Tag Archives: Woodinville

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

Kevin White Yakima Valley Red Blend

Kevin White Impulse

Kevin White 2015 Yakima Valley Red Wine

Fellow wine lovers, a blockbuster wine from last year is back its second vintage today. Kevin White’s wines have been an Impulse favorite since we first featured them a few years ago, and last year he came out with a new wine, a declassified red made in the same style as his flagship Rhone style wines. The new vintage was just release and has already sold out on his website, disappearing in a flash, but we are lucky enough to have a bit to feature on Impulse today.

Kevin White 2015 Yakima Valley Red Wine $17.99

 If you like Rhone style reds from Washington State, Kevin White’s are not to be missed. This one in particular will be gone in a hurry, as there is so little of it made and the value is tremendous. It’s made using the same fruit from the same vineyards as is earth shattering La Fraternité and En Hommage wines, with Kevin assembling those two blends first, then everything else that’s still worthy goes into this Red Wine.

Simply put, the wine is really good! It’s beautiful, smooth, and spicy. It’s soft and medium bodied on the palate, very easy drinking, and ready now with the ability to lay down for a few years. It has a lovely nose of delicate red berries, with hints of pepper, herb, and rose petals. There are flavors of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry. A perfect every day drinker.

Kevin White Red Wine

Kevin White Winery Red Wine

Click here to order the Kevin White Red Blend

 Region: Yakima Valley

Grape(s): 44% Syrah, 31% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre

Drinkability: Now through 2021

Body: Medium

Alcohol: 14.9% by volume

Drink This if you Like: La Fraternité, En Hommage, W.T. Vintners, Savage Grace,

Food Pairing: Lamb Chops

Production: 466 cases


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

Newsprint 2014 Malbec

Newsprint Impulse

Guardian Cellars “Newsprint” 2014 Malbec, StoneTree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope, Washington

Fellow wine lovers, last year we debuted a new series of wines by Guardian Cellars, called Newsprint Wines. The label is an homage to owner Jennifer Sullivan’s long time career as a reporter with the Seattle Times, while the original Guardian Cellars label is a nod to husband and co-owner Jerry’s careers as a police officer. The Newsprint wines showcase the same level of care and dedication as Guardian Cellars, along with top vineyard sourcing- only they carry a lighter price tag.

Newsprint Wines 2014 Malbec $17.99

This year’s Malbec is big and juicy, even more so than last year’s. With lots of ripe jammy fruit, and bold yet velvety texture, this Newsprint Malbec mirrors the Malbecs of Argentina more closely than most I’ve seen. Very enjoyable and easy to drink, it’s 100% Malbec aged in 21% new French oak. The grapes are sourced from the Wahluke Slope region, specifically from StoneTree Vineyard. StoneTree is one of the Washington State Wine industry’s best kept secrets, and a long-time favorite among winemakers. It’s not very well known by the public, but vintners who source here are extremely fond of it. I’ve visited the site myself and had pointed out to me how perfectly manicured the vineyard is. There’s virtually not a thing out of place among the rows, vines, and grape bunches at StoneTree. It’s truly an exemplary site.

The wine itself is just plain delicious, with smooth and unctuous texture to boot. Serving up flavors or black cherry jam, stewed black plum, with a touch of blueberry pancakes, it’s easily a crowd-pleaser. Newsprint Malbec ends with a long lingering finish, hinting of cocoa and violets. Jennifer and Jerry made just 350 cases of this beauty.

Newsprint 2014 Malbec

Newsprint 2014 Malbec

Click here to order the Newsprint 2014 Malbec

Region: Wahluke Slope AVA, Washington State Wine
Vineyard(s): StoneTree Vineyard
Grape(s): 100% Malbec
Aging: 21% New French Oak barrels, 79% Once Used
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Full
Alcohol: 14.3% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Argentine Malbec, California Zinfandel, Australian Shiraz
Production: 350 cases



Kevin White 2014 Red Wine

Kevin White Impulse

Kevin White 2014 Red Wine, Yakima Valley, WA

Fellow wine lovers, Kevin White Winery is on fire! White hot, if you will… Last year Kevin White was named “Winemaker to Watch” by Seattle Magazine’s Washington Wine Awards, and for those of you who have ordered his wine from me in the past, you have already discovered why. He’s just now launching a brand new Red Wine, and for only $17.99 – as if his previous wines were not already a killer deal, at around or under $30. His main line of wines are so small in production that you’ll recall we’ve typically only had 1 or 2 cases to offer on Impulse. Today’s new Red Wine is still only produced in finite quantity, 388 cases, but at least we’re able to get enough to let everyone stock up on this perfect everyday drinker

Kevin White Winery 2014 Red Wine $17.99

Seattle Magazine referred to his wines as being, “remarkable for their purity and freshness,” and called Kevin White himself a, “winemaker on the ascendancy”. This is undoubtedly a winery on the rise, but for now Kevin White is operating at a near microscopic production level. He makes so little wine, that it’s hard to find any around town. If you’ve had Kevin White’s other wines, you know his style to be delicate and very smooth, and this Red Wine is right in line with that. It showcases beautiful, clean, bright fruit, with hints of spice, and very little oak. It’s a blend of 54% Syrah, 23% Grenache, and 23% Mourvèdre, aged for 16 months in only 10% new French oak barrels.

It’s medium bodied, well balanced, and very easy drinking. Packed with plenty of complexity, especially considering the price, and is also very food friendly. The nose is full of bright berry notes and hints of tobacco. The palate shows blueberries, black plums, vanilla bean, a bit of cigar box, and preserved bing cherry. If you prefer your wines to not be heavy, with little to no oak, and no aggressive tannins, you’ll certainly love the Kevin White Red Wine.

Kevin White 2014 Red Wine

Kevin White Winery 2014 Red Wine

Click here to order the Kevin White Red Wine

Region: Yakima Valley AVA, Washington State Wine
Grape(s): 54% Syrah, 23% Grenache, and 23% Mourvèdre
Aging: 16 Months in 10% New French Oak Barrels
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Côtes du Rhône, Perrin Family Wines, En Hommage, La Fraternité
Press: Kevin White name “Winemaker to Watch” by Seattle Magazine
Food Pairings: Very versatile, Duck, Red Meat, Grilled or Roasted Veg
Production: 388 cases



Idle Impulse: Underground Wine Cellars 2012 “Idle Hands” Red

Fellow wine lovers, everyone knows the old saying, “idle hands are the Devil’s playground,” and today we have a fiendishly good wine which is a collaboration between two very busy winemakers who refuse to be idle, even for an instant. Always on the move, Mark Ryan McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery and Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand Cellars must have about a dozen different individual projects between the two of them, and their latest is called “Underground Wine Project.” Aptly named, since this wine is a best kept secret of sorts, with no website or info available anywhere – an internet search will turn up next to no results. 

Underground Wine Project 2012 “Idle Hands” Red $29.99 (Normally $40) 

Simply put, if you like a big, juicy, hedonistic bottle of red, then the Underground Wine Project “Idle Hands” Red is AWESOME. A luscious combination of 92% Syrah and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon coming from the Red Heaven Vineyard on Red Mountain, this thing is loaded with lots of in your face aromas of fresh vanilla, blueberry jam, and hints of anise. The palate is rich and supple, with full body and gripping tannins which will no doubt soften over time, showing blackberries and smoky oak, with hints of black pepper up front. There are combined hints of coconut and medium-dark chocolate which make me think german chocolate cake, and it finishes with ripe black raspberry preserve and perfumed roses. After letting the wine breath for about 45 minutes, aromas of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies started to show. 

The Idles Hands Red is aged for 16 months in 85% French and 15% American oak, and I think that 15% hint of American goes a long way to make this an especially bold wine. For the last decade or so, winemakers have increasingly backed away from American oak because of it’s reputation for having a flavor profile which many feel is too overt. However, I think the Idle Hands demonstrates how a more restrained use of American oak can add of lot of complex overtones, without overshadowing the rest of the wine’s characteristics. 

The Idle Hands is meant to retail for $40, but they’re temporarily allowing it to debut at lower introductory price of $29.99, which I’m told will go up. Mark and Trey made a very limited quantity, and this wine is set to disappear quickly. 

The name “Idle Hands” comes from a song by a band called, “The Gutter Twins,” and the label reads the lyrics, “with these idle hands there’s nothing I can do but be the Devil’s plaything, baby and know that I’ve been used.” 

Click here to order the Idle Hands Red 

Region: Red Mountain, Washington 
Vineyard: Red Heaven Vineyard 
Grape: 92% Syrah & 8% Cabernet Sauvignon 
Aging: Aged 16 months in 15% American 85% French oak barrels 
Drinkability: Now through 2020 
Body: Full Bodied 
Food Pairings: STEAK, Top Sirloin, New York, Tenderloin

Musing Impulse: Avennia Rosé & Bordeaux

Fellow wine lovers, based on the feedback you’ve given, the wines of Avennia are clearly on the favorite list of the Impulse crowd. Their inaugural release of Bordeaux blends was among our first several offerings last June (click here to read that original offering), then we offered their Rhone style wines when they were released last winter (click here to recap that second offering). Now we have not only the second vintage of both their Bordeaux blends, but we are also debuting their brand new dry Rosé. 

Avennia 2013 l’Egerie Dry Rosé $24.99 

The “l’Egerie” Rosé is named for the French word meaning “The Muse,” as it is bound to inspire many leisurely afternoons of sipping and relaxing. It’s made using the traditional Provencal grape varieties, 65% Grenache and 35% Mourvedre, and just a few sips will practically transport you to a sunny day in the South of France. 

Put your nose in the glass and you’ll get the essence of wild spring-time flowers and fresh strawberries. The palate is light-medium bodied, with flavors of watermelon, ripe berries, and orange blossoms with hints of minerality and a refreshingly crisp finish. It’s not typical to age rosé, but if you put this one in the cellar and forgot about it for a year or so, I’m betting it would turn out pretty nice. 

Avennia only made 125 cases of their “l’Egerie” Rosé, almost all of which was immediately spoken for, which means they are able to offer us a mere 18 bottles. 

Click here to order the l’Egerie Dry Rosé 

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State 
Vineyard: Alder Ridge, Upland, and Heart of the Hill 
Grapes: 65% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre 
Drinkability: Now through 2015 
Body: Light-Medium 
Drink This if you Like: Rosé from Provence (South of France) 
Food Pairings: Carpaccio, Cured Salmon, prawns 
Production: 125 cases 
Availability: 18 bottles 

Avennia 2011 Gravura Bordeaux Blend $34.99 

Now on the second vintage of what is their most popular wine, the Gravura is a bottle which can appeal to most anyone. Deep and complex, yet not too heavy, with a beautiful sense of purity in its fruit, balanced by hints of earthiness. 

A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc, aged in 50% new French oak for 20 months, this is great for everyday sipping and special occasions alike. The nose starts with fresh, dark, berries and then gives way to hints of herbs and smoke. The palate is very smooth, ready to drink, displaying a wonderful exchange of raspberries, cherries, and plums between the Cabernet and Merlot, with hints of spicy peppers as the Cab Franc chimes in. 

Paul Gregutt of the Wine Enthusiast gives the 2011 Gravura 92 points, and we are anticipating perhaps even higher scores to be published by Jeb Dunnuck of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate soon. 

Click here to order the Gravura Bordeaux Blend 

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State 
Grapes: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc 
Aging: 50% new French oak for 20 months 
Drinkability: Now-2020, recommend decanting 
Body: Medium 
Drink This if you Like: Leonetti Cab, DeLille D2, Dunham Trutina 
Press: 90-93 Robert Parker, 91+ Tanzer, 92 Wine Enthusiast 
Food Pairings: Hanger Steak and Grilled Red Peppers 
Production: 600 

Avennia 2011 Sestina Cabernet Blend $54.99 

The Sestina is also on its second vintage, and if the 2010 iteration is any indicator, this wine is built to age. Assembled on old vine fruit coming from Bacchus and Red Willow Vineyards, this flagship red of theirs is something of a big brother to the Gravura, featuring more Cabernet and more new French oak to give it even greater depth of character. A blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc, the flavors are comparably darker and bolder, showing juicy black cherries, blackberries, and cassis, with firm tannins which will continue to smooth out with time. Aging in 70% new French oak barrels for 20 months has allowed for a sounding of highly integrated flavors of vanilla, toast, and smoke, while also making this blend fuller bodied than little brother Gravura. 

Another round of outstanding scores are given to this 2011 Sestina; Jeb Dunnuck of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate tasted it while still in barrel last June and gave it a projected score of 92-95 points and said the following: 

“…additional purity, depth and texture. Made in a savory, age-worthy style, it exhibits classic Bordeaux-like aromas and flavors of blackberry, smoked meat, pencil shavings and spice box to go with a medium to full-bodied, focused and thrillingly textured palate. Firming up on the finish, with integrated acidity and chewy tannic grip, it needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will shine for 12-15 years or more. Drink 2016-2028. 

Founded by Chris Peterson (winemaker and formerly of DeLille Cellars) and Marty Taucher, and releasing their first vintage in 2010, this Woodinville-based operation needs to be on everyone’s radar. The wines are superb across the board and while they have solid fruit, they stress purity and elegance, with vibrant cores of acidity. The 2011 reds are also superb across the board.“ 

His final scoring of the finished product should be published soon, and it’s expected to be in the higher end, but by then the wine will likely be completely sold out. Avennia made only 250 cases, of which they are able to make only 5 cases available for us to offer on Impulse

Click here to order the Sestina Cabernet Blend 

Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State 
Vineyard: Bacchus, Red Willow 
Grapes: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc 
Aging: 70% new French oak, 20 months 
Drinkability: Now-2025, recommend decanting 
Body: Medium-Full 
Drink This if you like: Woodward Canyon Old Vines Cab, DeLille Chaleur Estate, Leonetti Reserve 
Press: 93-95 Robert Parker, 92+ Tanzer, 92 Enthusiast (Cellar Selection) 
Food Pairings: Dry Aged Beef wit Marrow, Aged Mimolette Cheese 
Production: 250 
Availability: 5 cases