#TasteWithKaren Live

We hope you will join us for the fourth episode in our series:

Washington— The State to Watch and Wines to Know

Episode 4: Exploring Washington’s Cabernets

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021, at 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET

During this exciting virtual event, join Karen as she hosts three Washington winemakers crafting Cabernets in Washington State. Register HERE.

Brian Carter Cellars
with Brian Carter, Owner and Winemaker
BRIAN CARTER CELLARS “Solesce” Columbia Valley Red 2015 (Columbia Valley)

Owen Roe
with David O’Reilly, Co-Founder & Winemaker
OWEN ROE Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 (Yakima Valley)

Valdemar Estates
with Marie-Eve Gilla, Winemaker
VALDEMAR ESTATES “Klipsun Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Red Mountain)

Purchase wines for this event HERE.


“Mule Blanche” Crozes-Hermitage

(Crozes-Hermitage, Rhône Valley, France) $36

If I ever imagined that Marsanne—the workhorse white grape of the northern Rhône —lacked elegance, La Mule Blanche (“The White Mule”) set me straight. The wine—from vines 60 years old—has the ethereal airy softness of whipped cream. And the flavors—white peaches, poached pears, lemon cream pie, and crème brulee—are so refined and luscious that they reverberate in your mind for days after you’ve tasted the wine. Founded in 1834, Paul Jaboulet Ainé owns many of the most prized vineyard sites in the Northern Rhône. The estate was bought in 2006 by the Frey family (owners of Château La Lagune in Bordeaux) who slowly converted the vineyards to biodynamic farming and who poured new passion (and considerable investment) into the vineyards and winemaking. Under the winemaking of Caroline Frey, the Jaboulet wines (Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St. Joseph, and Cornas) are again among the greatest in the Rhône. (13% abv)

94 points KM

Available at Wine.com

The WineSpeed Blog

A. The ripeness level of the wine

B. Smaragd is the word in dialect for “Wachau”

C. The vineyard classification of the wine, equivalent to a Premier Cru vineyard

D. Smaragd is the name of the medieval village where the first Riesling in the Wachau was made


The word smaragd (meaning “emerald”) signifies wines that are the most physiologically ripe, and are therefore considered the best. The wines must have a minimum of 12.5 percent alcohol; most are higher. Smaragd is also the name of a bright green lizard that suns itself in the vineyards of Lower Austria. The Wachau is one of Austria’s premier regions for riesling and grüner veltliner.


The time in summer when grape berries change color signaling the onset of final ripening. White grapes go from green to yellow, and red grapes go from green to red. This past week in the Napa Valley, veraison began for the first few early ripening varieties.

The Name Shiraz

The Second Annual International Shiraz Day was yesterday. Herewith, some information on the name shiraz. Until the 1980s, Australians often called syrah “hermitage” and occasionally “shiraz.” But because Hermitage is an official appellation in the northern Rhône Valley of France, use of that term was eventually discontinued.  As for the name shiraz, it is probably a linguistic variation on a string of different names that the French have historically used for syrah. These include schiras, sirac, syrac, serine, sereine, and scyras. But no matter what it is called, DNA typing reveals that syrah is definitely a French grape and not named for the Iranian city of Shiraz (as has sometimes been suggested). Back to the wine itself: We love top Australian shiraz; it’s simply impossible to ignore the wine’s seductive aromas, gracefully soft texture, and luscious berry and violet flavors, plus the wine’s bolts of enlivening spiciness and black pepperiness.


Number of co-sponsors in Congress of a new bill legalizing wine shipments through the United States Postal Service. According to Wine Searcher News, over the past 14 years, the USPS has lost more than $80 billion as UPS and FedEx make big profits from shipping alcohol all over the country. An estimated $180 million in revenue for USPS is forecasted if the bill passes.

142 k

Auction price for a single bottle of 1951 Penfolds Grange Hermitage Bin 1 Shiraz. According to the Drinks Business, the previous Australian auction record was $103,000 making this 1951 Shiraz the most expensive bottle of Australian wine ever sold. 1951 was the first year Grange was made. There are reportedly 35 bottles of the original vintage still in existence. If you have one please invite me when you open it.


Number of millions of acres of vineyard planted in the U.S. as of 2020. California claims the majority with 620,000 acres, followed by Washington State with 60,000 acres. Oregon has 37,000 acres, and finally, New York has 35,000 acres. Interestingly, 20,000 acres of those grapes in New York are not made into wine, but rather grape juice, jellies, and jams.

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