Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Washington Sparkling in Washington D.C.

The President of the United States could be sipping on Washington Sparkling Wine this week and so could you!

Chef Jason L. Larkin, Office of the Chief of Protocol, US State Department (a.k.a. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chef) made an unknown visit to Yakima earlier this year and stopped into Yakima’s Treveri Cellars. Chef Jason took bottles back to Washington, DC for the State Department staff to try. They chose Treveri’s Extra-Brut Chardonnay and Syrah Brut to serve at State Department receptions starting December 13th and lasting the entire week. Secretary Clinton will host members of the diplomatic community for events and dinners that sometimes include President Obama.

(The State Department Tasting Display - Courtesy: www.facebook.com/Treveri)

Here are Treveri’s tasting notes on those bottles:

This dry, zero dosage sparkling wine, gives off a beautiful bouquet of rounded melon fruit on the nose with a surprising lemon and lime fruitiness on the palate, and a hint of cream soda on the finish. This fruit forward but dry sparkling wine is stunning! Sugar 2.5 grams per liter.

This sparkling Syrah has a beautiful deep flavor of dry dark cherries. The flavor is rich and bold and the sparkling allows you to savor the distinct Syrah flavor. This sparkling red wine is so dark and full bodied that it is difficult to see into the glass for bubbles, but once you lift your glass and take a sip you will be able to savor the craftsmanship on this beautiful wine! Sugar 13 grams per liter.

(photos courtesy: Treveri & Karl Corpron Photography)

The sparkling wines are fruit forward at Treveri. They are 100% varietal sparkling wines and their sugar scale ranges from Extra-Brut to Demi-Sec.

Extra Brut - is "extra" dry
Brut – dry (most popular style and very food-friendly)
Extra dry – middle of the road dry, not as dry as Brut (great as an aperitif)
Demi-sec – pretty sweet (pair with fruit and dessert)
(definitions courtesy: About.com)

Treveri’s winemaker is Juergen Grieb. He’s been working in Washington since 1983. He’s got a degree from Germany in not only winemaking but sparkling winemaking. Grieb decided a few years ago he wanted his own sparkling facility. He makes his wines traditional, like his formal schooling and uses a “Sekt” (*see footnote) tradition he learned in Germany.

Treveri is named after Grieb’s roots. Trier is a town in Germany that was originally known as Augustana Treverorum and is filled with Roman ruins. One of the seats of Rome was brought to Trier in the 300’s (though it was known as Treveris then). The Yakima winery took that name, dropped the 's' (so people would say it correctly) and a winery with history in its name was born.

“All of our sparkling wines are produced in the Methode' Champenois French method (classical). Each bottle is handcrafted. We have several new small artisan lots coming out next year after this crush, which include a Blanc de Noir, a classic French Blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Munier and Chardonnay and a few other very fun sparkling wines I'm sure everyone would love to taste,” says Owner Julie Grieb.

So, I mentioned you can try some too (As much as I hope someone from the White House staff and/or diplomatic community is reading WestToast posts – I sadly doubt that is the case). Here’s the scoop on serving a bit of the white house at your own holiday reception.

Whole Foods in (Washington and Oregon) is now carrying two Treveri Cellars labels. They have the Sparkling Rose’ and Sparkling Brut on store shelves for less than $20 (that includes tax for you Washington folks). I tried the Rose'.
  • The bottle is nice and elegant, I can easily see why the label probably helped land it a spot on a table in DC
  • The first pour made me gasp, the color is absolutely beautiful and would make look incredible around a holiday table or at a wedding or shower with pink in your theme
  • The nose has some hints of apples amongst the bubbles
  • The taste has a citrus finish and just a crisp clean taste that lasts throughout your sips and glasses
You can find the Syrah Brut and Extra-Brut Chardonnay at the Sparkle Tasting Room. They’re also selling a Holiday Sparkling right now. You can get glasses in the Seattle area by stopping by the Four Seasons ART Restaurant or heading over to the Purple Café & Wine Bar.

Treveri Cellars is pouring at their Yakima Tasting room - called The Sparkle (225 S 2nd Ave.) Monday through Saturday from noon until 6:00. Visit their Facebook page for the latest news and events.

It just celebrated its first anniversary last month and great things are happening to the small but growing Washington wine maker. So pour a glass of Treveri bubbly and raise your glass this season – it’s like a Prost with the President (he made a stop in last year -- but doesn’t every year) or at the very least, the Secretary of State which is pretty cool/rad/fantastic/[insert your favorite adjective here].

Here's a look inside courtesy of KIMA TV.

* Sekt: I didn’t know this process so I consulted my handy friend ‘Wikipedia’ to learn a little more:
“Sekt is the German term for quality sparkling wine. The majority of Sekt produced (around 95%) is made by the Charmat method with the remaining premium Sekt being made according to the méthode traditionnelle. Cheap sparkling wine made with CO2 injection must not be called Sekt, but rather Schaumwein (German for sparkling wine, literally "foam wine"), semi-sparkling wine is called Perlwein. Around 90 percent of Sekt is made at least partially from imported wines from Italy, Spain and France. Sekt labeled as Deutscher Sekt is made exclusively from German grapes, and Sekt b.A. (bestimmter Anbaugebiete, in parallel to Qualitätswein b.A.) only from grapes from one of the 13 quality wine regions in Germany.
Some of the premium wines are often made using the Riesling, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris and Pinot noir grapes, with much of it drunk locally rather than exported. These Sekts are usual vintage dated with the village and vineyards that the grapes are from. Premium Sekt b.A. produced in smaller lots is often referred to as Winzersekt (winegrower's Sekt), since it is typically produced by a producer which has vineyards of his own, rather than by the large Sekt-producing companies (Sektkellereien) which buy grapes or base wine on a large scale for their production. In Austria, the corresponding term is Hauersekt.
German production of sparkling wines dates back to 1826, when G. C. Kessler & Co. was founded in Esslingen am Neckar by Georg Christian Kessler (1787–1842), who had previously worked at the Champagne house Veuve Clicquot from 1807 to 1826. The names used by the German producers for their sparkling wines in the 19th century were "Mousseux", "Sect" or "Champagne" (or Champagner), but the 1919 Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany the use of this name, long before European Union regulations prohibited its use outside the Champagne region. Sekt was initially an informal German name for sparkling wine, coined in Berlin 1825, but was in common use by the 1890s. Germany long attempted to have the name Sekt reserved for sparkling wine from countries with German as an official language, but these regulations were annulled by the European Court of Justice in 1975. Another legal decision in the 1970s abolished the large producers' monopoly on Sekt production, allowing winemaking cooperatives and individual winegrowers to produce and sell their own sparkling wines. Together, these two decision produced the situation of the name Sekt being possible to apply to sparkling wines of varying quality level.
Sekt typically comes with elaborate enclosure (safety cage) to withstand its considerable CO2 pressure. It also comes with a Schaumwein tax, which since 2005 has been 136 euro per hectoliter, corresponding to 1.02 euro per 0.75 liter bottle. This tax was famously introduced by Emperor Wilhelm II in 1902 to fund the expansion of the Imperial Navy.
Germans also call some similar foreign wines Sekt, like Krimsekt (often red) from Crimea.
In Austria, Sekt is often made in the méthode champenoise with the Welschriesling and Grüner Veltliner grapes giving the wine a golden hue color. Sparkling rosé are made from the Blaufränkisch grape. Austria's history of producing sparkling wine dates back to the Austro-Hungarian empire. Most Austrian Sekt producers are based in Vienna and source their grapes from the Weinviertel region in Lower Austria. Like its German counterpart, Austrian Sekt can be made trocken (dry) or halbtrocken (medium dry).
The first Austrian producer of sparkling wine was Robert Alwin Schlumberger, who presented his first sparkling wine in 1846 under the name Vöslauer weißer Schaumwein (White sparkling wine of Vöslau). It was produced from Blauer Portugieser grapes growing in vineyards in Bad Vöslau which Schlumberger bought in 1843, and the sparkling wine was an immediate success. Stuttgart-born Schlumberger had worked in the Champagne house Ruinart before he moved to Vienna in 1842.”


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