Friday, July 2, 2010

(Don't) Hold Your Horses!

There is no question that 14 Hands is one of the most sought-after labels in the Washington wine industry today. Part of it s popularity is due to its rarity. 14 Hands, you see, is a restaurant-only brand. So people buy a glass, fall in love, and can never find it again.

But no more! In response to the massive pressure put on them by consumer demand over the past few years, 14 Hands has finally released two new blends, a white and a red called Hot To Trot, that are retail-only wines. That’s right, I said RETAIL only. Eat it, restaurants. Pun intended.

The nose on the white leads off with rich melon aromas and a lingering note of lemongrass. The palate is loaded with lots of luscious fruit up front. Juicy peach and apple become tropical honeydew and cantaloupe, which then give way to a grassy, herbal finish with a gentle wisp of palate-cleansing acidity.

This versatile wine, with its flavors of fruit and hay, is so much like a summer picnic itself, perhaps that’s’ why I think it the perfect choice for such outings. It would pair fabulously with such summer fare as grilled chicken, fresh seafood, and salads of all types – fruit, green, potato, or pasta.

Date: 6/29/2010
Wine: 14 Hands Hot To Trot White
Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Rousanne (percentages unknown)
Vintage: 2009
ABV: 13%
Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Color: light gold
Nose: melon! Honeydew, cantaloupe, floral, lemongrass
Palate: light fruit up front with honey, but grassy, herbaceous finish. Gentle acid.
Price: $10

The Hot To Trot red blend is every bit as approachable as the white. With a nose of blackberry chutney, bourbon and tobacco, this wine smells for all the world like an old vine Zin. But surprisingly, there is no Zinfandel in the blend. The Syrah shows first on the palate, frontloaded with heavy spice. But it isn’t too peppery. More like cinnamon, cardamom, and clove, applied liberally to juicy blackcurrant. The Mourvedre comes through on the finish, with flavors equal parts fruit and game, like cherry-glazed roast beef.
This wine is so approachable, so lush and easy to enjoy (Menage a Trois lovers take note – this is right up your alley!), it would be a stellar choice for your backyard barbecues this summer. It would go great with everything from burgers to steaks to ribs – even pizza. Or nothing. Its great, and its only 10 bucks, so put it in your face and enjoy!
Date: 6/29/2010
Wine: 14 Hands Hot To Trot Red
Grapes: Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Mourvedre (percentages unknown)
Vintage: 2008
ABV: 13.5%
Origin: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Color: ruby with violet highlights
Nose: spicy blackberry jam, bourbon, tobacco. Zin???
Palate: lots of spice! Peppery cinnamon, blackcurrant over cherry-glazed roast beef
Price: $10

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