17th Vintage Woodward Canyon label goes to…

Regulars here will recognize Lisa Snow Lady’s beautiful art work as she has had four shows here over the years and quite a few of you (including me!) have work of hers in your home to enjoy every day. 

Lisa has a degree Fine Art & Art History from the UW with later degrees in horticulture & special training in print making at Pratt and the combination of this varied background creates these beautiful, layered, interesting, complex, but always soothing works of art featuring plant life, often flowers.  Lisa has shown her paintings in various Seattle area galleries, as well as smaller venues like Portalis.   And recently Swedish Hospital Ballard Branch has acquired 22 of her paintings for the new ER collection.  It is as a member of the Women Painters of Washington, that she saw Woodward Canyon’s call to artists to submit their art to be chosen for the label of their prestigious “Artist Series” wine. 

We have carried the Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cab since we opened in 2003.  It is one of their top wines & one of the top Cabernets in Washington and they have been selecting beautiful art from the Pacific Northwest to decorate the label since their first vintage in 1992.  The grapes for the “Artist Series” wine come from some of Washington’s oldest and most renowned vineyards: Champoux Vineyard, Spring Creek Vineyard, Woodward Canyon Estate Vineyard, Sagemoor Vineyard and Du Brule Vineyard.  Woodward Canyon describes, “The 2008 vintage was another fabulous one for “Artist Series” Cabernet Sauvignon, although slightly more elegant, perhaps than 2007. We saw beautifully ripened fruit in 2008”.

So it is with pride for our local Ballard artist & beloved exhibitor here at Portalis, that we announce that she received the honor of being chosen for the label of their 17th Cabernet Sauvignon vintage!  Congratulations, Lisa!

Woodward Canyon 2008 Artist Series #17  
$52.99 | Mixed Case $42.39
This wine has a generous nose of earth, subtle oak and spiced cocoa integrated with black fruits and very ripe cherry. A sweet, rich mouth feel begins with cassis and ripe black berry, leading towards chocolate and mocha. Soft, integrated tannins enhance the texture and give proportion; the finish is complex, generous, and long.

Jens’ Holiday Dream Case

 Jens Strecker (Owner, Portalis Wines) picks his 12 favorite holiday wines

These are some of my current favorite picks from around the world.  If Santa got my wish list, these wines would be at the top! 

Domaine De La Meuliere 2008 Chablis 
Burgundy, France  ~ $25.99 | Sale $22.99 | Mixed Case $18.39
Fine, flowery nose. Vibrant fruit with lots of weight & a long, stony, delicious finish.

Abeja 2009 Chardonnay
Washington State ~ $39.99 | Sale $35.99 | Mixed Case $28.79
Elegant, rich & full. Smoky, toasty aromas give way to fantastic apple & pear fruit with some peach notes. Butterscotch & hazelnut on the finish that lingers.

Evening Land 2009 Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon ~ $29.99 | Sale $26.99 | Mixed Case $21.59
Spicy baked cherry pie, plum & wild berry aromas turn elegant & refined. Full-bodied, but not too heavy to allow the rich flavors to dance on the palate. Long finish.

Gary Ferrell 2007 Pinot Noir
Russian River Valley, California ~ $44.99 | Sale $40.99 | Mixed Case $32.79
Elegant & powerful, with lots of raspberry & cherry fruit, with notes of clove & anise. The aromas & the long finish leave you wanting more.

Château Pichecan 2003 Margaux
Left Bank, Bordeaux, France ~ $43.99 | Sale $39.99 | Mixed Case $31.99
Concentrated blackcurrants & blackberries on the nose. Super-elegant, with soft, velvety mouth feel, but firm structure. Wonderful concentrated cassis fruit with cocoa & herbal notes all the way through the finish.

Domaine Faury 2007 Saint Joseph
Northern Rhône, France ~ $41.99 | Sale $37.99 | Mixed Case $30.39
Dark but racy, with fantastic aromas of raspberries, olives & lavender. Flavors of cassis, ripe, dark plums, olive tapenade, with a dash of roasted sage on the finish. This wine is so interesting; it will keep you busy for a while.

Dessilani 2005 Caramino
Piedmont, Italy ~ $39.99 | Sale $35.99 | Mixed Case $28.79
This wine is a symphony! Super-complex & elegant with a violet bouquet. The vibrantly pure fruit quality of this fine red, with its flavors of black cherry & smooth, dark chocolate is irresistibly seductive & beautifully balanced. Out of this world.

Arzuaga 2005 Ribera Del Duero
Ribera Del Duero, Spain ~ $33.99 | Sale $30.99 | Mixed Case $24.79
Elegant, focused & well-balanced, with wonderful dark fruit, herbal & leather notes. Lovely depth & a smooth, long finish.

Mollydooker 2009 The Boxer Shiraz
McLaren Vale Valley, Australia ~ $28.99 | Sale $25.99 | Mixed Case $20.79
Ripe, fleshy & full-bodied, with gorgeous flavors of black cherries, blackberries & blueberries, with notes of bay leave & black olives, swirling all the way through the long finish.

Achaval Ferrer 2007 Quimera
Mendoza, Argentina ~ $40.99 | Sale $37.99 | Mixed Case $30.39
Powerful & complex, dark & brooding, with intense aromas of blackberries, black cherries & licorice. Full-bodied, with a velvety texture & polished tannins. Beautiful down the road.

Mark Ryan 2008 Dead Horse
Red Mountain, Washington ~ $49.99 | Sale $44.99 | Mixed Case $35.99
Full, dark & dense, but smooth, velvety texture with lots of blackberry, black cherry & raspberry flavors, combined with dark chocolate & coffee notes. Mark keeps his foot on the gas pedal all the way through the finish. Very impressive!

Sparkman 2008 Ruckus Syrah
Columbia Valley, Washington ~ $45.99 | Sale $41.99 | Mixed Case $33.59
Big, plush & dark, with layers of dark fruit, black cherries, blackberries & black olives. Supple, harmonious & expressive as the finish goes on & on. Amazing!

Happy holidays & cheers!

Rockin’ WA Wines from Rockin’ Woodinville Winemakers

Let’s put the spotlight on two of the hottest wineries in Woodinville:  Sparkman Cellars & Mark Ryan Winery.

Chris Sparkman, self-defined dad, winemaker & head janitor (you might have also seen him at the Waterfront Seafood Grill where he is currently the General Manager), jokingly says that he is managed by his daughters Stella Mae 6, & Ruby Leigh 4 & but it’s his wife, Kelly Sparkman, who makes this a family affair, running the business & assisting him with the winemaking.

Founded in 2004, Sparkman Cellars is a family owned & operated winery, located in Woodinville, and has built a reputation for big, bold, full-bodied wines with elegance & structure that show off the hot-weather grapes coming out of WA.  What is the connection between these two winemakers?  Interestingly enough, Mark Ryan McNeilly (pictured below), owner & winemaker at Mark Ryan Winery, did the first vintage for Chris Sparkman.

Mark Ryan Winery was founded in 1999 by Mark Ryan McNeilly. The first vintages of the Long Haul & Dead Horse blend were produced in garages of Mark’s parents & friends. In 2002 Mark Ryan moved into a warehouse in Kent where wine aged in barrels next to Mark’s kitchen, bed & his 1986 Saab. In 2003 Mark Ryan winery moved to Woodinville where it remains today.  Like Sparkman, Mark Ryan wines are know for being bold, fruity wines, but with finesse & balance that makes them noteworthy.

Neither Chris Sparkman nor Mark Ryan got formally trained as winemakers. Self-studies, trial & error & good advice from other well-respected Washington producers helped them to learn from scratch. They are now two of the most respected wineries in Washington State.

Join two of the most exciting Sunday tastings of the year: Mark Ryan Winery with Nick James (Sales Manager, Assistant Winemaker & right hand man) on Sunday, December 12 & Sparkman Cellars with Chris Sparkman on December 19.

Here are some tasting notes from some of our favourites:

Sparkman Cellars 2008 Lumiere Chardonnay $27.99  | mixed case $22.39
100% Chardonnay from Stillwater Creek vineyard. Aromas of lemon, pears & crème brulèe followed by flavors of citrus & peach fruit, with notes of hazelnut & nutmeg.

Sparkman Cellars 2007 Stella Mae REG $47.99 | INSIDER $35.99 | Mixed Case $38.39
Named after their oldest daughter, this red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Petit Verdot. Fine, concentrated aromas of cassis, black cherries & dark chocolate leading to flavors of ripe blackberries, black cherries & Asian spices. The chewy tannins frame a massive, yet elegant structure. Fantastic finish.

Sparkman 2007 Kingpin Cabernet Sauvignon REG $59.99 | INSIDER $53.99 | Mixed Case $47.99
Sparkman claims Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain is the Led Zeppelin of Washington Vineyards. “Pure rock & roll”. Gnarly old vines & a challenging climate (biting winds) give this wine lots of depth & complexity. This is big, dark & mean. Full-bodied with lot’s of dark fruit, black plums, cassis, with some earthy & spicy notes. Superlong finish which goes on forever!

Mark Ryan 2009 Viognier $29.99 | Mixed Case $23.99
100% Viognier from Columbia Valley. Offers deep floral aromatics with some tropical fruit. Medium-bodied, well-balanced with fresh acidity & flavors of tropical & stone fruit, buttered bread, flowers & minerals. Beautiful finish.

Mark Ryan 2008 the Dissident $36.99 | Mixed Case $29.59
This red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah & Merlot from the Columbia Valley. Inviting aromas of blueberries, blackberries & strawberries with some minty notes. Medium- to full-bodied, elegant & complex, with flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, mocha, wrapped in oak flavors of vanilla & toast.

Mark Ryan 2008 Dead Horse $49.99 | Mixed Case $39.99
New vintage of Mark Ryan’s flagship wine. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot & Malbec. Aromas of violets, blackberries, raspberries, with some tobacco notes. Refined, elegant texture, bold & impressive. Rich, dark fruit, with tobacco, mint, clove & cracked black pepper. Fine, elegant tannins & beautiful integrated oak on the long finish.

See you soon & cheers!

Jens Strecker
Owner Portalis Wine Shop & Bar