Before the busy season of harvest, each year we participate in an all staff vineyard tour of Red Mountain. This has always been one of my most favorite activities we do and this year it was by far the best year yet. Now I am not sure if it was more special because it took place in the morning (not nearly as hot as our usual time of mid-afternoon in July) or if it was the fact that it was just the Red Mountain staff who piled into Charlie’s truck early in the morning.
Our first stop on the tour was the beloved Fidelitas Estate Vineyard, located outside our doors on Red Mountain. Our Estate Vineyard consists of 13 acres, predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon of course, along with Merlot, Cabenet Franc, Malbec and an acre of Petit Verdot coming together to create the future of Fidelitas wines.
We then travelled over to the Canyons Vineyard; this vineyard was planted just in 2009 and is about 56.9 acres on a 6.3% slope. The debut of our 2013 Canyons Vineyard Red Wine is sourced from block 11 and the photo below shows you just how steep of a slope we are talking about.
From there we traveled up around Shaw Vineyard, which has about 175 acres of Cabernet along the Northwest corner of the appellation. Then passed through the Red Heaven Vineyard, another one of my favorites. Red Heaven had an interesting aspect to their vineyard; there were several vines that have been grafted. They are grafting over from a different varietal which is very interesting, for example the base and root could have been Zinfandel and then Cabernet Sauvignon was grafted and it will grow as such, this is done for varietal purposes and not from damage to the vines. How cool is that!
Then, we travelled up Antinori Road and went through another one of my favorite vineyards (can you tell I have a lot of favorites?) Quintessence Vineyard. This vineyard was planted in 2010 and is showing exceptional fruit coming from its vines.
We even explored a new area I had never visited before, just by the pond there is a block of clone 412 that Marshal Edwards (Vineyard Manager) planted for Fidelitas. Calcium carbonate can be found in the Quintessence Vineyard however brown loam soil was brought in to create topsoil. The photo below show the many layers of soils found from this vineyard.
Keeping with tradition we had to take our staff photo, after Charlie searched the area for snakes, the coast was clear. Cheers until next years tour!
As I pulled into the parking lot the other day, the vineyard rows were catching my eye a little more than usual. Every day I am fortunate enough to work directly from our Red Mountain tasting room, with that I get the joy of watching the vineyard change and grow with each passing day.
On this particular day I noticed Veraison was taking place in the vineyard. Veraison is the change in color of the grape berries or the ripening of grapes. Depending on the varietal, Veraison takes place at different rates, especially with the warmer temperatures that we experience on Red Mountain it seems to happen earlier. During Veraison white wine grapes are a yellow hue and red wine grapes are shades of red and purple.
As Red Mountain is one of the hotter regions in Washington and home to Cabernet Sauvignon, we know that Cabernet Sauvignon is typically one of the last varietals to ripen in the vineyard. It’s an exciting time when Veraison takes place in the vineyard it means that harvest and new wines are fast approaching.
For many of us we are self-proclaimed wine aficionados, I know I have my moments. If you are asking my family and friends, they will tell you I am their go-to for wine knowledge. Although, I think I speak for many of us when I say, "I don’t know nearly as much as I sound like I do." Quickly after starting at Fidelitas a few years back I soon realized the most I knew about wine was how to drink it and that I only drink wines from Washington. I have since come along way and picked up great knowledge from fellow staff members, our customers, and a little lite reading along the way.
This morning I had a lovely couple who was new to wine tasting, Red Mountain, and Fidelitas Wines. I was delighted to share a few educational tips that helped them not only during their visit but hopefully on their future tasting adventures. My favorite way to taste is to smell, sip, and savor.
SMELL! First things, first…swirl and smell the wine. Swirling the wine helps to open up the aromatics within a wine. Then, don’t be shy get in there and smell your wine. Don’t think large scale while smelling a wine, start small. Try and pick out categories, red fruits, spices, smokiness, etc. These are some great characteristics to help build range and memory association. For me the hardest part is placing what I am smelling to something I am familiar with.
SIP! My favorite part, now after you have smelled the wine go ahead and give it a try. Allow the wine to hit your taste buds and think about whether you are tasting bitterness, sweetness, sour, acidity, etc. For each wine this is different based on where it is grown, oak treatments, winemaker and all of that other fun stuff that plays apart in wine tasting.
SAVOR! Now spend some time thinking about the wine, did you like the finish? Was it to fruit forward? Was it bold or soft? The number one thing when wine tasting is to decide if it was enjoyable or not. In my opinion, this is the hardest part. It is so easy to fall into old patterns and buy what we are comfortable with, but remember that you are wine tasting and exploring new things while building your palate.
This time of year is perfect for wine tasting, there are new releases and fun things happening at almost every winery, get out there and explore! Also, in case you haven’t picked up or explored a copy of Wine Folly, it’s the perfect tool for every taster.
“Red Mountain is our Home,” if you have heard this once you’ll hear it again. From Team Fidelitas spreading the word in the tasting room, to the stunning views overlooking The Fidelitas Estate Vineyard, Red Mountain can be seen and heard in every conversation, every sip of wine, and every memory our members make.
As many of you know, our tasting room first opened on Red Mountain in 2007. Over the years we have shared the story of Fidelitas and how we got started and now we are entering the next chapter of our story. Fidelitas is now sourcing all of their fruit off of Red Mountain. Charlie hand selects the fruit from each vineyard and crafts each wine with our club members in mind. This truly is a one of a kind winery that showcases the finest quality of fruit with our members who are able to gain first access to everything that is released.
Our members are now able to reserve a space in the tasting room or on the patio while enjoying a customized tasting and taking in the view of our vineyard and the place we get to call home.
For many of our members who have been with us since the beginning, they remember the past vintages that graced our glass and look forward to the vintages that are growing along Red Mountain. From the top of Red Mountain where we first met The Quintessence Vineyard, down Antinori Road, past Red Heaven and the Red Mountain Vineyard, over to the Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, our tried and true favorite, to just up the road and around the corner to the Canyons Vineyard which will make its debut later this June, and everyone else who make up our favorite AVA. There are so many great memories and moments to be shared on Red Mountain.
So grab a glass, have a seat on the patio and welcome to the place we call home.
As many of us know, Team Fidelitas was counting down the days to the recently released 2013 Red Mountain Malbec. This is our first vintage of Malbec that is sourced entirely off of Red Mountain, the place we call home. How did we celebrate this joyous occasion? We celebrated with our 2nd Annual Malbec Madness Event, complete with sliders and an “All Black” theme to replicate our black on black bottle.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit either Red Mountain or our Woodinville tasting room come see us and we will give you a taste of the 2013 Red Mountain Malbec before it’s gone!
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!
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
Following our tour of the Estate Vineyard we departed from the tasting room and headed on our vineyard tour towards the 300 acres that makes up the Quintessence Vineyard.
The original 68 acres were planted in 2010. Of these 68 acres Fidelitas sources about 6 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. We are sourcing clone 191 and clone 8 from block 9 and 10. The second phase of the vineyard was planted in 2012 and the third phase planted in the spring of 2014. Quintessence is owned by Dick Shaw and Paul Kaltinick who enlisted, Eric Henriksen as General Manager and Marshall Edwards as Vineyard Operations Manager.
Marshall Edwards has played a large role in the industry for several years, having managed vineyards for Ste. Michelle and Canoe Ridge that portray a similar steep terrain to Quintessence. Marshall was kind enough to meet up with us on the Eastern ridge, where we were able to see the most current plantings. Then, Marshall pointed out that sand, basalt and hezel are the predominant soil types at the Quintessence Vineyard and you can see several rock piles scattered about that had to be cleared to plant the vineyard.
“It is such an honor to work with Charlie and have Fidelitas be in the vineyard.”
For those of you wanting a sneak peak of Quintessence, you can find that about 47% makes up the 2012 OPTU Red Mountain. The 2012 Quintessence Cabernet Sauvignon will be featured in Seattle Met Magazine as a top 100 wine and received a score of 91 points by the Wine Advocate. The wine is soon to be released in September and showcases not only the Quintessence Vineyard but also clone 169 and 171.
From here were able to experience the spectacular views and examine the slopes of the land as well as, the giant rock that Team Fidelitas loves to take our annual photo on.
In the spirit of summer and America, I decided to create a crowd favorite…burgers. When it comes to summer it would not be complete without BBQs, burgers and the Boushey Red Wine. This is my take on the classic hamburger with a delicious upgrade.
The Turkey Burger
First, mixed a pound of ground turkey or the ground meat of your choosing, one egg, bread crumbs, balsamic vinegar, some fresh herbs (I used rosemary), red pepper flakes a drizzle of olive oil, and some salt and pepper. Then, make them into patties and grill them on the BBQ until cooked. I also topped mine with a slice of Beecher’s Flagship.
Then, in a small bowl mix olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper, lemon juice and fresh herbs. I gave this a quick stir and tossed it over a nice spring mix of lettuce.
The Final Product
I am a firm believer in using what you have on hand while cooking but for this particular meal I would suggest gathering all ingredients, the flavors came together so nicely. Top a ciabatta bun with a little mayo, mustard and ketchup. Then, place the patty down on the bun and finish with slices of avocado, fresh tomatoes, onions, and finish with a mound of the dressed up lettuce.
This is a great addition for a night in or serve it amongst friends while pairing it with the
2011 Boushey Vineyard Red Wine.
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.