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Long Lost Sublime – A Wine Tasting Tale

Yesterday my beau asks me, “Are you going to work today or what?”

I chuckled, “I don’t know… I kind of like this office. I’m getting a lot done here.”

I’ve been working from home, trying to finish the permit application package for the new tasting room. It’s been tedious work that has required my steady attention – as well as daily doses of excedrine. Thankfully, Big Ed’s been covering the winery, and my completed package headed for Spokane yesterday. My next duty – a little wine tasting. Yep, that’s my job :) (more on my industry research)

Lodmell Cellars

Once located at the incubators, Lodmell Cellars has just celebrated their first year downtown at the historic Marcus Whitman Hotel. Tom is running the tasting room today, and he starts me off with a Sauvignon Blanc. I am delighted to find gardenia in the tasting notes, and my palette agrees. The clean floral marries with a crisp pear, a very refreshing wine at only $18 for the bottle.

I am tempted to skip over the rosé, as I have yet to find one I could enjoy. But then I notice this rosé is a blend of Merlot (woot-woot!) and Cabernet Sauvignon, so I am intrigued. The wine is labeled a Saignée (pronounced san-yay), and Tom tells me more as he pours a sip into my glass. Saignée is a French word meaning “to bleed” and is indicative of a classic European process of making wine, as in to “bleed off” the juice. After crush, the grapes spend only twelve hours on the skins, making for a lighter bodied wine with a luscious ruby color. It would make a marvelous summer sipping wine with aromatics of rhubarb, cherry, and grapefruit. Another good value at only $18.

Sublime at Lodmell CellarsMy favorite story comes in the next label, a red blend called Sublime. The little-known Carménère varietal is in this bottle, along with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Carménère grape was originally planted in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France and was prized for its deep color and rich flavors. The vines disappeared in the 19th century due to an aphid-like infestation, and the Carménère became known as the “Lost Grape of Bordeaux”. But in 1997, the Chilean government discovered through DNA testing that a varietal being produced by local growers, believed to be a unique clone of the Merlot grape, was actually a Carménère. The Chilean vines were used to repopulate European vineyards, and eventually the vines made their way into North America as well.

The Sublime is a Columbia Valley wine that spends 30 months in barrel. It has nice structure, with dark fruit, spice, and hints of vanilla. Another splash, please :) And Tom obliges. The label art is also sublime, and I sense my tedium just melting away. Only $24 for this trancendental journey in a bottle.

Lodmell Cellars carries an Estate Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon as well, and both are just lovely. They are also one of only three local wineries that produces a Port, theirs being a late harvest Merlot. They are open daily for tasting.

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