Just when you think you have seen all that Mother Nature would send our way, with 2013 being the warmest vintage on record, 2014 topped it. Our home, Red Mountain, had a record 3599 Growing Degree Days. Growing Degree Days are a measure of the amount of heat/sunshine, one gets over the course of a growing season. This warm vintage led to almost perfect growing conditions for ripening fruit throughout the state. Red Mountain was no exception with harvest starting right after Labor Day and continued until the first week in October.
If I remember correctly a year ago in this letter I was talking about 2013 being one of the warmest vintages on record, especially early on in the year. Those 2013 wines are shaping up quite nicely in barrel and we look forward to bottling those wines soon for release in the future. I would not hesitate to say that some of the best wine we have made to date, are still in barrel. Both 2013 and 2014 should be great ones for us in the future.
Our current releases are still focused around the 2010 and 2011 vintage. I’ve had the time to see how these wines have developed, and could not be happier with both for drinkability now and future ability to cellar these red wines. 2013 is our first vintage for white wines from Red Mountain. We made Semillon and Optu White, which is blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. We have been pleasantly surprised at the great quality from Klipsun Vineyard for our Red Mountain white wines.
Starting with our first release of the year in January, we will begin rolling out many of the new vintage 2012 red wines. We have done some initial sneak peeks at these wines and the response has been very positive from both critics and consumers.
A very big milestone to look forward to from us for the coming year is the release of our first Fidelitas Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has been many years in the making, going back to our purchase of the land in 2007, and now finally getting to the point where we have a wine bottled and ready for release. We currently have a little less than three acres of three different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in our Estate Vineyard. The wine we bottled was a selection of the very best barrels and clones. The quantity of this inaugural wine is very limited, so do not hesitate to purchase once it is released.
We are very excited about the release of another new wine from Red Mountain: the 2012 Quintessence Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This vineyard site, just east of Col Solare, shows much promise and we look forward to the wines from this vineyard.
We are also expanding the number of Red Mountain focused wines with addition of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and a Red Wine from Ciel Du Cheval Vineyard. These wines will join our current offerings of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from this famous Red Mountain vineyard.
If you have been to our home on Red Mountain, you may have noticed the great amount of land being developed through the appellation. These new vineyard developments are a result of the new irrigation district formed on Red Mountain in conjunction with the Kennewick Irrigation District and the availability of water. This is a project many years in the making and will literally change the face of viticulture on Red Mountain. We will be part of this new viticultural development as we plan on planting nine acres ourselves in the spring of 2015. Many other acres will also go into production within the appellation. Currently there are about 1500 acres planted in the appellation. Within a couple of years the AVA will see around 3000 acres planted in total. Needless to say, we are in for some major changes on the mountain.
Thank you, to all of our loyal customers who have been supporters of Fidelitas throughout the years of our existence. I can honestly say that I think our best wines are yet to come.
This NYE we invited our neighbors (who happen to double as our best friends) over to our place for a night in avoiding the craziness that is New Years in Seattle.
Most of the evening we were sipping the 2011 Champoux Vineyard Merlot. This could be because we are all so happy Charlie finally released a Merlot again this winter after the long time gone Red Heaven Vineyard Merlot that sold out in the spring. It could also be that I gave everyone a bottle of the Champoux Merlot for Christmas because it's velvety, bold, beautiful...and currently my favorite wine in the line up.
The Champoux Merlot happens to be seen in both of these pictures of our favorite games of the evening. Wahoo (a marble game similar to Parcheesi), which we pull out and play almost monthly. Logan, our neighbor actually gifted a hand carved Wahoo board this year to his family for Christmas... seriously impressive carving skills he has.
We also brought out an old family favorite that some of you may recognize as Space Force or Shoot the Moon. Possibly the most fun was had with this one. Note: the more wine you drink the more hilarious the game.
We tried our hand at making an Angel Food Cake from scratch and it actually turned out to be DELICIOUS! Can you read my surprise here? I am by no means a baker. Tossed some raspberries on the side, drizzled with agave which literally made it sparkle, then piled on the whip cream. We served this with chilled glasses of our Klipsun Vineyard Late Harvest Semillon. I meant to drizzle the Late Harvest Semillon over the top of the cake however, by the time I remembered the cake was long gone.
Needless to say, we had a great night and were all happily tucked into our beds by 12:15. Cheers to our Fidelitas filled New Years!
1. The Gift Pack - You had me at hello, gift packs! I've already made so many decisions trying to perfect my gifts this year I just can't do it anymore. Thank you for already being assembled for me AND gift wrapped. With all of the effort I'm saving, I suppose I can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine instead of battling traffic on the way to the mall for the 3rd time this week.
2. The Gift Membership - This my friends, is the gift that keeps on giving...literally! Show your brother in Michigan that you're thinking of him all year with a membership to the Fidelitas Wine Club. We'll send them club releases four times throughout the year with access to Fidelitas' best releases, club only events, and complimentary tastings at both tasting rooms all year long. I must say, I also highly recommend this gift for your best friend who always ends up opening your favorite bottle of Fidelitas when they come to your house for dinner. Take my word for it, they will love you forever.
3. The Co-worker Gift - I owe this idea to some of our brilliant and ever so busy professionals in the club. We all have those people we work with everyday that listen to our rants about the 100 emails that are blowing up the system or those that get us coffee when we're on a 14 day stretch in the office. Without them, we would all have a case of the Monday's everyday, which is simply unacceptable. Give us their name and office address and you're done! We'll send them a bottle with a special note from you. *Hosting an office party? Think Columbia Valley Cabernet Splits as party favors!
4. The Drink Now/Save For Later - Seriously, you can give this to anyone and everyone and it's thoughtful and simply put... great. Here's how it goes: buy one bottle you don't feel guilty for opening up on a Tuesday night after work such as the 2012 4040 Red Wine (retail $32) or 2013 Klipsun Vineyard Optu White ($32) for the Drink Now portion. Then to Save for Later, give them something with a touch more elegance that can stand some time in the cellar such as the 2010 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (retail $65). You have given them something they can enjoy right away (for us instant gratification people) and something that they can open at a special occasion (say Christmas next year?!).
5. The Experience - Have you been dying to introduce your friends Fidelitas? Do you need more ideas for family time? How about a date with a special someone? Introduce them to Fidelitas with a tasting experience at either one of our tasting rooms. This includes a flight of five Fidelitas wines paired with cheeses for $30 for 2 people. This gift is an experience they will always remember!
If you weren’t able to make it to our Holiday Shopping Party, mark it on your calendars for next year because it was a major hit! Door prizes with secret discounts, gift wrapping, cookie bar, tasty food and Fidelitas wine…what more could you ask for? Our tasting room was glowing with hanging Christmas lights to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Doors opened at 5pm and guests were able to drink wine, eat food and purchase their gifts all at the same time.
What was on the menu?
Smoked Salmon & Crème Fraiche Crisps (paired with Optu White)
Honey Walnut Sweet Potato Rounds (paired with 4040 Red Wine)
Pancetta and Parmesan Stuffed Dates (paired with Boushey Vineyard Red Wine)
Mini Meatball Sliders (paired with Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon)
Luckily, dessert was supplied also. The staff got together to bake their favorite Christmas cookie recipes for everyone to enjoy, a tradition that Red Mountain shared with Woodinville! This event was a great way for the Fidelitas team to celebrate the holidays with our wonderful and loyal customers and club members. Keep an eye out for next year's, because you will not want to miss it.
This week, I polled my team to see what they were thankful for. In return, I received several heartfelt, sincere, and slightly interesting responses. But best of all, Charlie’s response:
“Thankful to have her home,” he texted last night. His oldest daughter, Emily, is home for 30 days from her Peace Corp commitment in Tanzania.
“I'm thankful for a warm, loving home, a healthy body, an amazing husband, and a job I love. I'm also thankful for wine, chocolate, yoga, and bubble baths to bring me back to a happy place when I forget how much I have to be grateful for.” – Erin, Red Mountain Tasting Room Lead
“I am thankful for finding such a fantastic job working with fantastic people when I moved back to Washington :) I am thankful for being able to spend Thanksgiving filling my belly with delicious wine and great food made by my wonderful family. And also having the cutest dog ever to snuggle with when I need it!” – Skye, Woodinville Tasting Room Lead
“Well first of all I'd like to announce how happy I am that I've lasted over a year in Seattle (same goes for our new Woodinville Tasting Room)! I've moved into a cozy new place and learned some pretty essential Seattle things... such as where to find molten chocolate cake at midnight and where to pop in for a taste of bubbles. On that note, I am thankful that my job takes me back home to Eastern Washington about once a month. I get to double dip my family time and working on Red Mountain. I should also admit that I'm thankful that this time of year it's socially acceptable to add Bailey's to your coffee.” – Michelle, Wine Club Concierge
“I am thankful for my supportive family and boyfriend. I am also thankful to be working in the area I call home, my Fidelitas family, great friends, and even better wine!” – Chelsea, Red Mountain Tasting Room
And me? I’m thankful for so much this year. A supportive and loving husband who keeps me centered, a healthy, energetic toddler who reminds me I can’t control everything, a warm house, and an extended network of family and friends with whom I get to celebrate this holiday a total of FOUR times! And of course, a wonderful, fun, job that introduces me to so many interesting people and provides me with a few fun wines to throw on the table.
Cheers to you and your families!
I have really started to enjoy the holidays more in recent years. I still refuse to do the crazy mall dash, but do love the time I get to spend with friends and family. It’s always a ton of food (which I love) and wine (again…obviously, which I love) and warm cozy houses.
I just kicked off the season with a Friendsgiving at our house. Everyone brought an appetizer to share and I pulled out a few of my favorite wines for a spread. Matching wine with appetizers can be tricky. You need something with enough body to stand up to the bolder, richer, items, but definitely very light or no tannins. For the most part, appetizers are based around veggies (which have tannins themselves), or cheese (many of which can be metallic tasting with the wrong pairing), and are not our intense main course items like the steak with love with Fidelitas Cabernet.
My choices for wine were the recent release of 2013 Klipsun Vineyard Optu White wine, and a couple of library reds, 2010 Columbia Valley Malbec and 2009 Columbia Valley Merlot (which sadly does not exist any more, but 4040 would be a nice replacement!).
Our Friendsgiving spread included flatbread with pears, blue cheese, and caramelized onions, a crudité platter with endive, Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, and white bean hummus, sausage stuffed mushrooms, baked brie en croute with apples, hot spinach dip, and an amazing chocolate pumpkin bread. We wore stretchy pants and ate (almost) every last bite.
So, in a year where the holidays seem to be coming early and faster than ever (Target had trees before Halloween and Santa showed up at the mall a week ago), I wish you a wonderful season that is filled with wine, food, friends, and family.
Wow! It’s November! It seems like just a few short weeks ago we had just started harvest, and it’s only been a few days since our Harvest Party! How is it already November?!
I’m going to blame my faulty time perception on the fact that my husband and I finally went on our honeymoon the beginning of October (over two years late!). So, in my world, a good portion of the fall season has been focused around chartering a gorgeous Nordic Tug Boat, researching, and then traveling around the San Juan Islands and exploring. I hope you forgive me for my maritime/honeymoon distractedness.
Anyways! October was such a great month on Red Mountain as well! This year’s Harvest Party was a great success….I might even use the word, ‘perfect’!! October can always be a tricky month weather-wise, and in the past few years it’s been cold and blustery. We were blessed with a gorgeous, sunny day. The only hint of wind was the perfect vehicle to spread the savory smells of Eric and Alfonso’s infamous tacos throughout most of the Red Mountain area. Delicious!
We were also fortunate enough to have Jess and Charlie for the Party, both pouring a few upcoming fall releases….and a few wine club members were lucky enough to catch Charlie pour a brand new 2012 Ciel du Cheval Red Blend that will be released later in 2015!
It was such an exciting day, filled with great wine, food, and conversation. We enjoyed ourselves so much, we only managed to take a few photos throughout the day! Here are a few my favorites. Enjoy!
Freshly Harvested Estate Vineyard.
Perfect, sunny day for the 2014 Harvest Party!
Special tasting room for our Magna Release.
Ok, one honeymoon photo, just because. This is me and our chartered tug right after we completed our check-in and were ready to leave Bellingham on our week-long adventure. Such a fun, relaxing trip!
If you have photos of the Harvest Party, or any of our other events or tastings, and would like to share them with us, please do!! Feel free to email your photos and stories to myself at email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The holidays are fast approaching and Fidelitas has gotten in the mood by decorating some themed pumpkins for Halloween. Instead of the average pumpkin carving that takes place around this time of year, we decided to sit back, pour a glass of 2011 Champoux Merlot and create a glitzed out design. Might we add that this was easier than gutting a pumpkin and is much more attractive.
-Glass of your favorite Fidelitas Wine
-Spray Paint (Black or White)
-Glitter (Assortment of colors)
We just started by spray painting our pumpkins and then let them dry. Then, we traced our Fidelitas logo, outlined it with glue using our paint brushes and then poured glitter all over to fill in the design. Let me just say, that this was the easiest Halloween pumpkin decorating we have ever done.
Every month I am lucky enough to spend a few days on Red Mountain and every time I'm there it's amazing how the vines transform. This time while I was wasting time waiting for rock blasting on the pass to get over, I spent the last few minutes of sunlight in our Estate Vineyard capturing some of the beauty of October on Red Mountain. It's crazy to think by the time I'm there next month, most of the shades of green will be long gone.
Harvest Party is just around the corner, and if this warm weather continues, it’s going to be a gorgeous day to enjoy a taco on the patio. I’ll be driving from Seattle for the weekend with Grace and Dara (who helps us out in the Woodinville tasting room from time to time) and decided that we might as well make a weekend out of it! Here is the itinerary:
Tasting at Gilbert Cellars: Depending on what time we get out of town, we may make a stop at this downtown Yakima tasting room…just to get the weekend started right! Plus, I could stare at their gorgeous portrait of Gilbert Peak all day.
Early dinner at Wine O’Clock: Because the bacon and pear pizza is amazing!!! Dara won’t come to Red Mountain without this Prosser stop.
Saturday Morning Yoga at the new Walter Clore Center: It’s followed by mimosas so that’s a no brainer.
Pre-party visit to our friends at Frichette: Miss Charlie’s Merlot? We’ve been out for a while. Find a good one here…
Harvest Party! This is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s just wine and tacos on the sunny patio in the afternoon. Low key and way fun.
Wind down at Anelare: We love our friends Kahryn and Forrest’s new tasting room (on McBee…looking back at Red Mountain).
Brunch at Anthony’s: Bloody Mary on the patio? In October? Yes please!
Pumpkins and farm animals at the Country Mercantile: Finally, an activity that will appeal to Grace. I can’t wait to pick out our pumpkins!