A Graduate Always Gets a Rosé

Have you ever had that moment when “save” your writing, be it for class, research, a corporate presentation, etc., only to find you didn’t save it properly?  Or, it happens to be just hours before you need to submit your paper/proposal/blog, etc.?  Yep.  This is where I am, right now.  Now, not to say me losing an entire blog post on wine is at all akin to losing a 20 page research paper, or a business proposal, or any other high-stakes piece.  It is, however, frustrating none the less.  Although my current situation is far, SO FAR, less frustrating than my 3am papers I was needing to submit, once upon a time.

Welcome back! Whether I mean to you or myself, is up to you.  It has been two years since my last blog post. TWO YEARS! And this silly site is still running and continues to still rake in new viewers!  So about my absence:  I’ve been a career graduate student for the last three years.  Raising two amazing kiddos with my incredibly supportive husband. Working a variety of part-time jobs on the side.  I’ve kept a few extraordinary friends who understood and accepted my (at times) complete lack of contact, yet lost touch with many I thought I would know until the day we die.  That’s grad school for you, however.  Three-to-four hours of sleep.  Grading papers. Creating presentations.  Regrading papers.  Research. Coffee.  Wine and more research.  Sleep?  Well, where you can (including ten minutes breaks between classes).  But, the husband that stays up with you through the wee hours of the morning; the friend that meets you at the drop of a hat, OR puts up with your seemingly endless, “I’m too tired” and STILL loves you and hangs on through the ride; the family who hopes to put on a dinner for you once or twice a month, in hopes you can finally “relax” for a night.  These are the amazing people who have helped to keep me afloat for the last five years.

Oh wait! You don’t care about all that (or perhaps you do).  Really, this blog is about wine. Not about my “poor me” attitude over graduate school.  Really, I’d never change a thing. I was born and bred of hard work.  My days off, I find something to work on.  My husband and I, we are industrious people by nature.  I have found a job I love and look forward too (most days).  I graduated this past June and I landed a job.  No, there is nothing I have to complain about.

I contemplated writing again upon graduation. Then Edward of Patit Creek Cellars, and a close friend of mine, mentioned he’d “love” my thoughts on their rosé wine.  I have written on a few of their wines in the past (here), so I agreed.  This was back in May…  Oops!  But then Sonya approached me, and she runs the wine tasting rooms (all three) and the marketing and the events and the…  You get it. Like Edward, she is a close friend of mine.  She asked me again to write, I again agreed.  But she set a date!  This was Friday and she requested Saturday, so here were are.  She came with a bottle of the rosé, cheese, and a camera (the audacity! But more on that later).  So, what are my thoughts on the 2014 Rosé of Syrah?  Well, let’s find out!

The color of this rosé is a light cranberry red.  The nose is light, yet bright with a crisp cherry cola, beckoning you to take the first sip.  The first sip brightens the palate with the crisp cherry cola, following into a creamy mouthfeel with tart, garden-ripened strawberries.  The finish is surprisingly long for a rosé, with a near-effervescent feelIMG_7907, as the light acidity plays on the tongue.  Tart, light, and crisp, I  highly recommend this wine, whether for your afternoon poolside escape, or for a more secluded evening with friends.  This rosé, made up of 100% Syrah grapes, is sure to please!

Patit Creek Cellars 2014 Rosé of Syrah:  ★★★★☆   (great wine)

Patit Creek Cellars has three locations in the state of Washington: Walla Walla, Woodinville, and Spokane.  You are not likely to find this wine in any store, so I encourage you to visit your local wine room or visit them at http://patitcreekcellars.com.  This little gem will set you back no more than $19 from the winery.

Winemakers Notes:  Our 2014 Walla Walla Rosé of Syrah expresses bold rhurbarb-strawberry flavors.  Made from saigneed (French for “bleed”) juice drained from our fermentation tank.  On the palate, the creamy texture and bright acidity make this a great sipping wine.  The flavors expand into citrus blossom, cherry cola, and bubble gum.

Disclaimer:  I am a volunteer of Patit Creek Cellars, meaning I do not get paid, except for in wine (hard life, I know). Sonya did provide this bottle of wine for free for this review, yet my opinions are still my own. That’s the great thing about friendship, I can be honest!  

A Tertulia in Waiting

What do you mean you’re gonna write a blog? It’s been like, what, a year?
The kind words of my husband, no doubt. He’s asking me this as I’m sitting here in support of his never-ending project called a “69 Charger.”
It has been sooo long since my last post (September 19, to be exact), in which I promised a review on a Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s 91* today in Spokane. It’s Rosé or nothing at all. And the latter is sure not going to happen.
However, my husband’s quip did have merit. And since my last post, I have enjoyed many a wine. Disliked just as many. Yet, it’s been so long since I’ve truly evaluated one. How is the color? What aromas waft from the glass? What is it that excites (or disgruntles) the palette? And for the few times I jotted down notes, the idea of sitting down and staring at my computer for one more moment made me cringe.
in case you’re not familiar with the blog, I’m a graduate student entering the third year of my program. I’m also a wife and have two young children now in school themselves. Blog, meet back burner. Or perhaps, more accurately, let’s just set you on the trivet for the time being.. It’s a pity, really, as I do greatly enjoy this hobby.
Blah, blah, blah! Wine!
It’s summer time, and I love rosé! And I love the fact that this beautiful, light, summer refresher is “cool” again. Though myself and numerous other wine enthusiasts have made attempts to reaffirm this wine as a “legit” choice, I know sadly, Brad Pitt’s front cover appearance on Wine Spectator with rosé in hand likely did more for this wine than anything else. I wrote on several last summer: Jones of Washington, Locati Cellars, Patit Creek, to name a few. I find I have a personal bias toward the dry French style in a rosé. If dry is not your personal style, take that into account for any rosé review I submit.

Tertulia Cellars is a small winery located in Washington State’s own wine country: Walla Walla. Their site discusses the meaning behind the name (Tertulia meaning “a social gathering of friends”). I was drawn to this particular wine because of the beauty in its label. A sense of friendship, a connection among the peoples of the world. Love wine? Let’s be friends! If only…

This particular Rosé is a blend of 49% Mourvèdre, 26% Grenache, and 25% Syrah. The color is that of an almost-ripe strawberry, or of a fresh salmon pink. The first whiff of this rosé is ripe and bright. Aromas of anise and tart strawberries awaken the nose. First sips are tart and bright. The acidity, though noticeable, is not overwhelming, and it flows into a tinge of buttery, but definite rhubarb flavors. A cleanfing, refreshing finish with tart citrus brings you full circle with this wine. While at times I found the acidity to be a bit high, overall, I believe this to be a nice Rosé. I found it locally at a large retailer for $11. It appears Tertulia Cellars is preparing to release the 2013 vintage for $16 (www.tertuliacellars.com). Once again, slightly behind the curve :)

Tertulia Cellars 2012 Rosé: 3.5/5 stars (good wine)

How did I enjoy this Rosé? In my backyard on a 91* day with snacks such as watermelon, chips and homemade guacamole.

Hot to Trot for Red Wine and Fall!

Red wine… how I have missed thee…

I have by no means been abstaining from wine, but I have certainly not been keeping on top of the wine blog!  In part due to working 2 to 3 jobs these past few weeks, but more so just not  in the writing mood.  Taking the month off from blogging has actually been quite refreshing as I feel I have had time to really enjoy the wine I’ve had the pleasure to consume.  No time tables.  No agendas.  No need to jot down my critical notes.  The time away was much appreciated to regroup before plunging back into the hectic worlds of mom/wife/blogger/school psych student/ whatever else fits into my schedule.  Truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

But along with the busyness that September ushers in, there also arrives what I feel to be one of God’s most beautiful creations: Autumn. The crisp air, the changing leaves, the cooler weather. Football!!  Yes, I am that person who cries, “Pumpkin EVERYTHING!”  Though I do draw the line at wine.  I do have limits.  But with fall comes the revival of red wine, perhaps the greatest comfort beverage out there.  I felt to kickoff my  most beloved of all seasons, it would be best to celebrate with my most beloved of all red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon. But as fate would have it, it would be 95* outside, and a reminder from my husband that it is still not yet officially autumn.  I think it was just his way to bust out his preferred red blend, but that is neither here nor there.  So, to celebrate the changing of the seasonal guard from Summer to Autumn, I present to you the 2011 Hot to Trot red blend by 14 Hands.

This is only my second review of a wine by 14 Hands, the first (and only) being the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon some time ago.  My first experience with 14 Hands was  with their 2009 Hot to Trot red blend, and I found it to be quite the exceptional value at under $12. However, then the 2010 came along, and that was a whole different experience, and not for the better.  So I promised to hold out for the 2011 to see what may be in store.  Being such a young wine, I was skeptical, but as it is meant for more immediate consumption, I tried to remain open.  I uncorked the wine as I was preparing dinner, and I let it sit for nearly an hour before I took even the first whiff.  Even still, I found the nose to be heavy with smoke up front.  Undertones of leather and deep black cherries began to emerge as I swirled the wine in my glass, helping to soften what I felt to be overbearing smoky earth.  The palate was as expected: smoked stone fruits, quite reminiscent of an old vine Syrah, actually.  Acidic at first, the wine does smooth out, allowing the notes of old leather to come through; cherries and spice round out the finish.  I did not detect tight tannins, as I would expect with such a young wine, but the acidity could be a bit powerful.  I did keep this wine around for a second night, and was pleasantly surprised with how well the wine mellowed out.  The smokiness had smoothed out as well, but overall the palate had lost some of its flavor.  In the

Not a 201 pic - I forgot to take my own. Label hasn't changed

Not a 201 pic – I forgot to take my own. Label hasn’t changed

end, the 2011 Hot to Trot Red Blend was about as I expected it to be.

2011 Hot to Trot (Red) by 14 Hands:  ★★★☆☆ (decent/good wine)

This wine is widely available at grocery stores, wine stores, the larger warehouses, and of course, online (http://www.14hands.com/wines/hot-to-trot-red-blend) in the $10 to $12 range.  The Hot to Trot reds generally tend to be predominately Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon (not necessarily in this order) with perhaps a few other varietals mixed in.  While this 2011 is not my personal favorite for everyday wine consumption, my husband greatly enjoyed it.  So remember, For every palate there is a wine…

I have a Cabernet Sauvignon review coming up shortly, so check back soon!

Have you tried this wine before? Please share you thoughts in the comments below!

Lil’ Bit of Red, Lil’ Bit of White by Chateau St. Michelle

Welcome to mid-August, my fellow wine enthusiasts!! I don’t know what this time of year means to the rest of the country, but here in Spokane, we are winding down summer.  Schools will be starting back up over these coming weeks, the days have already begun to shorten, and the winds are back to signal the coming of the autumn season. It has been a long, hot summer for sure, and  I, personally, am ready to welcome boots and scarves with open arms.  However, I still have one last summer birthday bash to put together, and a bottle of Rosé or two to polish off before the temperatures begin to drop.  But to celebrate the remaining hot days and the increasingly cool nights, I bring you a Merlot and a Sauvignon Blanc by a Washington State icon: Chateau St. Michelle.

Here in Spokane, mid-August is still promising to bring us sweltering hot days, upwards in the 90’s.  Rosé or crisp white wines offer one of the most refreshing escapes for late summer.  I came upon the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc by Chateau St. Michelle, and so now here we are!  On the nose this typically dry white wine opens with a bouquet of crisp pear and sweet honeysuckle flower.  A sip awakens the palate with tart grapefruit, though quickly softened with notes of honeysuckle and citrus blossom.  A light viscosity on the tongue does help to round out the overall experience of this wine.  A value at $11, this Sauvignon Blanc delivered about as I expected it would, and could make for a nice everyday summer white.

Chateau St. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc

Chateau St. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc

Chateau St. Michelle 2011 Sauvignon Blanc:  ★★★☆☆  (good wine)

Winemaker’s Notes: The cooler vintage led to a more herbal style of Sauvignon Blanc with aromas of grass, fresh herbs and grapefruit with a clean, fresh finish. The mostly stainless steel fermentation makes this a crisp wine that would pair well with dishes with cream sauce.

It has been too long since my last review of a Merlot. Now that our nights are cooling off and red wines will be coming back into the picture, my husband and I decided to give the Indian Wells Merlot by Chateau St. Michelle a try.  To best enjoy this wine, we stayed in for the night – cooler than outside – and I whipped up a simple spaghetti dish with a red meat sauce.  On the nose, this 2010 Indian Wells Merlot opens with smoky blueberries and earthy aromas.  Enticing for sure (“smoky” in a Merlot?), but will the palate be as enjoyable?  Earth, ripe berries are on the forefront; herbs and powerful tannins finish out this full-bodied wine.  Not a bad Merlot; It held up well with the meaty red pasta.  The addition of 14% Syrah I do believe added well to the overall feel of the wine. 86% Merlot, 14% Syrah.

Chateau St. Michelle Indian Wells 2010 Merlot: ★★★☆☆ (good wine)

CSM Indian Wells Merlot

CSM Indian Wells Merlot

Winemakers Notes: The Indian Wells Merlot offers ripe berry fruit aromas and jammy flavors typical of Wahluke Slope reds. This is a full bodied style of warm climate Merlot with a round, supple finish. We added Wahluke Slope syrah to enhance the mouthfeel and rich fruit character. I call this my pasta wine!

The Sauvignon Blanc retails for around $11. Not a bad price for this wine, as it would make a nice “any day” wine.  The Merlot, though nicely paired with the pasta, I did find to be a bit pricey at $20.  Both wines are widely available at most any grocery store, or by visiting Chateau St. Michelle‘s website.  But remember, For every palate there is a wine, and for every wine there is a palate…

For my next review, I am searching for your feedback! Is there a wine under $20-$25 that you have been wanting to know about? Perhaps a particular varietal or winery that you would like me to review before you buy?  Please let me know!

Have you tried this wine before? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!


Spokane Wineries & My Mini Wine Vacation

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It is the heart of summertime here, and while many are camping, taking vacations to theme parks, or cruising across country, I find myself relaxing in my backyard with the kiddos and their pool.  Barbecues and chilled Rosés have become … Continue reading


Get Ready for Vintage Spokane 2013

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Vintage Spokane will be hosting it’s third annual event on August 4th, 2013, and I found myself in a rather lucky position to attend a preview of it last night. Wineries from across the state of Washington show up to … Continue reading


The Precept Family: Radius & Pendulum Reds

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Good evening, all!  After several days of very hot temperatures, we have finally cooled down here in Spokane, reaching a high of *only* 85* or so ;)  After days of near or breaking 100*, this feels cool.  Cool enough, in … Continue reading


Charles & Charles Rosé for Independence Day

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Happy and blessed Fourth of July, everyone!  Today is the day, as we all know (in the United States, anyway), that the United States of America boldly proclaimed independence from Great Britain.  While initially accepted on this day, July 4, … Continue reading


El Corazon Viognier for a Summer Sizzler!

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Welcome, July! And welcome to summer, my fellow wine enthusiasts!  With the heat well upon us here in the great inland northwest, the greatest thing one can do is escape any way they can.  I personally suggest a pool or … Continue reading


Vin du Lac 2010 Pinot Gris

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Good evening, my fellow wine enthusiasts!  I’ve been away from the blog for several weeks, and I do have to admit, it’s been somewhat intentional.  In part due to spring quarter wrapping up and all the finals and papers due; … Continue reading