Brian Carter Cellars topped the 2018 Washington State Wine Competition with its 2017 Abracadabra Rosé, winning Best of Show at this year’s competition. This is the second time in five years that Brian Carter Cellars has been awarded Best of Show, 2009 Solesce won the honors at the 2014 Washington State Wine Competition. The 2017 Abracadabra Rosé beat out 286 entries for Best of Show award.
Brian Carter thinks “rosé is here to stay, it used to be that in the tasting room we’d offer them rosé and customers would look askance at it, saying that rosé was what their mother or grandmother used to drink,” Carter believes that “people are realizing what a delightful wine it is.”
Brian Carter’s primary source for Sangiovese is Willard Farms, a venerable vineyard managed by Jim Willard along Snipes Road and known by some as Solstice Vineyard. Also included are Syrah, Grenache, Malbec and Mourvèdre in the Abracadabra Rosé.
“We call it our ‘magical blend’ because while it does not vary significantly from year to year, I don’t agonize over ‘two percent of this’ or ‘two percent of that’ like I do with my other blends. It’s more serendipitous where this wine ends up each year.”
The 35th year of the statewide competition was staged in Grandview, WA, and serves as a scholarship fundraiser for the Yakima Valley College’s viticulture and enology program.
Details of the competition can be found at www.greatnorthwestwine.com
Double Gold Medal
Brian Carter Cellars 2014 Trentenaire
Brian Carter Cellars 2015 Opulento
Brian Carter Cellars 2015 Takahashi Dedication Series
Brian Carter Cellars 2014 Byzance Red Wine
Brian Carter Cellars 2014 ONE Syrah
Brian Carter Cellars 2015 Abracadabra Red Wine
Brian Carter Cellars 2016 Oriana White Wine
Brian Carter Cellars 2013 Le Coursier Red Wine
Brian Carter Cellars 2013 Solesce Red Wine
Brian Carter Cellars 2014 Corrida Red Wine
It’s that Time of Year
The first bottling in April has been completed and the 2017 Rosé, 2017 Oriana, and 2015 Solesce are out of the barrel room and into the warehouse. The rosé is hardly resting comfortably, as we released it the beginning of May; it is delicious and it is disappearing fast. The perfect pairing with summer sunshine.
Before turning attention to our July bottling, it is time for the most enjoyable part of my winemaking schedule: Time to Blend! The 2017 wines are chilling in the cellar and losing their youthful fermentation aromas while starting to show their true personality. I like to think the wines are anticipating this time of year also. “It’s kind of boring sitting here all by myself. When is Brian going to start blending so we can meet and mingle with our neighbors?” The last couple of weeks, I have had dozens of samples out on the table tasting each, and deciding how they will come together. I am pretty close to finalizing the 2017 Solesce, Trentenaire, Corrida and the next Dedication Series, which is slated to be a dry Portuguese varietal blend. I am excited about each one. It will not be long before Robert and I are selecting individual barrels, racking them to the tank, getting them mixed and back to the barrel where they will have a year to come together. The majority of these wines are slated to be bottled in the summer of 2019.
In addition to blending, I am keeping an eye out for a few that will stand alone in our ONE series. These are the rare wines that are special enough to be bottled on their own; ONE variety, ONE vineyard. As it says on the back label: “Occasionally we come across a few barrels that capture the essence of a varietal so completely they defy blending, they are just that good.” When we do find one that special, we normally only bottle 75 to 150 cases of each wine. For 2017, I am looking at holding back a Grenache, which I have done once before, and a Tempranillo which will be our first ONE of this varietal.