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  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

I had the white wine picked out way back in May and in the history of the Bluebird wine club we have featured this varietal 3 times. 🥺 This month we will be featuring the most misunderstood grape - riesling. In the early days of @syringasushi I would put rieslings on the glass pour list and lament that no one ordered it, riesling is Perfect pairing for sushi. It took me a while to realize people like what they like, I like rieslings with a beautiful slice of sashimi. I digress, back to Bluebird's riesling.

This month I am really excited to bring you the 2022 Hoquetus Dry Riesling, Les Collines Vineyard. Hoquetus (rhymes with lettuce you'll never forget us).

What I've heard from people when it comes to riesling ranges from "its too sweet" "its to dry". What makes me sad is this prevents a person from even trying a wine. I have opinions on Washington Chardonnays, yes I keep trying them, yes I have had some that have knocked my socks off, and I will always try it, I'm not afraid to be proved wrong. With rieslings, one reason why connoisseurs and wine professionals gravitate towards it, is because this varietal can produce wines with great complexity and sophistication-plus the ability of the wine to impart the specifics of the vineyard site into the flavors, aromas and texture. By no means I am knocking other white varietals but rieslings keep things from becoming boring and predictable.

Hoquetus winery is a tiny, family owned winery is Walla Walla. The winemaker, Robert Gomez, is a musician turned winemaker, he named the winery after a medieval song, also known as a hocket. This is the link that Robert has on his website. I'm pretty sure if you listened to this while drinking the wine, it would make it taste even better.

Only 173 cases were made of this wine after it was harvested on 30 September 2022. The grapes were handpicked and crushed underfoot, they were left on skins for a few hours and gently pressed. Fermentation was is a mix of stainless steel and neutral oak barrels. 0g of residual sugar. So you can expect a drier style, I was hit with lime aromas, it was fruity on the nose. The winemakers notes have, white flowers, white peach and underripe pineapple. Robert used the word petrichor (the pleasant smell that accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm weather) to describe the pallet. Those tasting notes are way more descriptive than my "stoney minerality." The finish is "electric acidity" and "extraordinarily long." Another perk of riesling is they are a white wine that with age will become mind blowing.

I'm just realizing my genius with the wine club this month. Indigo wines are both expressions of clean, simple wine making techniques and they were both Rhone varietals. The sapphire level this month is dominated by musicians. Like Hoquetus, Elephant 7 winery was formed by a group of musicians who just wanted to create "special and meaningful" wines to share with friends and family.

The 2018 Elephant 7 'Yellow Bird Vineyard' Syrah is this months featured red Sapphire club members. Like the indigo wines this a leaner Syrah then you would expect with 8% Viognier co-fermented with the Syrah. Yellow Bird vineyard is a high elevation site that utilizes dry farming and sustainable farming-the yields are low (2.5 tons/acre) The tiny fruit and sparse clusters was also hand harvested and sorted in mid-September (2017) with about 50% still left on the cluster. The skins were left on about 24 days and then it was barrel aged in about 15% new French oak. The wine is unfined and unfiltered.

If sophistication in a glass was in the dictionary this glass of wine would the picture next to the definition. This is not your typical jammy Syrah, on the nose there were hints of menthol, I have floral in my notes, the winemakers notes have spring flowers. Once it hits your palate, it's game on. There were layers of herbs, it was meaty, I got hints of blueberries and flecks of granite which linger on the juicy finish. If I were you I would try this wine with the new Veal dish we have at the Bluebird.

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  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

Remember back in March when we had our first Washington wine month and I posted a map that showed Washington and France are on the same parallel. One day I'll make it to France and see where the grapes grow in the Rhône valley, until then I will be more than happy to keep exploring Washingtons evolving "Rhône Valley." For a few years now I've kept my eye on specifically Marsannes and Roussannes coming out of WA and even more recently I've been really digging on Granache wines. I didn't realize with the two wines I picked for the Indigo level this month are pretty similar in the winemaking styles.

"At Esja Wines we strive to make minimally intervened Washington wine, that is funky, fresh, and fun."

"minimal intervention, honest winemaking from Washington state."

The first time I looked at the Esja website I thought I went to the wrong website. The home page has a beautiful picture of Mount Esja. There is a caption that reads

"Esja (pronounced Es-Ya) is a mountain range situated ten kilometers north of Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. Nestled across the bay, Mount Esja overlooks the city providing peaceful and stunning views. Although she looks inviting, Esja is a force to be reckoned with. Her steep sloped and dramatic shifts in weather have proven to be severely treacherous. She is delicate, and powerful. Much like we intend our wines to be.

Roussanne is names after its skin color (when ripe), a reddish-gold pigment that equates to the French work roux (meaning "russet", or reddish brown.

Roussanne are unique because they have the floral and rich aromatics like a Viognier, even on the pallet it has a rich mouthfeel and hints of stone fruits, but what sets this varietal apart is the acidity on the finish. The 2021 Esja Roussanne Stillwater Creek is just that, on the pallet it was layers of opal apples and honey. Thinking about the finish on this wine makes my mouth water.

This wine can stand up to some pretty hardy meals; you really couldn't go wrong with the Bluebird's Fried Chicken, but then again the panko/hazelnut crusted pork chop would be delicious.

The indigo red selection, I think is a Great summer red. For August we have the Sonder 50% Grenache 50% Picpoul Co-Ferment. Again our unintended theme for the Indigo selections in minimal intervention. Right away this isn't your "normal" red wine. The color is almost "barbie-pink day dream." This lighter red even drinks great with a little bit of chill on it. Riley Miller, the winemaker only made 150 cases of this little gem colored delight, he drinks his over ice with a little umbrella. The aromatics reminded me of thanksgiving cranberries. The cranberry tartness is there on the pallet too, the acids are grippy but deliver a clean finish. It been pretty hot lately and with this being a chill-able red, I recommend this wine with the Raddichio or Spinach Salad.

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  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

I'm not sure if I'm in such a good mood because of the summer weather or because I'm so excited about the wine club selections for August. We're headed back to Washington for what the Washington Wine Commission likes to call #WAugust...I'm glad we have 31 days to celebrate.

I don't know about all you wine club member, but I feels like we've drank our way around the world so far this year-France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, Idaho. It feels good to be back close to home. Like most months it's tough to narrow down the selections, this month way probably the hardest. There are so many amazing Washington wines out there right now and I want to showcase the standout varietals. So, without further ado...

2022 Esja 'Stillwater' Roussanne | 2022 Sonder Grenache/Picpoul
August Indigo Wine Club Selections

Look at these two pretty little bottles of wine. I know I should be impartial but one of these wine is my most favorite varietal coming out of Washington right now, Roussanne. The Indigo selection is the 2022 Esja Stillwater Roussanne (pronounced Es-Ya). I think the Indigo red wine selection is really quite a perfect red wine for our hot August summer days and nights. The selection this month is the 2022 Sonder Grenache/Picpoul blend. It is recommended that this wine be served, slightly chilled. It is not your typical Washington red, and I didn't plan it this way, but I'm feeling pretty genius, both of these wines and the winemakers use minimal intervention in making the wine and I think we are rewarding with a pure expression of. the varietal.

2022 Hoquetus Riesling | 2022 Elephant Seven Yellow Bird Vineyard Syrah
August Sapphire Wine Club Selections

In the history of the wine club this will be the third Riesling we've offered. That kinda bums me out. I'm not sure what flavor profiles you have pre-conceived about riesling but lately the rieslings I've been exposed to are exquisite, layered, expressive and have run the gamut from sweet to dry. The 2022 Hoquetus Riesling, I hope will peak your interest in Rieslings again. \hō-’ke-təs\ (rhymes with lettuce you'll never forget us) The red wine selection is the 2018 Elephant Seven Yellow Bird Vineyard Syrah. We did feature the Marsanne from Elephant Seven last August.

2017 Dumas Station Cabernet Sauvignon
August Peacock Selection

Last, but not least, is the 2017 Dumas Station Cabernet Sauvignon rounds out August's selections. This winery is going about their business in Dayton racking up accolades left and right for their wine. The current winemaker even had ties to a local Idaho winery. I'm a sucker for buying wine when I meet with the winemaker, in this case was actually an easy sell because the wine is really good.

Stay tuned throughout the month for more details and information on the selections for WAugust wine month.

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