October 16th through March 31st
Saturday | Noon - 5PM | NEW MENU! (click to view)
April 1st through October 15th
Friday - Sunday | Noon - 5pm
Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyard, in partnership with Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar, explores chateau-inspired cuisine with the Terra Blanca Vineyard Grill. Located at the beautiful winery and estate vineyard on Red Mountain. Our Vineyard Grill offers guests a wine country getaway with panoramic views of vineyards and the lower Yakima Valley.
The menu features enticing brick oven pizzas, salads, tapas, and handhelds, all superbly created to pair perfectly with Terra Blanca wines. The menu highlights food prepared in the wood-fire brick oven and produce from the Terra Blanca garden, when in season.
Featuring beer on tap from White Bluffs Brewery!
Call 509-588-6082 ext. 102 to make reservations today!
This week, Winemaker Keith Pilgrim introduced a brand new wine to the Tasting Room. After the popularity of the 2012 vintage and many queries about the next, the 2013 Arch Terrace Dry Rosé is finally here!
This bright, summery wine graced the bar on Monday and has already proven that it deserves to be there. With a palate strong of strawberry and hints of peach, this wine is best served chilled and on a patio with friends. Just in time for the hottest part of summer!
We know, we know. Rosés often get a bad rap in the wine world. They’re “unsophisticated,” “weak,” or not a wine-drinker’s wine. Sure, there may be some rosés out there that fit those descriptors, but like Merlots and “Sideways,” stereotypes were made to be broken.
Unlike most grocery store, $7 rosés, the Arch Terrace Rosé is dry. “Dry” is the technical term (and frequently-used jargon) for a wine that has less than 1% residual sugar (RS). The vast majority of red wines are dry, the few exceptions being port-style reds. Whites run the gambit of dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet, each label having its own specified level of residual sugar.
Since the 2013 Arch Terrace Dry Rosé has a residual sugar of 0.8%, it fits under the “dry” label. That RS level sits right at the level where you can start to taste the sweetness. This sugar is balanced by a crisp, refreshing acidity that helps wake up your palate.
Like the 2012, the 2013 vintage is made from Cabernet Franc. Unlike the 2012, the 2013 is 100% Cabernet Franc, which gives it a touch more earth on the nose. It is also lighter in both color and weight than the 2012, and the combination of barely-ripened strawberry and white peach flavors make this vintage stand apart from its predecessor.
For any and all out there who are looking for something just a little bit different, drop on by the Tasting Room and give this Rosé a try. If you really like it, snag a case! To celebrate Washington Wine Month, this week's special is a case of the 2013 Arch Terrace Rosé for $120 (reg. $216). Order online from our store or ask one of our Wine Educators really nicely since it's technically a web-only discount. Chances are they'll let you take a case or three.
Curious about how our Rosé is made? Check out the next article for more details!
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
P.S. We apologize for the recent breaks in our weekly updates. These are due to technical difficulties that are being resolved. That’s why you’re getting a double dose of Rosé this week!
As promised, here’s your second dose of Rosé for the week!
In the Tasting Room, our Wine Educators are often asked, “What’s the difference between a red and a Rosé?” A variant of that is, “Is Rosé a white?”
As we said in Part 1, Rosé tends to be viewed as unsophisticated or a byproduct made with the dregs of wines that didn’t make the cut for their own bottling.
This is not the case with the 2013 Arch Terrace Dry Rosé, and one taste can prove that.
But this raises an interesting question. How are Rosés made?
There are three predominant methods:
- Drawing off
- Pressing off
The first method is a common one. To make some Rosés, winemakers may decide to blend a red and a white wine together, such as Syrah and Chardonnay. In this method, the percentage is weighed heavily in the white’s favor since it does not take much red wine to turn a white wine into a pink wine. In this style of Rosé, the wines are blended in a similar fashion as other blends and for similar reasons: flavor, balance, aroma, and (more obvious in a Rosé) color.
Another way of making Rosé is through a technique known as drawing. No sketchpads here. Instead, as red grapes are fermenting, a winemaker may choose to draw off wine from the bottom of the fermentation tank, wine that is not in direct contact with the grape’s skins and seeds and thus not obtaining the same levels of pigment and tannin. This method can serve two purposes: to make a Rosé and increase the ratio of skin to juice in the wine that will be fully red.
This second technique can sometimes develop a bad reputation, implying that the winemaker didn’t intend to make a Rosé and is only focusing on making a more concentrated red wine. Though this may be true in certain cases, the Rosés made from this method still undergo the full winemaking process and are no less sophisticated for their origins.
Third time’s the charm for Terra Blanca’s method. Rather than blending or drawing off, our Winemaker Keith Pilgrim uses a very traditional Rosé-making technique. After selecting the fruit that will be made into Rosé (in 2011 it was Sangiovese, and both 2012 and 2013 are Cabernet Franc), that fruit is pressed and fermented, the juice sitting with its skins and seeds for a few hours. After those few hours, the juice—now with a rosey hue and touch of tannin—is pressed from its skins and seeds and finishes fermentation. This differs from the fermentation for a red wine since a red wine will ferment with its skins and seeds for up to 21 days before having the juice pressed off.
And, because we have your attention, here’s another quick clarification of terms:
Rosé: typically dry (less than 1% residual sugar)
Blush: typically semi-sweet to sweet (greater than 3% residual sugar)
With the latest heat wave, nothing beats our Dry Rosé for a crisp refreshment.
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
Summer is a busy time of year. Families go on vacations, kids get into trouble with their break from school, carnivals take over parks… There is no end to the events that the hot weather inspires. River floating is a popular one here, and the white wines are flying off the shelves in the Tasting Room.
All the heat has started some chemistry in the grapes, too. Forget Valentine’s Day, late July is for lovers. Well. Wine lovers anyway. Around this time of year, the clusters of maturing grapes undergo a seemingly-magical process called “veraison.”
Like much in wine, the word is French and has come to specifically mean the act of grapes turning color. Take a look to the right for a grape that hasn’t turned yet. It’s green and definitely not ripe yet. Much like eating an under-ripe cherry, a grape that is still not the right color would be very tart and acidic with next to no sugar.
Not good for winemaking.
As the season progresses, the sugars increase and the acids change, kicking the skins into color-change mode. Take a look to the left for a grape cluster in mid-change.
According to our Winemaker, Keith Pilgrim, our vines are about two weeks ahead of schedule, and Cabernet Franc is very close to veraison. If it stays hot like last week for the rest of the season, harvest will come early. If it cools off, harvest may be delayed until a normal time.
Want to see this process first hand? Give one of our tours a try! Our estate grapes are predicted to go through veraison in the coming weeks, which means it’s a great time to take our Vineyard Hike. For $15 a person, take a trip through our estate vineyards and see the grapes first hand as they begin to fully ripen. The Vineyard Hike includes a full tasting, as well, so you’ll get to see the process start to finish!
Wait a few weeks longer, after veraison, and the grapes will be ready to taste right off the vine! Late summer and early fall are busy, busy seasons for a vineyard. Come join us and get right in the mix.
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
Welcome back to Terra Blanca by the Glass! This week we’ll be exploring the inner workings of the winery and seeing what makes it really tick. Wine can’t make itself, right? Nor can it pour itself. But as friendly and sociable as our next server is, it took a bit of convincing to get her to agree to an interview.
You remember Sally? Well, it was Sally’s word that the process is mostly painless that eventually convinced this week’s guest to be interviewed.
“It’s not a job interview or Oprah,” she told this week’s interviewee, and it’s no wonder she’s earned the nickname of Sassy Sally.
“Fine.” And thus this week’s feature agreed!
Those of you who have visited in the last couple of years will no doubt recognize Olivia.
What you might not know is that Olivia has worked her way up through the ranks, spending just a tick over a year as a barback, a year as a Wine Educator, and now begins her journey as a Senior Wine Educator. Her promotion almost looked like a birthday present since it came around that time, but rest assured; she earned it.
“I wanted to see if I could meet the standards set for me,” Olivia said about her recent promotion. “I felt ready and went for it!”
According to Olivia, working as a barback for a year really helped her prepare to be a Wine Educator when she turned 21.
“I got exposed to and learned a lot about wine, and I could do everything but open a bottle and pour,” she said, which made her transition to a Wine Educator smooth, and she has since become a recognizable face in the Tasting Room.
Outside of Terra Blanca, Olivia is an outdoor enthusiast. Soccer let her travel all over the country for competition, so she’s seen a lot more than just the Tri-Cities, where she was born and raised. She also enjoys hiking, fishing, and working out.
“I feel like a boy, giving that list,” she laughed, though she hastily added tanning to her list of favorite outside activities. When she’s not busy studying for her nursing classes at WSU Tri-cities or spending time outside, Olivia can be found enjoying the simple pastime of watching “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
No doubt she was there for the premier last Sunday.
Just don’t her know we let that secret out. She can run faster than this article’s author. A lot faster.
If you’re planning a trip out to the Tasting Room soon, be sure to say hi to Olivia! If you’re really feeling adventurous, ask her about “the shorts” or her latest hiking adventure.
As always, Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
Several months ago, we explored the 3 Vs of Winetasting. As promised in our last posting, today we’ll be exploring one of those Vs in great detail. Sorry car lovers, this week’s look at “vintage” does not include any Galaxies, Chevelles, or Hudsons. Instead, we’ll be talking about internet dating and what it has to do with wine.
But first, let’s review from our last description of vintage! Here are a few key points:
- All wines are not created equal, nor will every year produce the same wine.
- Generally speaking, the older the red wine, the better it will be (there are exceptions to this!).
- Warm years produce fruity wines, and cool years produce more ageable wines.
And that leads us straight to the crux. Why?
This, my friends, is where chemistry comes into play.
Climate and a vineyard are like a couple who’ve met on the internet. No one knows if they have any chemistry until they’ve gotten together in person a few times. When it comes to the growing season and how “into it” the vines are, the budding and immature grapes are checked periodically throughout the summer to check acid, pH, and sugar (brix) levels and much more frequently as harvest gets closer.
But what does that actually have to do with the wines?
Wines that come from warmer climates (like Central Washington and Napa Valley) produce fruits that are higher in sugars and lower in acid. Cooler climates (like Chablis, France and the Puget Sound) produce fruits lower in sugars and higher in acids.
Take two vintages of our Arch Terrace Sauvignon Blanc.
The 2011 vintage (which just sold out) was grown during the coldest year in the last 100 years. It was a very acidic wine, which translated into the wine’s bright quality and citrus palate.
“In cooler years, you get more grapefruit on the palate,” Winemaker Keith Pilgrim explained. “Warmer years show more lemon.”
The 2012 Arch Terrace Sauvignon Blanc, released last Sunday, was grown in a more typical year. Not a warm year, not an odd year, a typical year. So the season was, mostly, what we have come to expect from the area. Because of that and because Red Mountain has typically a very warm climate, the 2012 vintage of this wine is showing more grapefruit flavors in addition to a slightly more grassy nose.
Since we don’t like making the New Zealand style of Sauv. Blanc, Keith lets the grapes hang on the vine just a little bit longer, getting them a little more ripe to balance the sugars and acids in the grape, bringing out more of the lemon chiffon flavor that characterizes our Arch Terrach Sauv. Blanc.
That was a lot of technical information thrown at you. Really, the best way to see the differences that vintages can create is to try the same wines from different years. Like Sauv. Blanc, Merlot will taste different in a cooler year versus a warmer year, also because of the changing balance in acids and sugars.
If you want more detailed information about specific vintages, head on down to the Tasting Room and ask your Wine Educator! We’ve also released a new vintage of our Signature Series Block 5 Chardonnay! Stop by to taste the 2010 (a cold year), and see if you have a favorite vintage yet.
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
P.S. You heard it here first! Drop by the Tasting Room this Thursday through Sunday for a 4th of July special. We’re getting patriotic with our Red, White, and Blue wine trio! For $58, you can walk away with a bottle each of 2009 Arch Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon (red), 2011 Arch Terrace Chardonnay (white), and 2008 Signature Series Merlot (blue).
Unlike most everything else around the winery that is dictated by the seasons, bottling wine happens all year round. It can be done in the dead of winter when it’s below freezing outside but a balmy 60⁰ F in the cellar, during the middle of a dust storm in spring, or while the sun bakes Red Mountain into triple-digit temperatures and a 60⁰ cellar is a refreshing break. Bottling could even be running during the busiest time of year, harvest.
So what’s in the mystery cases that appeared in our cellar this week?
What’s going in them?
Your guess is as good as mine!
There are several wines in our tanks currently blending and melding flavors, including Syrah, so these bottles could be for anything that’s ready (rumor has it that there’s a new Forte blending, so these could be for the 2006 vintage of our port-style wine).
You may be wondering at this point why bottling doesn’t follow a routine schedule like harvest and crush and fermentation and spring release, etc. etc. etc.
The simple answer to that is that wine gets bottled when it’s ready to be bottled.
The complicated answer is that every wine ages slightly differently in barrels depending on the block from where they were harvested, the yeast type used in fermentation, the varietal itself, and a slew of other factors that sound more at home in a chemistry lab than a tasting room. All of these variables add up to the point where a wine could be considered “ready” at any point in the year, so it’s then blended and left alone for flavors to meld uniformly before being put in a bottle.
And we’re only scratching the surface of what goes into that bottle, but we’ll save that for another week. Maybe the next Forte will be out by then!
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
P.S. In honor of this June’s funky weather patterns, next week’s article will delve further into why the concept of “vintage” is important and why different climates affect the wines produced in them. If you’ve ever wondered why “warm year” and “cool year” are buzz phrases, stay tuned for next week’s post!
THIS JUST IN!
The Seattle Wine Awards, one of Washington’s most prestigious wine-judging events, released their 2014 results yesterday, June 3. Terra Blanca submitted seven wines for judging:
- 2009 Arch Terrace Merlot
- 2009 Arch Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2009 Arch Terrace Syrah
- 2009 Arch Terrace Triple Threat
- 2009 Signature Series Block 8 Syrah
- 2009 ONYX
- 2009 Signature Series Batholith
After rigorous tasting and scoring, the judges have made their decisions: Terra Blanca wins seven medals!
Most notable was the 2009 Signature Series Batholith, winning Double Gold in the same category as other Red Mountain wines. As the newest wine on our tasting list, the Batholith has wasted no time in becoming a favorite of guests and staff alike. We always knew the new kid would make it big!
Also notable are the performances of our Syrahs: Double Golds for both! Fans of big Syrah will love the Signature Series Block 8, and the judges agreed that this dark and luscious wine deserved top honors in the $35.01 and over Syrah category. As the anchor wine in our Signature Series Flight, the Block 8 now has another reason to shine.
The Arch Terrace Syrah is also the best of the best in its category (Double Gold in $25.01-$35 Syrahs), proving that it has what it takes to stand up with the big boys with its fruit-forward and spicy nature. Don’t take this Syrah lightly; it still packs quite the flavorful punch.
Of the remaining wines, the 2009 Arch Terrace Triple Threat walked out with a Gold for Red Proprietary Blends ($20.01-$35), the 2009 ONYX won Gold in its category (no surprises there), and the Arch Terrace Merlot and Cab. Sauv. both earned silvers.
Terra Blanca is batting a thousand so far and just in time for the season to really pick up. Join us in the Tasting Room to try our wines and let them prove to your palate that they are award worthy.
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
P.S. Due to the recent warm weather and summer kicking the heat into high gear, we are no longer shipping wine out. We’ll keep you updated for when the weather cools enough to start shipping again.
It’s inevitable. When out wine tasting, someone is going to start talking about “cellaring,” a vague and floofy-sounding topic. Bringing up something as medieval as a cellar has the instantaneous effect of glazing eyes, shutting off brains, and invoking “perpetual nodding syndrome.”
To avoid these unfortunate and all too common side effects, Terra Blanca by the Glass investigates the mysteries of dark and secluded wine cellars and why so many “winos” are keen on sticking their wines into one.
What we first discovered was that “cellaring” is a verb. You cellar something, are cellaring something, will be cellaring, etc. etc. It is an action that involves taking an object (in this case wine) and putting it into an area for…what?
That was the next point of research. Through much digging, we found that wine is cellared for aging. Why, though? Why hide something away from light, heat, and moisture for years and years? Theoretically, this process of aging does something to the wines while they’re in the bottle.
Practically speaking, the effects are sometimes beyond words. If you have the patience to not drink a bottle of wine (that you clearly liked enough after tasting to buy), that bottle will improve with time. Tucked away for a decade or more, wines will smooth out, become less astringent or sharp, and develop more complex flavor profiles (check out our previous Wine Lingo, /blog/Palate for more information on wine profiles).
To really see the effects cellaring can have, drop by the Tasting Room. Currently, we are pouring a 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon as May’s Monthly Magnum Special. Nine years old and still young, this wine has started taking on properties of aged Cabs, namely a rich and complex finish of dark fruits, chocolate, and coffee.
Get here quick, though. June is right around the corner, and there’s no telling what we’ll dig out of our own cellar. Maybe it’ll be another 2005, maybe it’ll be older. Any dust on the bottles is free, by the way.
So what do you need for your own cellar? First and foremost, you need patience. Cellaring wine is a lesson in delayed gratification. Yes, it tastes good now, but trust us when we tell you it’ll be even better in seven years, in 10 or more. Ask your Wine Educator for projected cellaring dates for specific wines.
The next important item is the cellar itself. It must be cool and dry without sun exposure. Basements with moisture-sealed walls are the best places because they stay a relatively even temperature all year. Roller-coaster-like fluctuations are destroyers of good wine.
If a basement is unavailable (as seems the case in most modern housing), look for an interior closet (away from exterior walls and without windows shining on the door). Though a case box is convenient for storage, using a foam cooler or packing material will help keep your wine at an even temperature. Low tech methods work just fine.
Of course there is always the option of purchasing a dedicated wine fridge. These generally have size limits, both in the number of bottles they can store and the size of bottle that can fit into its racks, but temperature is easily controlled and regulated. Some even have separate coolers, one for long-term storage of all wine and one to chill whites for serving.
And while we’re at it, let’s clear up a common misconception that our Wine Educators get asked frequently. No, you do not need to refrigerate white wine to store it. Certainly serve it chilled, but our investigation has determined that white wines can sit right next to your reds in your cellar. Just don’t let them hang out as long. Dry whites don’t have tannins or sugar to protect them over the years, but we’ll save that for another installment of Wine Lingo.
In the meantime, grab a glass (or bottle) of your favorite wine and savor. Terra Blanca by the Glass will be back next week with a vineyard update. The vines are loving all this hot weather, and it shows!
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
To celebrate the influx of warm weather and blooming plants, it’s time to pull out the steaks and the sunscreen! Nothing says summer quite like the smell of charcoal and roasting burgers, so prep the patio and grab your grills. We’re pulling out another recipe this week just in time for Memorial Day.
Impress your friends with your flavorful skill and pair this dish with a dry rose or white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc. Serve the wine chilled for the perfect complement to a tasty plate and warm afternoon.
Turkey Bacon Burger
Suggested Pairing: 2012 Arch Terrace Dry Rose
What you’ll need:
2 lbs ground turkey (light and dark meat)
¾ c. bread crumbs
1 large egg
½ lb bacon
2 small sweet onions
3 tblsp minced garlic (the fresher the better!)
1 pinch basil
1 pinch oregano
Various vegetables for garnish
- In a large skillet, sauté bacon until desired doneness. For best results, leave some fat unrendered on each strip. When bacon is cooked, put aside on a paper-towel covered plate to cool. Save grease.
- Dice one sweet onion and sauté in leftover bacon grease. When onion is translucent, pull off heat and set aside. Save grease.
- When bacon is cool, dice into small pieces and put into a large mixing bowl. Add cooked onion, basil, oregano, garlic, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, bread crumbs, egg, and ground turkey. Mix until all elements are well blended.
- Form four patties from meat mixture. In large skillet with bacon grease or on a grill (recommended), cook burgers to medium, medium-well doneness. Do not serve undercooked poultry.
- Toast buns lightly for serving. Garnish as desired with lettuce, any additional bacon, pickles, sliced onion, tomato, and red bell pepper. If you want to add cheese, use something light, such as baby swiss.
If you’re looking for something a little spicier, add some diced chilies to the meat before grilling. If bacon is not desired, substitute bacon grease for olive oil when cooking the diced onion. For something different, try a couple spears of pickled asparagus on your burger. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, add a dash of liquid smoke to the meat before grilling. Just a dash, though; a little goes a long way.
For sides, bust out all the fixin’s. French fries, green salads, potato salad, and pasta salad all work well with this tasty bit of turkey, and the recipe can be doubled or tripled or number-ed for however many hungry mouths you’ll be feeding.
Make sure to have plenty of wine on hand, too! Nothing goes better with turkey than the 2012 Arch Terrace Dry Rose, and this is a wine perfectly suited for a hot day in the sun. Light and crisp with bright flavors of ripe strawberry and raspberry serve as a refreshing counterpoint to both sun and burger.
This dish is not one to eat alone, so invite some of your family and friends (ones you really like!) and enjoy the coming summer!
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!
Why do people go to a tasting room or winery? With local stores offering a wide selection of wines from all over the country (and, in some cases, the world), there are plenty of opportunities to try all kinds of wine relatively cheaply. The drive to a grocery store is shorter than to a winery. The only crowd is at the register.
With all this stacked against the Tasting Room, what do we have to offer?
We often say that making the trip to the middle of the desert to taste wine is not about just the wine; it’s the experience that matters. Panoramic views and long tasting flights aren’t the only advantages. The real difference between a tasting room and a grocery store is the person pouring the wine.
Welcome to Behind the Bar! In this segment (and all future Behind the Bar stories), we’ll be introducing you to one of our staff members and getting beyond the uniform.
Serving as our guinea pig in this pilot feature is Sally!
Sally comes to us by way of Texas, where she admits that most of her family and friends were beer drinkers. It was an interest in food and cooking that first sparked Sally’s interest in wine. It was a natural transition, and one that eventually led her to local and Walla Walla wineries after she moved to the Tri-Cities a couple of years ago.
“Through [tasting], I learned a lot more about wine and really increased my appreciation of it,” Sally said.
Appreciation of the craft is only one level, though. With her former profession in community education, Sally has a passion for teaching.
“I think my background is part of what led me to Terra Blanca – an interest in learning new things and sharing that with others,” she explained. “That, and an interest in wine.”
Though she claims to still have much to learn, Sally has many years of experience under her belt with food and wine pairing and wine tasting. When out tasting, she keeps an open mind to different varietals, especially since she recently converted a guest to Red Mountain Merlots.
Knowledge and passion are not in short supply with Sally, so bring her your questions about food, cooking, wine, and gardening (her hobby outside of work). Oh, and if you need tomatoes, she’ll probably have extra from her plot in Richland’s community garden.
If you find yourself out and about during the middle of the week, chances are you’ll pay Sally a visit in the Tasting Room, and she’s of course around on the weekends. Drop in and say hi! But don’t be too wild and crazy. She’s new, and we don’t want to scare her off!
Veni, Vidi, Vinum!