Saturday, February 27, 2010

Staff Education

One of my favorite parts of being involved with the wine industry are the amazing “educational” opportunities that come up. We are big on education here at Woodward Canyon because we believe to be able to educate the consumer we need to know what we are talking about. We try to come up with fun ways to educate ourselves so we can keep up to date, not only what is going on here at the winery but also what is changing in the wine industry in general. Recently we did a comprehensive tasting of all our current releases with Kevin Mott - our winemaker, Darcey – our general manager and owner, and the entire tasting room staff. I have always enjoyed tasting wines with Kevin. He is smart and funny and gives you the chemistry side of wine tasting and blending in a way that that even the most novice wine drinkers can understand where he’s coming from.

Our lineup consisted of both current releases in the tasting room and a couple of special reserve wines that we don’t usually open up. It was nice to be able to revisit all the wines at once, talk them over with Kevin and refresh our palates on how the wines were doing. It was also fun to taste some things that we haven’t opened and tasted since they first released.

Though they were all good, my personal favorites of the afternoon were the 2007 Charbonneau Red, the 2007 “Artist Series” Cabernet and the 2006 Estate Red. The Estate Red, soon to be renamed the Estate Reserve, has always been one of my favorite wines. I find the wine to be supple and rich with the perfect balance between black fruit and firm tannins. Rick always says that he perceives an “expression” or a “sense of place” that is fairly unique to our Estate Vineyard and I’d have to agree with him. That is just one reason that the Estate Red and the Charbonneau Red are two of my favorites - both are Bordeaux-style blends from very different vineyards. The Charbonneau Red is sourced entirely from the Charbonneau Vineyard which is planted at the western edge of the Walla Walla County, overlooking the Snake River. The vineyard consists of very sandy soil overlaying shallow basalt rock. It tends to be a cooler site than our Estate Vineyard and has to deal with the weather as well. The Charbonneau Red is a wine that we only produce when the fruit we receive warrants it. It is rich and elegant with nuances of tobacco and leather perfectly in balance with black cherry fruit and soft tannins. The finish is smooth, generous and long.

If you haven't taken advantage of our Winter Special yet, don't forget that the last day is tomorrow. Pick up your 2007 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet at this fantastic price before it's too late. We are already in talks about possibly doing another special next month so remember to check back to see what we've come up with.

Until next time, hope this post finds you enjoying the sun somewhere and a good glass of wine!



Monday, February 1, 2010

2007 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet

If you haven’t already heard we decided that we would run, as I have nicknamed it, a “beat the fog” or “beat the winter blues” special during the month of February. Rick typically likes to offer a special online and in the tasting room in February. So after sitting down and brainstorming on what we could do for this special Sue and Rick brought up the idea about doing an offering on the 2007 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet. Since this is a great wine that is mostly sourced from our Estate Vineyard and one that is not typically featured at the winery, we thought this was a great way to introduce the wine to those not familiar with it. So we are happy to offer you the 2007 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet at the discounted price of $27 a bottle, no additional discounts.

The Walla Walla Valley Cabernet is a wonderful wine that really expresses a sense of place. Composed of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon (Estate Vineyard), 11% Syrah (Dubrul Vineyard) and 8% Cabernet Franc (again Estate Vineyard) this is a great wine to showcase what our Estate Vineyard is all about. Here’s what Rick had to say about it -

“This wine has a beautiful nose of subtle tobacco, complex spiced oak and clove that integrates beautifully with ripe black cherry/cassis fruit. The wine tastes almost sweet. A rich mouth feel begins with black cherry leading towards a chocolate/mocha finish that is exotic, enticing and long. While this wine may be enjoyed now, it will benefit from additional cellaring and should continue to develop for six years or more with proper storage.”

We plan on running this cab special through the end of February so get yours while you can!

If you’ve been into the tasting room on one or more occasions over the years I’m sure that at some point you have encountered Kellie Berg. She has been a fixture behind the tasting bar for the past eight or nine years and has helped countless of visitors make their trip to the Walla Walla Valley and Woodward Canyon a memorable one. Kellie has recently turned in her notice and has informed us that she will be moving on to new challenges the middle of this month. I know that all though this is a great move for her, I am sad we are losing her and will personally miss her in the future. Help me in wishing her congratulations and all the best in her future endeavors!

As I'm sure you've all heard Punxsutawney Phil has once again seen his shadow, so it's six more weeks of winter. The warm weather a couple of weeks ago really got me hoping for an early spring. The longer winter would be ok if this fog would just lift. I don't remember the last time I saw the sunshine. But fog or sun regardless, I hope to see everyone in the tasting room sometime in the near future!