This Week’s Wine Tasting

Good Values from Washington State- Charles & Charles, 14 Hands and Columbia Crest H3


Charles & Charles
“Charles Smith and Charles Bieler have formed a strategic alliance with Trinchero Family Estates for their successful joint wine venture, Charles & Charles. This will be the first Washington state brand for TFE. Smith and Bieler will continue to direct the winemaking and vision for the brand, sourcing the highest quality grapes from their strong grower relationships throughout Washington State, and crafting and bottling the wines in the Columbia Valley.”

About Charles Smith- “Charles Smith, based in Walla Walla, Wash., is the owner and head of winemaking for K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines and Secco Italian Bubbles. Smith has earned global acclaim including “Best New Wineries of the Last Ten Years” in Wine & Spirits Magazine and “Winery of the Year” in their annual buying guide. Smith was also named “Winemaker of the Year” by Food & Wine magazine (in 2009) and by Seattle magazine (in 2010).”

About Charles Bieler- “Charles Bieler, based in New York City, is known for being one of the top wine innovators in the industry and began championing rosé in the US market back when it was woefully unpopular. As one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Top 40 Big Thinkers under 40,” Charles continues to be a strong force in the beverage world through his Three Thieves partnership with Trinchero, Gotham Project (the category leader in the burgeoning wine on tap sector), Bieler Père et Fils, and Sombra (an artisanal Oaxacan mezcal he co-founded).”

Charles & Charles Rose 2013
Columbia Valley, Washington. A blend of 86% Syrah, 6% Cinsault, 4% Grenache, 2% Counoise, 2% Mourvedre. “Vineyards: Fox Vineyard, Goose Ridge, Reed, Andrews, Suholdonik. The aromas pop with wild strawberry, rose, cherry, subtle hibiscus and a touch of citrus, with underlying dried herb, crushed gravel and mineral tones. Pair with: Grilled salmon or halibut, pan-seared scallops with a cherry compote.” “A gorgeous and vibrant pink color with streaks of salmon. Wild strawberry and watermelon aromas are interwoven with Herbs de Provence, citrus and mineral notes. These same flavors carry through to the palate where they intensify with a surprisingly broad and plush mouth feel that concludes with snappy acidity.” $11.99

Charles & Charles Post 35 Red 2012
Columbia Valley, Washington. A blend of “58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Syrah. Wahluke Slope AVA Vineyards. The aromas have the same signature blackberry, violet, currant and mocha that it’s had in previous vintages but also takes on more of a cigar box component. These flavors carry through on the palate which is medium bodied, soft and luscious. A portion of the Syrah was whole cluster fermented which brings some dark, spicy flavors. After blending together the wine was aged in French oak for a shirt period to enhance the mocha, toast and sweet vanilla flavors and soften the mid palate. Pair with: Curried Lamb Potpie.” Wine Spectator 90 points, Best Values– “Tightly focused and precisely defined, with dark berry, chocolate and rose petal flavors on a supple frame, lingering easily on the polished finish. Drink now through 2018.” $11.99


14 Hands
“The inspiration for 14 Hands wines recalls a time when wild mustangs once freely roamed the hills of eastern Washington State. These small horses, measuring a scant fourteen hands high – a “hand” being equivalent to a man’s palm width, approximately four inches – would travel down from the hills every day to drink from the Columbia River and graze along the riverbank and then retreat back to the hills at night. Strong and tenacious, these little horses became known for their endurance and wild spirit. This unique and beautiful landscape gave these unbridled horses their spirit and tenacity that now feeds our vines. With loamy–sand and gravel soils, these hills require a strong and determined grapevine resulting in big, bold, juicy red wines and crisp, fruit-forward white wines.”

“Winemaker Keith Kenison began crafting wines for 14 Hands when the winery was first introduced in 2005. Keith manages day-to-day operations and leads production trials of the wines. Keith has over 20 years of experience working with Washington state wines. He joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates as a cellar worker in 1992, where he learned firsthand the art of winemaking. In 1997, Keith moved to Columbia Crest Winery, and was promoted first as a quality assurance technician, and then to an enologist. His talents were quickly recognized, and he was promoted to assistant winemaker in 2002.”

14 Hands Chardonnay 2011
Washington State. “Blend: 89% Chardonnay augmented with other aromatic varieties. Medium straw color; demonstrative oak, with ripe fruit in the nose; medium bodied, firm on the palate; core fruit finish.” “This Chardonnay displays aromas and flavors of fresh apple with subtle hints of vanilla and buttery caramel. On the palate, notes of sweet oak and spice give way to a soft, lingering finish.” Wine Spectator 90 points, Best Values– “Light and silky, offering pretty lime blossom-scented pear and spice flavors, lingering enticingly and harmoniously. Drink now through 2015.” $9.99

14 Hands Hot to Trot Red 2011
Columbia Valley, Washington. “Predominantly Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon with Grenache and other select varieties. This polished red wine offers aromas of cherry, red currant and tea. Flavors of ripe red fruit, supported by a frame of refined tannins, give way to subtle notes of baking spice on a persistent finish.” “This luscious red wine will pique your interest right out of the gate with its ruby color and aromas of ripe berries and dark stone fruits.” $9.99

Columbia Crest H3
“Nestled alongside the Columbia River in eastern Washington, Columbia Crest winery opened its doors in the heart of the acclaimed Horse Heaven Hills in 1983. Year after year, the winery maintains its commitment to quality, heritage and innovation in grape growing and winemaking to craft exceptional wines.

Washington state and the Columbia Valley represent the perfect grape-growing climate, from the weather to the soil to the vineyard sites. These growing conditions, along with outstanding viticulture and winemaking practices, allow Columbia Crest to create high-quality wines that are true to their varietal character and represent the unique terroir of the region.

From the vineyard to the glass, Columbia Crest wines are an extraordinary expression of craftsmanship. With a large body of acclaim, Columbia Crest winery delivers a steadfast promise with each bottle—world-class wines from a world-class wine region.”

“Columbia Crest H3 wines were created to celebrate the winery’s rich heritage in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA as well as its innovative spirit with regards to winemaking and viticulture practices. Grapes from this distinctive appellation produce bold, well-balanced and seductive wines. Great care is taken to ensure that the uniqueness of the appellation’s terroir is expressed in each bottle of H3.”

Columbia Crest H3 Merlot 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. 97% Merlot, 3% Cabernet. “This medium-bodied Merlot delivers aromas of spice and blackberry, with a perfect balance of earth, dusty cocoa and ripe cherry flavors on the lingering, rich and velvety finish. Pair with: salmon, lamb, wild game.” “Enticing aromas of Nutella, black cherry, plums and toasted cherry wood evolve into rich and bold flavors of black cherry, blackberry and more plums. It offers a smooth midpalate, bright acidity and finish of chocolate-covered espresso beans.” $13.99

Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec. 40% new and 60% older French oak for 18 months. “This bold Cabernet opens with flavors of dark fruit and black cherries, complemented by earth and mineral notes. Deep berry flavors and supple tannins lead to a soft cocoa finish.” Wine Spectator 88 points– “Velvety and refined, with floral accents to the vibrant red berry and guava flavors, lingering effortlessly on the finish. Drink now through 2016.” $13.99

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