Thursday, August 26, 2010

Benoit's Final Goodbye Email

Dear Friends/Customers/Wine Drinkers,

Friday will be my last day at Olympic Cellars after almost 6 years with the Working Girls. I was in Pasco and came to help during crush 2004 then stayed for a few more years.

We did a lot in 6 years and I’m proud to leave the winery in the shape it is today. Olympic Cellars has now all equipment and structure to compete with the best winery of the state. We bought a new press, a new destemmer, some new pumps, new barrels, a new forklift. We are getting grapes from the best vineyard of the state and have a good reputation for the quality of our wines, from the working girls wines to our fancy Cabernet Sauvignon from Paul Champoux Vineyard.

I had 6 great years here but it is time for me to move on and go back to my home land. As you know I am going back to school to graduate for the National Diploma of Oenology, a two years program. That was my intention 14 years ago when I started my degree in viticulture and oenology. I wanted to get this degree, but after 3 years, I got a good job offer in Bordeaux and was probably just impatient to work (and get a paycheck).

Today I have the opportunity to go back to school with a scholarship from the French Government (Thank you my socialist country…) and I thought it was a good time to go back home, finish this degree and start something new in 2 years (don’t ask me what, I have no idea).

We have 3 great vintages in bottles and one in barrels and I am sure Virginie will do a really good job with this new coming vintage. As my family-in-law live on the Peninsula, I will come back here probably at least one time a year and will follow the evolution of the wines we have today, some of them can be cellared for several years and it will be great to follow them aging.

Thanks all of you for drinking my wines, for your support and have all a great end of summer.

Olympic Cellars Winemaker

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hot August Nights - Did I Jinx the Weather?

#@!*&?# I can't say what I'm thinking.

The Weather is a Changing... Hot August Nights! Now who coined that phase....?

Did I jinx the whole weather pattern on the Peninsula?

Last week a sundress... this Saturday night, well pull out your fleece.

But, who cares. We're from the Northwest. We have layers of clothes in our trunks. A little cold, a little rain... we're tough!!!!

Rain or Shine the concert goes on. Haywire is a local favorite. The concert benefits the Girls Scholarship Fund of the Jet Set Soroptimist organization. We can't let them down.

So pack your clothes and we'll cuddle close under the patio if necessary....

I send the Wine Gods an offering and you a personal msg via YouTube.

Enjoy, Kathy

AUTOGRAPHED Bottles of Winemaker's Best

Yesterday marked the first day of the winemaker handoff from Benoit to Virginie. Sitting there taking notes, listening to both of them discuss our wines and the upcoming harvest I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering… thinking about the early days when Benoit joined the winery.

Many of you probably don’t know but Benoit almost didn’t live through his second day at the winery. The old bladder press blew up and the heavy stainless steel lid flew like a missile through the air and almost… “I can’t say it”… thank the lord all he has now is a faint battle scar.

So many memories… when you’re only a team of 4, there is not a phase of the winery operation we don’t share in some way.

Harvest was Benoit’s favorite time in the life cycle of wine. I think he just liked to clap his hands and tell us to get to work and start shoveling. Long hours, rain and cold, he took our wines from grapes to bottle.

I just looked at the calendar… 13 more days.

Been meaning to send this email but it sort of makes it final and I’m truly a “Scarlet O’Hara”, tomorrow-tomorrow.

Two of our best wines are bottled under Benoit’s Winemaker Reserve Label, the 2008 La Galopine and our 30thanniversary wine, Neuharth’s Legacy, 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon blend. As of today, this label is officially retired with the departure of Benoit. I’ve asked him to sign bottles but don’t know how many he will get done given the long list he and Virginie have made for the next two weeks.

During an interview Benoit said the best wine he had made at Olympic Cellars was the Neuharth Legacy. I agree. Also, he loves Ciel du Cheval grapes in the Red Mountain appellation and was very happy to get our Roussanne and Viognier for La Galopine. This first 2008 release won an immediate Gold Medal.

If you would like signed bottles please come into the winery or place your order. If it’s too hot to ship, then we’ll pack it and keep it in the cellar waiting for cooler weather.

Another wine that Benoit created is My Sweet Syrah which many of you love. When I first asked him to make a really good red that was slightly sweet, he just looked at me and said in a very thick French accent, “Kathee, don’t you know red wine is dry”. To his credit a week later, he came back with the Syrah/Late Harvest Riesling blend idea and as you would say… the rest is history. We’ve had other wineries copy this wine style and even come to Olympic Cellars to taste My Sweet Syrah. I’m very proud of this wine… well I’m very proud of every one of our wines!

As a thank you to Benoit and his skill in winemaking innovation, My Sweet Syrah will be featured at $16… 20% off the retail price for 13 more days. Again, if you want a signed bottle this can only happen in August.

Many thanks. A personal email is still coming from Benoit. It’s on his list.

Adjusting slowly, Kathy
Olympic Cellars Winery

P.S. In August case discounts are 15%, 6 bottles are 10% unless you’re ordering My Sweet Syrah at its special August price.

Facebook is becoming the place to keep up with the happenings at the winery

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Star Anna & The Laughing Dogs Supports Charity

White wines beat out red wines at the Star Anna concert.

I finally got to welcome everyone to the Hot, Hotter, Hottest August Night Summer Concert ever.

As you may already know, Olympic Cellar's concert series benefits a different non-profit organization each Saturday night. We presented Jack Slowriver, director of Family Planning of Clallam County, a "$1721 wad of money". Through your generous donations and Star Anna's donation of 25% of her CD sales uninsured women on the Peninsula have access to health care. Thank you!

The band was heading out on to do 13 performances on a 14 day California concert tour ending with a recording session at the Pearl Jam studio. Pearl Jam's Mike McCready will be a special guest at Star Anna's Spaceland show in LA Wednesday 8/18!

Follow the band on Star Anna's Facebook

Great videos from Saturday night. I'm not quite a flip video "don't shake" expert yet. Ralph, my husband, took the video that is "not" jumping around. Both have great music.

Cheers, Kathy

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Vinturi Aerator - As Essential as a Corkscrew

As a winery owner you would think I would use the newest and coolest wine gadgets. Guess I just see so many that I'm a bit jaded. I still use my 30 year old wing tip corkscrew... it's simple & works every time.

At the winery we sell the Vinturi Aerator. I noticed we could hardly keep them in stock. So this weekend I used it for our 2007 Neuharth Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon released for our 30th anniversary in 2009. We knew it was too soon to release but we wanted our best to commemorate this anniversary.

This Cab is a gorgeous, complex wine with tannins that I think still need softening with additional aging. The tannins were masking the fruit. When we pour this wine in the tasting room, we open it the night before to let it breathe.

Well, it was our first concert of the season and the Working Girls wanted the Cab... after all, we worked hard and deserved our best bottle of wine. No time for breathing. So we opened the Neuharth Cab... tasted it first then used the Vinturi.

I'm now a believer in technology I don't understand. Immediate Gratification! The wine poured through the Vinturi was Night and Day Difference. The nose was noticeably more aromatic, the tannins had softened and the fruit came through in luscious elegant layers.

Bottom line, I now have one in my house. It is as essential as a corkscrew.

Enjoy the Wine Geek video I found on YouTube about this same product. (It mentions a $50 price tag. At the winery it is $40.) And, I would have no problem taking the Venturi to a restaurant.


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