2014 Myth Riesling, Washington Wine Works

The 2014 Myth Riesling, vinted and bottled by Washington Wine Works, arrived here earlier this summer as part of an online shipment. As a white, you might rightly expect it to sit in the rack indefinitely while reds were prioritized for dining and in Notes alike. And so it did, until this week when scorching temperatures suggested a well-chilled white might be a reasonable alternative to a cold beer or a bottle of red.

2014 Myth Riesling

2014 Myth Riesling, Washington Wine Works, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA.

This 2014 Myth, produced in Washington’s Columbia Valley, is fragrant and sugary in the bottle and on the nose. This white smells full compared to a Pinot Grigio–does that make sense? There’s not a bit of dryness to the Riesling. Candidly, it was not as enjoyable as the Bordeaux Blanc, and I found myself limited to just a single glass at a time because of its sweetness. I still remember my first explorations of Rieslings (that’s Twisted River) but those must have been less sweet because I cannot imagine repeat purchases if they had been as sugary. On the last night/glass, I paired up Myth with a delicious pork chop dish that I’m proud to share here.

The food came out pretty well. What you see is seared pork chops and plum salsa with corn, kale, and farro salad. This is the first time (at least to my recollection) I’ve had farro and it was pretty good as seasoned with scallions and balsamic vinegar. With the kale, corn, and farro all mixed together you have a nice bit of crunch with the grains. The plum worked liked that too, a nice cool counterbalance to the seared pork chop–which was drizzled with the balsamic and butter sauce from the pan. Voila.

But this is a wine blog not a food blog, so let’s get back to the bottle. The label conveys, “Our Riesling leads with aromas of honeysuckle and nectarine with flavors of honey and orange blossom, finishing clean with balanced acidity.” I don’t know if that’s true or not–judge for yourself based on the above–but I do know I’m all set with this Riesling. I prefer to hold onto other myths.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 Hands Winery

I’ve dropped the ball almost entirely here for the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, produced by the team at 14 Hands Winery. I’m positive that I had this 2013 vintage on May 8 because I have the date/timestamp both in my iCloud photos and my Vivino app, but I am very lacking in other relevant details about this tasting experience.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 Hands, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, 14 Hands, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA.

I didn’t note the food accompanying the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, and I didn’t jot down anything significant regarding its smell, its taste, or its color. Based on the photo here it seems as though the 2013 has good depth and a rich, deep color but that’s less helpful if you’re looking to NotesOfNote as a resource for your upcoming wine selection. I can confirm that 14 Hands Winery is located in the Columbia Valley AVA, and its winemaker offers, “14 Hands Cabernet Sauvignon is a bright, juicy red featuring aromas of blueberries and currants with subtle hints of dried herbs. Red berry flavors are complemented by a touch of spicy oak and accentuated by refined tannins.

Those following Notes recognize that I usually affirm or redirect tasting notes from the winemaker, but here I can do neither and apologize to readers for the lacking post. On the plus side, it does mean that I have to have another go at the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from 14 Hands in order to do this wine right. So at least there’s that?

The Ones That Got Away – Winter 2015 Sampler


2012 Biltmore Estate Merlot Limited Release, North Carolina, USA; 2013 Relax Riesling, Schmitt Sohne GmbH, Germany; 2007 Virgen de Aguila Artigazo, Edicion Limitada, Carinena, Spain; 2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA; 2012 Red Blend, Bell Canyon Napa Reserve, Napa Valley, California, USA; 2012 Buena Vista Pinot Noir Private Reserve, Sonoma Valley, California, USA.

2011 Boom Boom! Syrah, Charles Smith Wines

Didn’t get a photo of the 2011 Boom Boom! showing the bottle or the fantastic spread of food (a consistent theme all weekend) that accompanied this wine, but suffice it to say children and adults alike had plenty to eat.  This Syrah too was a recent favorite and earned a second showing among our lake friends this weekend, following closely on the heels of the 2011 Petite Petit, and it received similar praise from the gathered company.

2011 Boom Boom! Syrah Charles Smith, Columbia Valley Washington USA.

2011 Boom Boom! Syrah, Charles Smith, Columbia Valley, Washington, USA.

The Boom Boom! Syrah is a Columbia Valley wine, the largest in Washington State and covering an area of nearly 11 million acres. Now that is a lot of grapes (and I hear their vine rows are often more spread out there than in other regions around the grape-growing world).  Several smaller pockets–Yakima Valley, Walla Walla, and others–are encompassed in this great region for winemaking, where Charles Smith Wines makes its living.

We poured this dark beauty into a plastic “lake glass” and passed it around, swirling its deep purples and sipping contentedly with the onset of the evening. It’s not just the grape itself that intrigues here, but a little something spicy that lingers in the background. It’s there for sure, but I’m not savvy enough a taster to identify its specific details for you.

Syrah is sent to us once or twice yearly as part of a recurring wine club shipment, and we always enjoy it on those occasions…but the 2011 Boom Boom! from Charles Smith is the only Syrah I’ve gone out of my way to purchase. There’s an obvious “boom” quip waiting in the wings here but you’ll have to taste it for yourself to get it.


2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon

Fantastic bottle of red from Castle Rock Winery.  The grapes for this 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon are grown in Columbia Valley vineyards that (seemingly) share the same latitude as the Bordeaux region of France.  That’s an interesting fact in particular because the Castle Rock followed immediately on the heels of a Bordeaux that earned some praise in Notes — but what a contrast between the two.

The 2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon, with Columbia Valley grapes cellared and bottled in Geyserville, California, USA.

The 2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon, with Columbia Valley grapes cellared and bottled in Geyserville, California, USA.

The 2010 Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon had a richer and fruitier taste to it, with berry scents released immediately upon the pour.  The Cadillac was fine, but the Castle Rock was by far the superior wine to this palate.  Lots of black berries in this one, and much smoother finish by comparison.  The Chateau Close la Chapelle was the red blend, but it was the Castle Rock that seemed to weave in more spices, more flavors…a definite winner in their head-to-head matchup.

I do wonder, though, how much of this can be attributed to the stemware?  We do have a specially shaped Cabernet Sauvignon glass (a Syrah and Pinot Noir glass too–thanks Bec) but not a Bordeaux glass.  I’ve learned that the right glass opens the bouquet the right way, and even directs the flow of wine to the appropriate taste buds upon drinking so there’s some validity to the question.

This 2010 is aged in French oak barrels for 18 months “to soften and add complexity” and accompanied a delicious grilled tuna steak and an arugula/orzo salad.  High marks all across the board and we know exactly how to get more of each treat.  Good roadmap for you too.

2011 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Crest

A long work day in frigid Chicago culminated at the Capital Grill bar, with the Hurricanes vs. Blue Devils basketball game on the bar TV and bright-colored bottles beckoning.  I was tired and well beyond the point of banal small talk, and thus encouraged to see the familiar H3 label behind the bartender.

2011 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Crest, Washington, USA.

2011 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Crest, Washington, USA.

I knew that Horse Heaven Hills had been part of Notes in the past and selected the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon to help warm up my freezing hands and insides.  This Columbia Crest cab quickly ingratiated itself to me, its peppery and spicy undertones doing well to prop up its jammy fruit flavors.  The 2011 Horse Heaven Hills, in my humble estimation, had a deep, earthy taste and an easy finish.  Really enjoyed this.

The H3 accompanied assorted breads and a classic steakhouse meal–a 10oz filet mignon (grilled “medium rare plus”) with creamed corn.  My tired self skipped the wedge salad and just swirled this ruby red around an oversized glass, finally content for the day…glad that I’d selected this Washington-based bargain.