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2006 Columbia Valley Rara Avis 69% Grenache 22% Mourvedre 9% Syrah All from the two Elerding Vineyards I started e...Read more...
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Food Pairings for Isenhower Cellars Red Rhone Blend Columbia Valley Rara Avis
2006 Columbia Valley Rara Avis 69% Grenache 22% Mourvedre 9% Syrah All from the two Elerding Vineyards I started enjoying wine while a graduate student at the University of Colorado. The first wines to cross my path were sweet German Rieslings. I quickly moved on to red wines and those from the Southern Rhone sang to me. Washington State is not known for wines made from funny sounding grapes like Grenache or Mourvedre. These grapes require a very long growing season to ripen and both are very sensitive to winter cold injury. In the winter of 1996, Columbia Crest lost 62 acres of Grenache so a brave farmer is required to plant these grapes. Since beginning to make wine in 1999 I've dreamed about making a Southern Rhone style red wine. I was lucky to pick up the contract for 2.5 acres of Grenache, planted in 1996, at Elerding vineyard in Mabton (thank you McCrea Cellars for dropping that contract!). The Mourvedre was planted for me in 2003 at Elerding vineyard in Alderdale and the Syrah portion was planted in 2000 in Alderdale. The Mabton vineyard is a warmer site but the Alderdale vineyard has a longer growing season. Rara Avis: 1) A rare thing or person. 2) A rare bird. I named this wine Rara Avis to celebrate the scarcity of Grenache and Mourvedre in Washington. Together the Grenache and Mourvedre create a medium weight wine with flavors of cherry, raspberry, and strawberry. The aroma is the show- stopper; it is sultry and seductive like a 1940's Hollywood actress. To slightly increase the weight of the finish I blended in one barrel of Phelps clone Syrah. Recommended enjoyment period is now through 2012. Pair the Rara Avis with stews, chili, dry spice rubbed meats, grilled pork chops, and anything with copious olive oil. brett Isenhower Owner and winemaker
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