Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Saving The Day

 I first met Bill Collins thanks to a fellow Arizona State University alum.  The Seattle ASU Alumni Chapter held a social at Columbia Winery to allow Sun Devils to mingle and try out a few of their Washington wines.  That gray and drizzling day Bill talked me into joining BJ Bryan as a winery member.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the wines, but if Bill hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have signed up, and would have a very different White Wine Month post for you today.

I recently realized that I need to do a better job of taking white wine notes.  I don’t drink it as often as I do red so when we started talking about doing this series, I knew I didn’t have anything in my back pocket to rely on.  I started my search by emailing a few wineries to see if they had anything new or promotional they wanted reviewed.  No luck.  With my submission deadline approaching I jumped in my car last week and cruised around the North end of Lake Washington to see if Bill could help save the day.
Wearing yoga pants and with my hair pulled back and starting to curl from the spring downpour that started during my drive, I rushed into Columbia hoping that he was at work.  I was in luck. I smiled widely as he greeted me warmly when I walked in.  A little stressed about finding something I quickly rattled off what I was looking for: Something red drinkers can handle, under $25, a great summer taste and not too sweet.  Bill started pulling out bottles to meet my needs and calm me down.

He started with two options.
2010 Small Lot Series Rose of Syrah (*remember Josh says Rose counts)
2010 Small Lot Series Viognier
I altered sips and sniffs taking in the tastes and smells of both.  I picked up:
Rose Nose: Roses, Strawberries
Rose Taste: Pear
Viognier Nose: Honeysuckle
Viognier Taste: Crisp, not as sweet as it smells

I was trying to decide between the two when Bill calmly pulls out a third bottle.  Try this he says, as I sigh thinking I had nearly decided on the one I would write about, is our Chardonnay.  Before I can even take a sip he asks, “Have you tried our UnOaked?”

All of a sudden he’s got two more glasses in front of me.  At his advice, I’m alternating sips between the two to compare and loving the clean taste of the UnOaked when he pulls out yet one more.  The smell of the Gewurztraminer made me feel like I was in a meadow full of blooming wildflowers (think Twilight, but without Bella and a vampire) and the taste of a liquid honey rolled over my taste buds.  Despite that description it isn’t too sweet to finish a glass after dinner with some soft cheese as a delicious dessert.

I tasted some more UnOaked and then told Bill I was going to take home my first choices, the Rose & Viognier, but really the entire selection of whites that Columbia has to offer would be great for your dinner table, party or summer patio.  

Columbia’s website doesn’t currently have tasting notes up on the 2010 Viognier but its 2006 was “fermented and aged in neutral oak barrels for four months” and has an alcohol content of 13.5% with a total acidity of 5.8 g/L.

The 2010 Rose of Syrah has a varietal combination of 95% Syrah with 5% Barbera grapes from the Columbia Valley’s Oasis and Millbrandt Northridge vineyards.  There is 12.98% alcohol content and a total acidity of 5.6 g/LGrapes were harvested in October 2010 and the wine was released nearly a year ago in May 2011.

Unfortunately for those of you outside of the Seattle area, these wines are only available for sale and tasting at Columbia’s tasting room, Fortunately for those of you in the area - the Viognier is Wine of the Month during White Wine Month and you can get the bottle (normally $26) for just $18.20 right now.

Columbia’s tasting sheet describes the Viognier as: “On the nose are aromas of lemon, citrus and honeysuckle, followed by hits of tasted oak.  The crisp acidity on the front of the palate is followed by undertones of creamy, slightly toasted oak.  This wine is light and easy to drink, as well as refreshing and well-balanced.”  It recommends a Cobb salad or creamy Risotto dish to go with this wine.

As for the Rose: “Aromas of fresh cut roses, strawberries, pomegranates and blood oranges come through followed by hints of Bartlett pear, green apple and mint tea in the background.  On the palate are flavors of rose petals, potpourri, red berry and hints of mineral.”  It recommends sushi, crab cakes or most soft cheeses though suggests this wine is just fine on its own.  You can get a bottle for just $20 (or $16 for Cellar Club members).

As the mercury rises and we head toward summer, consider one of Columbia’s whites when you look for a cork to pop.  While the Viognier and Rose I mention above aren’t available in stores, their chardonnay is.  To get the royal treatment, head out to the Woodinville tasting room to meet Bill and sign up to be a Cellar Club member.   Tell him Andrea sent you and he’ll take good care of you.


Post a Comment