This is the second release of our Dedication series, a unique blend released each year to celebrate a person who has had a significant impact on my life. This wine is dedicated to Robert Takahashi who, for the last decade, has been essential to the success of Brian Carter Cellars. Robert, a nearly 20-year veteran of the Washington Wine industry, holds an essential role in making every Brian Carter Cellars wine since 2008. He is a ‘steady hand’ who works hard and can always be counted on, from early morning punch downs to late-night cleanups. He is a great winemaker in his own right, and I rely on his palate and his winemaking advice daily. Thank you, Robert!
Robert has always had a special passion for Malbec, a variety well suited to Washington’s soils and climate. I asked him to blend a 2015 Malbec- based Bordeaux blend and the result is the 2015 Takahashi, dominated by Malbec with smaller amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This wine has already won several Gold medals and recently took home a Double Gold at the Cascadia Wine Competition where all the judges must unanimously agree it is deserving of this accolade.
When you pour this wine, you see the color is like a black hole from which no light can escape. With aromas of blueberries and damson plums, on the palate, you will find lots of body, balanced acidity, and modest tannins supported by plenty of fruit. Pairing this wine with food will not be difficult, just don’t pick anything too subtle, or this wine will dominate. I suggest rib-eye steaks smothered in mushrooms. Enjoy!
Malbec is one of the classic varieties approved in the Bordeaux district of France. However, on my last trip there, I found that Malbec was scarce or non-existent in Bordeaux today. More popular before Phylloxera, the variety did not survive the post-Phylloxera planting, not because of the quality of the grape, but because of several viticultural problems including frost, coulure (which prevents berry set) and downy mildew. However, Malbec is the dominant grape in the nearby area of Cahors, where the wines are distinctive and worth seeking out. Malbec is also a stalwart performer in Argentina where it can be found bottled on its own and in Bordeaux-style blends with varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The variety has found a home in both California and Washington as well, where its popularity is on the rise.
For fun and education, I recommend going to your local wine shop and picking up a Cahors and an Argentinian version of Malbec and try them together with the Takahashi. You will see some commonalities such as the darkness in color, but you will also see some differences as well. Keep drinking, keep learning, and keep enjoying wine!
Love is in the Air at Brian Carter Cellars
All you need is Love
Chocolate and port-style wine have always made the perfect pair (almost as perfect as the pairing of you and your lover!). Not to worry because this year we’ve made it easy for you with our Valentine Special.
One bottle of our 375ml Opulento
Brian Carter Cellars Opulento is a deep impenetrable garnet color, aromas of raspberry, cherry and chocolate with hints of almond and orange peel. On the palate this wine has opulent flavors of chocolate and berry fruits with a perfectly balanced and satisfyingly sweet finish.
Paired with your favorite Wellington dark chocolates infused with the same decadent wine.
Valid while supplies last. Additional discounts do not apply. Sale valid through: February 28, 2018
Pacific Northwest Wine Press Platinum Awards
Excerpt from Wine Press Northwest Article by
This year Brian Carter Cellars, moved up on the Platinum’s all-time tote board with six awards and doing so in extraordinary fashion. Perhaps the region’s most decorated when it comes to proprietary blends, Brian Carter Cellars earned a total of five platinum awards and one double platinum this year. Brian’s Petit Verdot-based 2013 Trentenaire earned Double Platinum while the 2007 received a Platinum. He also continued his stellar work with his Byzance. The 2013 vintage marked the fourth time in the past six years he’s earned a Platinum for this Southern Rhone-style blend based on Grenache.
Double Platinum • 2013 Trentenaire Red Wine, Yakima Valley • Few winemakers would attempt to create a Bordeaux-style red wine using Petit Verdot (62%) as the foundation, but master blender Brian Carter shows the way with this wine that references, in French, the Oregon native’s three decades as a winemaker in Washington. StoneTree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope contributes much of the five-variety Bordeaux blend, which offers violets and dark fruit on the nose. The palate, rich in flavor with black raspberry, licorice and Montmorency cherry, includes a touch of herbs and a thread of minerality. It’s complex and remarkably balanced through the cocoa-dusted finish.
Platinum • 2013 Byzance Red Wine, Columbia Valley • Inspired by Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Brian Carter’s winning formula of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre from Boushey, Lonesome Springs, Stillwater Creek and StoneTree also includes Counoise and Cinsault. Alluring signs of barrel influence include caramel and mocha that allow for a rush of cherry and raspberry that’s finished by a pinch of sweet dill, toasted walnut and clove.
Platinum • 2016 Abracadabra Rosé, Columbia Valley • Master blender Brian Carter takes a winning, albeit unusual, approach by weaving five varieties that do well on their own as rosé - Sangiovese, Grenache, Syrah, Malbec, Cinsault. He used it to top a field of 122 entries for our spring rosé tasting, and it continues to sing using a crisp approach with cranberry, Rainier cherry, melon and orange slices.
Platinum • 2012 Solesce Red Wine, Columbia Valley • It is fitting that Brian Carter’s Left Bank-inspired blend, which he names for a Latin reference to “sun and essence” features Cabernet Sauvignon from Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain. Berries and spice on the nose turn juicy with cassis and dark plum flavors as tobacco walks among nicely understated oak and subtle tannins.
Platinum • 2007 Le Coursier Red Wine, Columbia Valley • It was two years in barrel and two more in the bottle before Brian Carter first released this Bordeaux-style blend that leads with Merlot from Solstice (planted in 1980) and StoneTree vineyards. The blue and black fruit aroma leads to a spice-enhanced entry. Flavors of dusty dark plum, sweet tobacco, blueberry compote and sweet and savory notes are carried by a silky texture to a long, oak-kissed finish.
Platinum • 2007 Trentenaire Red Wine, Columbia Valley • A decade beyond its birth, Brian Carter’s blend of Petit Verdot continues to mature majestically. Brooding aromas open to a powerhouse of flavors — blackberry, plum, black cherry — and focused graphite elements then meld with a touch of herbs. It’s muscular and rich from first whiff to final drop.
Check out the full article for a full list of all the winners and see how a platinum is awarded. Click Here
Winter Wine Club Release Party
Thursday, February 22nd or
Featuring music performed by Sheri Greimes
This will be the first opportunity for Red Wine Lovers to pick-up your 2018 Winter Release, with three of our most exquisite wines.
2013 Le Coursier
European Style blended wines are Brian Carter’s passion. No wine and no region has inspired him more than Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The terroir of Washington expresses itself with an identity truly reminiscent of the Southern Rhone.
Experience the region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape yourself with our 2012 Byzance, with its complex nose of bright red cherries, tar, white pepper and the garigue spice it will transport you to the fields of Provence.
Save up to 35% off when you purchase a full case of Brian Carter Cellars 2012 Byzance, one of our most highly decorated wines.
Call for special Wine Club pricing: 425.806.9463
Valid while supplies last. Additional discounts do not apply. Sale valid through: February 25, 2018
Brian Carter Cellars Calendar
SAVE THE DATE!
Brian Carter Cellars Winery (14030 NE 145th Street, Woodinville, WA)
Stay tuned for ticket information coming soon.
Summer Music on the Patio – Friday, June 8th 4-6pm
Gina Belliveau is a Tacoma-based musician who plays looped, percussive acoustic folk with an Achilles heel for ridiculous pop cover tunes. Her ever expanding repertoire runs the gamut from Billie Holiday to Billie Jean.
Summer Music on the Patio – Friday, July 13th 4-6pm
Singer, songwriter and guitarist David Flett plays solo acoustic originals and covers that captivate audiences with a deft hand and an open heart.
Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room
Copyright (C) 2017 Brian Carter Cellars. All rights reserved.
We welcome you to our monthly newsletter! We have rejuvenated this newsletter to stay connected and share with you what’s happening at Brian Carter Cellars. You’ll find that it is filled with news, helpful hints and tips, future events, and even some recipes on occasion. If ever you don't wish to continue receiving it, simply click 'unsubscribe' at the bottom of any issue. We want this newsletter to be valuable for you so please share your feedback and suggestions to help us improve. Contact Us
This past September we said “Buongiorno” to Mike Stevens. Mike along with Brian Carter founded Brian Carter Cellars in 2005.
Wednesday, November 8th marked the end of harvest 2017 as we pressed off the last of our grapes! This year will be one to remember as we experienced some things we have not seen in previous vintages. Of course, every vintage has its own unique features and no two are the same. Due to a combination of wet weather early, hot temperatures in early September, and fairly cool temperatures in October made for an up and down journey, for both the grapes and the winemakers. These unusual conditions made it harder to choose picking times as both the sugar/acid numbers, and the flavors coming from the vineyards were harder to pin to past experiences. We certainly could say that all is well as the wines are tasting good coming out of fermentation. Of course, it is still very early to tell but overall, Brian is pleased with what he is tasting. In particular, some of the later picked red varieties such as Grenache, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot seem to be shining with good color intensity, nice fruit and acid balance.
Introducing the Brian Carter
Cabernet Sauvignon / Syrah
I am very proud to introduce the Inaugural Edition of our Dedication Series of wines. My passion is making great blended wines and I offer a great selection of them, largely inspired by the classical blends of Europe. Never wanting to stand still, I am offering up a new series of blended wines outside of the box (but still inside the bottle). Each wine will be unique in its blend and unique in to whom it is dedicated. For our first of the series I have made a blend of two varieties less often blended in Europe but a blend rapidly becoming a Washington State Classic: Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
This wine is dedicated to my Grandfather A.W. "Nick" Carter who learned to fly before he learned to drive. During World War I he was stationed in France where he is credited with 17 air victories, earning several medals including the Distinguished Service Cross. He also had a very positive effect on my life and gave me many of my best memories as a young boy. I have named this wine, one of distinguished character, 'ACE' after my beloved Grandfather Nick.
- Brian Carter
Exclusive to Wine Club Members
Special Tasting with Array Cellars
November 18, 2017 2 - 5pm
Join us for an afternoon with Array Cellars in the Brian Carter Tasting Room. We have a special relationship with Array Cellars in that Brian Carter is also their winemaker. Their goal is to bring you three unique bottlings, each expressing something different but clearly Washington chardonnay. Join us for a fun afternoon of tasting.
2013 Washington State - Full ripe flavors of hazelnut, citrus, apple and vanilla. Good depth and a lingering finish with firm acidity. Retail: $25 Wine Club: $21.25
2013 Celilo Vineyard - These old vine clones produce a wine with citrus/lemon aromas and flavors, powerful acidity, and a notable mineral finish. These vines have produced chardonnay aging well for 20 years and more, rivaling legendary counterparts Hanzell and Stony Hill in California. Retail: $32 Wine Club: $27.50
2013 Dijon Clone - Taken from a single block of Dijon clone 76 in the Otis Harlan vineyard in the Yakima Valley. Believed to be the oldest such vines in the state. Our most burgundian wine, with a brilliant gold color, deep flavors of peach and marzipan, and a long silky finish from “sur lie” aging. Retail: $32 Wine Club: $27.50
Wine Pairings for Thanksgiving
What will you be serving with your Thanksgiving dinner?
Question: Red, White or Rose? - A good and simple strategy for Thanksgiving wine is to offer a great bottle of each to allow your guests their choice. Plus, it's a good opportunity to introduce your guests to something new that they might not have tried before.
Brian Carter Cellars Calendar
Special Tasting Event with Array Cellars - November 18, 2017 2-5pm
Closed for Thanksgiving - November 23, 2017
Wine and Chocolate Pairing Event - November 29, 2017 2:30-5pm
St. Nick's "Cure-ated" Wine Tasting Night - December 1, 2017 7-9:30pm
We racked over 130 barrels last week. Brian, Robert and Dennis worked long hours to get this done.
Just to review a little winemaking 101, here is a summary of the Winemaking process at Brian Carter Cellars:
Red grapes Harvested > Shipped to winery > Grapes crushed >
Alcoholic Fermentation > Pressing to barrel > Malo-Lactic Fermentation >
First Racking > Barrel Aging > Blending and Second Racking >
More Barrel aging > Bottling > Bottle aging > Wine for Sale
The first racking does not take place until both the critical Alcoholic and Malo-Lactic fermentations are complete. The completion of these two fermentations is confirmed in our laboratory by measuring for the presence of sugar and malic acid. When yeast have used up all of the sugar in the wine and when the bacteria have converted all of the malic acid to lactic acid then the wine is considered stable and ready rack.
This first racking is essentially pumping the wine out of the barrel while leaving the heavy deposit (called lees) behind. During the process each individual lot is blended together in a tank, usually two to eight barrels per lot. We then add the minimum amount possible of sulfur dioxide to the wine to protect it from oxidation and growth of undesirable yeasts and bacteria. Finally the wine is returned to the cleaned and sanitized barrels, bunged tightly and put into the cool cellar to age.
Now is a great time for me to taste through the barrels and assess the quality of each lot. My enthusiasm for the 2014's has only grown more with every stage. Look for more reports as the wine settles down to age slowly in the barrel.
Brian D. Carter, Winemaker