Summer of Rosé: 2013 Hyatt Vineyards Black Muscat

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

2013 Hyatt Black Muscat
2013 Hyatt Black Muscat

I have a sentimental connection to this wine. This wine is what started my love affair with Washington Wine when I was a rookie wine drinker…hell, a rookie drinker period. I was barely 21 when I was introduced to this wine.

Hyatt Vineyards is located in the town of Zillah, which is in the heart of the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. The Rattlesnake Hills were granted AVA status in 2006. The Rattlesnake Hills AVA is known for being higher elevation and enjoy more heat units, which assist in the ripening, than the rest of the Yakima Valley.

Oh, and the view from the property doesn’t suck either!

The view from Hyatt Vineyards Tasting Room
The view from Hyatt Vineyards Tasting Room

The nose on the 2013 Hyatt Vineyards Black Muscat is intriguing. Notes of red fruit and grapefruit draw you in. The palate introduces hints of sweet strawberry on the tip of your tongue and hints of tart grapefruit on the back. This makes for such a delightful experience that you would never guess that the residual sugar on this is 4%! So yes, this is off-dry, but the hints of grapefruit bring a tart, acidic bite to this wine.

For food pairings, I would stay in line with the recommendations from the winery, which is soft cheeses and crackers. Personally, I’d do a comparative pairing with goat cheese drizzled with honey and a triple cream Brie with neutral crackers.

The winery suggests a price of $10 for this wine, so it won’t break the bank. If you’re not familiar with Washington Wine, or you want to learn

Summer of Rosé: 2014 Anew Rosé

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

2014 Anew Rosé
2014 Anew Rosé

Anew Wines is produced by Washington’s powerhouse Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, which is best known through their Chateau Ste. Michelle label. Anew launched in 2013 with a Riesling, but quickly expanded to include a Pinot Grigio and Rosé. (source). These wines are marketed towards the female market and, in all honesty, I can see why.

Maybe it’s because my palate is accustomed a different definition of dry, but the “dry” Rosé that is marketed by Anew is not up my alley. This surprises me, as the Rosé is constructed from two of my favorite grapes for Rosé: Syrah and Sangiovese. The nose is very welcoming, greeting you with strawberries and watermelon. The palate has sweet peach and the strawberries carry through. There is a nice acidic note to the wine, but there’s a lingering sweetness that struck me in an odd manner. While I wouldn’t classify this as “off-dry”, I certainly would say it was bone dry, either.

Personally, if offered this as an option, I would seek out something else. While it would most likely be acceptable for most, it doesn’t hold a candle to what else I know is available at around this same price point ($12 MSRP). If you feel as though this is up your alley, I would recommend pairing a summer pasta primavera or a grilled, lighter fish with this. My opinion is if you were pair something heartier, like salmon, with this, it would be a battle for supremacy instead of complementing the meal.

I purchased this at my local grocery store, but you can also purchase online if you can’t find it.

Summer of Rosé: 2014 Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

2014 Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir
2014 Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir

For over fifty years, Rodney Strong Vineyards has been associated with world-class wines. After retiring from dancing in 1959, founder Rod Strong said, “I knew I couldn’t be an old dancer, but I could be an old winemaker,” (Source) when asked about his second career. It was also in that year that he married his dancing partner, Charlotte Winson. They moved to Northern California, bought an old boarding house and began making wine. Rod made the wine, which was purchased in bulk, then blended and bottled it to his liking in the cellar, while Charlotte ran the tasting room on the ground floor. After growing Rodney Strong Vineyards for 30 years, Rod Strong sold the winery to the Klein family. The purchase by the Klein family brought new innovations and techniques. The continued growth under the control of the Klein family has made Rodney Strong not only a known name in the wine market, but a respected one at that.

For anyone who is from Clark County, WA and is reading this, I have a tidbit of knowledge for you. Did you know that Rod Strong was born here in our beautiful county? He was born in Camas! At least for me, this is a reason to drink even more Rodney Strong wines. You may ask, “Is Alina’s thought process on this completely twisted?” Most likely, but here’s my reasoning: even though this is a California wine, there are still roots connecting the winery to Clark County, so I still consider them to be “local” because their founder is one of us. And admit it…we all have a soft spot for our locals who have done something amazing, even if they haven’t lived here in decades. This area will forever be known as their hometown. In Rod Strong’s case, his hometown was Camas, therefore, he was a local. While he didn’t grow his empire here in the county, the roots of his legacy still lead back to the SW Washington region. And that is what matters…where do the roots lead you to?

…okay…now back to the wine…

When I saw that Rodney Strong Vineyards had released their rosé via a Facebook post, I immediately made a mental note to snag a bottle. Why? Every once in a while, I need to step outside of my comfort zone. I know, I know…I sing the praises of Oregon and Washington wines. I’m from the Portland area. I kinda have to. I consider it my duty. But we all have those moments where we have to deviate from our paths.

This was a definite step outside of what’s familiar to me with regards to Pinot Noir, but it’s also very reminiscent to what I’m used to. On the nose, there’s a bountiful amount of cherries (familiar), but there are also faint hints of peaches (unfamiliar). The palate brings a bright acidity and tart strawberries. The acidity is offset on the finish with sweetness from rose petals. The balance of acidity and sweetness makes this a great food wine. I’d honestly pair this Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir with anything that I’d pair an Oregon Rosé of Pinot Noir with. Salmon. BBQ fare. Heck, I’d even toss it in as a ringer in a blind tasting, just to see if anyone could detect a difference!

Add this to your collection. I know that I will be purchasing more before the summer is over.

To purchase, click here.

Summer of Rosé: M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé
M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. It looks as though our flight to Lyon is going to be smooth sailing. The flight attendants tell me that there are some wonderful wines from the Rhône region, so sit back and enjoy.”

If you’re looking for the perfect wine to pair with the heavenly-being-of-your-choice-awful hot day, then this is it. The M. Chapoutier Belleruche Côtes-du-Rhône Rosé is one that should be in your summer repertoire. This wine is widely available but it drinks as if it was a small production wine. I picked this wine up for $11.99 at my local Target. Seriously. If you are of the mindset that mass retailers such as Target only have critter wines, please, do me a favor…take five minutes and peruse the wine aisle the next time you’re there to pick up frickin’ toilet paper (because honestly, who hasn’t gone to Target for a TP run????). You will be pleasantly surprised that there are a few gems in those big box stores. The M. Chapoutier is one of those gems.

A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, this is a visually pleasing wine. It’s pale salmon hue intrigues, while the elegant label makes you think you’re getting something at a much higher price point. On the nose, there are notes of currant, raspberries and tart cherries. The notes from the nose carry through to the palate and there is a pleasing, puckering acidity on the back palate that leaves you wanting more.

The food recommendations for this wine are endless. From roast chicken with herbs to barbecue…this wine is versatile, won’t break the bank and well worth seeking out.

Summer of Rosé: 2014 Blakeslee Rosé of Pinot Noir

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

2014 Blakeslee Rosé of Pinot Noir
2014 Blakeslee Rosé of Pinot Noir

For the next installment, I decided that I’d venture into Oregon’s famed Willamette Valley and feature one of my favorite Willamette Valley wineries. Located in the Chehalem Mountains, between the towns of Sherwood and Newberg, Blakeslee Vineyard‘s beautiful grounds overlook the eastern portion of the Willamette Valley. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Hood from their parking lot.

Bill and Sheila Blakeslee purchased the former Quail’s Hill Vineyard in 2005, with the intent of being growers. Their first vintage in 2006 was unintentional, resulting from a trade with another winery of fruit for bottled wine. In 2010, they brought on winemaker Robert Brittan. 2011 brought Bill’s retirement from the corporate world, where he had made many connections with various wineries in the Willamette Valley. In 2013, Blakeslee Vineyard opened their tasting room, after determining that their first vintages were ready to be presented to the public.

This beautiful Rosé of Pinot Noir is a treat. With cherries and strawberries on the nose, you’re drawn into this wine from the start. The cherries carry through on the palate, and are offset with great acidity and the slightest hint of sweetness at the end. I would honestly not pair this with food, even though it certainly could go with just about anything you serve. For me, the perfect pairing on this is a pleasant evening on your back porch with good friends and good laughs.

This Rosé is not available on the website, but I recommend calling the tasting room at 503-625-6902 and seeing if you can procure some of this fantastic example of a Willamette Valley Rosé.

Zomato? What’s that? ~*~*~New App Alert for the Foodies~*~*~

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the Portland Community Engagement Lead for Zomato and learn about this new and exciting app for our mobile devices. What is Zomato, you ask? Are you familiar with Urbanspoon? Well, as of January 2015, Urbanspoon became part of the Zomato family, and as of June 2015, the Urbanspoon brand was transitioned the new Zomato brand.

The only thing that is missing from Zomato is Urbanspoon’s famous “shake-to-search” feature. For those of you unfamiliar with Urbanspoon, if you were feeling lucky, you could log in to Urbanspoon, shake your mobile device and let the rules of probability guide your chosen meal. It would come up with cuisine (for example, “American”), a place (for example, “Burger King”) and price (for example, “$”, meaning affordable). Zomato chose to do away with that option when they acquired Urbanspoon, instead focusing more on your location. Personally, I love the location feature, as I can be picky when it comes to cuisine (yes, I’m admitting that I’m a picky foodie!). By removing the shake-to-search feature, if I’m not feeling like a specific cuisine that’s recommended, I can continue to scroll through and not look like a dork shaking my phone to find what suits my fancy at that point.

Where Zomato took away the popular feature, “shake-to-search”, they replaced with not only the comprehensive location option, but the collections feature. Looking for a great wine bar? Look in the collections feature under “Wine Bars”! Looking for a celebrity chef’s establishment? Again, look in the collections feature under “Celebrity Chefs”! Feeling like Pizza? Look under the “Upper Crust” collection! From gluten-free to Vegan and sushi to brunch, Zomato has what you’re looking for.

If you’re thinking, “Oh geez. Another fly-by-night app that’s not going to have all the information I need,” have no fear. Zomato’s employees walk every street, talking with every restaurant and bar owner to find out the most recent menu, most accurate contact information and hours of operation. If they haven’t found your favorite place yet, contact them!

Send a blogger to Blogger Camp! A plea…

How many times have you ever looked at a conference registration fee, airfare and hotel costs and went, “Damn. I can’t afford that!” and turned down the opportunity to go?

How many times have you ever attended a conference and went, “Damn! I wish there was a way for more people to enjoy and experience this conference!”

Well, the Wine Bloggers Conference has a remedy for both of those questions. While applications for the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship have closed, there’s still a need for donations!

Right now, we have a challenge from Amy Gross, CEO of Wine 4 Me. If $500 is raised via donations from generous folks like yourself, she will donate $500 to the scholarship fund! Here’s the details on the #MakeThemPay Donation Challenge. So please, find even an extra $5 and donate! Every little bit helps in sending a wine blogger to what we affectionately call Blogger Camp.

UPDATE: As of 7/3, we EXCEEDED the #makethempay donation challenge, but we still need your help! CLICKY CLICK HERE!

The view from one of the wine country excursion dinners at last years WBC in Santa Barbara.
The view from one of the wine country excursion dinners at last years WBC in Santa Barbara.

About the WBC Scholarship

Established in 2009, the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship provides wine bloggers an opportunity to attend the Conference. Conference participants get to enjoy a weekend in a beautiful place, make fantastic connections with bloggers and industry insiders, all while enhancing their personal brand awareness levels.

Unfortunately, there are people who can’t afford to the costs associated with the conference. These individuals are called citizen bloggers. Recipients of the scholarship are not affiliated with a winery or other company within the wine industry, thus their title as a citizen blogger. Attention is given to citizen bloggers who’ve never attended the conference, who post wine-related content regularly, are established and who have an interest in furthering their knowledge of wine and wine regions through some form of a collegiate level program relating to wine (i.e. graduate or undergraduate degrees with an emphasis on the wine industry, such as wine/hospitality business management, viticulture or enology).

During the application process, prospective recipients are asked to describe their blog, their financial need pertaining to the conference and why they feel they are deserving of sponsorship. A committee of established wine bloggers then selects the recipients based on the criteria listed.

Anyone can be an individual donor for any amount they wish and they will be rewarded with two ribbons to place on their conference badge (if they attend the conference, that is). Thanks to a partnership through Enobytes.com, the Scholarship fund is able to be recognized as a US-based 501(c) non-profit, your donation is tax free (upon consultation with your tax professional, of course).

Corporate sponsors are always welcome as well. For more information on being a corporate sponsor and the benefits associated with corporate sponsorship, please reach out to Scholarship Co-Founder Thea Dwelle at info@wbcscholarship.com.

Congratulations to the following scholarship recipients (as of 7/23/2015):

Rodney Strong Vineyards Wine Blogger Scholarship: Matt McGinnis of What Are You Drinking.

WBC Scholarship Recipient: Christine Havens of Christine Havens

WBC Scholarship Recipient: My’Khael Wilson of Purveyor of Happiness

WBC Scholarship Recipient: Justin Koury of The Grapevine Consulting

WBC Scholarship Recipient: Melissa Cook of Melissa Kaylene is Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Ethnifacts Diversity in Wine Writing Scholarship Recipient: Regine Rousseau of Shall We Wine

Other recipients, TBA. This post will be updated and rebroadcast via social media with updates.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Wine Bloggers Conference Scholarship Fund committee.

5 Tips for Surviving the Wine Bloggers Conference

The annual Wine Bloggers Conference is just around the corner. This year, we will be in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York. For all of you veterans of the WBC, you may be familiar with this advice, so pay me no mind. Newbies, take note.

This is my 4th conference. EEEEK! Has it really been that long since I was a wet-behind-the-ears rookie in my own backyard of PDX? Wow. Time flies.

TIP #1
The Wine Bloggers Conference is honestly the best conference for citizen bloggers to connect with industry insiders. You will connect with some great folks who are within the industry. From PR reps (both independent and attached to wineries) to winemakers to owners, you will be talking, eating and drinking with them.

If you’re going to be doing all this great networking, why not bring business cards? I know, it sounds old and dated, but how else are going to remember everyone’s name and contact information?

My business card.  It's simple, yet effective.
My business card. It’s simple, yet effective.

And don’t throw those cards away, either. I have a binder that I picked up and have business card inserts for. I pick cards up in tasting rooms, at festivals, media events and *especially* WBC. Having those cards at the ready is a good thing! If you’re planning a trip and you know you’ll be in the area of a particular winery, why not reach out to the contact you made at WBC (or any other event) and at least let them know you’ll be in the area and would like to visit.

Just a few of the cards I've collected over the years
Just a few of the cards I’ve collected over the years.
More of the cards I've collected.  Some WBC contacts/connections, while others aren't.
More of the cards I’ve collected. Some WBC contacts/connections, while others aren’t.
Other bloggers cards!  Exchange your cards with other bloggers, too!  We all read each other's stuff.
Other bloggers cards! Exchange your cards with other bloggers, too! We all read each other’s stuff.

TIP #2

Don’t be offended if you don’t get invited to an after-party or side tasting. This is something that comes with time and networking. Last year in Santa Barbara, the best party I went to was one that I heard of via word of mouth. So keep an ear to the ground. Also, watch the #wbc15 hashtag. Seriously. There will be announcements.

Rosé at one of the after parties in Santa Barbara.
Rosé at one of the after parties in Santa Barbara.

TIP #3

Technology. Bring it. Have your chargers, extra memory cards, etc. with you, too. ‘Nuff said.

Technology...wine...what's not to love?
Technology…wine…what’s not to love?

TIP #4

This should be a given, but hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! There is going to be a lot of wine and we need to remember that while this is a fun conference, it is still somewhere that we’re representing our own personal brands. Also, spitting during the speed tastings is essential. You have 5 minutes to taste, evaluate, learn and tweet/blog about a wine. 10 wines. One hour. Yeah. It’s hard, but necessary to maintain composure.

The craziness that is Live Wine Blogging.  Notice the concentration levels.
The craziness that is Live Wine Blogging. Notice the concentration levels.

TIP #5

Have FUN! This conference is designed for us to learn about a new region, meet others and enjoy. Find a random dart board at a winery and play a quick game. Find out if someone has Cards Against Humanity and join in on some hilarious, twisted, wretched minds. Make friends from different walks of life than your own.

Enjoying the dart board at Pres'quile Winery during WBC '14.
Enjoying the dart board at Pres’quile Winery during WBC ’14.

Disclosure: In exchange for a reduced rate to the Wine Bloggers Conference, attendees are required to write at least three blog posts about the conference either before, during or after.

One Girl, One Glass in the Kitchen: Compound Butter

This is all you need for compound butter.

Compound butter is one of those things that sounds daunting to make, but it really easy.  Seriously.  All you need is a butter, some herbs and/or vegetables and some additional seasonings (if you so wish).  Oh, and either a really good mixer or food processor.

My favorite compound butter to make is a Rosemary/Sage/Thyme and Shallot blend.

This is all you need for compound butter.
This is all you need for compound butter.

To make my compound butter, I use my Nutri-Ninja | Ninja Blender Duo with Auto-IQ and the optional food processor attachment.

Ninja with Auto-IQ technology and the optional food processor attachment.
Ninja with Auto-IQ technology and the optional food processor attachment.

The powerful 1300 watt motor on the Ninja makes crafting compound butter a breeze!  Especially if you forget to take the butter out of the fridge to let it soften (true story).  In just a few pulses, your compound butter is ready to go on to whatever dish you like.  I personally love putting an herbed compound butter on salmon and letting it melt as it bakes.

Disclaimer: The Nutri-Ninja | Ninja Blender Duo with Auto IQ was provided to me for review purposes from the manufacturer.

Easy Compound Butter
A quick and easy compound butter
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Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 stick of butter
  2. 1 package of poultry blend herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
  3. 1 shallot
  4. salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until combined.
Notes
  1. You can add any herbs or veggies you would like. The opportunities on compound butter are endless!
One Girl, One Glass, One World http://www.onegirloneglassoneworld.com/

 

 

 

  

Summer of Rosé: Charles & Charles Rosé

“Summer of what?” You ask. Rosé. Duh. My goal is to provide you, my dear readers, with a new rosé to seek out and try. Hence, the title…Summer of Rosé.

I will forewarn you, some of the wines are only available through the tasting rooms. I will do my best to provide you with the information necessary to order these wines.

The 2014 vintage continued a trend in Washington for warmer vintages. Mid-summer brought on blazing high temperatures that led to early ripening. By mid-September, it had cooled off, so the ripening process slowed. With the ripening process slowed, the flavor profiles are allowed to develop into the intense, luscious fruit that Washington is known for. The 2014 Charles & Charles Rosé shows just how seductive Washington wines can be.

Charles & Charles has an interesting backstory. In July of 2008, Charles Bieler called Charles Smith with a proposition. That proposition was to make world class rosé in the Columbia Valley. Bieler felt as though Smith was the best winemaker in the state and wanted to, at the very least, consult with him on this endeavor and meet growers that they felt were able to provide them with fantastic grapes. Once they realized that the Columbia Valley as a whole was producing outstanding fruit, they expanded the project to include a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2014, they added a Riesling to their lineup, according to their site. For more information on their backstory, go here.

2014 Charles & Charles Rosé
2014 Charles & Charles Rosé

This rosé is a blend of 72% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Grenache, 3% Cinsault, 3% Counoise. On the nose, there’s tart red berries that intermingle with hints of wet stone minerality and citrus. The tart red berries carry through to the palate, adding a burst of cherry along the way. On the back palate, the minerality and citrus linger, making the finish quite delightful. I would pair this with a lovely summer evening, a firepit and some good laughs. This wine is so approachable that food isn’t necessary. If you feel like adding food, I would recommend pairing this with your preferred chicken or salmon recipe.

Known for their motto, “You can still drink rosé and be a bad ass,” Charles & Charles introduces one to an exquisite Washington wine experience without the exquisite prices. A quick perusal of their online store shows that the MSRP on all their wines is $14. You can often find the rosé for around $10 in your local grocery store, though.