To the wine aficionado, the joy of tasting is often in the transportation.
A fine wine can take you, they say, to the hillside whereon the grapes drew life from the soil and to the spring and summer of its birth and maturation. Through the subtle use of oak, cherry, grapefruit and other additives and spices, a wine can paint an entire portrait in the palette.
That ability is what makes sampling and tasting each new crop of wine from each different winemaker such a passion.
“There really is an art to winemaking,” said Mike Conway, the winemaker at Latah Creek. “The science of making wine hasn’t changed in centuries. It’s the art of the individual winemaker that makes each wine special and different.”
Latah Creek, which is open for tasting seven days a week, is debuting a new wine – a product of a union of which Conway is especially fond.
“We have a new sweet, red desert wine, a Reciotto, that we’ve just brought out,” he said. “It’s already proving to be popular and we think it will continue to be. It’s a project that my daughter and I did together. She recently decided that she wants to go into winemaking and we decided to do this together.”
The father-daughter dynamic was heartwarming, Conway said.
“It’s a learning process,” he explained. “Any new project is like that, especially with someone just starting out. But it’s great to have her want to be involved.
“She started out as a biology student with the intention of becoming a physical therapist, but somewhere along the line, the passion for wine took over.”
Called “Natalie’s Nectar” after daughter Natalie Conway-Barnes, this reciotto is made by adding unfermented juice from cabernet sauvignon grapes back into fermented juice from the same grapes.
It’s a new entry for a Northwest winery. Most desert wines, Conway said, are white, such as ice wine.
The reciotto is just the latest entry of Italian-styled wines into Northwest cellars.
“French wines have kind of priced themselves out of the market,” Conway said. “The trend to Italian wines has been a way to combat that.”
The increasingly popular Sangiovese, which Latah Creek frequently serves mulled, is an Italian table red. The popular Pinot Grigio is its white counterpart.
“Northwest grapes are very well suited to the Italian style of winemaking,” Conway said. “We’ve been able to travel quite a bit throughout Europe and see what they’re doing in other countries. That’s where the idea for the reciotto came from.”
And where the tasting can take you.
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