Lauren Ashton New Releases!

 

I discovered Lauren Ashton Cellars while living in Washington state.  My husband, Joe, attended the Northwest Wine Academy and was in a class with Riinu Rammal who co-owns Lauren Ashton Cellars with her husband, Kit Singh.  A few weeks later, Joe and I topped off a date day with a visit to Lauren Ashton‘s tasting room in the Hollywood District of Woodinville where we became hooked on these fantastic wines.  Lauren Ashton focuses on traditional French style wines that reflect Washington terroir.  They have just released two pretty fabulous wines that I am delighted to share with you:

 

Cuvée Méline

 

A Bordeaux style white wine made up of 55% Semillon and 45% Sauvignon Blanc fermented like a white wine should, low and slow, in stainless steel tanks and neutral barrels.  Cuvée Méline shows a purposeful balance between high acidity and lushness with green apple, grapefruit, peach and green melon followed by an intriguing suggestion of fresh bread.  I paired this wine with sweet potato gnocchi and it was a cohesive, delicious duo.

 

Cuvée Arlette

Also Bordeaux inspired, from the Right Bank with a Merlot predominance, is Cuvée Arlette .  A blend of 59% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and a token of Malbec and Petit Verdot.  Cuvée Arlette is a dignified wine with aromas of dark fruits, spices and earthy minerals.  On the palate, flavors of black raspberry, black currant and black cherry with a sway to perfectly roasted coffee beans, warm baking spices and clay pot.  The finish lingers on the palate providing an elegant, pleasing culmination.

 

Bonus Review ~ Chenin Blanc

For the first time ever, Lauren Ashton has released a Chenin Blanc.  The wine is whole cluster pressed resulting in a high quality, refreshing wine with crisp acidity.  The aroma is fruity with a hint of mango and flavors of ripe Bartlett pear, yellow apple, and pineapple with undertones of honey and chalk.  I tasted this little lovely in the morning before eating, which I admit, is something I do often while my palate is most attentive.  It would pair well with Asian food or simple chicken and fish dishes.

Whether you are looking to stock a cellar, enjoy a bottle or two in the next few months, or polish off immediately, these are excellent wines worth considering.  Lauren Ashton distributes to many states as well as ships to any state without restrictions.  To order Lauren Ashton wines, click here.

 

 

As wineries occasionally do, Lauren Ashton sent the above wines to me.  I only promote wines I thoroughly enjoy since my name is essentially on them at the point of promotion.  As I state in my bio, "I am here to inspire you to treat yourself to great wine experiences as often as you possibly can!"  I recommend wines that, in my opinion, can create great wine experiences.

 

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Charles Smith Wines Jet City

Charles Smith Wines Tasting Room, Jet City

I cannot believe it’s been almost a year since my husband and I visited Charles Smith Wines Jet City. The winery and tasting room, formerly a Dr. Pepper bottling plant, is in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle with views of Boeing Field’s main runways and Mount Rainier.

Pulling up to the massive, black building with windows nearly two stories high was quite impressive. Even more impressive was the monstrosity of a front door that mirrored the colossal height of the windows. This state-of-the-art facility is the largest urban winery on the West Coast and a very cool place to do some wine tasting.

Human is 5’10″…Door is Ginormous

A little background…Charles Smith opened his first winery in 1999 in Walla Walla. With his convivial, avant-garde style, Charles continues to be a positive force in the wine industry. In Washington, Charles Smith is the largest independent producer, the largest winemaker-owned winery and third largest winery overall. Charles Smith has won numerous accolades, including “Best New Wineries of the Last Ten Years,” “Winery of the Year,” and “Winemaker of the Year” three times, most recently in 2014 by Wine Enthusiast.

Now back to Jet City…I tasted wines from the K Vintners and Sixto labels. K Vintners is the name of Charles Smith’s first winery, which had its inaugural release in 2001 with K Syrah. All of the wines under this label are picked by hand, foot-stomped, fermented using naturally occurring yeasts and basket pressed. The Sixto label is a chardonnay only label from Charles Smith and Brennon Leighton rejuvenating interest in Washington’s old chardonnay vines.  It is the sixth label that Charles has created.  I took home two bottles from my tasting, the Motor City Kitty Syrah (100% Syrah, Yakima Valley) and the Stoneridge Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley).

If you find yourself in Seattle, you should really check this place out. The tasting room is open Wednesday thru Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm and is located at 1136 S. Albro Place, Seattle WA 98109.

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Well Hello Kiona Lemberger!

kionalemberger

It was a great day when the subdivision welcome committee came to our home a few weeks after we moved to the Pacific Northwest for three reasons: (1) the “committee” was a lovely couple who quickly became our friends; (2) they showed up with Camano Island Coffee (seriously good coffee); and (3) they told us about Kiona Vineyards Lemberger (seriously good wine).

Kiona Vineyards and Winery was established in 1975 in the Red Mountain AVA (American Viticultural Area) of Washington and has over 200 acres of vineyards. Kiona (pronounced Kigh-Oh-Na, meaning brown hills) produces approximately 30,000 cases of wine annually utilizing “environmental stewardship” in both the vineyards and cellar.

Lemberger (not to be confused with Limburger, the stinky cheese) is an obscure varietal hailing from Austria where it is known as “blaufränkisch.” Kiona Vineyards led the way in determining this varietal to be well suited to Washington’s climate and produced the first Lemberger wine in the United States in 1980. The Lemberger grape produces a delightful, medium bodied wine exhibiting red fruit, especially red cherry, with a good balance of earthiness and spice. Kiona refers to their Lemberger as “Pinot Noir on steroids” which is a great description because it has more guts than Pinot Noir, can be enjoyed by itself and has the ability of a Barbera or a blend to pair with a ton of different foods.

Kiona Vineyards has received numerous accolades for its wine and in particular, Lemberger. Wine Enthusiast gave Kiona’s 2012 Lemberger 90 points stating it’s flavor is “built upon chocolate and cherries with dusty tannins.” I have yet to try a Kiona wine I don’t like. In fact, I’ve been known to buy their wine by the case and their Lemberger is a staple in my home.  I’m not a spokesperson for them, I  just want you to drink good wine!  Look for Kiona in your local wine shop or order online, you will not be disappointed.

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