Holiday Gifting Ideas
With Chanukah already here and just a few days left till Christmas, Santa is making his list and checking it twice. Brian Carter Cellars has you covered for all the wine lovers on your gift list, and of course you can always treat yourself! A little gift for yourself never hurt.
Have the crew coming over this holiday season? Our large format bottles, now on special, will make the wine lover on your gift list very merry...they might even share!
Which is your favorite? We have large format bottles available in the following veriatals: 2012 Corrida, 2010 Tuttorosso, 2010 Le Coursier, 2010 Trentenaire, 2010 Solesce and even a few 2009 Solesce available. (Wine Club pricing is 20% off 1 bottle, 25% off 2 bottles, and 30% off 3+ bottles).
Drawing a blank on what to give that special someone on your list? How about an Opulento vertical holiday gift pack with one bottle each of 2013 & 2014 Opulento. It makes the perfect holiday or hostess gift. The wine is deep garnet in color with 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 long, perfectly balanced sweet finish.
Stop by the tasting room for your gift packs today.
We are closed on the following days to allow our employees to enjoy the holiday
Now that grapes have been harvested and pressed, the winery crew can relax a bit, but the work does not stop. Our assistant winemaker, Robert Takahashi, is busy in the lab running the 2017 wines for TA, pH, alcohol, sugar and malic acid. Kelly, our cellar hand is busy racking red barrels, while the white and rosé barrels are about to be topped off. Brian is planning ahead for spring bottling and thinking about putting the finishing touches on a couple of final 2016 blends. So far, the 2017 wines are looking good with deeply colored reds and balanced fruit, Brian is tasting the wines daily and he has not picked his favorites quite yet.
The Carter Collection
Brian Carter Cellars is the first Washington State winery to focus exclusively on blends which arose from Brian’s passion for blended wines. He loves the process of blending, starting with walking the vineyard thinking about how a varietal of grape will contribute to pairing these wines with seasonal food. As great as blends are, Brian acknowledges that some of the best wines in the world are 100% varietal. Some of the best examples being Pinot Noirs from Oregon or Chardonnays from Burgundy. Although Brian might be slightly biased, he has been known to stick his neck out and say that blends are among the finest wines made in Washington.
In 2010, Brian Carter Cellars released our first ONE series wine, a 2007 Malbec from Stone Tree Vineyards. Since then we have been making limited releases of single varietal wines that complement our classic European-style blends. The ONE designation is used to denote a line of wines made entirely from ONE varietal and from ONE vineyard. It is important to note that each lot of grapes is brought into the winey as a varietal, and fermented, barreled and racked as a single vineyard, single varietal.
As Brian is evaluating each lot during the spring and summer blending, there is occasionally a lot that separates itself from the rest. Many times, this special lot goes into the blend because it adds that special touch. Sometimes the varietal intensity is so outstanding that Brian doesn’t use it all in the blend. For example, when he needs the Cabernet Franc character in the Le Coursier but doesn’t want the Cabernet Franc to overwhelm the blend. Brian might blend two barrels of a six-barrel Cabernet Franc lot and keep the other four barrels to be released as part of the ONE series. Other times, Brian might have two great Cabernet lots he is evaluating for Solesce and the one works best for blending, and the other is exceptional on its own, then he may set it aside for ONE. So far, we have made between 1-3 ONE wines per year, each being small lots of 50 to 150 cases each. Most recently we have released three ONE wines, all three of which are outstanding examples of their variety:
2012 Sangiovese: These grapes came off the vine in late October, looking like a great wine was going to be made. Indeed, most of this lot went into our 2012 Tuttorosso blend which is a stand-out wine from this stand-out vintage. Brian did manage to pry away three barrels of his favorite Sangiovese from the Boushey Vineyard. It isn’t the easiest grape to grow, it takes a particularly special site to do well, and in only the best years can it make a stand-alone wine worthy of the ONE label.
Dark in color, the wine opens with a very European perfume showing of pie cherries, dried herbs and flowers with a touch of wild game. Classic Chianti flavors and food friendly acidity associated with the great wines of Italy make this wine a standout with red tomato sauces and high fat meats such as short ribs or cinghiale (‘wild boar’ in Italian).
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon: Red Mountain has long been Brian’s favorite source for Cabernet Sauvignon and the E & E Shaw, vineyard, owned and operated by Ed and Eve Shaw has ranked up there near the top. The 2011 vintage was much cooler than usual resulting in Brian making the decision not to make any 2011 Solesce. This spectacular wine, however, stood out above the rest and demanded to be bottled on its own.
Very dark in color, the wine has classic varietal characters of cassis and blackberry with added notes of cedar and coffee in the aroma, running seamlessly onto the palate. A Bordeaux like balance of well-integrated tannins and acids shows off a wine of both dimension and charm.
2013 Merlot: This is our first Merlot under the ONE label. Coming from the Olsen Vineyard in the Yakima Valley, this is one of the most outstanding blocks of Merlot in a state that makes a lot of great Merlot. Having tasted Merlot wines from all over the world, Brian maintains that Washington has the best expression of Merlot fruit from anywhere.
This wine is dark garnet in color, with intense and complex aromas including black cherry, blackberry, raspberry and pomegranate with hints of earth and toasted oak. The palate is round with just the right hints of tannin for aging and a balanced lengthy finish.
Brian Carter Cellars Calendar
We are closed on the following days to allow our employees to enjoy the holiday
Wine and Chocolate Pairing Event - January 27, 2017 1-4pm
Join us for a delicious afternoon with local chocolatier. Scarlata Untamed Chocolate will be serving up samples of their fine chocolates to enjoy with our European inspired blended wines.
Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room
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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
Here we go again! Harvest 2016 is rapidly approaching. Chateau Ste. Michelle is harvesting Sauvignon Blanc starting this week! For Brian Carter Cellars, we are talking probably the first week of September for our first grapes. This week we start cleaning the harvest bins in anticipation of sending them out to our growers in time for them to pick into them. It is another early harvest but fortunately the warmth occurred early in April, May and June. The temperatures in July and August, at least up to now have been more moderate. For me the ideal would be to hold the daily highs between 80 and 90 degrees with nights cooling to the 50's. Those kinds of moderate temperatures hold the acidity and fruit while building deep color. Looks like excellent quality so far and a bit bigger crop than last year as well. I will keep you posted as I am over in the vineyards almost every week between now and the end of the October.
Meantime, Robert and I are putting together the 2015 blends. The Solesce, Trentenaire and Le Coursier are already racked and blended with the Corrida and Byzance happening in the next few days. And somehow I have to get a couple of days off to backpack in the mountains with my two sons (a 16 year annual tradition) before it all starts in earnest.
Try this great recipe for Sautéed Cherry Pan Sauce with Touriga Nacional ONE. Recipe by SizzleWorks
Vanilla Salted Chocolate Cherry Decadence
Chef Carol Dearth, Sizzleworks Cooking School
2 tablespoons Brian Carter Cellars Opulento
1/2 cup dried cherries
16 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla salt (1/2 teaspoon if using unsalted butter)
For Garnish: Powdered Sugar
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat two 8-inch false bottom tart pans** with cooking spray; set on large sheet pan, set aside. In a small bowl, pour Opulento over cherries, let stand to soak until ready to use.
Melt butter over low heat. When butter has melted add chocolate. Stir to combine. Let stand 5 minutes to melt chocolate, then stir again to smooth out.
Meanwhile whisk eggs in a large bowl with sugar and vanilla salt. Whisk until the mixture triples in volume, about 8 minutes. Fold in slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Strain cherries, reserving the Opulento; fold cherries into chocolate mixture. Spread in prepared pans.
Bake for 20 minutes. The center will be a little soft. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Center will sink as it cools. Holds up well in refrigerator.
To serve: Slice into thin wedges, plate on dessert plates and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Each tart serves 6-8.
** or one 1/4 sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Makes 121 servings 1-inch squares.
Opulento Whipped Cream:
1 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar (I like to use brown sugar here)
reserved Opulento (from soaking cherries)
In mixing bowl, combine cream and Opulento; beat to soft peaks. Spoon or pipe onto of cake; garnish with a sprinkle of vanilla salt.
Sizzleworks Cooking School
14111 NE 24th Street • Bellevue, WA 98007
Recipe by SizzleWorks
Grilled Peaches with Burrata & Honey
Serve with Brian Carter Cellars 2013 Oriana
3 large peaches, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon butter, melted
8 ounces burrata
2 slices bacon, cooked to crisp, broken into bite size pieces* (optional)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg 3 peaches, cut in half
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh thyme leaves
Brush cut side of peaches with butter; set aside. Preheat grill to around 400°F. Grill peaches, cut side down, until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes. turn and grill 2 minutes longer. Remove peaches from grill and slice. On a serving plate, cut into the burrata to show the creamy interior. Arrange peach slices around burrata. Sprinkle the bacon pieces over, if desired. Then sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Drizzle with honey and oil. Garnish with thyme. Serves 6.
*or you may use crumbled gorgonzola here.
Recipe by SizzleWorks
Recipe by SizzleWorks
Grilled Herbed Pork Tenderloin
Serve with Brian Carter Cellars 2011 Corrida
2-1/2 pounds boneless pork tenderloin
4-5 tablespoons fresh herb mixture (recipe follows)
1/4 cup olive oil salt and pepper
Preheat grill to 450°F. With a sharp knife, cut pork almost in half lengthwise. Fill the cut with the herb mixture. Close and tie with kitchen string. Rub the outside of the roast with olive oil and any remaining herbs. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, salt & pepper.
Place roast in preheated grill over direct heat; cook for 10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes to brown the outside. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if necessary; reduce the heat to 375°F and cook for about 15 minutes over indirect heat, basting frequently. Internal temperature should be 145-150°F (it will rise to 150-155°F). Let the roast rest 10 minutes before carving.
Fresh Herb Mixture:
1 large branch rosemary
1 large branch sage
3 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)
Remove rosemary and sage from branch, place on cutting board. Top with garlic and salt. Chop finely. (This can also be done in the food processor.) Leave any unused herb mixture on cutting board to dry, then seal in a jar to store.
Recipe by SizzleWorks
Recipe by SizzleWorks
Poached Shrimp on Melon Smear with Horseradish Cream
Serve with Brian Carter Cellars 2013 Roussanne
1 1/2 pounds cantaloupe or honeydew melon
2 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup heavy cream
Peel, seed and cut the melon into 1/2" dice. Put the butter in a 10" skillet and place over medium high heat. Once the butter has melted completely, add the melon and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the melon begins to break down and most of the liquid it releases has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the melon mixture to a blender, taking care to fill the blender jar no more than half full. Holding the lid tight with a pot holder, begin pureeing on lowest speed. Then increase the speed to puree, and process until mixture is smooth. Stir in cream; season with lemon juice and additional salt & pepper as needed. Store refrigerated. May be frozen up to 6 months.
1/2 cup whipped cream
2 teaspoons fresh horseradish
Pinch of salt
Fold horseradish into whipped cream, season with salt.
Lemon Poached Shrimp:
2 cups dry white wine
1 cup water
6 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 large lemon, cut in half, juiced
1-1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp (16-20 count)
In a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan with a lid, combine the wine, water, peppercorns, bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, lemon juice and the lemon halves. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium low, and let the liquid simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, cover, and poach for 4 minutes. Do not allow the liquid to heat past a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the shrimp sit in the covered pan for another 2 minutes, or until they are pink. Transfer the shrimp to a colander with a slotted spoon; discard the poaching liquid. Let the shrimp sit in the colander until they're cool enough to handle. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to a day. Serve cold.
Spoon a tablespoon of the melon mixture onto a serving plate. Using the back of the spoon, smear the puddle. Arrange shrimp atop the smear, then garnish with a dollop of horseradish cream on the side. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper.
Recipe by SizzleWorks
May 20, 2015
Last week, I spent the day in the vineyards covering ground to cover 10 of the 12 vineyards we purchase from. A long day but good to catch up with the growers and see how they are coping with 2015. It is up to the partnership between the grower and the winemaker to overcome any challenges, as well as take maximum advantage of the best qualities of the vintage, in order to make the best possible wine. While every vintage has it's 'unique' qualities, this one has the potential to be one for the record books.
Already we have the earliest bud break on record due to a very mild winter and spring. Also, as you no doubt have heard, water is scarce and it is shaping up to be a challenging vintage for irrigation management. Water supplies are below 40% of normal and the predictions are getting more and more grim. In the Yakima Valley, which is more dependent on snowpack than other regions, the canals are currently closed for a period of two to three weeks. The real challenge will come in September and October where they are certain to close the canals early. This is creating some real challenges in managing crop load and canopy in an attempt to minimize the amount of water the vines will require during the year.
One more challenge we are facing this year is some winter damage in several spots. In particular, I looked at one Chardonnay vineyard that is being used by Array Cellars that has a significant amount of damage. Crop levels will be 3/4 to 1/2 of normal in that block if my predictions are accurate. I also saw a few examples of spring frost this year. But in general, it did not appear to be enough of an issue to significantly impact crop with proper management going forward.
In the meantime, in addition to irrigation, we are dealing with normal issues like shoot thinning, pest control and vigor. Shoot thinning is critical this time of year. Most vines tend to produce many 'non-count' shoots that clog up the canopy. These shoots, which are typically not very fruitful, prevent sunlight from getting to the fruit which is important to flavor development, especially in red wines.
These shoots also prevent sprays from penetrating and stop airflow through the canopy which increases disease pressure. Getting in the field early helps with these problems but it also makes the job easier compared to later season shoot thinning where the shoots become more lignified and harder to remove. Soon we will be talking about leaf removal which further opens up the canopy giving us even better cluster exposure.
The next big occurrence in the vineyard will be bloom and fruit set. We will have a better idea of crop levels after the little green berries are hanging on the shoots. The weather continues to be warm so I am expecting bloom will occur fairly soon, weeks ahead of normal. All this is shaping up to be an unusually early harvest. I'm not making any vacation plans for Labor Day weekend this year!