Rev up your meat grinders, it’s picnic time!

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I am going to be “Bach”-ing it for a while. My wife and daughter are on their way to visit family in Brazil. I will be joining them in a few weeks but till then I will be left to my own devices. Speaking of devices I got a new one for father’s day this year. It is a meat grinder and I plan on putting it to good use, which coincidently ties in nicely with this month’s theme. The folks upstairs have asked me to write about the art of picnics. I decided what they really want is for me to make Pate de Campagne (country pate) using my new grinder. To me, this fancy cold meatloaf is a work of art, an amazing masterpiece, and it just happens it is perfect for a picnic. All you need to go with the pate is a baguette, Dijon mustard, and some little cornichons on the side. Oh, don’t forget the bottle of wine a picnic basket and blanket! The best recipe I have found is from Chef John at allrecipes.com. Unfortunately, my girls have abandoned me so no picnics in my near future. Instead, I will share it with my Francophile friends in the Petanque Club. Oh look the recipe says it needs Cognac. Guess I am off to the liquor store!

Cheers,
Ryan Raber
Winemaker
Tertulia Cellars

Waygu Beef Hamburger

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There is nothing more American than the Hamburger. It originated around 1850 on ships traveling from Europe to America on the Hamburg shipping lines. Ground beef patties were quickly grilled and served up on a bun.

Recently I have made a study of burgers. I have tried various interpretations. I have used lamb, lean ground beef, chicken which is not a burger but a sandwich, turkey burgers, and by the way turkey burgers or tofu burgers are a sin against god. The best burgers I have had were made with American Waygu Beef. There is a lot of fat in this ground beef. They don’t even bother telling you the percentage of fat; instead they show a picture of a man clutching his chest! That is how you know it’s good!

 

Serves: 5

Ingredients

2 – 16 oz packages of American Waygu Ground Beef

Salt and pepper

5 - Buns

 

Fry Sauce – For spread on burger

                ¾ Cup of Mayo

                1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

                1 Tablespoon Catsup

                1 Tablespoon Relish

                1 Small Shallot Diced

                Ground pepper to taste

1 – Large Onion Sliced

1 – Large Tomato Sliced

Lettuce Leaves

Optional:

Cheese, Bacon, Guacamole

Directions: I am going to tell you simply how to make these burgers.

Take the ground beef and separate into 5 equal balls. Gently form the beef into the patty. Don’t over work the beef! Next with your thumb make a small indent in the middle of the burger. This will keep it from bulging up in the middle. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on both sides of the patty and refrigerate while heating up your grill. I am not going to tell you how to grill. I could argue all the merits of charcoal over gas but I won’t. I will tell you to resist constantly flipping the burger. Also do not under any conditions press down on the burger, which pushes all the juices out of the meat!  To get the burger medium rare, which is how you should eat this burger use the hand test as illustrated below. Oh by the way eating raw or undercooked food can cause food borne illness. There I said it. Now let’s get grilling!

 

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Drink with your mom this Mother’s Day!

Moms, they are the best, right? They bake you cookies, they bandage up your ouchies and making everything all better, and they slip you your first sip of wine. At least that is what the good mothers like mine did. I proudly admit I am a momma’s boy. 

I remember in high school my mom Cathy, worked four tens at a hospital on the night shift as a phlebotomist (vampire). It was hard work but she got paid a little extra and was able to spend more time with her family. Fridays were her first day off. She would get up shortly after my sister and I got home from school. The first thing she would do was make up a little vegetable tray with some blue cheese dressing for dipping and have a bottle of Riesling out. Then we would turn on the TV and watch Star Trek the original series. My mom grew up with a little crush on William Shatner. Come to think of it my father has some Shatneresque bravado, but I digress. Anyway, we would watch TV and she would let me take little sips of her Riesling. That was my introduction to wine. Now I have the opportunity to return the favor. I am always bringing over a few choice bottles to share with her.

This Mother’s day please raise a glass to your mother where ever she may be and if possible share a nice bottle with her. After all, she raised you to have impeccable taste, considering you are drinking Tertulia!
 

Shorts Season

Today as I opened my front door and walked down the steps towards my car a passerby looked in my direction. He covered his eyes from the blinding glare coming off my bare legs. Today marks the start of shorts season! Not just shorts season but the season for many things. The buds are out on the vines and developing tinny leaves. If you hold still long enough you can almost see them growing. Not just our vines that spring out this time of year but also fresh asparagus, salad green, and spring onions! I love nothing more than walking down to the farmer’s market on Main Street a few blocks from my house. I stock up my pantry until the next week with as much produce as it will hold. The drive-in theater will also be open. This is an Americana tradition we love to share with our daughter. We are lucky to have one of the few remaining drive-ins left in the nation so close. There will be many sunny days filled with petanque, wine, BBQ, friends and laughter now that the sun is out. The best part is that my legs will develop a healthy shade so as not to blind any poor victims! God, I love the spring!!!

Chocolate Covered Brussels Sprouts

You may recall the staff here at the winery decided to bail on April Fool’s day. They chalked it up to something about it being Easter. I didn’t buy it so I declared it April Fool’s month.

The best prank was the chocolate covered brussels sprouts, which I saw featured on one of the late night talk shows. I dressed the brussels sprouts up as chocolate covered cake pops with some white chocolate drizzled on as well. The tricky part was to get someone to take food from me so close to April Fool’s day. I told Kristine that my daughter, Sofia made them as thanks for her since Kristine is always giving her sweets. Kristine couldn’t pass it up and popped the whole thing in her mouth. She was a real trooper. She refused to tell me how awful my daughter’s baking was for about ten seconds. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and with her mouthful and a distressed look in her eyes, she asked what the heck is in this. Oh yeah, I replied I forgot to mention that we ran out of cake so we had to use brussels sprouts. Next to fall was Lacey then Kelsey.  Word quickly spread not to eat any food offered to you by Ryan.

Let me know if you like the idea and I am happy to provide you with the recipe.

Cheers, Ryan Raber

Now Announcing April Fools' Month

It would seem that my reputation as a prankster has terrified my coworkers. Since April Fools’ Day coincides with Easter and falls on a Sunday everyone here at Tertulia has decided to make themselves scarce. Personally, I think they are all a bit chicken. Not to worry I have a plan. I am declaring this to be April Fools’ Month, muahahaha!!! Oh, this month-long extravaganza will be legendary! Stay tuned in for updates. I promise my antics to amuse!

You know what isn’t a joke? We are releasing to the public three wonderful wines in time for spring and Easter weekend. We will have our 2017 Marsanne from Elevation vineyard, our 2017 Estate Rosé, and our 2014 Carménère. I consider these three the best I have made of each. The Carménère has already received a 92 and 91 pt rating and a gold in San Francisco Chronicle tasting. I hope everyone has a wonderful spring and Easter. Now I must go back to my plotting! 

It's Nice To Be Noticed

Last year we did really well in regards to having our wines noticed. We had 11 wines score between 90 points and 95 points. This year we are already off to a great start. Recently we received two gold medals at the San Francisco Chronicle tasting. One for our 2015 Tierra Labrada Merlot the other for our 2014 Carménère. Speaking of the Carménère we got another gold and 92 points on it the other day. I love it when we get good scores! It validates what we are trying to accomplish with our wines here at Tertulia. Still, I remember I was asked once who’s scores I most covet. I stopped and thought for a minute. The truth is I appreciate our customer’s opinions the most. After all, you have made the trouble of coming into the winery and enjoyed the experience of tasting with us. You are our Tertulia, our circle of friends. After all, we make these wines for you! You keep us working hard to make the best wines. We are truly happy when our wines leave with you to find a happy home.

Now I am not sure why I thought of this particular memory but it’s a good one to end on. Once we had a lovely couple in the winery. They had named their daughter after a famous wine. It got me thinking how many children might be the result of our wines, and where are all the children named Carménère?

The History of Saint Valentines Day (According to Ryan)

The History of Saint Valentines Day (According to Ryan)

I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day like I do each year. With a succulent cut of steak, a beautiful bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and my oh so lovely wife! It’s such a sweet holiday to show your partner what they mean to you but do you know the dark origins of Valentine’s Day? Me neither, so I looked it up and I will never look at cupid in the same way.

                Turns out the Romans knew it as the feast of Lupercalia (February 13th-15th). As I write this, I am blushing so I don’t want to go into too much detail. Let’s just say they didn’t all wear their togas to the party! The oddest thing I learned was that they sacrificed a goat and a dog then tore a strip of the sacrificial animal off and smacked the ladies with said animal flesh to bless the women with fertility. Then, they drank bowl after bowl of wine. Red wine, I imagine! Probably not Tertulia though. We weren’t around back in the days of yore.

                In the third century Emperor Claudius II had it in for a couple of blokes named Valentine. On you guessed it, February 14th he had them executed. Later, the Catholic Church canonized them. Later still, a Pope who’s name I can’t pronounce combined the two holidays as a way to bring the pagans into the Church. The revelry wasn’t so, let’s just say, Roman in nature. They still drank wine but this time in cups!

                Shakespeare and Chaucer romanticized it. People began passing around handmade cards and drank wine! Eventually it made its way to the new world. Then in the early 20th century in some dark smoke filled room the evil cabal of Valentine’s Day met. Hallmark was there as I am sure where chocolatiers and representatives of the floral industry. A dastardly plan was hatched to commercialize the holiday. Now reservations at restaurants are impossible to find! You almost need to take out a second mortgage to buy a dozen roses!! They are bleeding us dry!!!

                I am sure if I explain this evil conspiracy to my wife I will only be met with scorn. So I will concede defeat and go through all the motions of this preposterous holiday. Still I wonder if my wife will let me slap her with the rib eye before I throw it in my cast iron. Either way a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon will take the sting away.

Pearls Of Wisdom from Mark Cuban

Pearls Of Wisdom from Mark Cuban

Half a billion bucks is a mind boggling amount of money, which is what Powerball is up to for today’s drawing. What I find mind boggling is how someone can blow through all that money and make their lives worse. That is exactly what happens to winners more often than not. I recently read advice from Mark Cuban, to winners of the lottery and it made me think about my own life. I don’t know if these are his exact words but basically he said if you weren’t happy before winning you won’t be happy after. If you were happy, you will likely be even happier. Of course, he is right. The pursuit of happiness has little to do with the pursuit of material objects.  It made me think about my New Year’s resolutions. I need to spend more time doing the things that make me happy and they are all well within my means. The next step was to pace for twenty minutes while compiling my thoughts. Pacing is a big part of my process.

                First of all, I should get the resolution we all have at this time of year out. Swimsuit season is only six months away and I need to lose a few holiday pounds! The conundrum is that starving myself goes against the basic tenets of my happiness. My solution is to be good for two out of my three meals per day. If eating cardboard flavored bran wrapped in dirt flavored kale for breakfast and lunch allows me to have a nice dinner with a few choice glasses of wine, that is one sacrifice I am willing to make. Also it wouldn’t hurt to put the sweat back in sweatpants instead of using them solely for their elastic band after a large meal. Having more energy makes me happy, so I will for sure follow through on this resolution.

                Second, I love writing. I honestly enjoy putting these blogs together for you. I am a creative person and writing is a wonderful outlet. Many of you may not know this but I have been working on a book for the past few years. It’s no ‘The Catcher in The Rye’, just a fun chapter book for my daughter, to make her laugh and smile. Still it would be cool to get it out there, even if my little girl is the only one who reads it. Plus all that pacing that’s part of my process will help my waist line.               

                Next, my wife and I have been talking about building more family memories. We used to go on more outings. I expect that this year we will visit my in-laws in Brazil but I also look forward to the little adventures close to home. I think a couple of glamping trips are in order to explore the natural beauty of the Northwest.

                Finally, have I ever mentioned Petanque? God I love this game!  I love it because I get to hang out with some of my friends, drink some nice bottles of wine and do a little friendly trash talking. I plan on entering some regional tournaments this year. I will bring my family along for some mini adventures, throw in a little glamping and some nice bottles of Tertulia for good measure.

                I guess my big take away from all these resolutions is to simply make more time to do the things that make me happy. Still, I am sure I will be buying a lottery ticket. I mean half a billion, I would be crazy not to!

Finally heard back from Santa

Finally heard back from Santa

Ho Ho Ho Ryan,

My most sincere apologies. I had no idea that Tipsy was acting up. I have had a little talk with him. Please give Tipsy one more chance or it is back to the clink with him. He is out on a work release program. Sometimes it is hard to rehabilitate these elves.

Thanks for understanding,

Merry Christmas,

Kris Kringle

Dear Santa..........

Dear Santa..........

Dear Santa,

Let me start by saying I am a huge fan. Love the red suit and the whole look! See myself going that way one day. You have known me since I was a little child. I am a good person and can’t think of anything I could have done to upset you. So why have you sent me Tipsy the Elf? Tipsy is a little monster. I am quite familiar with the concept of an elf on the shelf. We have had one at home for years. Our elf visits my family each day and at night reports to you if our daughter has been naughty or nice. My daughter adores her and I know Fisbee’s feelings are reciprocal. Fisbee is a wonderful elf who from time to time makes harmless mischief. Now Tipsy on the other hand goes way too far. He drinks too much, messes the place up and not to mention his creepy stare. He has everyone at the winery on edge during a time we should all be joyful. I would be remiss not to mention that he has on occasion tried to cause physical harm to one of our employees.

If there is any way that we could get a replacement elf I would be much obliged.

Happy Holidays,

Ryan Richard Raber

Extended Maceration, Only for the Brave

 

 

                Yesterday we pressed and today put the last of the 2017 wines in barrel. They were  two lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from our Elevation vineyard. We would have been finished putting these wine to bed three weeks ago, except we wanted to do something extra special with them. That extra special is called extended maceration. What is that you ask? Well, it is where you increase the normal amount of time red grapes stay in contact with the fermented wine. We fermented for about a week like normal. Once the yeast has consumed all the sugars we closed the lid for another three weeks rather than pressing the wine off right away.

                The first time I used this technique it was terrifying. After one week the wine tasted tannic and undrinkable. Oh god what have I done, I thought to myself. Two weeks in I wouldn’t wish this wine on my nemesis (now I don’t have a nemesis but it might be fun to get one). At this point I was thinking I might have ruined a perfectly good lot of wine and I was on my way to unemployment. The third week is where the magic happened. Those harsh tannins combined with proteins and precipitated out, leaving soft smooth tannins and a rich mouth feel. I am told this technique was originated in Bordeaux to add depth and complexity to their wines. I suspect it first happened on accident, though certainly a happy accident. Maybe everyone decided to go fox hunting and came back a few weeks later and discovered they had forgotten to finish off a vat of wine.  However, the first extended maceration came to be, we love it here at Tertulia. It’s just one of the many old world techniques that make our wines unique.

 

Cheers,

Ryan Raber

Mashed Potatoes......This means something. Its important!

Mashed Potatoes

“This means something. It’s important.”

 

I was asked the other day what this time of year means to me and what I am thankful for. All I can come up with is, …. mashed potatoes. Stay with me! You will soon see the significance of mashed potatoes, and in all probability you will have a deep insatiable desire for MASHED POTATOES!

Yesterday was a good day. It was Halloween. My wife and I stopped off at my daughter’s elementary school to watch her give a presentation on a model house she built in class. They’re learning about electricity and her house had working lights and a fan. Her whole presentation was done in Spanish as well. I was very proud. Afterwards I went shopping and I was still filled with pride so I decided a nice celebratory meal was in order. Of course I was going to need mashed potatoes. It was a French meal with roasted Brussel sprouts and rack of lamb so I went for fancy whipped potatoes with lots of butter and cream! The meal naturally included a bottle of Tertulia Cabernet Sauvignon and some hard earned trick or treating candy for desert!

 In a few short weeks we will celebrate Thanksgiving at my parents up in the mountains. The meal is made from scratch with most of the ingredients coming from my parents or uncles gardens. It is Uncle Snowy’s job to make the mashed potatoes. He leaves them with a few lumps, which is just fine. The best part is the gravy my mother makes with the pan drippings from the turkey. For thickening she pours the water used to cook the potatoes into the gravy.  We will probably have Viognier, Grenache and our C.C. red with this difficult to pair meal.  I can already taste it!!!

Christmas will be fast upon us after Thanksgiving and back to my parents for sledding and merriment! We will have days of feasting. I can’t promise we will have mashed potatoes with each supper but I am sure some garlic mashed potatoes will work their way into the mix probably smack dab next to a big old prime rib roast and lots of good wine.

Throughout the holidays mashed potatoes is a constant and its best accompaniments are family, friends, snowflakes, a little bit of magic and big bold red wines. 

Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes , Mashed Potatoes , ……

 

Death is in the Air.......Pioneer Bowlus Cemetery

Pioneer Bowlus Cemetery

            There is death in the air. Gone are the days of spring and summer where our little valley is full of lush green life. The season has changed. The leaves have changed color, faded to a lifeless brown. On this blustery October day Thomas and I are headed back to the winery from Pumpkin Hollow the little valley where our Elevation vineyard lies. Along the gravel road we whined, passing fallow wheat fields. Today I brought Thomas with me, not just to see the vineyard but for our secondary activity. We will be visiting a cemetery. I don’t hold much stock in superstitions but to be on the safe side, it’s best not to wonder alone in a graveyard.

            We pull off the road with not a soul insight, parking adjacent to a wooden arch with an old sign rocking back and forth in the wind. The sign reads Pioneer Bowlus Cemetery. Thomas and I pass undisturbed under the weather worn arch. Scattered between the over grown weeds lies small grave markers. Many are so old there is little left of them besides a wooden steak rising from the ground. Others are proper markers with long forgotten names chiseled in stone; left by long dead loved ones. Awhile ago I heard tell a story, that the cemetery is haunted. The farmer who works the land surrounding the cemetery claims that each time he passed a certain grave his tractor stalls out. Lost spirits have long been said to mess with the electrical systems of machines. Perhaps the lumbering tractor disturbed a wayward spirit’s rest; perhaps it’s just a coincidence or a tall tale. I read many of the grave stones. This brooding season and abandoned cemetery have turned me somber and contemplative. Some pull at my heart strings. Thinking of parents having to bury their children and vise versa. These brave pioneers found this land and wrought it out by hand making it the near paradise many of us call home.

            As we head back to the car my mind continues to wonder. I think about other carrier opportunities besides winemaking. Out loud I say to Thomas, I wonder if any of them were buried with their jewelry. Suddenly a chill wind rises and we feel a coldness pass through our souls like an angry wraith. Just kidding I shout, passing under the arch. I raise my arms pleadingly, just kidding, sorry not funny! On the drive back to the winery I fervently hope we didn’t pick up any extra passengers. Good thing I have a nice brooding bottle of Tertulia waiting at home to warm my tattered soul.

Hey Mistral......

Hey Mistral......

Hey Mistral you’re so fine you’re so fine you blow my mind! Hey Mistral!!!

Any resemblance to Toni Basil’s 1981 one hit wonder “Mickey” is purely coincidental.

Let me tell you about my best friend during harvest. Her name is Mistral, named after the brutally cold wind that blows through Southern France. She does the work of 10 people, never tiring. She is of course a machine, a very clever machine might I add. Her job at the winery is to remove MOG, (material other than grapes). Mistral has tiny little groves that remove shot berries. Shot berries are little green berries that were never pollinated and they taste horrible! These green grapes are about the size of little BBs and next to impossible to take out by hand. The same groves that catch the shot berries, remove raisins as well. I love raisins but the sugars are difficult for yeast to metabolize so we don’t want them! After the groves, there are tiny teeth that catch jacks. Jacks (named after the jacks kids play with) are persistent pieces of stem that can make their way into the wine. Ever tasted a stem? I wouldn’t recommend it. Finally before heading to the tank, the Mistral has one more trick up her sleeve. She has a fan blade that blows anything to light to be a berry out of the way. If a creepy looking spider that no one wants to touch goes by, Mistral blows it out of the way. The same goes for leaves or any of the above that Mistral’s groves and teeth don’t catch. The benefit is we get wonderfully clean fruit to make our wines. This is just one of the many things that make Tertulia’s wines bright, balanced, and beautiful.

Join Ryan and the Petanque Crew September 23rd

Lamb and Petanque

I’ve had a long love affair with lamb. It all started when I was 12 years old. My parents took my sister and I to Lake Chelan to visit my Aunt and Uncle’s family. My Aunt had a couple of young lambs that were being raised for wool. My sister was quite taken with them. Unbeknownst to my sister and I during the night the neighbor’s dog broke into their pen and killed one. That day my parents disappeared for a few hours and came back from the butchers with what they informed us was beef. Trusting as I was I took it at face value, that is until a few months later.

One Sunday my Mother was preparing dinner. Mom what are you cooking it smells delicious, I said? Shhh, she replied. It’s the baby lamb your sister was petting at your Aunt and Uncle’s.  It was at that point I learned the rest of the story and “promised" not to say anything to my little sister.

That evening we sat down for dinner. Hey Mom, this is the best roast beef I have ever had. Then I let out a long loud baahhhhh. I can still feel the pain in my shins from where my mother kicked me but it was worth it. From then on my mother would prepare lamb on special occasions. I have continued the practice for my family whenever I have the chance.

Next month on the 23rd of September the Walla Walla Petanque Club will have an open house. Locals are encouraged to drop on by and give the Provencal game a try. We will also have French fare to go along with the game. I will be making my favorite recipe of grilled leg of lamb seen below.

 

Provencal Grilled Leg of Lamb

Ingredients:

1 bone in leg of lamb

5 cloves of garlic finely diced

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons fresh lavender

Salt and Pepper

 

Directions:  Take the leg of lamb and butterfly it. Set the bone aside and rub salt and pepper on both sides of the lamb. Then season both sides with the rosemary, thyme, garlic and lavender. Next place the bone back inside the lamb and roll the lamb back around the bone and tie the lamb up with kitchen twine. The lamb should look like you never butter flied it. Let rest for 2 hours. About 45 minutes before cooking get your Charcoal grill going or preheat your gas grill. I prefer using lump charcoal for cooking. When the brickets are red hot pile them on one side of the grill or heat on side of the gas grill.

Place the lamb over the direct heat and sear. This should take about a minute on each side. Next move the lamb to the side of the grill away from the heat. Place an oven thermometer in the center of the thickest part of the lamb (don’t have the thermometer touch the bone).  I cook with the lid off the bbq and add brickets as needed. Towards the end I may place the lid back to keep in the heat. I cook until the temp reads 130 degrees F (cooking time may take 1.5 to 2.5 hours).

Finally I pull the lamb off the grill and tent with foil and let rest for 20-30 minutes. Slice up and serve with a side of petanque.

 

 

Ryan takes on a Petanque Competition

It looks like disaster. My partner Philippe has a deep frown on his face and his shoulders are tense. He has thrown his last boule. Two of them are in a good position but our opponents have one closer to the cochonnet and a clear path to it is blocked by their next best boule. Now I know none of this should make sense unless you have played petanque a few times. Before I continue here is a brief lesson on the game. Petanque means feet tied together in French. Teams take turns standing in a circle throwing heavy metal balls called boules towards a small wooden ball called the cochonnet (little pig). The team with boules closest to the cochonnet get points for every boule they have closer than their opponents. Most teams have a pointer (someone who tries to get in close to the cochonnet) and a shooter (player who knocks the other team’s boule out of the way with their own). Games go to 13 and each team has 6 boules. Now back to my story. I have the game in my hands. First I need to make an impressive shot by tossing over their second best boule and removing their point with mine. Shooting in petanque is a skill learned through hours of practice. It requires a steady hand and sometimes nerves of steel. As I walk towards the circle I began taking deep long breaths. I step into the circle and relax my shoulders. Closing my eyes I envision throwing my last boule with a long arc threw the air and striking the opposite teams in dramatic fashion. I open my eyes and imagine breathing in through my feet and out through the top of my head. I take one last breath and hold it as I pull my arm back, hand with boule brushes past my hip. My arm springs forward in a straight line. Finally I release the boule when my arm is level with my head. I won’t know if my aim was true until an infinitesimal moment before either hitting the ground or the boule. If you blinked you wouldn’t have thought anything had changed and my boule was the one sailing out of bounds. Instead I hit my target and the kinetic energy of my boule transferred to theirs leaving mine in the exact spot theirs once was. We won the game, narrowly beating out our competitors!

With the confidence hard won we go on to win the rest of our games and the tournament. Both of us pocket 400 dollars in prize money. That night we celebrate by eating and drinking too much. At least that is how it should have gone. Instead I opted to point my last boule and it was far too short to make a difference, so we lost. That night we still over indulged, but hey that is who we are!

My partner and I faired pretty well despite the heart breaking loss. Any day I can play petanque with my friends is a good day.

My life can get busy with work and family. Petanque allows me to relax. I find the moments when I am in the hoop shooting or pointing almost Zen like. I love the camaraderie and the gentle ribbing we all give one another.

If you are more curious about the game please reach out to me. We have a great group of people who meet each week. Most of us are Frankafiles and we all love wine. The club plays one to three times per week depending on the weather. For the time being we are playing at 10 am each Sunday here at Tertulia.

Ryan Raves about Vintage Tempranillo Tasting in Dundee

Ryan Raves about Vintage Tempranillo Tasting in Dundee

Hello Hedonists and Gluttons,

Unkind words from some but I hold a special place in my heart for kindred spirits who simply can’t get enough of a good thing.  I want to tell you about last week.

Last week, I was over yonder in Dundee and oh we had so much FUN!!! We opened a vertical of our Tempranillo library wines: the velvety 2006, the smooth 2007 and the earthy 2008. There was even a special guest appearance by a barrel sample of the  2013 Tempranillo, which is being made in the fashion of the Grand Reserva Tempranillos of Spain. If you missed out on tasting these wines last week, stop punishing yourselves. No really, please stop punishing yourselves, that will leave a mark. We have decided to do it all over again in Walla Walla this Saturday! That’s right we will even have a few tasty bites to accompany these wines.

Unfortunately we are all sold out of these wines in Dundee. Not to worry, we have a few cases left in Walla Walla but this is your last chance to purchase them before these library wines go back into the Tertulia vault for an indefinite amount of time.

Oh, before I forget we have released our 2013 Petit Verdot and Estate Syrah to the wine club this past week. If you fell in love with these wines from past vintages let us know if you would like some. Just call or email us, even sending a desperate correspondence via carrier pigeon is totally acceptable.

Cheers,
Ryan Raber

 

Ryan Raves about Wine Club Wines #amazingtechnicalwinenotes

Ryan Raves about Wine Club Wines #amazingtechnicalwinenotes

2013 Phinny Hill Petit Verdot

Our 2013 Petit Verdot displays fruit aromas of tart cherry, dried blueberry, lychee fruit and juniper berry that give way to floral notes of lavender and jasmine, followed by hints of peat, pipe tobacco and cracked white pepper. In the mouth, focused fruit flavors combine with a bold fore and mid palate, as well as Petit Verdot’s signature fine grain tannins, making for wonderfully complex wine. The 2013 vintage, with nearly record breaking heat balanced with a drastic diurnal shift, brings out the dark and concentrated elements of the Petit Verdot, while creating a more fruit focused wine with softer tannins than past vintage. Out Petit Verdot was sourced from the sun-drenched western slope of the Horse Heaven Hills’ Phinny Hill Vineyard, perfect for the Bordeaux varietals with its generous heat and long growing season. The wines were aged in 50% New French Oak and 50% Neutral French Oak for 22 months during which it was racked using the old world technique, soutirage traditionnell, before being bottled as the final blend of 88% Petit Verdot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now or till 2030

 

 

 

2013 Estate Syrah

Our 2013 Estate Syrah is bold, with aromatics of black licorice, blackberry concentrate, fennel, graphite, savory herbs, fennel seed, and hints of smoke. As the wine opens, the subtle influence of the Grenache adds a delicate layer of figs and raspberry fruit leather. On the palate, a beautiful vein of acidity combines with a rich mid-palate for a smooth finish. 2013 narrowly missed out on being the hottest vintage by a slight margin, creating a foundation for fruit focused wined with softer tannins than past vintages. The signature Easter Washington drastic swings between daytime highs and nighttime lows preserved the acidity. Our 2013 Estate Syrah is made from 63% Whistling Hills Syrah, 32% Riviere Galets Syrah and 5% Riviere Galets Grenache. Our Whistling Hills Estate Vineyard hosts vines nestled deep in windblown loess soil with roots that grow unimpeded, while our Riviere Galets Estate vineyard is situated on an ancient dried up riverbed with round stones that litter the surface and subsoil reaching depths of 150 feet. Post fermentation, aging was conducted in neutral French oak foudres for 14 months. Drink now or till 2025.