Mercer Wine Estates

Another winery visited in the general Yakima Valley area was Mercer Winery. Their physical location is in Prosser. Their first vintage was in 2005 and six years later the owners received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers.

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We opted for the basic tasting for $5 (vs. $10 for reserves).

2016 Estates Rose
This bone-dry Rosé is perfect pool-side, brunch-side, or wedding-side. We also, just love it glass-side. A great wine for a wide variety of people and dishes, it’s pretty, pink, and delicious. Notes of fresh strawberries, white tea and cranberries combine with a beautiful balance of acidity and alcohol. Price: $15.
Horse Heaven Hills AVA|Blend: 100% Grenache|Alcohol: 12.5% |T.A.: 0.61g/100mL | pH: 3.22|Dry
*Very crisp, definitely a summertime wine.

2013 Chardonnay
Notes of vanilla, creamsicle, juicy pear and pineapple greet you on the nose. The voluminous fruit continues in the mouth with flavors of sweet pineapple juice and fresh pear with a drizzle of sweet butter. The lush fruit is balanced by clean, bright acidity that leads into a long, lingering finish. Price: $13.
Columbia Valley|Blend: 96% Chardonnay, 4% Viognier|Alcohol: 13.9%|TA: 0.6 g/L|pH: 3.53
*1/2 oaked, 1/2 un-oaked. Nice and crisp. Really liked this one.

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2014 Mercer Canyons Riesling
This off-dry Riesling (about 1.5 residual sugar) explodes with beautiful aromas of lychee, orange blossom and tangerine from the glass. The palate is full with apricot and peach notes drizzled in honey. The finish is refreshing with enough bright acidity. Price: $13.
Yakima Valley | Blend: 100% Riesling | Alcohol: 13.3% |T.A.: 0.68 g/100mL |pH: 3.02
*I got lots of honeysuckle on this. Yes, it’s a Riesling.

2013 Estates Merlot
Cherries and blackberries mingle with warm baking spices on the nose. Touches of oak, coffee and cocoa with lush fruit and velvety tannin on the palate. One of our favorite wines–enjoy with any red meat dish, tomato based pasta dishes, or just as a perfect sipping wine next to a warm fire. Price: $25.
Horse Heaven Hills |Blend: 80% Merlot, 17% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon |
Alcohol: 14.5%|TA: 0.59g/100mL|pH: 3.68
*This had some definite chocolate notes to it. Very nice wine. There are good Merlots out there.

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2013 Petit Verdot
Whoa-Nelly–this is a big, bold wine! Big jammy flavors of blackberry jam, vanilla, and a hint of pie crust. This wine will age well, or if you need to impress someone with a high impact wine, or have a smoked brisket that needs a ‘pardner’–we suggest putting a few of these in your shopping cart.
Horse Heaven Hills| Spice Cabinet Vineyard| 100% Petit Verdot| Alcohol: 14.4% |
TA: 0.63g/100mL | pH:3.97
*White pepper is what I found to be the most prominent note.

Fun place to visit. I’m sure it’s another one that will keep growing. Love visiting more less-known, Washington wineries. Cheers!

Treveri Cellars

While in the Yakima Valley awhile back, I visited Treveri Cellars, which produces only bubbly. Too bad! Their exact location is Wapato. They have been around for six years and aim to put WA state sparkling wines on the map. They have also been served at US State Department receptions and the James Beard Foundation.

You go to their lovely tasting room and you must sit at a table (vs standing at the bar). They kindly come around and pour your tasting. And, come the end, the tasting is free (so uncommon).

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(note on the dosage — a 0 dosage is SUPER dry)

Blanc de Noirs Brut
Small bubbles give way to a delicate color with a hint of strawberries and brioche on the nose. The minimal dosage allows the true palate complexity of this wine shine through, leaving rich acidity with a creamy finish.
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | AVA: Yakima Valley |Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 7.5g/L
pH: 3.32 | Dosage: 8g/L | En Tirage: 23.5 months | PRICE: $20.00
*Very crisp, not overly sweet. Prefer this over the Blanc de Blanc. My favorite.

Blanc de Blancs Brut
The most well-known of sparkling wines, our Blanc de Blancs captures hints of green apple and brioche, balanced out by a cool, crisp finish.
Blend: Chardonnay | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 8.2g/L
pH: 3.3 | Dosage: 12g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $15.00
*Traditional ‘champagne’.

Sparkling Rosé
Crisp and complex, Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé boasts hints of berries and citrus, creating a blend of delicious and enticing flavors. Rosé pairs well with any dish, and its versatile profile is sure to lavish your meal with luxury and class.
Blend: Syrah/Chardonnay | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 8.1g/L | pH: 3.32 | Dosage: 22g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $18.00
*Very sweet.

Brut Rose (not on the tasting list)
No details on it other than – Blend: 100% Pinot Noir | Dosage: 6g/L
*Nice and dry!

Sparkling Gewürztraminer
A delightful combination of spice and exotic fruit aromas, Treveri Sparkling Gewürztraminer ignites a spark of variety with every sip. Easy to recognize but hard to put down, this bubbly will captivate your senses and enlighten your experience.
Blend: 100% Gewürztraminer | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage
Total Acid: 7.5g/L | pH: 3.34 | Dosage: 35g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $17.00
*Almost beer/cider-like.

Sparkling Syrah Brut
With devotion, care, and careful attention, Treveri sparkling Syrah exudes sophistication and elegance, making it a paradigm of perfection. Red effervescence cascades through this sparkling, matched equally by dark fruit and complex yeast tones.
Blend: 100% Syrah | AVA: Yakima Valley | Vintage: Non-Vintage | Total Acid: 7.5g/L
pH: 3.38 | Dosage: 12g/L | En Tirage: 24 months | PRICE: $20.00
*Not as many bubbles as the whites. Very smooth for a Syrah. Light but syrupy. Too grape-y. Not my favorite sparkling red, and I seek these wines out.

This winery has great potential. Many options, fair prices and amazing tasting room if you’re on site. Look forward to seeing them grow and glad I was able to visit them.

Terre de Marco Prosecco

Found a new Prosecco at a tasting last week — the Terre di Marca. Fairly dry with a unique sweetness that’s not overkill. Has some apples and pears to it and a tiny bit of honey. Great to enjoy during the summer. And the bottle is unique, sort of stubby, vs. the traditional bottle. Was in the low-mid teens, price-point wise.

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Chateau Larose Perganson

It was one of those beautiful nights in DC recently and I just wanted to sit on my deck and enjoy a nice dinner and red wine. So I picked through my wine rack and pulled out one that looked good. It was a French wine, but I know I didn’t buy it in France directly because of some of the notes on the label. It was the Chateau Larose Perganson 2009 Haut Médoc Cru Bourgeois.

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Opened it and poured some in my glass with the aerator. WOW.  Why have I waited so long to open this?

Per the site, its tasting notes are:

Intense ruby color with violet hues. The nose is quite powerful, a true symphony of spices: milk caramel and vanilla, of jammy fruits: ripe plums, black currants, blackberries, as well as aromas of roasted coffee, toasted bread and dark chocolate. Perfect roundness from a combination of opulent fruit and good oak ageing which provide superb balance and complexity. 100% cold pre-fermentary maceration. A fabulous wine! Please decant two hours before tasting.

My comments:

Smooth and then smooth. It was creamy and just slid through your mouth. Fruit and chocolate.

I had to figure out where I bought this because I’m not sure how long I’d had it. After much research, I found it at Rodman’s (in NW DC). It’s about $25/bottle. Can’t go wrong with Rodman’s. And, will definitely be picking up some more.

Chardo…

Was in a local shop working a wine tasting recently and noticed this sign. Something just seemed off about it. I stared at it for awhile (because it was a slow night) and really had to think about it. Then I started staring at all the bottles in its section. No, I wasn’t crazy, the sign really was missing an ‘n’.

Now, what I had the hardest time deciding…do I tell the store owner about this? They have owned the store for over 10 years, it’s also a local sandwich shop, mini grocery store, etc. They know the people well. I couldn’t do it. Maybe regulars would be disappointed if it changed?

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Hogue Cellars (reserve)

When checking out Yakima Valley awhile back, in the Prosser Region, we visited a relatively well known (I assume, because I see it fairly often) winery/wine maker — Hogue Cellars.

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Now jumping ahead a bit, I like splitting tastings because when you hit several wineries a day you’re going to taste a lot and drink a lot. You’re going to lose your taste and obviously have some alcohol… And somebody has to drive. But then, you start talking to these people. It’s a quiet day and they talk and talk, understand your love of wine and say ‘Oh, but you have to try this. And oh, but then…’ You don’t end up splitting a tasting.

We arrived, fairly quiet and opted to split the Reserve Tasting, for $5. You chose 5 of 9 wines you want to sip. These aren’t the wines you see on the store shelves with the label in the logo as noted above. They hold these labels:

We opted for:

2015 Terroir Viognier, Wahluke Slope — Our Viognier opens with fresh flora and exotic fruits aromas. Peach cobbler, citrus and a touch of pineapple intertwined with tropical mango and starfruit. It features a mouthfeel that is clean and crisp with soft acidity. $20 — Very nice nose, a bit sweet, definite starfruit taste (because you know, we know this off the bat because we eat it everyday).

2014 Terroir GSM Lonesome Springs Vineyard — 21% Grenache/40% Syrah/39% Mouverdre.  In the glass, the wine is young purple in color with a tint of red on the rim. Lively aromas of black raspberry, black pepper and spice with touches of vanilla cream. $28 — A bit oakey, chocolatey.

2013 Reserve Merlot Columbia Valley — This wine opens with aromas of wild strawberry, cherry, blueberry and dark meaty plum. Rich and weighty on the pallet with great structure and integrated oak. Flavors of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg linger with a lasting finish. $30 —  NICE!!!! Bought a bottle for later. Fruit on the nose. Very fresh and fruity on the tongue. I have always avoided this varietal because of the movie Bottleshock and I wish I didn’t have that in my mind. This grape can be good.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain — Our Cabernet Sauvignon has amazing color and depth, along with some unique and exciting fruit flavors. Dried cherry, cocoa, fig and nutmeg balance the huge earthy, minerality Red Mountain wine. $32 — Nice and light for a cab.

2013 Terroir Petit Verdot Horse Heaven Hills — The inky Petit Verdot has a pleasantly massive richness and vibrant acidity. This wine starts out with black fruit, plum and cassis. Gamey undertones, bacon, black pepper and spice round out the mid-pallet along with flavors of dark chocolate and creamy coffee. Silky tannins with a chewy finish. $32 100% Petit Verdot. This is an ooohhhh so smooth wine. Very creamy. I didn’t find that it had a very chewy finish. You tasted this wine from start to finish. Very nice.

These were the first 5 and then I didn’t scribble down notes on the balance of them. We were poured at least 3 or 4 more. In the end, my friend ended up joining the Wine Club, option for the 3 bottle option. With that you get 3 bottles of wine from the exclusive Terroir and Reserve tiers on a quarterly basis. Cheers to that. We also got our $5 tasting fee refunded. Cheers!

Redbank

The temps are going up so it’s time to bring out some nice white wine. I picked up some wine last year when I was in Australia and New Zealand and want to open it for the right occasion. I also had to strategically remember which wines these were by scribbling over the SKU on the back with an orange highlighter.

Was going to visit some friends the other day for dinner, but we also had all afternoon to relax. I decided to grab the 2015 Redbank Pinot Grigio from Victoria. A relatively light wine with nice fruit and citrus notes. We enjoyed this perfectly while lounging by the pool on a hot spring day. It was nice, but nothing overwhelming that I would return to New Zealand to get. But, the perks of having friends with a pool — don’t have to wait until Memorial Day to jump in the water.

 

 

 

Dead Head Red

There is a joke in my family about the Grateful Dead because of a Santa mistake that happened years ago. So anytime we see anything related to the band, we tend to get it. Normally it has to do with those cute little dancing bears. Well, now life is getting so much better! My Christmas present from my aunt and uncle was Grateful Dead wine. I’ll take that. The name is ‘Steal Your Face’ and it’s a blend (85% Syrah, 15% Petite Sirah) from Mendocino County. Great table wine, perfect for any dinner.

Got a box of three. One was enjoyed over Christmas with the family, one stayed with the (immediate) family and one came home with me and is still waiting a bit to be enjoyed. Have to pick the right people to share it with. Who should I tell the story behind the bottle with?

Also, the place that distributes this is Wines that Rock — they have various other wines from well known bands. Pretty fun and great gift ideas.

Buck’s

Want to go fishing? Want to camping? Are you in DC? Just go to Buck’s. You might not actually get the true aforementioned, but you’ll get a great dinner.

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I had heard much about this place, located on Connecticut Ave., at the intersection of Nebraska Ave. in upper NW. Buck’s Fishing and Camping, here I come.

My friend and I checked it out in February and they had the Valentine’s theme going on, so the cocktail menu included sparkling rose. Bring it on! A perfect way to start off the evening.

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We opted for an appetizer to tide us over while we looked over the menu. It was a special that night, a white bean hummus with homemade chips.

Wit Cellars

When visiting WA wine country, I was pointed to a new winery by an established one. This new venture is Wit Cellars, which is just about a year old. They are not a huge winery, producing about 3,500 cases of wine a year and are located in the Prosser Wine Community of Yakima Valley. Their name comes from ‘We’re in It Together.’

The tasting room is in a sort of hidden place. Not in the middle of beautiful vineyards, but more of a ‘strip mall’ of tasting rooms.

Yakima

(photo source: wineyakimavalley.org)

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When we arrived (early in the day — strong wine drinkers!), there was only one other group in the tasting room. So one of the employees came over to help. With a tasting you get to sample eight wines, oh yes, half a dozen plus two (though one was out of stock). He was a bit concerned because he had been called in that morning to work, and was the husband of one of the owners and didn’t know all the info to a tee on the wine. Fast forward…he was quite good.

So as previously mentioned, the guy pouring us our wine ‘didn’t know a ton about them,’ so he was looking through some notes to tell us what they were supposed to taste like, etc. We ended up having a great conversation about each one and talking about them sometimes before and after he told us what the notes said. One of the best tastings you could have as the three of us were bouncing comments off each other as he had to enjoy some of the wine, too. What was great is that he gave us his history — former college football player, then in the Marine Corps, now in some IT/security/networking (he lost me after that) gig and part time in the wine industry because his wife is an owner.

So, what we enjoyed (info is directly from website, my notes in bold italic)

2015 Rose
The beautiful coral color will put you in a festive mood. On the nose you will be greeted with notes of strawberry, rhubarb and pink grapefruit. The lively acidity plays on the palate, while hints of spice and dried herbs round out this lively and refreshing summer sipper.
Price: $14.00

Light and crisp.

 

2015 Pinot Gris
Light bodied fresh and lively summer sipper possess hints of mandarin orange, honeydew melon, bosc pear, and green apple. Ancient Lakes is a cool site which lends itself to aromatic whites. You can literally taste the tortuous past of these prehistoric soils. A gravely minerality mixes with citrus notes and dazzling acidity, to create a unique gem true to its sense of place.
Price $18.00

Minerality!  LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT. Left with a bottle.

2015 Chardonnay
The feast of reason and the flow of soul brought us to the Ancient Lakes Appellation to source aromatic whites of exceptional quality. The vines struggle in high elevation silt loam vineyards on fractured caliche and basalt. This extraordinary example of Chardonnay possesses hints of green apple and pear. The saline minerality and focused fruit void of white noise; set this wine apart from any other. This wine is not for the faint of heart, but for the quick of Wit.
Price $22.00

Unoaked, cheddar on the nose. Neutral oak barrels. I would give it ‘crisp oak’, Very unique.

2014 Riesling
Again the Ancient Lakes Appellation shines with Riesling. We were able to create a Riesling of exceptional quality. Bright acidity mixes with clove, peach, apricot, spice, honey-suckle and clover blossoms. Of course, the underlining feature of this wine is the gravely minerality brought by the tortured prehistoric soils of this majestic appellation. This racy gem is not for the faint of heart, but for the quick of wit.
Price $18.00

Not syrupy like a Riesling could be, but it was still a Riesling.

2013 Red Blend
The colors of this wine are the deepest shades of inky purple and red.

The enchanted flavors of raspberry liquor, vibrant pepper, baking spice, blackberry, graphite and gravel will tantalize your taste buds. This is an extraordinary elegant wine with silky smooth texture and lingering finish. I found that this wine leaves me fully satisfied, but longing for one more taste.
Price $45.00

Nice nose. Melt in your mouth. Just so much good stuff happening. Left with a bottle.

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2013 Cabernet Sauvignon
We were drawn to Elephant Mountain Cabernet because it showcases the vibrancy of the site. Only at the extreme margins of this black beast can you detect a deep garnet color. An abundance of black currant, wild cherry, raspberry and cedar greet your nose and caress your pallet. The lingering finish will provide hints of anise, vanilla, toasted hazelnuts and roasted coffee which are balanced by gravelly earthy notes. This is a particularly well balanced and beautiful wine. Your first sip will leave you wanting more.
Price $50.00

Jammy, but not overkill, and not too chewy.

2013 L’armonia Red Blend
This is a big wine with an abundance of dark beautiful fruits that blend harmoniously with it’s ample body and structure.
The integrated tannins dance across your palate while flavors of huckleberry cobbler, vanilla and brown sugar tempt your taste buds. By combining classical Bordeaux varietals we believe that each individual piece of this red blend has come together to sing.
Blend: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petit Verdot, 14% Malbec, 3% Merlot
Price $60.00

I got tastes of coffee, kahlua and fruit. Unique.

 

As you can see, I left with two bottles. One was enjoyed that night when we returned to a friend’s house in Seattle, and the other the following night at the same house. Of course these guys/this winery can’t be kind and sell in stores on the east coast, let alone in stores in their area. It’s all direct from them. They do have have three wine clubs, though. The requirements aren’t super demanding, on them either. So I might have to join down the road. Overall, spent well over an hour there. I can easily see these guys getting into some of the big wine magazines in the coming years as an up and coming winery. Cheers!