TWAV Leaderboard

Friday, May 22, 2015

Wining and Dining In Cape Town, South Africa

V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain

Continuing the saga of our recent wine and safari adventure in South Africa…

After our long two days of travel, which began Thursday morning in Ohio and ended Friday afternoon in Johannesburg, South Africa, we were on the plane again, this time a Mango Airlines plane to Cape Town. Cape Town is cosmopolitan city of more than 3 million which lies at the foot of the landmark Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a constantly changing panorama of colors and shadows, sometimes shrouded in its cloud “tablecloth.”

We had three nights to spend in Cape Town and our home base was Waterfront Village, a condo-like accommodation at the V&A Waterfront. Cape Town is the international gateway to Africa and the V&A Waterfront has hundreds of upscale shops, gourmet dining and entertainment. At the mall I was able to pick up some important tools of the trade:

  • My Wineroute South Africa, by Mike Froud, an excellent guide to SA wine trails including maps and profiles of the top 100 wineries.
  • Map Studio Winelands of the Western Cape wine map. This lists hundreds of wineries and was indispensible during our winery visits.
  • Pocket Guide to Birds of Southern Africa, by Burger Cillie and Ulrich Oberprieler. What can I say, there are some awesome birds in Africa.
  • I was also able to pick up an inexpensive cellphone with a small package of airtime for about $40 US.

Den Anker SaladAfter walking for a few hours, we decided it was time to grab some dinner before returning to Waterfront Village. The multitude of choices made the selection difficult. Finally I decided to explore a Belgian restaurant I had spied earlier. We stopped in to Den Anker, which has a prime location next to the waterway, a drawbridge and the waterfront’s signature clock tower.

SA Dave 063We couldn’t have made a better selection. Not only did the restaurant offer a selection of Belgian beers, but it had a wide selection of South African wine. The Green Dragon decided on a Jordan Sauvignon Blanc, while I got a Pinotage.

Due to the strong US dollar, meals were incredible bargains. My beautiful salad with poached egg, bacon and cherry tomatoes cost about $6 US. Wine by the glass was the equivalent of $3 or $4. The food was spectacularly presented and delicious. Meanwhile we had a superb view of the water and the full moon rising behind the clock tower.

DSC_0143The next day we ventured to Cape Point and traveled up the funicular to the lighthouse at what seemed like the edge of the world. Along the way we saw baboon, ostrich, and blesbok (antelope). We also had a stop to visit the penguin colony near Simon’s Town.

That evening was our wedding anniversary. We had scouted a number of restaurants and decided on Sevruga, a rather swanky restaurant with a view of the water and a reputation for excellent seafood. We were fortunate to have Samuel as our server.

SA Dave 060He suggested the starter of crayfish tian with avocado and tomato salsa and baby leaf salad. What an explosion of creamy flavor. His next recommendation was the Kingklip and langoustine with crushed potato and tarragon butter. Kingklip is a local delicacy and langoustine is a type of small lobster. It was heaven on earth. To pair with our meal, we quizzed Samuel on the SA Sauvignon Blanc. Green Dragon likes hers with minerality and some tanginess. He recommended the Iona Sauvignon Blanc from Elgin and this deliciously refreshing white paired perfectly with our seafood.

Iona Sauvignon Blanc

We finished with a chocolate fondant dessert and the anniversary evening was perfect in every way. Since the V&A Waterfront is an active harbor, we were surprised when walking to the restaurant that the bridge that was there the day before was gone. Instead there was a ship in for repairs. Apparently there is a floating walkway that is pulled away by tugboats when that part of the seaport is needed.

Our final day in Cape Town was a bit rainy. We stopped in for breakfast at the Signal, a cool restaurant in the Cape Grace Hotel. Then we paid a visit to the aquarium, which was magnificent.

Still suffering from drizzly weather, we went to the diamond museum, but were disappointed to learn they weren’t giving away free samples. We did see diamond cutters at work, which was fascinating indeed.

Even before we were wheels up in the States, Green Dragon had ID’d Stardust as a “must” for one of our evening meals in Cape Town. After trying to orient myself to driving on the left side of the road and battling through numerous traffic circles the previous day, we decided to take a cab there. Bongani was our driver and he smoothly brought us to Stardust.

SA Dave 070Stardust is not just a restaurant or nightclub, it provides musical theater with the waiters taking the stage to perform. We opted for their signature dish, the tagine dinner. For starters we had an assortment of flat bread and crudité with dipping sauces and cheeses. Then it was on to the savory tagine.

SA Dave 069Tagine is a North African dish which is slowly cooked in an earthenware dish along with spices and fruits. For our dinner we chose chicken, seafood and lamb tagines.

Of course we wanted to pair it with great South African wine. We selected the 2012 Meerlust Estate Pinot Noir from Stellenbosch. Here’s a bit of an oddity. Our waiter delayed serving the Pinot until he could chill it down. Say what? It apparently is common to chill Pinot Noir in Africa, because we would encounter this again. I certainly don’t want warm, wimpy Pinot. But anything beyond a “cellar” temperature chill masks the flavor, in our opinion.

Meerlust 2012 Pinot NoirWe’re glad we had a chance to sample the Meerlust. It was superb. Ripe and flavorful with great perfume on the nose, rich cherry flavor with ruffles of earthiness. I had no idea South Africa had such great Pinot Noir. When we were at Sevruga, Samuel said he had heard there was good Pinot in California, but in his opinion, SA Pinot was better. It certainly was good. We also let Samuel know about Willamette Valley, Oregon, as another standout Pinot location.

This was a spectacular evening, with fun, great music and entertainment, exotic food and excellent wine. As we polished off dessert, I phoned Bongani and he soon whisked us back to our Waterfront Village digs.

How to sum up our visit to Cape Town? I’ve been to many great cities in the US and abroad and now Cape Town is at the top of the list of favorites. It is world class in terms of dining, entertainment, scenery and attractions. With the strong US dollar, the values are incredible – you can enjoy the pinnacle of fine dining for about the cost of a couple dinners at Applebee's.

Cape Town is also surrounded by the Cape Winelands. Our trek to Franschhoek and then Stellenbosch began the next day…

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Tickets Now Available For Indiana’s 5th Annual Uncork the Uplands Wine Event

HuberMark your calendars for the 5th Annual Uncork the Uplands, the signature event of the Indiana Uplands AVA. For one night only on July 25, 2015, wine lovers can enjoy a taste of all nine south-central Indiana Upland Wine Trail wineries against the backdrop of one beautiful location at Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards in Borden, Indiana. 

Uncork the Uplands offers guests the rare opportunity to sample delicious, award-winning wines of all varieties from nine wineries in one place. This year, vino fans can also participate in guided tours of one of Indiana’s largest and oldest vineyards. From vines to orchards, guests can witness some of the many crops growing on Huber’s almost 800-acre farm that have contributed to Indiana’s agritourism for over 150 years. Nationally renowned wine, local cuisine and live music in an idyllic setting are the ingredients that make Uncork the Uplands a perfect summer blend. 

Uncork will offer a limited number of add-on tickets for an exclusive VIP event that will take place in Huber’s Starlight Distillery’s new 20,000 square-foot stillhouse an hour before the main event. VIP tickets include special cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and personal interaction with the winemakers from around the trail. Guests who do not purchase VIP tickets will still have the opportunity to tour the stillhouse during the main event and hear from Huber’s own wine experts about the changing face of Indiana agritourism as they continue to explore the production of spirits. 

The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail is located within the Indiana Uplands American Viticultural Area, a federally recognized grape-growing region established in 2013. The trail wineries include Best Vineyards Winery of Elizabeth; Brown County Winery of Nashville; Butler Winery of Bloomington; French Lick Winery of West Baden Springs; Huber’s Orchard, Winery and Vineyards of Starlight; Oliver Winery of Bloomington; Owen Valley Winery of Spencer, Turtle Run Winery of Corydon and Winzerwald Winery of Bristow.

Uncork the Uplands will take place on July 25, 2015 from 4-7 pm at Huber’s Orchard, Winery & Vineyards located at 19816 Huber Road in Borden, Indiana. Early Bird tickets are $45 (before tax) starting May 1 and $60 (before tax) after July 1. VIP tickets will also be available for $15 (before tax). For more information about the event, please visit UncorktheUplands.com.

Photo Credit: merfam via Compfight cc

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Toledo Area Wine Events & Tastings: May 20-23, 2015

 
Bookmark and Share
Jagon Pinot Noir 2009 Toledo Wines and VinesWednesday, May 20
The Andersons, Sylvania, 6– 8 PM. Wines That Cry Out for Grilled Meat: 1. Gerard Bertrand 2012 Viognier, 2. Tommasi 2012 Masseria Surani Ares Red, 3. Urlo 2013 Red Blend, 4. Ridge 2012 Paso Robles Zinfandel. $9 flight or nominal fee per sample.
 
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 7-8 PM. World of Wine: Umbria. One-hour seminar with a tasting of two or more wines. $15 per person. Seating is limited.

Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463. 5:30 – 7:30 PM. Wednesday Wine Tasting. Come out with friends, have fun, taste good juice! $15 per person.

Thursday, May 21

Andersons, Maumee, Wine Tasting. 5-7 PM. Mid-Spring Wines: 1. 2014 Trumpeter – Rutini Wines – Torrontes – Mendoza, Argentina, 2. 2014 Domaine Andre Neveu – Sancerre – Rose – Sancerre, France, 3. 2014 Chateau De Berne – Impatience – Rose – Cotes de Provence, France, 4. 2012 Cameron Hughes – Cabernet Sauvignon - Lot 502 – Spring Mountain District. $8 flight or nominal fee per sample.


Andersons, Talmadge Road, Wine Tasting. 6-8 PM. Wines for Chillin' and Grillin' – 1. Basa Blanco, 2. Bonny Doon Albarino, 3. Zolo Signature Red, 4. Zuccardi Malbec, 5. San Cristobal, 6. Hobo Dry Creek Zinfandel, 7. Amavi Syrah, 8. Treasure Hunter The Scallywag Red . Nominal fee per sample,

Corks Wine and Liquor, Promenade Plaza, 27250 Crossroads Pkwy., Rossford – (419) 872-6800. 6-9 PM. Special tasting celebrating National Chardonnay Day. Wines from the Wente Family Vineyard will be featured. Special guest: Kevin Boehm from Heidelberg Distributing. Nominal fee per sample.
 
WineTastings-1_thumb1_thumb_thumb_thNoir Fine Wine and Beer, 1616 East Wooster, Bowling Green, 6-9 PM. Nominal fee per sample or priced per flight.

TREO Wine Bar, 5703 Main St., Sylvania, (419) 882-2266. Wine & Cheese Thursday. Explore the wonderful world of wine and cheese. Try four different wines with a sample platter of the day’s cheese.
 
Friday, May 22 
Walt Churchill's Market, 26625 Dixie Hwy, Perrysburg, (419) 872-6900. Wine tasting – 4:00 – 7:00 PM.
 
Toledo Museum of Art, 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Wine by the Glass Pavilion. Cowabunga! U.S. West Coast Wines. Enjoy four wines and light snacks at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion. $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers. Purchase during Museum hours by phone at 419-255-8000 ext. 7448.
 
Saturday, May 23
Walt Churchill’s Market, 3320 Briarfield. Maumee, (419) 794-4000. 12:00 – 5:00 PM. Maggie’s Favorite Wines: In Maggie Smith’s first solo wine tasting as part of the WCM team, she has selected her favorites wines to introduce to everyone. Nominal fee per sample.
 
AREA WINE BARS
  • Veritas Cork and Craft, 505 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo – (419) 214- 9463.
  • Zinful Wine Bar, (419) 878-9463, 7541 Dutch Road, Waterville.
Technorati Tags:  
[Information on tastings can be sent toTWAV@ATT.NET.]

Up & Coming: 
Tuesdays – Weekly wine tasting at Forrester's on the River, 26 Main St. Toledo – (419) 691-2626. 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Five to six unique tastings of wine, that are not found on the menu, along with an assortment of tapas style appetizers to complement the wines.  Tastings are between $10-$15 per person and are held in their wine bar (Paige's Wine Bar).
 

 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

KWV 2013 Concordia White Blend, Western Cape

SA Dave 044During our South African wine trip, our first oh-so-brief stop was Johannesburg. We had started the day at the Detroit airport, flew to Atlanta, and then boarded a 16-hour Delta flight for “Joburg.”

It was a bit disorienting. We touched down in a new continent, new country and had an unhealthy dose of jet lab. After making our way out of OR Tambo Airport we caught a shuttle to Southern Sun hotel. The hotel is on the airport property, so we were there in a flash.

We were delighted to walk into a modern, stylishly decorated hotel. Even more welcome was the table set with complimentary wine! Our first sip of South African wine in its native land came here in the lobby of Southern Sun.

The white wine being offered was KWV 2013 Concordia. In South Africa they call their different tiers of wine “ranges.” The Concordia range, which includes a red and white blend, is designed to be an easy drinking, accessible wine.

It is a blend of 60% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Chenin Blanc. I had previously believed that Chenin Blanc was the signature white grape in the country, but I was extremely impressed with the Sauvignon Blanc we tasted.

KWV dates back to 1918 when it was founded as a wine cooperative. In 1997 it converted from a cooperative to a company structure.

Concordia, although not a premium wine, had luscious flavors of green apple and lime with acidity to give it a nice structure. After our marathon flight from the US, this wine washed away the road weariness in refreshing fashion.

Monday, May 18, 2015

South Africa: We Go On Safari For Big Game And Big Wine

DSC_0293

We’ve just returned – did you miss us? We’ve been in Africa for two weeks enjoying the wine, scenery, wildlife and people of South Africa.

During our trip we sampled the cuisine and scenery of Cape Town, visited more than a dozen wineries and went into the bush on safari at a tented camp. It was exciting, energizing and, at times, exhausting (but only due to the extraordinarily long travel times). We’ll share it all during a series of posts in the coming days and weeks.

SA Dave 041Like many good things, the idea for this trip originated with my wife, the Green Dragon. We wanted a monumental way to celebrate our wedding anniversary (now measured in decades rather than mere years) and she wanted to go on safari in Africa. One does not merely board a plane and plop down on the African continent without proper planning, so that began a bout of research.

We are “do-it-yourselfers” for better or worse, and prefer to free-style on our trips rather than be part of an organized tour. We did enlist the help of Imagine Africa, a British travel agency, to make lodging reservations, book in-country flights, select the safari camp and reserve rental cars. We found them to be quite good and the only surprises were pleasant ones.

Our trip had three segments: a stay in Cape Town to enjoy that great city and explore the Southern Cape, visits to the Winelands of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, and three days on safari at a private reserve near Kruger National Park. South Africa was appealing to us for several reasons:

  • South Africa is the most tourist friendly country in Africa (Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015) and is in the top 50 nations worldwide.
  • We could take a direct flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg on Delta (of course is is incredibly long – 16 hours!).
  • No visas are required for US citizens.
  • No inoculations are required for those coming directly from the US. (We did get prescriptions for malaria pills and I also got shots for Hepatitis A and typhoid as this was recommended by the US Center for Disease Control.)
  • The exchange rate is extremely favorable to the US dollar. During our visit the the South African Rand was worth about eight and a half cents. In terms of dining, wine purchases and other spending, the value we received was amazing.
  • English is widely spoken.

From a wine perspective, South Africa is the eighth largest wine-producing country in the world. There are about 600 wineries in the country and premium wines that are rarely exported to the US. While researching South Africa for our trip, I zeroed in on Stellenbosch and Franschhoek as two superb wine areas for exploration.

DSC_0282

Before leaving, we ordered 4000R (4,000 South African Rand) for spending cash. This is equal to about $330. We used our American Express card in most situations since it doesn’t charge a foreign currency transaction fee. Contrary to what I’d been told, it was accepted most everywhere. However, gas (or petrol as they say) is strictly a cash situation. It is also helpful to have rand available for tipping purposes. 20 rand is a good general purpose tip. A suggestion regarding cash: keep your stash in a safe place and only keep a small amount of bills in your wallet or purse. I also removed all unnecessary credit cards, insurance cards, etc. from my wallet and left them at home.

In general, the lighter you can keep your luggage, the better. Unless you can’t live without it, leave it at home. Green Dragon also came up with a very unusual travel tip that we used. Most of the clothes we took with us were items we planned to discard or donate to Goodwill. When we were through with them, we left them behind with a note saying we no longer wanted them and saying we hoped they would find a good home. As the clothes disappeared, they were replaced with bottles of wine in our suitcases. We had brought bubble wrap bags to store them for the flight home. We checked those two suitcases and were able to stay within the weight limit despite bringing back 11 bottles of vino.

SA Dave 084I’ll wrap up with a couple of closing suggestions for wine travelers to South Africa. First, you should have a working cell phone for safety and convenience. I thought I would handle this by getting a SIM card for my Verizon Samsung Galaxy phone. However, it turns out that option is locked by Verizon. So instead I bought a cheap “dumb” phone with 100 minutes of airtime for about $40 US. This enabled us to call for taxis, call wineries for appointments and make dinner reservations.

For calls back to the US, I used Skype, purchasing Skype credit that enables you to make calls over the internet to cell phones or  land lines in the states for a really nominal charge. The sound clarity was fantastic. We had our smartphones for photos, web surfing, etc. But we kept them in “airplane” mode so we didn’t get hit with massive data charges. We were still able to use the internet via Wi-Fi.

Electricity in South Africa is wonky. First, you’ll need a power converter, because most outlets are an assortment of holes, slots and switches that are alien to anyone used to US outlets. We brought what we thought was a set of universal adaptors, but they didn’t work and I had to purchase one in Johannesburg for about $15 US. The national power company also has a policy of “load shedding” this means scheduled blackouts to ensure power demand doesn’t overwhelm the system.

So there you have some background on our adventure. In my next installment we’ll touchdown in South Africa and begin sampling their wines.

Cheers!

Technorati Tags: ,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Should You Smell Your Wine Cork?


Bookmark and Share We're out exploring the globe looking for awesome wine. Please enjoy this post from our vault of "greatest hits."


When enjoying a nice bottle of wine at a restaurant, your server will first show you the bottle of wine so that you can confirm that this is indeed the bottle you ordered, and then open the bottle and present you with the cork. What, you may wonder, are you supposed to do with it?christmas wine 019

There is no need – and no point – in smelling the cork. Instead, you should quickly study it. If the wine has been properly stored on its side you’ll note that the end of the cork will be damp, and in the case of red wine, dark with the color of the wine. This is what you should find. If a wine is stored upright, the cork may dry out. This can lead to the cork not being removed intact or crumbling, which could mean you’ll be getting cork residue in your bottle.

If a cork has dried out, it is possible that it hasn’t given your wine the seal of protection for which it was designed. When you try your initial taste, you can determine if the wine has spoiled.

In short, when presented with the cork, give it a quick once-over. Unless it is dried out and crumbling, give a knowing nod of approval and prepare to sample your selected wine. Don’t be a “cork dork” by attempting to savor the aroma of a cork.


Technorati Tags:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Artificial Ice Wine? No Thanks, I'd Rather Freeze


Bookmark and Share While we explore the globe tracking down great wine, please enjoy this post from our archives.


Margarine. Turkey bacon. Sugar substitute. Reduced fat ice cream.


Bottle of 2006 inniskilin Ice Wine, VQA Niagar...Image via Wikipedia
Enough already!

The latest assault on real food is artificial ice wine. I must declare up front that I'm not a big fan of sweet wines. However, there is something elegant and special about ice wine.

Ice wine is made from grapes that are allowed to freeze on the vine. Timing is everything with the production of this delecacy. Across Ohio, Michigan and Ontario hearty bands of winery workers and volunteers help harvest the grapes that are used in the production of one of the most expensive dessert wines.

Making ice wine is a risky proposition bevcause a slight variation in temerpature can doom an entire crop. If a winemaker is successful, the ice wine is like liquid gold. The wine is typically sold in half bottles and can range from $35 to more than $75.

According to a recent Associated Press story, some winemakers are now harvesting the grapes earlier in the fall and simulating winter conditions in a freezer. This, they say, allows for a lower price product and one that is more consistent. Others are aghast.

A good quality Riesling ice wine from New York can cost $75 to $100, while the artificial version would run about $50.

I was surprised to learn that Glenora Wine Cellars, an awesome  Finger Lakes winery, offers an artificial ice wine (for $18). One of the coolest things about ice wine is that some poor soul had to go out at 5 AM into a frozen vineyard and harvest the grapes which then have to be pressed while still frozen. I love the whole terroir aspect of wine. You can actually taste the sun, wind, soil and the care of the winemaker as you sip a glass of wine from a particular area, say Walla Walla Washington. What can you say about artificial ice wine? "Wow, they did an awesome job adjusting the temperature of the freezer?"

This is like an artificial pearl. It might still glimmer, but it doesn't have the same soul as the treasure that is formed through the forces of nature. The natural process allows for variations in the temperature and differences in grapes in the cluster. We're talking about complexity versus a standardized commodity.

Ice wine is also a specialty of our region. If we have to put up with unbearably cold winters and seemingly unending steel-gray skies, at least we can get some recognition and enjoyment from ice wine. I don't want to walk into Giant Eagle one day and see the shelves stocked with mass produced ice wine from Modesto.

Technorati Tags: ,


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Catena 2011 High Altitude Mountain Vines, Mendoza

Catena Malbec

It happens to the best of us. You and friends are enjoying the evening. You select a wine and start sipping – but the wine doesn’t quite cut it.

That happened about a week ago. The Green Dragon can start breathing fire if she doesn’t have good wine around the fire pit. She called a technical foul on my first wine selection so I ran down to the cellar and grabbed a bottle of 2011 Malbec from Bodega Catena Zapata.

This is a reliable wine that never fails to please in just about any situation. It came through again for me.

The wine is made with grapes from four different high altitude wineries. It is a deep violet color with wafting aroma of berry and plum.

It is a fresh wine with plenty of fruit-driven flavor. On the tongue it is lush and full. In addition to the red and black fruit flavors, it adds some harmonious spice notes.

For about $20, it is a classic Mendoza Malbec that delivers on taste and value.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Mas de Daumas Gassac 2011 Vin de Pays de l'Hérault Grand Reserve de Gassac

Gassac Reserve

Languedoc is a huge region in the southern part of France that borders the Mediterranean. The area produces a third of French wine. The reputation has not always been stellar, but winemakers are working to build the quality and esteem of Languedoc.

This red Languedoc is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 30% Syrah. It comes from the Gassac area, where Saint Benedict of Aniane planted the first vineyard in 780 AD. The underground cold water springs, surrounding mountains and Ice Age scree give the area a unique microclimate.

The approach is soft with the Daumas Gassac. The flavors are rich but not bold. The tannins leave a bit to be desired as the wine’s structure is a bit loose. However, it is a winning wine with a sunny outlook that pairs well with a variety of food.

I’m not sure what qualifies this as a Grand Reserve. According to the bottle notes, the grapes are manually harvested from the best vineyard blocks and the 2011 vintage in l’Herault was reportedly good. When enjoyed with friends, it’s an enjoyable wine, but not a pyrotechnic display of winemaking brilliance.

I can’t criticize. I paid $10 to my friend Dr. J for the bottle. You can expect to pay less than $15 for it in the store. It’s worth a sip.

Rating: 2.5 of 5  Value: 3 of 5

Technorati Tags: ,,

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sinclair Vineyards 2011 Stone Tree Vineyard Syrah, Wahluke Slope

Sinclair Stone Tree

I returned recently from a wonderful trip to Washington State. My time was filled with wine, outstanding food and, yes, some business as well.

Back in town, we were hosted by TWAV Tasting Team members Glorious T and the Cabinator. While Glorious T did most of the serious work preparing a spread of delicious food, the Cabinator did his part too. He uncorked this stupendous wine from Sinclair Estate Vineyards, a leading Washington winery.

Wahluke Slope is an AVA within the very large Columbia Valley appellation. It has one of the warmest and driest climates in Washington. There must be some, but I’ve never had a bad wine from Wahluke Slope.

This Syrah is from the Stone Tree Vineyard and only five barrels of this wine were produced. This prompted a lot of smart phone maneuvering, which eventually showed that each barrel results in around 300 bottles, meaning this was a limited production wine of about 1,500 bottles. However, we prefer to think of this as a five-barrel wine, with each barrel lovingly pampered to produce an exceptional wine.

Stone Tree Vineyard is a vineyard sought after by Washington wineries for some of their best Merlot, Syrah and Cab. This wine has a deep, rich body that coats the tongue. The flavor has blackberry and savory notes. It is everything that a Syrah should be. This one tends toward the opulent, dark fruit flavors and it crescendos to a lingering finish.

Based on this delicious bottle, I’m ready to finish off the rest of the barrel!