On Saturday, several new Washington red wines were released in Woodinville, including Hestia Cellars 2007 Reserve. This red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, held for 30 months before releasing, intrigued me so I decided to drop in. My decision was buoyed by a recent delightful experience with their 2009 Chenin Blanc that I wanted to share with the winery owners, Shannon and Angie Jones.
Visiting Hestia Cellar’s tasting room in Woodinville is a pleasure. Shannon, Angie and their staff are friendly and enthusiastic about their wines. Chances are very good that off to the side is a plate or two of sliced Salumi Artisan Cured Meats to try with their wines.
2009 Chenin Blanc
This past Saturday was all about the new red blend but I started by reacquainting myself with their only white wine, 2009 Chenin Blanc. This wine was released several months ago and since then I have poured it to accompany more than one cheese plate. Chenin Blanc is a classic cheese wine and Hestia Cellar’s version is a great example of why – high acid, bit of fruit and great white wine finish. One such cheese plate was for a friend’s birthday. The plate had fat slivers of several goat and sheep milk based cheeses discovered at the new The Calf and Kid and at PCC.
All were delicious and the wine was a good match. One combination, however, stopped us in our tracks – Laura Chenel’s Chevre Blossom. This is a round disc of fresh goat cheese with a pâté of fig and kalamata olive in the center. The acid in the wine matched the tartness of the fresh goat cheese and the fruit in the wine played with the fig and kalamata olives. The finish cleared the palate for another bite.
This goat cheese elevated this Washington Chenin Blanc and the wine elevated the cheese – the definition of a great pairing. As my friend said when he found his voice, “Each makes the other better.” For our palates, this was an exceptional experience and made more so by the affordable price. With the 2009 Hestia Cellars Chenin Blanc at only $15 a bottle and the Blossom priced just under $5, this combination is a great idea for picnics or a contribution to shared dinner.
Back to the focus of the day – Hestia’s 2007 Reserve. ($30) This is their first reserve red blend. While there is no legal definition of ‘reserve’ for wine in Washington or the U.S., 30 months in oak makes one start thinking there is something special in the bottle. We are not a patient nation so for a winery to age a wine for almost three years, it is worth a trip to Woodinville to check it out.
This dark red wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Syrah. Each varietal was vinted and aged separately for 22 months in 1 year old French oak then blended and aged an additional 8 months in 2 year old French oak barrels. The nose was initially closed but with copious swirling, I caught a sense of the future of this wine as the tiniest fruit and oak aromas appeared. The palate was exactly the opposite as it exploded with fruit, fresh fruit, not jammy fruit bomb fruit. The oak was present in a supporting role rather than a starring role. The Syrah and Cab played nicely together. The acid in this wine will make food pairing a joy. The Hestia Cellars 2007 Reserve is balanced with an enjoyable finish.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that this is a limited production of 56 cases and only available at the tasting room in Woodinville. I purchased a bottle for friends (friends of the cheese plate fame) who have bestowed upon me the authority to pick up a bottle of wine here and there for them as I roam. I am familiar with their budget, their current palates, and their desire to expand their palates. I select wines I know they will like and wines that will push the edges of their comfort zone. The 2007 Hestia Cellars Reserve is one I know they will like but they must wait. I marked it with July 2011 and tucked it away. This wine is delicious now but will be more so with some time.