Selections for April 2017

Got that Pinot Noir glass handy?

2014 ‘Murray’ SYRAH from HIGHTOWER CELLARS – J Hightower Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington St

This wine does not come to California.  Red Mountain residents, grapegrowers, and winemakers Tim and Kelly Hightower do enough work within their local market to keep the small inventory flowing.  However, having met these nice folks and tasted their wares during two different northwest excursions, they and we were determined to get you exposed.

Many California wine drinkers have a blurry perspective on what happens north of us.  A common misconception:  Grouping together the Oregon and Washington wine scenes.  Please don’t!  They could not be more unalike.  Most of Oregon’s wine action happens on her west side; coast-influenced, wet, and more moderate in temperature swings.  With the Rogue Valley’s rise we can’t generalize as we once did, but traditionally this is the land of delicate Pinot Noirs, Burgundian Chardonnays, and Pinot Gris.  Washington State’s wine action is in the east:  High desert, very low rainfall, different soils . . . and hardly a Pinot Noir vine to be found.  This place gives us America’s best Merlots (my own estimation), along with terrific Cabernet, Syrah, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Grenache, Tempranillo. . . all kinds of deliciously impactful wines!

Red Mountain is considered one of the Columbia Valley’s most significant sub-appellations.  As small as it is in acreage, dozens of Washington State wineries clamor for its fruit.  The resulting wines often sell for much more than the price tag for this Syrah, but Tim and Kelly control costs by being their own growers.  This delicious value is resplendent with boysenberries and windblown herbs, delivered with an endearing juiciness.  It is easily enjoyed on its own but would especially shine next to lamb chops or pork.  We hope you enjoy this rare visitor!!      

Indulgent Merlot . . .

2012 SEMPRE VIVE MERLOT – Napa Valley

All good things come to an end:  The great values from this winery will not go on forever. 

You recently loved their underpriced Cabernet and will now savor this even-better Merlot only because Sempre Vive’s backed-up inventory has allowed for club-friendly purchasing.  In other words, we got a deal and so will you.  This bottle goes for $44 on the winery’s own website and, as you can see, The Wine Steward is doing much better for you.

Single vineyard (Calistoga) quality happens here.  So does the oh-so-benevolent 2012 vintage.  An extravagant treatment of French Oak adds lavishness to an already fully-ripe wine.  Fruit and herbs and vanilla compete for your attention. 

We just enjoyed the company of a young couple at our winebar who were contemplating what they’d have with their Easter duck dinner.  I showed them this and they required no further data!