This Week’s Wine Tasting
American Wines from Oregon, California & Washington
King Estate Acrobat, Steele Winery, and Owen Roe
Acrobat by King Estate– “In 1990, Ed King discovered a parcel of land with rich soil for growing hay to feed local horse and cattle farms. By 1994, more than 100-acres were planted to create the most clonally diverse soil and climate-matched vineyard ever grown in Oregon. Our organic winemaking process further enhances the true identity of King Estate wines.
Our Acrobat wines are grown responsibly in the gorgeous hills and valleys of Western Oregon, producing versatile Pinot Gris and Pinot Noirs that work wonderfully with food of all kinds and are equally satisfying on their own.”
Acrobat Pinot Gris 2014– Oregon. “Grown responsibly in the gorgeous hills and valleys of Western Oregon, Acrobat Pinot Gris is an extremely approachable wine and a versatile food companion. The 2014 vintage was fermented in 100% stainless steel, temperature controlled tanks with native and cultured yeasts and sur lees aged for 2 months prior to bottling. The 2014 vintage is fresh and lively with citrus notes that melt into riper pear and floral notes in the middle. Racy acidity combines with a soft sweetness for an extended finish highlighted by damp minerals.” $11.99
Acrobat Pinot Noir 2013– Oregon. “This Pinot Noir was crafted to capture the hearts of new and old wine lovers alike with its simplicity and versatility. Grapes were destemmed before being cold soaked, during which multiple daily punch downs and pump overs were done to extract skin color. After fermentation, the unfinished wine was transferred to barrel where it underwent Malolactic fermentation to impart a softer, rounder mouthfeel and increase complexity. This was followed by 6 months of aging prior to bottling. Aromas of bright fruit lead into flavors of cherry cola, cranberry, earth leather that give way to vanilla and plum. The finish blends fruit and earth together for a lush and generously lingering experience.” $16.99
Steele Winery, Message from Jed Steele– “The year 2015 marks my 47th year of being involved in making wine in California. From my start as a cellar worker at Stony Hill in Napa Valley in 1968, to UC Davis for a Master’s Degree in Enology, to starting Edmeades in the Anderson Valley and being there for ten years, to then starting Kendall-Jackson and working there for the first nine vintages of that wildly successful winery (I left the year we broke the million cases per year production mark), to the start of our own STEELE Wines in 1991-it has been an incredible ride.
During this time I have been able to produce wines from just about every top quality wine region in the state, from Santa Barbara to Mendocino. The line-up of vineyards which we either own or from which we purchase grapes has evolved slowly over the years to where we consistently draw on some of the finest vineyards in California.”
Steele Winery Merlot 2011– Lake County, California. “While we are not known as a Bordeaux/Cabernet kind of winery (we tend to make more Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel) our location in Lake County allows us to produce several of these varieties in styles which would make our neighbors to the south a bit jealous. One of these is Merlot. The Stymie Vineyard grows exceptional Merlot and Cab Franc and is on a gravelly bench, which overlooks the Big Valley area of Lake County. The vines turn out grapes with great balance of flavors, structure and tannins.
Our typical winemaking style for red wines is a warm fermentation followed by pressing and racking. The wine then goes to Oak barrels and generally spends 18-20 months in a combination of American and French oak barrels. While most producers of Merlot tend toward the soft and supple wine style, we have opted, because of the quality of the grapes, to make a wine in a rich, generous style. This wine is a mouthful of pleasure: lots of fruit, medium tannins and a long lingering finish. We would recommend some cellar time for this wine if only to allow all of the great aromas and flavors properly meld.” $15.99
Steele Cabernet Sauvignon 2013– Lake County, California. “The Red Hills appellation in Lake County is a new AVA. The iron-rich, red soil of Red Hills is laden with obsidian, a glassy black volcanic rock that glistens in the afternoon sun. Well known Napa Valley grape grower Andy Beckstoffer bought up a piece of the Red Hills AVA, planting it in Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals with which he is very familiar. We have been receiving clone 6 and clone 37 grapes from Andy since 2002.
The grapes are pressed to stainless steel tank and undergo 2-3 week fermentation with an extended maceration to extract every ounce of flavor. This wine is then laid down in a combination of French and French/American hybrid oak barrels to age for a year and a half before bottling. This wine has a rich, fruit-forward elegance. A spicy fruit and berry core backed up by soft tannins makes it a nice glass of wine for casual sipping among friends.” $19.99
Owen Roe– “At Owen Roe, we are committed to practicing the highest standards of winemaking. Since our first vintage in 1999, our goal has been simple; to produce beautiful wines from superior sites in the Pacific Northwest. A place where the fruit ripens slowly and fully, resulting in excellent acidity and balance. All of our grapes are hand harvested, handled with minimal processing, small-lot fermented and aged in French oak barrels.
Our new winery is now home to our Washington wine production and will become a destination winery for visitors to the Yakima Valley, through our future events and tasting room.”
Owen Roe Sinister Hand 2014– Columbia Valley, Washington. Blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. “The Sinister Hand label shows the severed hand of Owen Roe O’Neil- the Irish patriot whose severed hand appears on the coat of arms of winemaker David O’Reilly’s family. Long ago, during the 11th century, the O’Neills and O’Reillys were two revolutionary Irish families. They formed a rowing competition to reserve rights to some highly regarded land. The two teams agreed that the first to cross the lake and touch the land would become ruler of the land. O’Neill’s boat was falling behind so a member of the crew grabbed his own sword, cut off his hand and threw it ashore, winning the title to rule the land. This land still remains in the family.
Always a delicious meeting of Southern Rhone varietals and Northwest-style winemaking, the Sinister Hand delivers a black and blue fruited delight that is ready to drink but is hankering for some cool autumn evenings. The nose is a enticing combination of blueberries, iron, and rhubarb pie. Dark, juicy, jammy and spicy. Almost like a liquor in depth and richness. Syrah adds pepper, Grenache adds raspberry jam. Big, meaty, dark. Blackberries take over on the finish which has just the right touch of grip. 70% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 9% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault. “$19.99
Owen Roe Ex Umbris Syrah 2012– Yakima Valley, Washington. “Now our most-loved Syrah, this wine was introduced as a one-time bottling in 2002 after a wild fire struck the vineyard’s surrounding hillsides. The residual ash and smoke resonated in the Syrah grapes, creating a very memorable wine. Year after year, we are asked to develop a Syrah to keep the story of this wine alive! Now, 10 vintages later, we hope you will enjoy this bold Syrah comprised from several exceptional vineyards in the Columbia and Yakima Valleys. Staff Tasting Notes: Aromas of fresh red plums, menthol, sarsaparilla and leather lead to a silky palate brimming with ripe plums, blackberry cola and clove. Soft tannins linger on the finish.” $22.99