Cheers To You

An exploration of all things wine with local wine expert Mary Earl.
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A wonderful wine by way of a sound beer

October 17th, 2012 by brynn grimley

Mary writes:

A friend bumped into a guy the other day who is well known in beer circles. The beer guy was in need of a Sound beer and headed to the brewery in Poulsbo. My friend was also there enjoying a Sound beer and the two beer geeks got to talking about wine.

And that’s how I found out about this lovely Bordeaux blend from Columbia Valley.

It turns out this beer guy is a fan of the Flying Dreams Sidekick 2009 Columbia Valley Red Blend.

Curious about what a fine beer drinker thinks about red wine, I tried one. And I’m real impressed with this blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet. Sidekick is an easy drinking wine with lush fruit flavors and wonderful aromas.

After years of research, I know anything that is made, be it beer, wine or tonight’s dinner, requires quality ingredients to be the cream of the crop. Great wines start in great vineyards.

Flying Dreams Winery sources their grapes from some of the most prestigious vineyards in Washington: Stillwater Creek, Boushey Vineyard and Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, Red Willow, Upland Estates, Sagemoor, Spring Creek, and Red Mountain.

I’m not familiar with winemaker Leroy Radford, however the website says he’s “passionate about winemaking since his first vintage in 2005.” But what really grabbed my attention were the Spanish varietals in their stable — Monastrell and Garnacha — which are the same as saying Mourvedre and Grenache.

Another Spanish grape that Flying Dreams ferments is the classic Tempranillo which Rioja makes famous.

Spanish wines, especially the ones from Rioja, emulate Bordeaux with regard to oak aging and cellaring. There’s a whole book of regulations in Spain about how to do it and what to call it. But that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say that some Spanish bodegas even use American oak when making wine. Pretty interesting considering how close Spain is to all that wonderful, highly prized and expensive French oak.

Keep your eyes on this one, it’s worth a glass or two.

The 2009 Sidekick Red Blend is 36 percent Cabernet Franc, 30 percent Merlot, 25 percent Malbec, and 9 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and retails for around $25.

Side note: Washington craft breweries, at about 240, are dwarfed by the 740-plus wineries in Washington.

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