Sitting at my laptop I face two large windows looking out into our wooded yard. Two large White Oaks stretch their long branches toward the railing on my front porch. The sun is just coming up and the sounds of nature are the only sounds I hear. Roosters crowing, mine included, birds chirping and the occasional moo from a cow.
I would sit out side on the porch but it’s a chilly 53 degrees, a sure sign summer has ended and fall has begun. The leaves collecting in the yard and back deck were an indication of that a few weeks ago now the temps have started to drop as well as those leaves.
Over the summer I had plenty of wonderful white wines purchased from local wine stores but I was struggling with finding affordable great tasting reds. I tried several from Trader Joe’s on the advice of one of their crew members but many were one dimensional with no personality or so tannic I couldn’t drink them. I finally stumbled on a wine you can find most anywhere, a name you’ve probably seen in your local wine store or even grocery chain, 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend.
Aromas of cassis and ripe berries with juicy blackberry, soft tannins with a hint of vanilla and cherry in the finish. This wine has now become my must pick up when I see a bottle at a good price point. I found this one at Trader Joe’s for $9.99 but it’s available in many stores. We paired with BBQ pork steak, handmade basil pasta and pineapple tomatoes we purchased at the Dahlonega Farmer’s Market.
Blend: Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon with hints of Mourvedre and other select red varieties
AVA: Columbia Valley, Washington
14 Hands refers to the small wild mustangs that once ran wild in Washington State. Hand is the measurement in which horses are measured, equivalent to a man’s palm width. The wild horses would come down from the hills to drink from the Columbia River and graze its banks during the warm days before heading back to the cool hills at night. The area that was once home to those small and determined horses is now home to 14 Hands vines.
The Columbia Valley AVA is the largest and perhaps most well known wine region in Washington making up 99% of the total vineyards in the state. Warm days and cool nights provide an ideal climate to produce fruit forward wines with great balance between acidity and tannins. Receiving little rain due to the Cascade Rain Shadow the area is a dry, desert climate benefiting from the Columbia River running through the region and supplying water vital to grape growth.
I started this post over a week ago. My intention was to tie in my June trip to Lake Chelan, WA a smaller AVA within the larger Columbia Valley region. However, my paying gig, the one that I work part time required I work 45 hours last week. So, my life outside of work was put on hold. I recently changed positions at work and I’ve found it has affected the posting of my blog. I am grateful I have the ability to work part time but need to find the balance between work/life that I enjoyed for several years.
Fall continues to slowly creep into the area. We had a bit of a warming trend mid-last week and now back to enjoying highs in the upper 60’s and lows in the 50’s. Colors are really starting to show in the leaves and our driveway has more leaves than usual. Check back next week for frightfully good Halloween wine.