Gilbert Cellars 2009 Rosé of Mourvedre

Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted Aug. 6, 2010:

Oh Orygun, how could you? A Multnomah County health inspector cited a 7 year-old’s lemonade stand at a local arts fair when a requested restaurant license was not proffered. The kid’s family was threatened with a $500 fine if they didn’t stop selling the kid’s Kool-Aid and water concoction. Despite the efforts of other vendors to defend the kid, ultimately, the kid left crying with her family packing up. Wtf is wrong with you Orygunians?? Next, are we not tired of playing the race card? A candidate for the state assembly in Wisconsin is fighting from being barred on describing herself on the ballot as “NOT the ‘whiteman’s bitch.’” The ‘non-whiteman’s bitch’ stated, “A lot of people are telling me they support my stand.” Those reputedly included: Rev. Al Sharpton, O.J. Simpson, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Jim Brown. Of course, she is likely a supporter of: the United Negro College Fund, Black History Month, Black Entertainment Television, and the National Association of Colored People. A possible ex-Orygun woman living in PA robbed a bank in a clown costume. (If she really was from Orygun…it wasn’t a costume.) The suspect allegedly told bank employees she had a bomb and fled with the cash but was caught at a nearby park while she was in her car changing out of her costume. What are you waiting for?…I already said the punchline. Hello…Orygun!

Gilbert Cellars has deep roots in the Yakima Valley that originated in 1897 when Horace Mark Gilbert packed up his family and farm in Geneseo, IL (likely due to the Panic of 1893 Depression) and purchased 20 acres in what is now between Chestnut and Summit, and 20th and 22nd Avenues in Yakima. A Gilbert Drive exists in that location today. The family lived in a barn for a year until their 13-room Victorian home was completed in 1898. Horace grew apples and table grapes in his orchards. The Gilbert House currently is a museum dedicated to show what life was like in the early-20th century.

Today, Sean Gilbert is in the driver’s seat of his dream to build his winery after selling wine in New York City and playing baseball for the Brussels Kangaroos in Belgium. Sean did a stint at Januik-Novelty Hill Winery and currently serves as General Manager for Gilbert Cellars. Curtiss Gilbert was the first Gilbert to make wine, but under the ‘Handsome Jim’ label. Nate Gilbert served as the first winemaker (2004-6) before chasing his own dream of becoming an architect. Justin Neufeld has been the head winemaker since 2007 with previous stints at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Silver Lake and Glen Fiona.

The tasting room in downtown Yakima, opened August 8, 2008, is a popular gathering spot and has garnered several awards for its interior design and “mojo,” which are owed to designer Kate Sundquist and Conor Gilbert. The actual winery lies in the Ahtanum Valley, west of Yakima, and the estate vineyards are spread out from southeast Mattawa (Doc Stewart Estate and 24K vineyards) to Sunrise Vineyard in Yakima and Chukar Vineyard south of Kennewick. They cover the major grapes of Bourdeaux, the Rhone, German and Italian varietals. Their 14 current offerings offer some special bottles of: single-vineyard gewürztraminer, chardonnay, two syrahs, malbec, a tempranillo port and a grenache ice wine.

The food pairing was killers off the grill: white corn-on-the-cob, red potatoes, yam, brussel sprouts, eggplant, zucchini, Walla Walla sweet onions, yellow chili pepper, and a slab of Costco ribeye done to perfection over hickory coals despite my neighbor’s dog dry-humping my leg as a bribe (or more like punishment). I did the best I could for this wine. Of course, Mother Nature kicked in with perfect mid-70s sunny weather with a slight easterly breeze.

Nose: strawberries and guava. Color: strawberry soda without the bubbles. Add a flavor of raspberry crème. Who cares? This wine tasted great while viewing the hoardes of cattle, er…I mean, commuters speeding to get home as I basted my brussel sprouts in a silky buttery sauce.

Alcohol: 13.5%. Wahluke Slope AVA.  Made in the tradition of Bandol (southeastern Mediterranean France). Harvested at 23.5 Brix. Cold fermented and allowed secondary fermentation. As a 2-year anniversary special, you can buy it at the tasting room this weekend for the price I got it for at Fred Meyer. Rated: 86. Value: $10. Paid: $12. Music pairing: “Centerfield” by John Fogerty. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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