Washington Wine Club – June 2009

2006 K Vintners, Guido
West Seattle Cellars customers have seen Charles Smith in many starring roles: producer of high quality Syrahs, marketing genius behind the House Wine and other nationally distributed labels, friend of Christophe Baron (using his fruits to make his powerhouse Cab-Syrah blends), enfant terrible of Walla Walla, garrulous raconteur at tastings, winner of Paul Gregutt’s only perfect rating (for his Royal Slope Syrah) – and the list goes on. Yet, for the second year in a row, our choice for his top wine is an elegant Super Tuscan style wine! Using fruit from the Lefore Vineyard in the dry Walla Walla creek bed, Charles made about 150 cases of this rich blend of Sangiovese and Syrah, fermented together in French oak barrels. The wine features some very Italian flavors of anise and cherry, with a hint of rose petals on the nose, a perfect match for your next Tuscan feast. Like all of Charles’ reserve wines, Guido offers a lot of pleasure now but will definitely benefit from another five years or so in the cellar. It’s $46 and no more is available, as only ten cases were available in Seattle.

2006 Baer Winery, Ursa
Sad to say, this is the last vintage of Ursa that Lance Baer had put into barrel before his untimely death in May, 2007. However Lance’s father, Les, and his sister, Lisa, have chosen to continue the winery, and hired the terrific Erica Orr as consulting winemaker. She was able to find enough grapes from the 2007 vintage so that next year Baer will return to releasing two wines: the Cabernet-dominant Arctos as well as this Merlot-dominant Ursa. The 2006 Ursa, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, is styled to resemble a rich “right bank” Bordeaux and, true to Lance’s style, is meant to be enjoyed upon release. Showing lots of complex red fruits, it has notes of tobacco and cedar from barrel aging. The Ursa would pair well with grilled meats and hearty fare, but it is a great wine just to enjoy on its own. While it is no longer available from the distributor, we were able to secure several extra cases for the shop. It costs $35 per bottle.