From: Columbia Valley, Washington
Blend: Zinfandel, Primitivo, Petit Syrah
The Wahluke Slope is one of the warmest regions in Washington, bordered by the Columbia River to the west. Its semi-arid climate and consistent temperatures allow for steady and full grape maturation. The unique topography of the slope creates an environment that protects the vines from excessive moisture, leading to a lesser likelihood of grape diseases.
Stonetree Vineyard is renowned for its distinctive soil profile. The vineyard soil is primarily made up of wind-blown sand and loess with a mix of gravel and basalt, which aids in drainage. This rocky soil structure challenges the vines, making them struggle, to concentrate the fruit and produce grapes of superior quality and character. The stony composition also imparts a unique minerality to the wines.
Taste: When the iconic hip-hop duo Salt N Pepa released their groundbreaking album ‘Very Necessary’ in 1993, the world was introduced to an intoxicating blend of sharp wit, unabashed confidence, and infectious rhythm. Fast forward to today, and Two Vintners has crafted a tribute to this masterpiece in the form of a wine that channels its essence; in taste terms, that translates to this zesty red showing off “fruit, spice, everything nice.” The unique blend is a trio of 68% Zinfandel, 17% Primitivo, and 15% Petite Syrah. Each grape varietal plays its part, much like the group’s vibrant tracks that together form a cohesive album. Notes of blackberry, raspberry, bing cherry, a hint of licorice, baking spice, spiced chocolate, and the structural undertones of darker, slightly peppery fruit from the Petit Sirah come together wonderfully well in the glass. Immediately friendly and open.
Pairing: This well-balanced Zinfandel blend beautifully complements lamb, pork, and poultry dishes. The dynamic flavor profile will become a favorite with pizza, Italian pasta with red/meat sauces, and BBQ! One of the best pairings is with a succulent roast boneless pork loin, especially when combined with prunes. If you're in the mood for a rich barbecue experience, go for a North Carolina-style BBQ, and/or Baby Back Ribs will always be a delicious match. Today, we’re switching it up from the norm and recommending a slightly different approach to pairing this wine with Pork Katsu Curry, a Japanese pork cutlet served over a richly spiced curry sauce. Its generous mix of spice and savory-sweet nuances makes it an exceptional companion.
Recipe from Hiroko Shimbo
Adapted by Sam Sifton
About: In the realm of wine, trends come and go. But when Two Vintners emerged in 2009, its founding mission was to champion the underestimated. The brand's inception saw a collaboration between Morgan Lee, a burgeoning winemaker, and David and Cindy Lawson of Covington Cellars. Their united vision? To spotlight the hidden gems of Washington's wine scene: Syrah and Merlot. While others may have cast aside these varietals, they were celebrated as the state's finest offerings by those in the know. The defiance against prevailing tastes formed the bedrock of Two Vintners' identity.
This audacious spirit continued to be the compass guiding Two Vintners, propelling them to craft singular wines that stood out in the market. A wine experience at Two Vintners is nothing short of an odyssey. It invites wine enthusiasts to journey beyond the conventional, exploring innovative styles and fresh varietals. They aim to illuminate the exceptional character and diversity of Washington wines.
The mastermind steering this voyage is none other than Morgan Lee. With a deep reverence for the land and grape, Lee believes in a minimalist approach to winemaking. This restraint allows the wine to sing its tune, expressing its inherent traits and the essence of its origin. Lee's distinctive perspective has earned him a place in the constellation of the wine world's rising stars. Esteemed publications like Seattle Met, Forbes, Jancis Robinson, Wine Spectator, and Sip Magazine have sung praises of his craft. Moreover, his creations have found favor among discerning sommeliers and local specialty wine shops.
Anchoring their winemaking is the Columbia Valley AVA, a vast expanse of over 11 million acres in Washington State, cradling more than 40,000 acres of lush vineyards. The terrain, marked by its arid desert climate, punctuated with warm summers and chilly winters, provides a sanctuary for the Grenache grape. This varietal revels in such warm, dry conditions, making it a natural fit for the region.
Two Vintners' inaugural vision, which centered on the prominence of Syrah and Merlot, has only grown in depth and dimension. Over the years, their adventurous spirit led them to embrace a medley of Rhone grapes, ranging from Cinsault and Grenache to their foundational Syrah. This evolution birthed an array of intriguing blends, each telling its tale: ‘Legit’, a dominant Bordeaux blend leaning into Cabernet Sauvignon; 'Lola', an intriguing dance between Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah; and 'Oliver', a rich tapestry of Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Grenache. Not to be missed is 'OG', a wine that is a pure ode to Gewurztraminer. It's also noteworthy that alongside Morgan Lee in this vinous adventure is Graham Whye, with whom Lee crafts an annual Grenache Blanc.
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