Friday, July 29, 2005

Summer Concert Series Chateau St. Michelle

Woodinville, WA - July 27, 2005.

It's a beautiful Wednesday for the drive up to Chateau St. Michelle for their Summer Concert Series.

On the bill tonight - Tears For Fears...was it really 20 years ago the last time I saw them in was...but I regress more on the pre-game and then we'll give a critique of the show.

Thanks to my friends at QFC I'm set up for the VIP treatment - armbands and wine glass in hand - we're off. The arrival wine was Canoe Ridge 2003 Chardonnay or 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. It's 85 degrees so I opt to start with the Chardonnay - made in the old world style it's very refreshing and the fruit isn't hidden by the French oak.

After indulging in the great food, it's time to try the Canoe Ridge Vineyard ® Cabernet Sauvignon. A Cab blend that is bold and intense. 100 percent French oak barrels. The aromas of bright fruit, pepper with balanced tannins and a hint of cedar.

Great warm up - time to check out the seats - we're in the Walla Walla section (front & center) - sections are designated by Washingtion AVA's...some of my other friends were in Red Mountain section.

Cool we have great seats - time to enjoy more wine before the main act.

Frist on the tasting menu, bucking the trend after Sideways - we start with a 2001 Northstar Merlot ($55) - this is a big merlot (with 25% Cab in the blend) - rivaling Napa. Smokey and herbal's a hit and the best wine of the evening so far...but we know what's next;

1999 Col Solara ($69) a Cab Blend as they say "A Washington wine with the soul of Tuscany" Formed by a partnership with Tuscany's Marchesi Antinori and Chateau Ste. Michelle. This one scored 92 points and checking internet price can be stolen for $39.99
Can't get enough of the Col Solara - it's amazing! and of course we run out fast when friends find out what we're pouring. It's easy to make friends when you have great wine.

Hot air balloons head south over the valley - its a beautiful night.

Time for Tears For Fears - they start off with one of their newer songs that wasn't as popular, but then they get into the hits "Sowing the Seeds of Love", "Head Over Heels", "Woman in Chains", "Mother's Talk" and of course "Everybody Wants to Rule The World".

Yes it's been 20 years, but I'm singing along with every song, time to break out their "Best Of" CD again - they used to be one of my favorite bands in the 80's.

Next on the menu - 2001 Chateau St. Michelle Artist Series Meritage - like the fact their paying to use "Meritage" on the label. (FYI: "Meritage" is an American word created by Merit + Heritage and doesn't rhyme with Hermitage!) 68% Cab Sauv, 16% Merlot and 16% Malbec which adds beautiful color.

The last hour been enjoying bottled water for the ride home. It's been a great night - Tears For Fears is into their encore playing "Change" time to beat the rush out of the valley.

I recommend Chateau St. Michelle for their Summer Concert series. A great venue, great value and great hospitality. Bigger presentation than that of Wente in California's Livermore Valley.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Great Birthday

Wines to share and celebrate your (my) Birthday.

'01 Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon - $100
'96 Franciscan Library Reserve Cabernet - $75
'99 Quintessa - $100
'01 Del Dotto - David - $85
'99 Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon - $25

No corkage fee - priceless.

Picking a favorite was easy - Staglin hands down produces one of the best Cabs in Napa and beyond.