Tag Archives: Chardonnay

Newsprint Chardonnay

Newsprint Impulse

Newsprint Wines 2016 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, some say newsprint is dying medium, but today it’s alive and well in the form of Newsprint wines, made by Jennifer Sullivan and Jerry Riener of Guardian Cellars. The story of Guardian and Newsprint Wines is a fascinating one – it starts with Jerry, a local cop, and Jennifer, a journalist with the Seattle times, meeting serendipitously at a crime scene, and ultimately getting married. Meanwhile, Jerry the cop was pursuing his dream of starting a winery, pulling double duty as assistant winemaker at Mark Ryan Winery, in the early 2000’s. In 2007, Jerry and Jen launched their own winery, calling it Guardian Cellars as a nod to Jerry’s career as police officer. Later they launched Newsprint, which of course is a nod to Jennifer’s career in print journalism.

Newsprint Wines 2016 Chardonnay $17.99

If you like a good buttery Chard, then bring your rolls and butter knives because this one has it- and at such a great price too. The grapes are sourced from Conner Lee Vineyards in the Columbia Valley of Washington, which often go towards making $40 Chardonnays. Jerry and Jennifer aged this one for 12 months in 50% new French oak barrels, giving it plenty of character, with notes of toast, vanilla, hints of caramel and buttered popcorn, yellow and red apples, and bit of toasted marshmallow. Given how fantastic their reds have been in the past, it comes as no surprise that their Newsprint Chardonnay is at that same level. A really great value!

Newsprint Chardonnay

Newsprint Chardonnay

 Click here to order the Newsprint Chardonnay

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine

Vineyard(s): Conner Lee

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Aging: Aged 12 Months in 50% New French Oak Barrels

Drinkability: Now through 2019

Body: Medium

Alcohol: % by volume

Drink This if you Like: Disruption Chard

Sparkman Cellars Kindred Chardonnay

Kindred Impulse

Sparkman Cellars 2014 “Kindred” Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, I first met Chris Sparkman back in 2006, when I was working at Matthews Cellars and he was the General Manager of The Waterfront Restaurant, now Aqua by El Gaucho. That same year, he debuted Sparkman Cellars, and we did a collaboration winemaker dinner for the Auction of Washington Wines. With his years of experience in the food and beverage business, and having Mark Ryan McNeilly as his consulting winemaker for the first few years, he was well on his way to success.

Sparkman Cellars 2014 “Kindred” Chardonnay $17.99

Now Sparkman Cellars has a value line of wines called “Kindred”, and the 2014 Chardonnay offers a lot of bang for the buck. It’s a nice, fat, buttery, Chardonnay with a healthy amount of oak. The fruit is sourced from Oasis, Olsen, and Stillwater Creek Vineyards, then aged for 18 months in 27% new French oak barrels. It tastes of fresh apricots, yellow apples, and hints of hazelnuts and straw, finishing with a rich and creamy texture.

Sparkman made just 334 cases of their Kindred Chardonnay

Click here to order the Sparkman Kindred Chardonnay

Sparkman Kindred Chardonnay

Sparkman Kindred Chardonnay

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine

Vineyard(s): 60% Oasis, 33% Olsen, 7% Stillwater Creek

Grape(s): 100% Chardonnay

Aging: 27% New French Oak Barrels for 18 Months

Drinkability: Now through 2018

Body: Medium-Full

Alcohol: 14.5% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Disruption Chardonnay, La Crema

Food Pairing: Scallops, Pasta with Cream Sauce, Chicken

Production: 334 cases

Red Car Chardonnay

Sonoma Impulse

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Fellow wine lovers, happy new year! It seems Sonoma has caught my attention as of late, thus we have an outstanding deal on a beautiful Chardonnay today. I found a Chardonnay by Red Car, whose Pinot Noir we so recently enjoyed, which has just a few years of age on it. It’s still rather fresh, but has had the time to build a bit of extra character.

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $25.99 (Regularly $40)

The Red Car 2012 Chardonnay received a score of 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. They describe it as , “Blended from several amazing vineyard sites, including Ritchie and Hawk Hill… It shines in exotic florals and a creamy mouthfeel followed by a dry, bright finish of fresh-squeezed grapefruit and tangerine. This is one to enjoy entirely on its own or with a myriad of appetizers.”

It’s aged completely in French oak barrels, 10% of which is new, giving it just a smidge of vanilla, toast, and oak flavors, coexisting nicely with hints of butter and smoky flint notes, underneath a layer of lemon custard, white currant, and yellow apple. The coastal nature of this charming wine means that it comes with a lower alcohol percentage of 13.7, while bearing crisp acidity and clean minerality from the mid-palate to the finish.

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Click here to order the Red Car Chardonnay

Region: Sonoma Coast

Vineyard(s): Weeks, Ritchie, Hawk Hill, Zephyr Farms

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Aging: 100% French Oak, 10% New

Drinkability: Now through 2017

Body: Medium

Alcohol: 13.7% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Flowers, Failla, La Crema

Press: 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Food Pairing: Cheeses

Production: 73 barrels



The Walls Vineyards Chardonnay

New Yorker Impulse

The Walls Vineyards 2014 “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, almost everyone knows and enjoys the cartoon stylings of The New Yorker Magazine, and many people are fans of the wines turned out by Corliss Estates in Walla Walla, and their sibling winery, Tranche Cellars. Something I never expected is to see elements from the two converging into a single new wine project from Walla Walla, but that’s what’s happening now.

Ali Mayfield, formerly on the winemaking team for Corliss/Tranche, is launching a brand new winery, with label art drawn by a New Yorker Magazine cartoonist. The result is great wines, fun labels, and something exciting and new for us to share.

The Walls Vineyards 2014 “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay $24.99

For this Chardonnay, Ali is seeking out warmer vineyard sites which give rise to bigger and riper wines, conveying the full magnitude of complexity which Washington State can express. Despite the name translating into “young vines”, the plantings go back as far as 1982, which is rather mature. She is sourcing from Conner Lee Vineyard and Stillwater Creek Vineyard, which are often the backbone of well known washington Chardonnays from the likes of Buty Winery, Tenor, Ashan Cellars, and Gorman Winery. While I’ve typically leaned toward more delicate styles of Chardonnay to offer on Impulse, this one is a bit bigger, yet still very balanced- so if you’ve been looking for something with more oak and butter, this one is for you.

The Walls “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay is barrel fermented in 78% new French oak barrels and 22% stainless steel barrels, and then aged for 11 months in those same vessels. The result is a generous flavors of vanilla bean and freshly made toast, with hints of custard and buttered popcorn. The Chardonnay is equitably ripe, showing classic notes of golden delicious apple and bartlett pear, with hints of pineapple and lemon. It finishes clean with hints of mineral, and is overall a lovely Chardonnay which competes well with many priced $5 or $10 higher.

The Walls Vineyards 2014 "Les Jeunes Vignes" Chardonnay

The Walls Vineyards 2014 “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay

Click here to order the The Walls Vineyards “Les Jeunes Vignes” Chardonnay

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine
Vineyard(s): Conner Lee Vineyard and Stillwater Creek Vineyard
Grape(s): 100% Chardonnay
Aging: Barrel Fermented in 78% New French Oak Barrels and 22% Stainless Steel Barrels, and Aged for 11 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Chard from Woodward Canyon, Buty, Tenor, Ashan, Gorman
Food Pairing: Wild Caught Alaskan Halibut, Copper River King Salmon
Production: 241 cases



Carter-Lamour Chardonnay

Charitable Impulse

Carter-Lamour 2012 Columbia Valley Chardonnay

Fellow wine lovers, sometimes tragedy strikes in the wine community, but wine being what it is, it tends to attract people who have an innate sense of togetherness. Throughout history, there are stories of winemakers and wineries coming together to serve a good cause, and that’s what brings about today’s Carter-Lamour Chardonnay.

Dain Dillingham was the Assistant Winemaker for Aryn Morell (owner of Alleromb Winery, and winemaker for Matthews, Tenor, and a few other wineries), but in 2013 he suffered a paralyzing spinal injury. His brother Drew Dillingham was the winemaker at Waters Winery, and decided to quit his job and assume the role of full time caregiver for Dain. As their the medical expenses clashed with the brothers’ lack of full time income, their friends in the wine community banned together, offering a bit of relief.

Carter-Lamour 2012 Chardonnay $24.99 (Regularly $30)

Aryn Morell donated 5 barrels of his Alleromb Chardonnay from the La Reyna Blanca Vineyard, while Charles Smith Wines/K Vintners donated 5 barrels of their Sixto Moxee Vineyard Chardonnay. The two are combined and bottled as Carter-Lamour, which is a newly established winery, owned by the Dillingham brothers. This Chardonnay could, by all rights, sell for about $50 if you just average out the per bottle price of the two individual wines which make it up. At $24.99, it’s not only a great value, but I found it to be a truly fantastic Chardonnay, easily my favorite of the past several months – as I look back through previous Impulse offers, I see that I haven’t featured a Chardonnay since April, which is to say I haven’t found a Chardonnay I loved since then!

Rather generously oaked, yet in balance, it’s not an oak bomb but has bold notes of creme brulee and baked lemons, vanilla, butterscotch, and pineapple. After some time, it opens up to flavors of toasted almonds, creamed corn, butter, and a bit of red apples. Fresh fruits, rich creamy flavors, and bright acidity coalesce to make a Chardonnay which I find to be extremely enjoyable . A truly outstanding value when you consider the two component Chardonnay which originally were destined to be bottled and sold separately, for nearly double the price of the Carter-Lamour. Also, we are not likely to see too many other white wines available from the near perfect 2012 vintage, as most wineries have already moved on to the 2013’s and even 2014’s, so this is a real find.

Andy Perdue and Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wines give the Carter-Lamour a rating of “Excellent” while calling it “exhilarating and beautiful”. Also, Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast Magazine gives it a score of 91 points.

Carter-Lamour 2012 Chardonnay

Carter-Lamour 2012 Chardonnay

Only 250 cases were made

Click here to order the Carter-Lamour Chardonnay

Region: Columbia Valley AVA, Washington State Wine
Vineyard: 50% Roza Hills Vineyard (Sixto), 50% La Reyna Blanca Vineyard (Alleromb)
Grape: Chardonnay
Aging: 100% French Oak Barrels
Drinkability: Beautiful right now, can age for another 2 to 4 years
Body: Medium-Full
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Sixto Chardonnay, Alleromb Chardonnay
Press: 91 Points from Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Rating of “Excellent” from Great Northwest Wines
Food Pairings: Roasted Bird, Halibut, Wild Salmon, Scallops
Production: 250 cases



Aubry Champagne Brut

Premier Impulse

L. Aubry Premier Cru Champagne Brut

Please note that today’s wine is on discount with the importer for this week only. To get the price offered below, orders must be in by this Thursday, after that, the wine can still be ordered at it’s regular price, if it’s not sold out

Fellow wine lovers, I love Champagne. I tend not to pick favorites, but if pressed to choose just one type of wine to drink, it would likely to Champagne. The tingling of the bubbles, the mouthwatering acidity, the richness of texture, the refreshing crispness of it all; Champagne is the stuff of happiness, pure bliss in a glass. I think it’s important to make the distinction of what Champagne is. Sparkling wines such as Cava from Spain or Prosecco from Italy, those are not Champagne, but rather a bubbly interpretation from those respective countries. The same is for domestic sparkling wines from Washington, Oregon, and California. Champagne, real Champagne, only comes from France, and gets its name from the Champagne region where it is made – about an hour and a half drive northeast of Paris.

Champagne Aubry Brut Premier Cru $39.99 (Regularly $43)

We also have 1.5 Liter Magnums are also available $99.99 (Regularly $110), which you can order using the same link above.

There is a growing number of what is known as “Grower Champagne”, or “Recoltant Manipulant” in French, being imported into the US as demands for artisanal wine continues to increase. As the name implies, a Grower Champagne is one where the Champagne itself is made by the same people who grow the grapes. Where many of the large houses, such as Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot, produce their wines by purchasing grapes from a variety of local farmers, Grower Champagne comes from just one estate.

Run by twin brothers Philippe and Pierre Aubry, whose family has been making wine since the late 1700’s, Champagne Aubry is one of my absolute favorites with their outstanding bottle of Brut. It’s a “Premier Cru”, meaning the grapes are harvested from vineyards which have been designated in the top ten percent of all Champagne, with respect to their quality. Champagne is well known for its impressive prices- it’s not unreasonable to pay $100 for a nice bottles- which is why this bottle of Premier Cru is so amazing at this rate.

This a stunning bottle of bubbly which I buy for myself regularly, and take to parties where I share with other Sommelier friends. A blend of the three traditional Champagne grapes, it’s comprised of 45% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 5% of the ancient and obscure varieties Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau. It’s rare to find a Champagne where Pinot Meunier makes up the largest proportion of the blend, and the result is a wine which is rich, creamy, and even fat on the palate. It’s dry, with notes of peaches, candied lemons, and fresh brioche bread on the nose. The palate showcases tight bubbles and full bodied texture with flavors of white raspberries up front, hints of cinnamon and spice in the middle, finishing with yellow apple crisps, clean minerality, and bright acidity in the end.

Aubry Premier Cru Champagne Brut

Aubry Premier Cru Champagne Brut

Click Here to Order the Aubry Brut Premier Cru Champagne

Region: Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France
Vineyard: Premier Cru Vineyards
Grapes: 45% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 5% of the ancient varieties Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau.
Aging: 24 months on the lees
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Body: Full Bodied
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Champagne, Veuve Clicquot
Food Pairings: Great Champagne Goes with Everything. Great with Holiday Fare



Savage Grace Cab Franc, Chard, Riesling

Balanced Impulse

Savage Grace 2014 Cabernet Franc, 2013 Chardonnay, 2014 Riesling

Fellow wine lovers, I’m really excited to bring to you a fresh batch of wines from Savage Grace Winery. In the almost 2 years of Impulse Wine, Savage Grace has really become a favorite of mine, and based on your feedback it seems that you agree. Michael Savage’s wines have been outstanding, right from the beginning, and it feels like they’re getting even better with each new vintage. The wines he makes perfectly live up to the name Savage Grace, showing the raw and uninhibited side of each grape he vinifies, while displaying an abundance of finesse and humility in each bottle. These single vineyard wines are truly world class, and without a doubt some of best made in Washington State. Below are three of the latest vintages, which have not yet been fully released, putting us among the first to have access to them. I’m also offering a 10% mixed case discount, for those who’d like to mix and match 12 bottles or more of the Savage Grace wines.

Savage Grace 2014 Cabernet Franc $23.99 (Regularly $26)

Some are saying this is the most well made Cabernet Franc from Washington right now, and I would easily agree that it’s the best Cabernet Franc I’ve had in the last year or so. It really captures the essence of the grape – where many others try to make a Cabernet Franc which is hardly discernible from a Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a lighter style, weighing in with medium body, and displaying all the classic spicy, dusty, qualities which can be expected from this variety. Michael Savage verily aims to style it after the wines of of Chinon, the most famous of French Cabernet Franc, in the Loire Valley, and really hits the mark. His wine shows much of the traditional earthiness of the Old World, backed by the purity of fruit which Washington so uniquely provides.

Aged in 100% neutral French oak, so there’s no heavy oaky notes, this Cab Franc starts out pretty on the nose, with a bit of flower petals and hints of bubble gum, parallel to cigar box aromatics. The palate is very smooth, again medium bodied, and elegantly structured with nice acid. There are flavors of cedar, black cherry fruit leather, Chambord Liqueur, and fresh blueberries, alongside a hint of rich dark potting soil and rhubarb.
Savage Grace 14 CF
Click here to order the Savage Grace Cab Franc

Region: Rattlesnake Hills AVA, Washington State
Vineyard: Copeland Vineyard
Grape: Cabernet Franc
Aging: 5 Months in Neutral French Oak Barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.7% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Chinon, Bourgueil, Loire Valley Cabernet Franc
Food Pairings: Well Seasoned Meats, Jerked Beef, Herbed Lamb
Production: 260 cases

Savage Grace 2013 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay $23.99 (Regularly $26)

This Chardonnay really knocked my socks off with how it continuously opens up with unctuous layers of rich flavor. The fruit comes from.40 year old vines from Celilo Vineyard in the Columbia Gorge, which is quickly rising to the top of everyone’s lists as one of the best Chardonnay vineyards in the Washington. As with all Savage Grace wines, this is a more finessed style, fermented and aged in 50% Neutral French Oak and 50% Stainless Steel. I would categorize it as falling somewhere in between White Burgundies such as Premier Cru Chablis and upper echelon Macon-Villages.

The wines starts out great, then after several hours, it pretty well melts me into my seat with its smooth and creamy texture. The nose has a toasty quality like pan popped popcorn, lightly buttered, and hints of baked lemon. The palate is very silky, with notes of crisp Fuji Apples, hints of peanut, clean minerality, and bright acidity. It quickly opens up to an essences of freshly baked brioche, a little guava, Anjou Pears, and dried white flowers.

Again, one of my favorite Chardonnays of recent memory, and it gets 91 Points from Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, where it was selected as an “Editor’s Choice”.

Click here to order the Savage Grace Chardonnay
Savage Grace 13 CH
Region: Columbia Gorge AVA, Washington State
Vineyard: Celilo Vineyard
Grape: Chardonnay
Aging: 50% Neutral French Oak Barrels 50% Stainless Steel for 6 month, 50% ML
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Premier Cru Chablis, Macon-Villages
Press: 91 Points from Sean Sullivan of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and Editor’s Choice
Food Pairings: Cheese and Crackers, Halibut with Cream Sauce
Production: 165 cases

Savage Grace 2014 Riesling $19.99 (Regularly $21)

This Riesling has been turning heads all over town. I was recently at a casual wine tasting with several top wine professional from Seattle, and from all over the country, where this was poured alongside a sampling of other top flight Washington wines. Very quickly it became obvious that the Savage Grace Riesling had stolen the show, as everyone was raving about it, and it became the first bottle finished, as everyone went back for second tastes of it. On top of that, it’s rumored that this Riesling is up for an award, a pretty big one, though it’s not yet revealed what.

The wine features just the slightest hint of sweetness, while staying mostly dry, with a very crisp and light finish. It’s full of orange blossom and tangerine skin aromatics, with hints of classic Riesling petrol notes. It gives a tingling hint of spritz on the tongue, followed with a tang of lime zest, stoney minerals, juicy yellow apples, hints of spicy ginger, and lots of vibrant acidity on the finish.

Click here to order the Savage Grace Riesling
Savage Grace 14 RI
Region: Columbia Gorge AVA, Washington State
Vineyard: Underwood Mountain Vineyard
Grape: Riesling
Aging: 100% Stainless Steel
Drinkability: Now through 2021
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 10.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Alsatian Riesling, Rheingau Riesling
Food Pairings: Oysters with Mignonette, Spiced Duck, Asian Cuisine
Production: 171 cases