the Late Harvest Semillon. This is a special occasion…a great time to open a special bottle! This wine is one of my favorites for any fruit based desserts, but is going to be great with that pumpkin pie as well.
Cheers! No matter what your own agenda is during these final weeks of 2015, I hope you find the time to celebrate one holiday at a time with the ones you love.
When I grow up (or don't have a 2 year old to tear the house apart), I am going to create beautiful scenes like this for Thanksgiving.
I think it is safe to say that fall is one of the most enjoyable times of the year at Fidelitas. Harvest is over, the leaves are changing colors in the vineyard and we have our upcoming fall club release. Personally, I have been counting the months until November when we have our annual Ciel du Cheval Vineyard release. However, this year is extra special because Fidelitas is adding 3 new vintages to the release. And so now, a brief description of the upcoming Ciel du Cheval wines to be released in November.
The first vintage we ever released from Ciel du Cheval was the Cabernet Sauvignon in 2006 and it continues to be a crowd favorite with the 2012 vintage. Fidelitas has sourced from some of the oldest vines in the Red Mountain AVA, planted by Jim Holmes in 1982, for this varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. The aromas are elegant, showcasing, black cherry, blackberry, and cassis, complimented by fig and sweet tobacco tones. Black fruit notes are found on the palate as well with hints of dark chocolate and toasted oak, all set into very soft and well-rounded tannins that provide a lingering finish. Drink now through 2025.
A Fidelitas fan favorite, our Cabernet Franc is sourced from the expertly cared for vines of Ciel du Cheval Vineyard. Varietal classic aromas of blueberry and dried tobacco appear on the nose, supported by Bing cherry, raspberry, and tea leaves on the palate. There is an herbaceous quality, with hints of sage, found within the soft tannins and supple finish. Drink now through 2023.
A new vintage to the Fidelitas line up is the 2012 Ciel du Cheval Merlot. Ciel du Cheval Vineyard provides all of the fruit for this special, limited, vineyard designated merlot. Aromas of raspberry and plum jump from the glass, along with hints of nutmeg and spice. These are found on the palate as well, supported by black cherry, dark chocolate, clove and coffee tones. The tannins are round and plush for a juicy finish. Drink now through 2022.
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Wine appears as another new addition to the Fidelitas line up in the 2012 vintage. A right bank style blend, this vineyard designated red wine is predominately Merlot. The aromas are plentiful, showcasing strawberry, raspberry jam, and a hint of cedar. The palate gives us the addition of darker fruit tones, dark cherry and red currant tones, with a dried herbs and allspice. This wine is bright and expressive with fine tannins for a lingering finish. Drink now through 2024.
Varietal Petit Verdot makes its debut in the 2012 vintage of Fidelitas wines. A grape common to Bordeaux blends, it seldom stands alone, but Ciel du Cheval Vineyard gives us just the right balance for this wine. The nose offers classic notes of very dense, dark fruit, cola and vanilla bean. The aromatic palate gives us black cherry tones, mixed with dried tobacco, kirsch, raspberry, and strawberry, set amongst chewy tannins. Drink now through 2022.
What better time to visit the tasting room and share Fidelitas with your family and friends, just in time for the holidays…we all know wine makes the best gift!
If you haven’t heard of our new Friday Tastings then be sure to keep reading! We started this event in September as a way to bring out our members (and non members!) now that everyone is getting back into their normal routines. It’s an intimate Friday evening filled with an in-depth tasting, cheese, and charcuterie. Oh, and the lovely Kathleen of course. Each month we have a special feature with room for only 10 guests; these have been booking up fast so make sure to put it on your calendar. It’s a great way to enjoy your evening before dinner reservations at The Purple Café. If you are interested please contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. If you're a fan of Ciel du Cheval Vineyards...you don't want to miss out on tastings in October.
Harvest is coming to a close and new wines are being released, the signs of fall are visible around every turn.
It is a crisp October morning and the leaves in the vineyards on Red Mountain have begun to change colors for the season and what a beautiful sight it is.
The view from Antinori Road
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
The Fidelitas Estate Vineyard
Fidelitas has completed picking both Semillon & Sauvignon Blanc from Klipsun. In addition, all Merlot from all sites in the AVA is in the door with some completely through tank fermentation & heading to barrel. We have started picking some Cabernet Sauvignon from Quintessence Vineyard and expect to continue picking both Cab Sauvignon & Malbec next week. Quality looks great so far despite it being the warmest vintage on record.
Now that we are waist deep into 2015 Harvest, what better time to finish out our Staff Retreat blog series with a post about our barrel program here at Fidelitas. Our final stop during our Staff Retreat this summer was to visit the Cellar, where Mitch gave us the low down on exactly how we use barrel components to produce great wines. Between Charlie, Mitch, and Hillary I was able to put together a wealth of information about how we age our wines.
A little summary: Once the grapes are picked on Red Mountain, they are trucked 14.7 miles to Wine Boss headquarters in Richland. The grapes are processed within 12 hours of receiving, then put into fermentation tanks for about 5-7 days, wines then go into barrel where they will age over the next 22 months before they are filtered and bottled, and put to their final rest for approximately 9 months until their release.
Barrels are used to compliment the fruit and the fermenting style you use, but also has one of the biggest impacts on the wines because it's the longest part of the aging process. In creating each wine there is no standard protocol, that's what makes crafting each wine such an art. You want the barrel to add an undertone and aromatic complexity, and not to overpower the fruit. Each barrel is made from a unique wood and toast which adds specific layers to the wine.
Typically, Fidelitas orders around 125 new French and American oak barrels per year which is used in combination with another 200 neutral oak barrels to produce about 7000 cases annually. Give or take! The winemaking team goes to work deciding which barrels are used on each wine. For example, a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon can withstand more oak than a Cabernet Franc which is generally a lighter to medium bodied wine this can also depend greatly on the vineyard which it's sourced from. Another huge impact on the barrels used is depending on the vintage. Wines from the cooler 2010/2011 vintages simply weren't as bold and complex when they were brought in off the vine, therefore they needed a lighter toast or neutral barrel to add a more subtle layer. In the hot vintages we've had the last couple years, we were able to use more new oak and heavier toasts because the wine could handle the extra intensity.
After taking in all of this amazing information we had to chance to see the Cross Flow Filtration system which we use to filter the wines before bottling. This process is state of the art, AMAZING! We're one of the few wineries in Washington who get to use the Cross Flow Filtration system and we couldn't believe what an amazing impact it made to the appearance and quality of the wine. Final stop was to the bottling line where Charlie's daughter Mary and her trusty crew made sure each wine was bottled to perfection and put into cases.
Now the bottling truck has left and cellar is busy taking in tons upon tons of grapes. We'll see what Charlie and the crew have planned for aging the 2015 vintage!
(a note from the editor...harvest is a busy time! we're lucky to get bullet points from Charlie during these months.)
Merlot grapes in the Canyons Vineyard, days before picking
The view looking west from the Canyons: smoky and warm.
Scooteney Flats Merlot: picked August 26, 2015