From: Wahluke Slope, Washington
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Taste: This fresh and full-flavored Cabernet is delicious, with a fantastic density of pure fruit and spice. You’ll pick up notes of bing cherry, cassis, tobacco flower, and freshly cut herbs, all wrapped in lush, silky tannins that lead to a clean, fruit-driven finish. Need a wine to go with everything or nothing? This particular Cabernet is sure to become a new favorite.
Pairing: Friday night? It’s a great wine to bring as your next hostess gift. As far as food goes, this versatile Cabernet pairs wonderfully with casual dinners or alongside appetizer fare. We love serving it with charcuterie and fromage platters, stuffed mushrooms, grilled burgers, gyros, kefta kebabs, BBQ, Korean-style meatballs (check out the recipe below), quesadillas, nachos and ham and cheese sliders.
Korean BBQ-Style Meatballs
By Kay Chun
About Graham Markel of Buona Notte and Ansel Wines. Many thanks to importer Zev Rovine Selections for the following. Buona Notte is a family endeavor. The team consists of father and business partner Jeff Markel and mother, Peggy Markel, as the culinary inspiration. Last, but not least, there’s a winemaker and owner, Graham Markel.
From an early age, Graham learned how to cook at his mother’s Tuscan culinary school from some of the best chefs in Italy. At 21, he got his first cooking job at The Kitchen in Boulder, Colorado. After a year, he moved over to bartending and began learning about wine and cocktails. This is where the idea of crafting his beverages was sparked.
Graham graduated from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and got a job at Antica Terra Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He worked under Antica Terra’s Maggie Harrison and Hiyu Wine Farm’s Nate Ready for seven years. He learned many things from those two, but the number one thing he learned was to think deeply about winemaking and add beauty to each step of the process. No matter how arduous or tiring, he believes every action must be taken to make the best wine possible.
Living at Hiyu Wine Farm in Hood River opened his eyes to the many winemaking possibilities in the Gorge. So many microclimates create different opportunities to explore fun, exciting varieties. Gewurztraminer from the bluffs on Underwood, Mencia from Mosier, and the Sangiovese from east of The Dalles resonated the most.
Many people say that if you squint hard enough, the rolling hills of The Dalles look like the hills of Chianti. It reminded Graham of some wild hybrid of the American West and Tuscany, two places near and dear to his heart. The opportunity was too excellent to pass up. It was time for him to make his own wine.
They have found gastronomic poetry in the snow-capped volcanoes, rolling hills, and big rivers of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon has a deep food and wine tradition driven by Portland's unique culinary culture and the Willamette Valley's world-famous wines. It’s the Buona Notte's mission to add to that lineage.
Graham still loves to cook and is always looking to push the boundaries of creativity in food and wine. It’s his pleasure to capture this time and place in the best bottle of wine he can make.
Now to Ansel! This project is by the same Graham Market of Buona Notta Wines. Instead of focusing on Italian varietals, Ansel is made for classic international varieties, and this Cabernet Sauvignon is particularly lovely. Graham’s goal from the start has been to make Washington wine with less input and zero chemicals.
About the region. Wahluke Slope.
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