We continually shop, and more importantly taste, to find unique jewels for our beverage menu – the unusual varietals, the new and upcoming wine regions or winemakers, or close out specials. This week alone we participated in 4 professional tastings and probably spat out more wine and spirits than most people drink in a month. We have accumulated a stack of notes. Then the hard part begins. We meet for the better part of a day to cull and decide what stays, what goes and what gets added. Sounds like a reality show, doesn't it?
Many wines are old friends; we have met the wine makers and have a special connection to them as they have had a place on our list over the years. But the decision comes down to the juice in the glass, what other wines we have in that style, region, varietal and of course price point. Our decision is never that cut and dry. If we are on the fence about a wine, we try it on our cellar special page to see if it gets traction before moving it to our main list.
The bulk of our tasting and focus is on our core list – the wines we offer by the glass and those in the $30 - $55 price point. Check out our April wine picks
for a sampling of some of our favorite new additions.
Speaking of additions, we are excited about our new Coho house wine this year from winemaker Brian Carter. It is by far the most complex house red we have offered to date. Because of our passion for Italian wines and Chef Bill’s Mediterranean inspired menu, we knew this Washington "Super Tuscan" style red blend would be the perfect fit. (Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah). The labels are currently in the design process and need federal approval, but we plan on having the house wine in place for the Memorial Day holiday. Over the years, we have had the pleasure of working with different winemakers for our house label including Chris Primus, San Juan Vineyards and Michael Sharadin, Northwest Totem Cellars.
We have also had the good fortune to add a few heavy hitter library wines to our list. This had not been the focus of our wine program when we first opened. Then the goal was to build a list, start a cellar and get some seniority. Yes seniority. Many of the sought after wines are allocated meaning you get on a list and wait for those above you to give up their allocation. Then once you have moved up high enough on the list to actually purchase these 'cult' wines, the winery ‘checks’ you out to ensure that their wines will be in good company. More often than not, once you have the opportunity to buy, there are more hoops. There is a further allocation - 1 bottle of the ‘prized’ wine for every case you buy of the wineries other juice. It is all part of the dance.
Many of these Cabs are wonderful to drink now but would certainly benefit from some cellaring. New to our list this season:
Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Walla Walla, WA
76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot
Betz Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille 2010, Red Mountain, WA
86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot
Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley, CA
Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Napa Valley, CA
Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley, CA