Wine Club Release
WATCH: Winemaker Dirk Brink shares his thoughts on your allotment.
News from the Cellar
As the heavy fog roll over the hills of the “Blues,” our valley is covered with a cold thick blanket, pressing down on our daily activities, thoughts, ideas and goals for the New Year. A fine ray of light has cut through the evergreens, giving us a glimpse of the rising sun, providing us with warmth, comfort and opportunity. The early part of winter has been fairly mild, with fewer freezing temperatures than last year, but we expect colder conditions to arrive in the next month or so. With the current weather cycles from the last two years, we can predict a similar short season this year as well. Before we know it, callused hands will work hard to shape our vines for a new start to the vintage, controlling and maintaining specific yields for quality winemaking.
Pruning, just like winemaking, requires skill, knowledge and artistic freedom, and is probably one of the most important vineyard practices, shaping the vine for balance, guiding natural energy to the precious grape. We look forward to see how these vines will come back to life this season! Important activities in the cellar have not slowed down at all, with racking and blending on the forefront. Our 2019 vintage is shaping up, aging and maturing to perfection. Beautiful expressive fruit is being showcased in generous oak, with new oak nuances adding subtle and supportive accents behind the wine. It is gratifying to observe the fine notes and layers of specific oak profiles gliding through layers of fruit, and imagining those elements coming together in a bottle for your enjoyment, accompanied with that special meal with friends. In the end we know that creating a special wine, takes a team, working together towards one dream and one goal. In your February wine club shipment we are showcasing two of these wines, both of which are crafted from fruit from our Double River Estate Vineyard – a vibrant, youthful and complex Merlot from Block 6, and a distinct, unique and multi-layered Syrah from Blocks 7 and 8. These wines will be even more pronounced and lively when paired with the following dishes:
2018 Double River Merlot - Grilled pasture raised chicken breast with cherry herb sauce
2019 Double River Syrah - Grilled Dorper lamb chops with mushroom sauce
From the entire Basel Cellars team we would like to express special gratitude to Steve and Jo-Marie Hanson for providing us with a very unique platform to showcase our abilities and talents over the last decade. Your ownership, guidance and support will be missed. We extend a warm welcome to our new owners Dan Thiessen, Chad MacKay, Paul MacKay, Philip Christofides and Scott Clark, and we look forward to a fresh start to the New Year, with exciting opportunities for the future!
As always it remains a huge honor to craft wines for you and we value and appreciate your continued support. We look forward to the day we can meet in person again and enjoy our wines with you!
All the best,
Double River Vineyard
I’ve always had a great respect for Merlot, acknowledging the beauty, finesse and elegance of the varietal. My winemaking approach at Basel has always leaned towards allowing the grapes to express true and distinct varietal qualities, especially our Merlot. Only the most pronounced barrels from our high-tier block at Double River Vineyard were selected for this special release. Fruit from Block 6was hand-picked early in the morning of September 26, 2018, gently processed and gravity fed into 1.5 ton stainless steel fermentation bins. Slow, controlled fermentation paved the way for an elegant yet structured wine, with a clear sense of identity. Primary fermentation finished in barrel to retain freshness and vibrancy, while integrating vivid fruit with forgiving French oak. We aged our estate Merlot for 20 months, and only introduced 25% new oak to showcase absolute varietal characteristics.
The youthful aroma exhibits vibrant notes of raspberry, rhubarb and red Jolly Rancher. Warmer tones such as baked apple pie, sweet tobacco and toasty cedar complement and support the beautiful red fruit. The initial entry is soft and supple, with an outburst of bright layers of fruit lingering in the mid-palate. The tannin profile is soft and round, providing excellent balance to the wine. The ample acidity is woven seamlessly together with ripe, brambly fruits, making this a noteworthy food wine. Our Merlot can easily be enjoyed with the perfect meal at this time, but will also gracefully age in your cellar for another 7-10 years. Grilled pasture raised chicken with cherry sauce, filet mignon, a soft brie or grilled venison will complement this wine.
Walla Walla Valley
Double River Vineyard
Double River Vineyard
The versatility and uniqueness of various styles of Syrah around the world have always captured my attention and interest, guiding and motivating me to create our own distinct style at Basel Cellars. Our 2019 Double River Syrah is an expressive representation of the unique terroir of Blocks 7 and 8 at Double River Vineyard. About 25% of this wine was fermented on the stems, providing this Syrah with beautiful structure and complexity, and it remained on the skins for an extended period of time to enhance the volume, depth and tannin profile. It completed malolactic fermentation in neutral French oak, maintaining intense, savory Syrah tones during this critical stage. About 50% new oak was introduced after completion of secondary fermentation, allowing the rich and robust nuances to marry with the oak, lifting and preserving the varietal character. By implementing selective winemaking practices, we reveal both old and new world qualities in this wine.
The nose shows intense notes of over-ripe plum, dark cherry, rose petal, sweet cocoa and leather. The fruity, floral and waxy elements bring continued character to the aroma. The distinct earthy tones, along with warm wood accents, create suspense in the ever evolving bouquet, becoming more smoky and peppery after a short while. The mid-palate is multi-layered , with overripe red fruits leading the charge, creating a richness and complex mouthfeel. The subtle impact of the French oak lifts and surrounds the vivid “sweet” fruit. Generous tannin from the stems provides this wine with extra structure and length. This versatile Syrah can be enjoyed with a variety of foods, and will become more expressive when paired with a smoked pork tenderloin, wild pheasant or grilled Dorper lamb chops and mushroom sauce.
Walla Walla Valley
Double River Vineyard
Wine Pairing Recipes
Grilled Dorper Lamb Chops with Mushroom Sauce
Pairing: 2019 Estate Syrah
Total Time: 60 minutes
8 lamb chops (Dorper* preferred)
3/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
8-10 ounces Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp. dried thyme, finely chopped
7 green onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. grass-fed butter
1 cup lamb or beef broth
1/2 cup Basel Cellars 2019 Syrah
Salt & black pepper, to taste
Sprinkle lamb chops with salt and pepper.
In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
Coat lamb chops lightly with flour. Turn once, sear until brown. Remove to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium.
Add mushrooms, green onions, garlic, butter, rosemary and thyme.
Cook for 4 minutes, add broth and red wine, reduce sauce to 1/3.
Add lamb chops to sauce, cook for about 20 minutes, or until chops are done as desired.
Grilled Pasture Raised Chicken Breasts with Cherry Herb Sauce
Pairing: 2018 Estate Merlot
Total Time: 3 hours
1 cup dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup cherry jam
1/3 cup Mrs. Balls Chutney
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. 2018 Basel Cellars Merlot
1 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. allspice, ground
1/2 tsp. clove, ground
2 boneless chicken breasts
Mix cherries, jam, chutney, broth, thyme, oregano, allspice, clove, vinegar and wine in a bowl.
Transfer to large enough bowl to hold the chicken. Add chicken breasts and coat well.
Marinate in fridge overnight.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Make sure to oil the grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and transfer marinade to skillet.
Make sure to bring marinade to a steady boil, reduce heat and cook for about 15 minutes until sauce is reduced by half.
Reduce heat of grill to medium, grill chicken until cooked through, for about 10 minutes.
Let chicken cool, serve with the sauce.
2901 Old Milton Hwy
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Copyright 2020, Basel Cellars