Yes - we work hard. But part of the fun is getting out and exploring what's around us!
Now that the warm weather is upon us, it is time for lots of outdoor dining and sipping on our favorite summer beverages. As someone who loves to entertain and host family and friends for dinner I find that this, Summertime Pasta Salad is a crowd pleaser. It is perfect for a light dinner or as a side dish for a weekend picnic and it is quick and easy to throw together.
This recipe takes an ordinary pasta salad to the next level, by using orecchiette noodles, spinach, shaved asparagus and burrata it’s a nice twist on a classic. I will say that the shaved asparagus was a great addition and as a fun tip, shave the apsargus in a downward motion away from the tassle. Next, I sautéed the spinach and asparagus in olive oil and seasoned it to taste with salt and pepper.
Then, I added charred cherry tomatoes by using my broiler. I simply mixed them in a pan with olive oil and let them broil for about 5-7 minutes Once everything was complete I mixed it all together with another drizzle of olive oil and lemon zest.
Serve yourselves a giant spoonful and pour a glass of the newly released 2014 Klipsun Vineyard Semillon and enjoy the joys of summertime.
The time has finally arrived! Our 2014 Klipsun Vineyard Semillon has been released and it was well worth the wait. I was able to pick Charlie’s brain because I wanted to understand why this white does so well in such a hot AVA like Red Mountain. His answer was not a surprise to me, vineyard management. Klipsun vineyard is a much more established vineyard on Red Mountain and is owned by Patricia and David Gelles but managed by Julia Kock. They grow many varietals but only two whites, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. With vines dating back to 1982 they have a grasp for what is most important when focusing on helping a white grape thrive. But who cares about the technical stuff…
This Semillon has zero residual sugar and is a dry, crisp, fruity and refreshing white to enjoy on your patio in this beautiful summer weather. If you like our Optu White which is 60% Sauvignon Blanc and 40% Semillon, then this Semillon is sure to hit every one of your taste buds. It has beautiful aromas with notes of citrus, melon, and grapefruit that pair perfectly with your picnic salad. Be sure to come to our tasting rooms to enjoy a taste and buy yourself a bottle, or four, to have on hand for your summer parties!
Not that I pick favorites, but I tend to always have a pretty big crush on our Champoux Vineyard Merlot. Check out my interview with Charlie on this current favorite:
“So Charlie, I know you're a fan of Merlot. Let's talk about the Champoux Vineyard Merlot which is being featured in the May Club release.”
Question 1: When did you make the 1st vintage of Champoux Vineyard Merlot and how/why did it come into the line up?
2005. I didn’t really ask for it, Paul asked me if I wanted some and so I took it. There have never been too many people who have made it. I was making Champoux Merlot for 3 Rivers back when I started Fidelitas, and we have since that vintage.
Question 2: What Vintage of Champoux Merlot has been your favorite so far and why?
I think if I remember right I really liked the 2005 because it was one of the greatest vintages in WA. And really, the 2012. In our recent Champoux Showdown, I thought that it was really standing out in the line-up. If there was a third, it’d probably 2009. A vintage where it’s not too ripe or too warm…it needs a little hang time because it’s an early ripening variety. These were all maybe a little warmer vintages but the grapes still got the hang time.
Question 3: Do you tend to have special wine making practices that are unique to the Champoux Merlot?
Yes in that the Champoux wines can be so big and so tannic that we really monitor our fermentations to know when to pull things off so they don’t get too extracted. We’re using 2 ton fermenters and smaller on these wines. Keeping them small and manageable gives us different components. This is also a wine that can stand up to more new wood because it’s already so concentrated. It borders on one of those wines where it could almost be mistaken as Cabernet…I love to make that style of merlot and try to push it as far as I can in that direction.
Question 4: What’s the biggest difference between Champoux Merlot and Red Mountain Merlot?
Red Mountain can also provide big Merlot, but we’re generally not grabbing from just one vineyard spot. I find Red Mountain Merlot maybe has a little more finesse than these powerful, concentrated wines from Champoux Vineyard.
Question 5: Whats a random fact about the Champoux Merlot that we couldn't hear from anybody else?
Not very many people make it! It’s unique as a varietal wine.
Bonus Question! Favorite food to have with Champoux Merlot…
Hmmmmm. Probably something red meat. Like a filet.
Friday, May 1st we celebrated our annual Feast of St. Fidelis celebration on Red Mountain. Or as many of our wine club members know, this is our can’t be missed taco party!
Notice who is first in line for the tacos!
Sadly, we had already sold out of our favorite wine pairing with Eric’s famous tacos, our 2012 vintage of single varietal Malbec.
However, after careful tasting, (and perhaps a bit of re-tasting) Team Fidelitas felt confident that our line up of the 2011 Boushey Red and the 2012 Optu Red Mountain also paired beautifully.
As a special treat, Charlie poured hefty samples of our newly released 2010 Champoux Block One. This is our second vintage of this wine, which is a 100% varietal Cabernet Sauvignon all sourced from the Champoux Vineyard’s oldest block planted in 1972, known as their Block One. It was such a special treat to be able to sip on such a spectacular wine with some of our favorite long-time wine club members!
After a few bottles of wine, and a plate (or four!) of Eric’s amazing tacos, the infamous Red Mountain wind settled down and the evening treated us to a gorgeous sunset.
Thank you so much to Eric and his crew, Charlie, Team Fidelitas, and all of our wine club members who made this year’s Feast a great success!
The Red Mountain AVA (American Viticulture Area) and the Horse Heave Hills AVA equally have vines dating back to the early 1970’s. This is one of the many significant factors that lends a creative hand to these premier viticulture regions. While the Horse Heaven Hills is home to about 5 wineries the Red Mountain AVA is home to about 14. Many people may wonder, how does the Red Mountain AVA compare to the Horse Heaven Hill AVA?
Red Mountain was established as an AVA (American Viticulture Area) on April 2, 2001. The defined boundaries of the Red Mountain AVA are currently the smallest in Washington and only cover about 4,040 acres. The significant characteristics that make up Red Mountain include soil, the southwest facing slope, wind, temperatures, and it is home to Fidelitas. How does Red Mountain compare to our Horse Heaven Hill neighbors?
The Horse Heaven Hills AVA was established on August 1, 2005. It is fairly larger region that borders the Yakima Valley AVA and the Columbia River. The total acreage of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA is 570,000 with about 12,444 planted acres. Like Red Mountain, many of the vineyards are planted on a southwest facing slope with sandy, well-drained soils. They also have steady winds blowing from the Columbia Gorge that help to reduce the risk of diseases in the vineyards.
Average Rainfall: 5-7 inches
Soils: Sandy loam and gravel
Planted Acreage: About 2100 acres
Main Grape Varietals:
HORSE HEAVEN HILLS
Average Rainfall: About 9 inches
Soils: Sand loess, sediment, rubble
Planted Acreage: 12,444 acres
Main Grape Varietals:
How could we not celebrate the birthday of an AVA that is so dear to our hearts? Red Mountain was established as an American Viticultural Area on April 3rd, 2001. It all started with Jim Holmes (of Ciel du Cheval Vineyards) and John Williams, great pioneers of this lovely place we call home. Both men were trying to purchase inexpensive property in the 1970s and stumbled upon an area that seemed to have been deserted. They were able to purchase land for roughly $200/acre (what?!) and the planting began. Once some of the first wines had been produced people started to recognize what an amazing place Red Mountain actually was. Now, fourteen years later, there are 4,040 acres on Red Mountain and its home to some of the most sought after vineyards in Washington.
What did this birthday party consist of? Cupcakes, popcorn, balloons, and wine! All of the ingredients to make for a perfect evening in both of our tasting rooms. The party went from 5-7pm and we poured all of our delicious wines sourced from Red Mountain.
2012 4040 Blend
2012 Optu Red Mountain Blend
2012 Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon
2013 Klipsun Vineyard Late Harvest Semillon
If you were unable to attend this event, we hope you were able to celebrate at home. Cheers to Red Mountain!
Here I am the day after Champoux Showdown and I'm still gushing over last nights soiree at the Coterie Room.
First, I'm going to take a minute to fill everyone in on the amazing Fat Cork here in Seattle where we picked up the Champagne for this event. If you don't know about them already, you are sure to become a fan! They are a direct to consumer grower Champagne retailer that says 'We’re the Champagne version of the farm-to-table lifestyle.' It's true they live up to providing excellent service while offering a range of quality (and affordable!) bubbles. Plus, they're Wine Club is way cool.
A glass of bubbles was the perfect start to the evening with everyone arriving right at 6 o'clock to begin their weekend early. Truffled gougeres, salmon crostini, and chicken croquettes were passed with the first tastes of Magna Red Wine and Champoux Merlot (both coming up in the next club release). Paul and Judy Champoux arrived and Charlie toasted to the guests of honor and the fabulous grapes he's been purchasing from Paul since 1995. This is the first event of ours that Paul and Judy have been able to attend since his retirement at the end of the 2014 harvest and it was such a treat to have them join in on the fun. We had about 50 people in attendance and it was so much fun to mingle with old members, new members, friends and even family.
We tasted the May club release of Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon which as usual, knocked our socks off especially with the 24 hour braised short rib sliders and lamp tartare. I will take this moment to admit that I am not a lamb fan but I actually went back for a seconds with these. Chef duo McCracken | Tough did a beautiful job preparing the bites for this event. I will be making a point to head to Spur to check out their regular menu.
As a special treat the evening was finished off with both of the elusive 2010 and 2009 vintages of Champoux Vineyard Block One Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, I also went back for seconds of these to have with the melt in your mouth dark chocolate sea salt truffles.
By the end I was blissfully full of belly warming food and the elegant wines from Champoux Vineyard. On the ride home we already started planning this event for next year. Thanks to everyone who came and indulged with us!