Monday, June 23, 2008

Pinot Envy

As you read in my last post, we celebrated National Flip Flop Day Saturday and ushered in the 1 st day of summer.

I guess the weather Gods were impressed with our pleading because they granted our wish. Since the email and blog post went out Thursday evening we’ve had nothing but glorious sunshine and warm weather. We actually crossed 70 degrees. It was an Olympic Peninsula heat wave!

At the winery, the doors kept opening to the sound of flip-flop, flipity-flop, flop-flop as our guests made their way to the bar. Remember… complimentary wine tasting was in order if you dressed appropriately.

The winery was festive with everyone showing off their feet! Molly, our tasting room goddess, really got into it and started saying goodbye with a new twist. “Thanks for flopping in,” she sang out as she poured another round.

At the end of the day, Molly was getting a bit slap-happy (or by then, ‘flap happy’). Anyhow, she was serving a group of 5 -- a mother and her four daughters. They were tasting through our wines to pick the ones they would serve in honor of their mother’s 80 th birthday and her 60 th wedding anniversary!

Molly was serving them our Dungeness Red Lemberger. Now, understand, not many have heard of this grape and usually say something like, “Is that like the cheese?” No, we say, the grape is spelled differently and smells a whole lot better.

Lately we’ve even taken to describing the wine as similar to Pinot Noir.

Well, Molly was on a roll, got to laughing and finally just spit out… “The wine, well, it’s sort of has Pinot Envy .”

Well of course, everyone at the bar collapsed in hysterics, Molly turned red to her hairline and the discussion quickly turned to the movie Sideways.

Seriously though, the name may stink for a grape but it’s all about what’s in the bottle. Lemberger is part of Washington’s heritage and should not be overlooked.

These wines truly are very similar to Pinot in style, with a medium-body and lots of bright fruit and soft tannins. It’s a very food-friendly wine and pairs beautifully with salmon, halibut and other food right off the grill.

You can read about the history of this grape at

Benoit, our winemaker, has just released the 2006 vintage (Dungeness Red) and it’s getting rave reviews. You can check it out here:

Oh ya. Back to the weather... by Sunday we headed back down to 60. Maybe we just didn’t have enough “Oomph” and not enough lead time. Heck, if we can skydive into the Winery maybe next year I’ll truck in a few loads of sand and we’ll have a beach volleyball tournament and usher Summer with a bang. Stay tuned.

Savor the moment, Cherish the Memories… Kathy

Friday, June 20, 2008

National Flip-Flop Day

a.k.a First Day of Summer
a.k.a. Summer Solstice
a.k.a. Saturday, June 21

Dear Friends of Olympic Cellars,

Well, I thought I was brilliant… for the last week or so I’ve been espousing around the winery that I was going to declare Saturday, June 21 “National Flip-Flop Day.” The impetus behind this brainchild? Flip-Flops, those fun, colorful, rubber sandals, are in my mind synonymous with summer. And though many of you have already experienced the hot days of summer and are wearing your flip-flops, those of us on the Olympic Peninsula are still waiting and are not sure that summer will ever arrive!

By declaring June 21, the first day of summer, National Flip-Flop Day, I thought we could create a little summer fun and hope the sun will follow! Besides, wearing Flip-Flops has good karma and lifts the spirits! Imagine thousands of people (or maybe just Olympic Cellars’ customer list) flip-flopping away on Saturday. The thought just makes you smile!

To verify the originality of my idea, I did a Google search (you know you can Google everything. ) On my first search I found that someone else had already bestowed this honor upon the Flip-Flop. Last year Tropical Smoothie, with more than 300 locations nationwide including one in Vancouver, WA, launched its first annual National Flip-Flop Day to ring in the summer season.

Dang… they’re serving smoothies but I’m serving wine!

On a more serious note, we all know that many Americans are suffering the wrath of Mother Nature this year, and that there is a lot of “bad stuff” happening in our world over which we have no control. We all help where we can but uncertainty can leave you anxious when thinking about the future. Wearing Flip-Flops for one day is not going to solve the issues facing our world and I’m not trying to make light of them. But, we all have the power to make a difference within our own sphere of influence.

So take the time to reach out to those dearest to you… celebrate life and National Flip-Flop Day! As we like to say at the winery... savor the moment and cherish the memories.


PS. If you live close to the winery, wine tasting is on us Saturday if you walk through our doors wearing your favorite flip flops!

PPS. In the Pacific Northwest some might view our “sandal” foot attire as not being at the height of fashion when you have to add SOCKS to keep warm!

PPS. We would love pictures for our website!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Olympic Peninsula's Local Lavender Wine

Angel Farm Partners With Olympic Cellars First Local Wine Infused With Lavender Released

Appropriately named the Le Mélange Nouveau or "The New Blend" Angel Farm’s culinary lavender was infused in Olympic Cellars’ 2007 Madeleine Angevine to produce the first “local terroir” wine flavored with lavender.

Both the grapes and the lavender were harvested in Sequim.

While terroir is more frequently linked with grape growing regions and defines the special characteristics that geography has bestowed on them.

Our local terroir also produces premium quality lavender. The blend of the two, grapes and lavender, in this new wine is a marriage of visions. Twelve years ago Sequim’s Lavender Farms were just a vision… now a flourishing industry attracting international focus and visitors. Our new vision is grape vineyards on the Peninsula producing wine from cool weather varietal grapes that will pair with our local Olympic Coast Cuisine.

Bella Italia will pour the wine at Angel Farm during Lavender Festival. On Sunday, during the 12:30pm culinary demo at Angel Farm featuring Lavender Grilled Prawns, Kathy Charlton from Olympic Cellars will pour samples and talk about the wine while Neil Conklin of Bella Italia focuses on the prawns and the cuisine of our region.

The wine is in limited supply and will be sold at the winery during Lavender Festival.