Cave B Estate Winery: Part 2 – A Tale of Terroir

Photo: Cave B Estate Winery

“A person who takes a simple idea and makes it tediously complex is referred to as an intellectual. A person who takes a tediously complex idea and makes it simple is called a genius. Condense the whole megillah into a line or two—then you really have something.” -Kinky Friedman

“Le meilleur terroir ne diffère en rien du mauvais s’il n’est cultivé.”(The best terroir does not differ from the worst if it is not cultivated.) -Vauban

Part 2 of 2 – Cave B Estate Winery

“We were going to plant the estate entirely in Pinot Noir when we first bought the land.” That’s Vince Bryan, owner of Cave B Estate Winery, holding forth on all things Cave B, as binNotes man-handles grapes on the brunch fruit plate. The man has stories – each one more compelling than the last, with occasional gentle interjections by wife Carol, ballast aboard the Good Ship Bryan. Little astounding-statistics side notes, like the fact that Cave B  sells 90% of their wine on estate.

Pinch me. I’m here at Cave B 2012 Spring Release Weekend with my husband, a former Bryan non-vine colleague, and our wine-enthusiast friends the Butlers, feeling a bit like an undergrad absorbing a lecture by the Dean of Washington Estate Wineries. But back to the grapes. Pinot Noir – the diva of grape varietals, needs the proper soil and weather to support its very thin-skinned existence. The Bryans fell in love with this aristocratic vine at its’ source, Burgundy –  during Dr. Bryan’s neurosurgical teaching tour days in Europe. Returning to the States, they determined to emulate the great wines of La Tâche, drawing up a list of required soil composition for realtors to scratch their heads over. Eventually, however, these exacting standards paid off in the discovery, purchase and cultivation of what is now Cave B Estate Winery in Quincy, WA.

Some people know the rest of the story. To sell their wines from far-flung eastern Washington, the Bryans enticed friends with live music played on the ground’s natural amphitheater. These concerts grew, morphing into The Gorge Amphitheater, now owned by Live Nation. The concert growers needed a place to stay after the concerts, leading to Cave B Inn. The people staying at the Inn needed food, ushering in Cave B’s Tendrils Restaurant.  The Bryans intrinsically understood that winemaking involves a multi-dimensional experience – taste, touch, sight, smell, sound, and emotion. Cave B Estate Winery combines  the ‘whole meggilah.’  The wines don’t just pour, they resonate.

As for the grapes – well – ultimately, the land revealed more soil types than Alsace and more microclimates than most of France, allowing the planting of a plethora of varietals atypical for a single estate: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sémillon, Gewürztraminer, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Barbera, Sangiovese. You get the picture.  Just no Pinot Noir. While the soils were perfect for the demanding grape, the weather was not. But the spirit of Burgundy lives on in Cave B Estate Winery’s dedication to terroir. Quite a story. Santé!

Copyrighted 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Cave B Estate Winery: Cabernet Franc 2009


Photo: Cave B Estate Winery

Part 1 of 2 – Cave B Estate Winery 2012 Spring Release

Every palate has a problem child…that irritating varietal or blend that scratches across the tongue like a load of lumber, with lashings of leather to finish. In the case of  binNotes, Cabernet Franc has acted out badly with unfailing regularity at each and every opportunity accorded its mostly Middle-Loire dwelling life. Until this past weekend.

At Cave B Estate Winery 2012 Spring Release Wine Pairing Luncheon, the 2009 Cabernet Franc played nicely with binNote’s shocked and awed palate,  congenially pairing with Columbia River Steelhead served with pomegranate  and english cucumber salsa. The secret?  Cabernet Franc’s blending partners Petit Verdot and Merlot (blending percentages not listed), gentle persuaders assisting in softening the initial hit of green bell pepper while enhancing the red berry and pomegranate notes. An added touch of  15% new Hungarian oak adds some subtle spice to the finish.

Moments like these keep binNotes on the passionate pursuit of the pour – the deft touch of a madly skilled winemaker ( in this case, Cave B’s inimitable Freddy Arredondo) able to unlock a puckered palate to reveal an entirely new realm of enjoyment. Cheers!

More on 2012 WA State Wine Restaurant Awards

WA Wine Awards 2012 from L.M. Archer on Vimeo.

binNotes just happened to be standing next to Nelson Daquip, Wine Director at Seattle’s Canlis Restaurant, before he was flash-mobbed for winning the Sommelier of the Year Award for his incomparable wine knowledge and  professionalism. Cheers!

For more on the event, go to: www.washingtonwine.org/restaurantawards

2012 WA Wine Restaurant Awards


Photo: binNotes.com

Kudos to Seattle Magazine and Washington State Wine for hosting a well-organized, well-attended (ok –  jam-packed, as you can see by binNotes over-the-heads-of-wall-to-wall attendees’ photo)  2012 Washington Wine Restaurant Awards at the Washington Athletic Club today.

Top awards presented include:

Restaurant of the Year Award: The Metropolitan Grill, Seattle

Walter Clore Honorarium  Award for dedication to the advancement of the Washington wine industry: Budd Gould – Founder, Anthony’s Restaurants.

The Winemaker’s Choice Award (chosen by anonymous WA Winemaker group to restaurant they consider most supportive of the wine industry) The Barking Frog at Willows Lodge in Woodinville.

The Washington Restaurant Association Award: Adriatic Grill, Tacoma.

Restaurant Leadership in Business Community Award:  Tulalip Bay Dining, Marysville.

A really warm and congenial event, with heartfelt congratulations to the winners by all in attendance – cheers!

DRC 2009 Postscript

Aubert de Villaine

For a bit of eloquence on the subject of yesterday’s post, binNotes offers the following from Aubert de Villaine himself regarding the 2009 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti:

“2009 is a vintage, that, like many things in life, didn’t start with the best outlook….Regarding the reds, what else can I say? The mark of 2009 is that you have and exceptional vintage, both because of the quantity and because of the quality…For me, I will add one more thing. I’ve never seen a vintage that is more the cousin of another than this vintage is to 1959. A large crop, the wines extremely healthy, and wines with a character of seduction, tenderness, immediately accessible. It’s really remarkable remarkable, I’ve never seen such closeness between two vintages as between this 2009 and 1959.” – Aubert de Villaine

For those who consider wine an art, not just a beverage, it just doesn’t get any better than this! Santé.

Excerpt:Permission of  Vinography.com.

 

Armageddon 2012: WWYBD?

Image: http://www.wineyields.com

Yes, dear reader, it’s that time – yet another gentle  reminder about  Armegeddon 2012. Exactly  nine months left to get your end-of-the-world wine list in order for December 21, 2012. Not sure what you’ll be drinking, but top on binNotes list of I-must-be-dreaming-why does the end of the earth taste like heaven?-quaff: Romanee-Conti 2009 (ok, twist my arm – a vertical tasting of 1959, 1999, 2005 AND 2009 DRC.) But 2009 DRC especially. A vintage that did not start out so well…no frost, but rain, rain, rain…translating into mildew and odium.  A bit of millerandage. Leave it to a master of the vine like Aubert de Villaine to embrace such obstacles and transmute them, like an oyster with a grain of sand…leading to a pearl of a wine. Santé!

WillaKenzie Estate: Send in the Clones

In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was ‘Pinot Noir’. And it was good. Very good. Soul-smacking, heart-aching, mind-bending, pain-in-the-ass-but-worth-it, Burgundy IS the center of the universe, ‘can’t touch my climat’, “do you know who I am?!” good.

And the Word went forth and multiplied…eventually reaching the Willamette Valley, and WillaKenzie Estate. And it was good. Very good. Dijon Clone 115-loving, southern-sloping, sandstone-suffering, no-grape-harvested-before-its-time,  true-to-its-terroir, balanced, dark berry and cherry good. And the Word rested. And had a party. And it was good. Very good. Especially paired with duck. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Photo: WillaKenzieEstate.com