WE’VE MOVED!

To make the transition to a more robust blog, we’ve moved to:

www.winegirlwines.com/winegirlblogs

All the good stuff still remains! But now I can control the environment to bring you a more interactive WineGirl experience. Make sure to change your RSS feeds and links.

See you there!

WineGirl at work

Here’s some photos from this week’s work:

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J.H.

Label of the Month: LotM for October

As Back-to-School commercials have indicated the impending return of students to school, so does October harken the appropriate nature of this Label of the Month weblog entry.

LotM

I’ve chosen a wine label in the portfolio of the British owned Alchemy Wines, Ltd. Alchemy Wines, from what I have gleaned off their website is a wine branding company that works in the post-production stage of wine to create wine identities, then deliver them to the market place. They are essentially distributors of branded wine portfolios.

It was quite a struggle to find anything about this wine or the label, other than bad reviews of its quality, which again harks back to what Professor Stearns of the Foster MBA marketing department oft repeated in class “nothing kills a bad product quicker than great advertising.” Nonetheless, its clever label is supremely appropriate to the welcome month of the return to school.

HELLO my name is

HELLO my name is _____.

I’ve found reviews of two HELLO my name is Syrah wines, a 2004 and a 2005 vintage. Review snippets range from the acerbic “Extremely acidic, but it tasted really nice in a mushroom ragout.” to the sickly sweet “Smells skunky and tastes like drinkable grape-flavored children’s Tylenol.”

Even the four Wine Apps I have for my iPhone failed to deliver more juicy information on this wine, with the exception of its “meaty”-ness. This wine has pairing recommendations that blow Prof Tanlu’s love of meat out of the water! Bring him a fatty slice of the reddest meat and you’re sure to get an FDA Choice Grade A!

You know the most interesting part of this whole research on this curio of a wine, with the exception of the fun label, is that now I am so intrigued I have to find it somewhere just to see for myself how awful it could be. Or at least find out about who the original producer was. I wish I had time to be Nancy Drew. But alas, I must finish the “15% of my grade assignment due on the first day of class” for the infamous Prof Stearns. (You can call me a masochist ;-).)

Welcome to all you newbie and oldie Foster classmates. It’s going to be a great year!

Cheers,
WineGirl

Setiembre on the Farm

Ten days ago, I arrived back to the farm, jolly, clean and eager to do some damage to some apple suckers. Oo, oo, it was a quick start to the dirt as a visit to the rental shop brought us this little beauty.

The newest Deere in my life.

The newest Deere in my life.

Our new toy came equipped with an earth moving bucket in the front and 2, 2 foot shanks in the back. Oh my, what a marvel! So, it was done, and the John Deere 450 was to be delivered that afternoon. We departed the rental shop to the words “Good luck. You’ll find things you never knew you had.” Hmm. I thought I heard that one somewhere before. No matter. Off, to the site.

With the intention to shank all ten acres our first day ended by carefully staying to the west side of the new road made in July. Why? Well, “you’ll find things you didn’t even know you had” turned up a six inch water main, we didn’t, well, even know we had. Darnit. All that work tracking down information about the previous orchard water system in July certainly didn’t prepare us for this mondo pipe! It was as if it had been born from the stars and birthed from the earth beneath our eyes.

What was that?

What was that?

Zoiks!

Zoiks!

So, our first eager day of shanking ended with sun down at seven. Phew!

WineGirl,

WG

WG

John Deere 450

John Deere 450

The Challenge

The Challenge

The Enemy

The Enemy

Lunchtime

Lunchtime

The Challenger

The Challenger

Lowering the Shanks

Lowering the Shanks

Future of Chelan Terroir

Future of Chelan Terroir

Nothing's too big for the Shanker!

Nothing's too big for the Shanker!

What a tangled web we weave.

A tangled web we weave.

Getting Rid of Junk

Getting Rid of Junk

Can we list "old iron pipe" on Craigslist?

Can we list "old iron pipe" on Craigslist?

The Damages

The Super Shank Damages

This time in 4 years we’ll be picking grapes!

Dust. Dust. Dust. dust. bust. pust. qust. think that one’s a scrabble word? All I can smell right now is dust. My wine smells like dust, my “clean” clothes smell like dust. My eyes are leaking dust, I can’t hear out of my left ear ’cause I think it’s full of DUST.

We started off the week at Sesto Cielo’s 10 acres, ambitiously believing we could shank it all in 2 days. HAH! my friends. The heavens above have something else in store for our little orchard, fallowed be thy name. We managed to shank the NW quadrant in 3 days and I am trying to maintain supreme positivity that we might have a fighting chance over old apple roots come spring time.

Oh, please Dawg tell us that we are not, dare I admit? LOCO? Loco comes from the Arabic lawqa meaning foolish. Suffice it to say, that perhaps we should name this block of the vineyard the Lawqa Block.

Yours in Dust,

WineGirl

Dust

Dust

Women of Wine – WoW I

For my first entry on the WoW – Women of Wine, I  have chosen my mentor to be the Madame Veuve Clicquot.

Madame Clicquot was born in 1777 Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin. She was married at 21 to François Clicquot whose businesses were involved in banking, wool trading, and Champagne. His untimely death six years after their marriage in 1805 left Barbe-Nicole une veuve, or a widow. Fortunately for the world of sparkling wine, Madame Clicquot successfully developed her husband’s Champagne business into the elite Champagne company that still bears her name today, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, and is presently owned by Moët-Hennessy a shareholder of WINE and CO.

Madame Veuve Clicquot

Madame Veuve Clicquot

Veuve Clicquot has been around for centuries producing stunning wine for an elite few. Madame Veuve was a Champagne innovator, perfecting the traditional production method known as Méthode Champenoise. She is credited with designing the riddling rack, a procedure by which the sediment from secondary fermentation (the fermentation that gives Champagne its bubbles) is slowly encouraged over months of bottle turning into the neck of the bottle in order to create superior clarity of the Champagne.

By 1814 Madame Clicquot’s Champagne was known around the world. Veuve Clicquot is still recognized around the world bearing the legendary yellow label and named for La Grand Dame.

Brut Carte Jaune

Brut Carte Jaune

Other examples of prestigious Veuve Clicquot Champagne include La Grande Dame Rosé Demi-Sec, and Domino Grande Dame.

Brut Rosé

Brut Rosé

Demi-Sec

Demi-Sec

Domino Grande Dame

Domino Grande Dame

And last and my personal favorite, Veuve Clicquot is known for some of the most elaborate keepers of fine Champagne including the magic boxes, light boxes and the rivetted box.

Elite Bottle

Elite Bottle

La Grande Dame Rose and Coffret

La Grande Dame Rose and Coffret

Ouvert Coffret

Ouvert Coffret

Globalight

Globalight

Champagne Riva

Champagne Riva

These fine Champagnes and magic boxes can be found by Wine and Co..

We’ll conclude this first episode of Women of Wine about Madame Veuve Clicquot with a quote by Anonymous: “Here’s to Champagne, the drink divine, that makes us forget all our troubles; It’s made of a dollar’s worth of wine, and three dollars worth of bubbles.”

Cheers,
ChampagneGirl

For more quotes of Champagne click here.

Kelowna, BC – Land of the VQA

We’re off for some Labor Day adventures Canadian style. Do they even celebrate Labor Day in Canada?

So, it’s me, the queen of mum, the Fiddler in the Valley, and John Cleese on our way to the Canadian border in the Okanogan Valley. The whole time I had imagined the Canadian wine country made of ice wines to be covered in snow and ice, I was completely surprised to find that it was nearly exactly the same as the rest of the mountain deserts of eastern Washington. The only difference, perhaps only to a trained eye, might be the density of evergreen trees and lava formations increasing as we headed north.

Lava Stacks and Evergreens

Lava Stacks and Evergreens

Believing Kelowna, BC was our final destination for wine we cross the border in about an hour and 45 minutes. Our wait was relatively minimal, but I’ll tell you there’s something about the border that makes people crazy! Once the border signs on the road begin, they begin swerving and tailgating, flashing brights and erratically driving. It’s like guilty until proven innocent! I will admit though, it appeared as if border patrol was taking out 1 of 3, so every reason to be slightly wary. Alas, our Mötley Crew snuck through clean and clear to descend upon the territory of the Queen!

International Border

International Border

Canadia, here we come!

Canadia, here we come!

Border Patrol

Border Patrol

Well, bearing right as John Cleese advised we instead decided to beaver left. And there was our first destination, Cassini Cellars of Oliver! Just off of Hwy 97, the beautiful new winery with these very neat little barrels out side were a welcome relief after about two hours of driving. Cassini Cellars, one of the newest winery additions to the Okanagan, is owned by the Romanian Adrian Capeneata who was also in the tasting room to deliver our first taste of BC wine. Entering the tasting room was grand as it was wide open with vaulted ceilings, classy dark wood, and marble finishes. I appreciated this although mum assumes he will be filling it with traditional tasting room kitsch.

Cassini Cellars

Cassini Cellars

Cassini

Cassini

We tasted through the lengthy list of whites and reds, all of which were solid wines and reasonably priced. I personally, am not a fan of sweeter whites, but those who are would love the Mamma Mia. And the Maximus was the only Bordeaux style blend I saw with a touch of Malbec combined with Cab Sav base and Merlot. Smooth and round, but over-priced by about $5.

Not necessarily a function of Cassini’s culture my first impressions of the BC wine industry were clouded by micropours of less than an ounce and a lack of cordial hospitality, or even a half-cocked smile. But my hopes were up for the next winery.

Another 25 minutes lead us to Noble Ridge and a very nice view of the Okanagan Valley.

View from Noble Ridge

View from Noble Ridge

The Queen of Mum

The Queen of Mum

Fiddler in the Valley

Fiddler in the Valley

Leann pleasantly greeted us in a very well-lit tasting room with large windows looking south over the ridge. I’m always interested in what wineries have around their tasting rooms and I have never seen a wine glass so large. One could keep a dozen gold fish in it, should they so please!

Leonard's New Home

Leonard's New Home

Cassini was sold out of their Reserve Pinot Noir, so Noble Ridge was the first Pinot of the valley I sipped and it sure was amazing! No matchstick quality that is so inherent in Willamette Valley Pinots, plenty of garnet hue and a supple mouth feel! So nice, I bought two.

Nobel Ridge

Nobel Ridge

I thought we were on a role at this point with ample views of rows and rows of vines. I almost thought I was in CA there were so many vineyards. Way more dense than any single area of WA or maybe even OR.

Vines and Vines

Vines and Vines

Okanangan Views

Okanangan Views

Then we arrived, after quite jaunt off the beaten path, at Blue Mountain Winery. We found a husky sleeping just outside the door at Blue Mountain, but alas there was a “Don’t bother the dog.” sign so mum wasn’t allowed pet him. :( Then in tiny print we find the next sign on the tasting room door. “Open by appointment only.” Blimey! At least put a sign somewhere along the 5 mile drive to a dead end that explains this! There was a nice view of the southern facing, granite rock-lined gully and some ominous clouds…

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Closed to tourists!

Closed to tourists!

So, winding and weaving a John Cleese back-road route down off the ridge toward the Skaha Lake we are back on track to Kelowna and decided the Blasted Church Winery would the next winery. On the way we saw this awesome eagle’s nest with two birds in it!

Canadian Lovebirds

Canadian Lovebirds

Feathering his nest.

Feathering his nest.

The parking lot of the Blasted Church was packed, the tasting room was packed, so where was the church?

This aint no church?

This aint no church?

Oh the Blasted Church! This winery had the largest choice of wines. Lots of fantastic labels and a great sense of humor with ample plays on religious meaning. The Pinot Grigio was like sucking on the greenest of green apples, but I truly enjoyed the Gewürtztraminer. all in all, tasting was nice, bottle prices were nice, wine was nice, but nothing other than the cartoon labels stuck out. Except that it was the only free tasting of the day.

Our wine tasting had shaped up a bit and we’re in good spirits:

Good Spirits

Good Spirits

Next stop: Mistral. Such a nice name for a winery, but at this point me mum was parched so I figured I’d help her get some water. Upon entering the small, fruit-stand sized tasting room and asking the guy behind the counter, who BTW had yet to acknowledge us over the french-speaking couple, to help us fill her water bottle; a frigid welcoming of all the industry professionals, thus far, met our plea.

No bother, perhaps he’d had a long day. Let’s try the wine… Boring, blah, blah. Who hired THIS guy? The only thing worth trying was the dessert wine, since it was our first of the day and BC is supposed to be known for its dessert wines. Oy, yeah good enough, rhubarb Gamay, Garrison Keillor’s fave. Jerk werks for six other wineries… blah blah blah, what a jerk. The hummingbird label is so pretty, though. “Do you have an industry discount?”

“Uh, no my boss doesn’t like Americans so he won’t let me give any discounts.” Yeah right, you’re just miserable Mr. Sales for seven wineries. Death of Salesman isn’t even worth your analogy. And the most micropourest of the day. Shuv yer discounts Mistral, we’re moving on; and it doesn’t take an MBA to know how invaluable my experience was to your biz.

Mm, we’ve got the rest of the day!

Township 7. Township 7 was fun, upon entering we were in THE barrel cellar. And David in the Hawaiian shirt held our attention, guiding us through the tasting menu picking his own faves. A very exciting tasting on the gamut. Did you know the Queen of England gets her Viognier from the Naramata Bench? I didn’t, but thanks to David! Um, un-oaked Chardonnay like canned asparagus, rosy on the nosie, a blended rosé of Merlot
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Hmm, the rosé controversy. Fun, good time.

Township 7 of Naramata Canadia

Township 7 of Naramata Canadia

La Frenz was the next stop. I don’t want the day to end! Nicely laid out tasting room, great little view. Umm, wines, Pinot Noir, a Montage. The prices were on the higher end of the day. Another dessert wine, a muscat, tastes like rose petals. And a Shiraz. The first Shiraz of the day, although not the first Syrah. Did you know Shiraz is the Australian word for Syrah? Oh, Township 7 is owned by Aussies. Interesting, Canadian Australians, an interesting species. What’s the difference between Canadians and Australians? Canadians chose to move to their countries. Ahhahaha.

And the day gets sillier… Alas, I found a way to extend the day to one more winery. The Red Rooster and its motif! The suitcase motif! I like. Do Canadian roosters sound the same as American roosters? Do they cock-a-doodle doo?

Doodle Dout.

Doodle Dout.

This was my favorite winery of the whole day! Another David took good care of us, but as opposd to a Hawaiian David, he was a a waxen mustachioed David as if he had come off a Dutch, South African safari with leathery tan skin and a pale blue, button down shirt.

Motif

Motif

Suitcase to the west.

Suitcase to the west.

And Frank

And Frank

Frank the mad in the middle of the Motif. Crazy Red Rooster Winery with the suitcase motif had the most amazing Reserve Merlot. Little indication of the sweaty socks brett like the Meritage, but a supple Merlot like I have not experienced in over a month!

A whole new reason to strut.

A whole new reason to strut.

A fantastic way to end a fantastic wine tasting day. We never made it to Kelowna, although it was our destination. I’m not sure what might have happened if we did.

Hope you enjoyed your virtual wine tour of the Okanagan,
WineGirl

Women of Wine

Dare I (WineGirl, little ol’ me) start a blog topic about Women in Wine?

I shall, I will. But only because I have decided a mentor is what I need. And since I have no mentor currently, nor do I know of any potential mentors, I am on the prowl for a model mentor to help guide my ridiculous vision and shed light upon my unlit path.

Do I have mentor requirements? No. But yes, maybe, I suppose. I guess I want her to be female, i.e. the title. I almost want her to be deceased, if that’s not morbid; but that might require research into the indiscriminate past… a past in a library and not on the internet. Ooo… Anyway, I am open to one who may be more current, or alive. Per chance there is even someone out there who wants to mentor someone like me. Me, an overly ambitious, determined and ferociously independent entrepreneur. Someone with serious visions of the future and the gumption to rival an L.M. Montgomery character like Anne of Green Gables.

Who could this mentor be?

Anyone who has gumption knows what it is, and anyone who hasn’t can never know what it is. So there is no need of defining it.
- L.M. Montgomery

’07 Kamari Malbec release

‘Movies and Malbec’ was a success. It was a glorious evening of fine wine and flickering films. WineGirl Wines unleashed the 2007 Kamari Black Label Malbec upon the world and set the mood with 16mm moving pictures. We saw Charlie Chaplin’s “The Rink”, the animated ‘Naughty Nellie’ with the songs of Clinic, ‘Hannah and the Dog Ghost’, and Hans’ Richter’s ‘Ghosts Before Breakfast’. Ian Wood’s ‘Tsunami Escape’ with The Velvet Underground as background sound was well received by the crowd as was ‘Rikki Tikki Tavi’.

Some old fans showed up, and we all met some new friends. We winos at WineGirl Wines love meeting new people through wine. Sharing a glass of great wine with good people is a major motivation for us to keep up our work.

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Thanks to our friends at French Market Spice for providing their delicious Truffle Salt. We used it as a topping for popcorn which might be the most extravagant popped corn topper possible. The rich flavor of black truffle went very well with our big red wines.

The Kamari Malbec was a hit and we’re glad everyone could make it out on a lovely night to help us celebrate the newest offering from WineGirl Wines.

J.H.

Preparing for the Malbec release

It’s big work to prepare for even a small wine release event. This most recent event was to be for our 2007 Kamari Malbec. The preparations for ‘Movies and Malbec’ were to be minimal. We planned for a relaxed night of films projected large outdoors with good friends, the perfect setting to unveil a lovely new wine. The weather, however, looked uncooperative. Two days before the event, the future seemed wet and windy. As we have done for the two years past, this meant erecting a tent roof over the entire back yard. Our release parties of previous years were late in the season, and we thought August would be safe for fine, summer weather. The main Kamari release event earlier in the month was on a beautiful sunny afternoon in Seattle, but it looked like the Malbec party would happen between the raindrops. With half a plan, I enlisted help from some winos faithful to the cause and up went the roof.

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The giant movie screen had to go up too. Luckily, I remember a half hitch or two from cub scouts. There were some questionable carpentry skills displayed as well as some lucky leanings. After a couple of long nights with a pile of ropes and a cooler of beer, and we had a weather resistant outdoor cinema complete with a cleverly concealed 16mm film projection booth and the proper mood lighting.

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J.H.

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