Chelan Estate Winery 2004 Estate Vineyard pinot noir

Gotta love those pageant-winning dames. Venezuela’s 1996 Miss Universe winner tweeted her concern about “these attacks between the Chinas.” Lady, if you had read my last post, it was between the Koreas! Of course, this is the same woman that was engaged to Bobby Abreu, late of the Anaheim Angels, until she was exposed on a reality tv show humping some vato in a community bedroom. She then fled to Mexico to have a bastard child. Beauty is skin deep, stupidity impregnates the remaining layers. A German retiree wanted to seal off his cellar so he built a wall of bricks, only to find out that he bricked himself in. After several days of self-confinement, as en encore, he demolished his neighbor’s wall to escape rather than tearing down the wall he built. No truth to the rumor that he was fired from working at State Farm Insurance. While the Singaporean men’s water polo team had to play a tournament in ill-received tighties that disgraced that nation’s flag, the movie studio responsible for the Harry Potter movie saga locked up trademark rights to the word “Quidditch” to just about every conceivable piece of merchandise, including lingerie. Fortuantely, for women (and some men), those explicit rights did not include “clear, rigid feminine pleasure device.” Ya know, there’s something disturbing about the thought of having Harry Potter vibrating in one of the orifices. Weirder than Quidditch. But, I digress.

What’s truly offensive as a wine blogger, to me, is when a self-glorified wine blogger like Sean Sullivan gets the red-carpet treatment by a wine organization like the Cascade Valley Wine Country folks to go around the Leavenworth and Lake Chelan region and get wined-and-dined all for a few weak tweets about how fabulous the wines are there, when his true feelings about the wines are summarized as such regarding this wine, “Sadly, I consider this to be among the most interesting Pinot Noirs I have come across in Washington at the moment…However, it is still a l o n g way off, if it ever happens, imo.” What a fucking prick of a remark.

The Lake Chelan AVA was approved on April 29, 2009 as Washington’s 11th American Viticultural Area. As part of the “mother” AVA in the Columbia Valley, the area encompasses 24,040 acres, of which only 260 acres are under vine. There are twelve wineries based around Lake Chelan, with the south side being the “cooler” side. For 2010, the Lake Chelan AVA accumulated growing degree days was 2547 (south side), which was 7th out of the 10 smaller AVAs. One would consider the area to be prime pinot noir acreage, but as Chelan Estate owner/winemaker Bob Broderick stated, “Pinot noir takes a real commitment.” Unlike most Oregon wineries that either primarily do pinot noir or everything else, Washington tends to grow everything well. Except…

Chelan Estate Winery was established by Bob Broderick and Rick Nestor in 2001, after Bob experimented with planting pinot noir on his vacation property, later establishing a commercial vineyard in 2000. The clones planted are: 115, 113, and 13. Other varieties planted on the estate include chardonnay, viognier, and a merlot used for rosé-style wine. Stillwater Creek fruit is contracted for their cabernet sauvignon and reserve red wines.

Keep this in mind when tasting through wines from the Lake Chelan area: this is an emerging wine district, so cut them a few breaks for now. Lake Chelan has always been a tourist destination. There is a seasonal migration that flocks to the Lake, which provides a bountiful walk-in traffic for the wineries situated near the Lake. These migrants do not come specifically for the wines, but they have lots of money to blow. While this may appear to be a blessing, business-wise, it is well-known in wine circles that the tourist trade is actually a curse for the wineries, in terms of the lack of pressure to create wines that fulfill the potential of the area. However, we have to remember that this is a business and the key is to keep the cash flowing into the winery, which many of them do well. This is a truly unique region where the mindset emphasizes the customer experience over high-quality winemaking. That is not a slam against the area’s winemaking. It’s just plain and simple observations. There are many good, everyday vacation wines produced in Lake Chelan; however, taking the next step to crafting true wines of distinction appears to be not in the interests of the current wineries. Then again, why should it be?

So far, I’ve only reviewed two wines from this AVA, but there are only 17 wineries in the Chelan/Manson area as of now. These are not difficult wines to find in the marketplace as QFC, Central Market, and Top Foods are among the larger retailers that stock offerings from a combination of Vin du Lac, Tildio, Wine Girl Wines, Hard Row To Hoe and Nefarious.

Food pairing was Stouffer’s lasagna. So-so. A better choice would have been cranberry-glazed pork chops.

Tasted at 54-63 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: root beer-black cherry-water, on par with Betz’s Petite Rousse. Nose: black cherry, mellow oak, truffle. Above 60, scents of cinnamon, Oberto beef jerky, and red licorice. Mouthfeel: soft. Tail trail: 5 seconds. Flavors: raspberry, sour cherry, cocoa, coffee grounds, dark violets, strawberry (colder temps), and black pepper. Allow 45 minutes for the wine to breathe for best results.

Alcohol: 12.0%. Aged 14 months in French oak. Website gets a ‘D’ as it amounts to one page on the local Chamber of Commerce site. Continuous evolution in the glass. Rated: 88. Paid: $18. Value: $15. Music pairing: “Miles Away” by Basia. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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