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Wine Club Events

Club Cuvée Quarterly Schedule 2024

March

  • March 7th:  Wine Club open for edits on club account, Available to edit wines from March 7th-March 12th

  • March 13th:  Club processed and cards on account charged for quarterly order

  • March 15th:  Wine Club orders available for pick up starting today.  Tasting Room Open Fri-Sun 12-5pm

  • March 18th:  Wine Club Shipping Orders sent out

  • March 15th-17th:  Spring Wine Club Release Weekend

June

  • June 6th:  Wine Club open for edits on club account, Available to edit wines from June 6th-June 11th

  • June 12th:  Club processed and cards on account charged for quarterly order

  • June 13th:  Wine Club orders available for pick up starting today.  Tasting room open Wed-Sun, 12-6pm

  • June 21st-23rd:  Summer Wine Club Release Weekend

  • June 17th:  Wine Club Shipping Orders sent out

September

  • September 12th:  Wine Club open for edits on club account, Available to edit wines from Sept. 12th-17th.

  • September 18th:  Club processed and cards on account charged for quarterly order.

  • September 19th:  Wine Club orders available for pick up starting today.  Tasting Room Open Wed – Sun, 12-6

  • September 30th:  Wine Club Shipping Orders sent out

  • September 20th-22nd:  Fall Club Release Weekend

December

  • December 5th:  Wine Club open for edits on club account, Available to edit wines from Dec. 5th- Dec. 10th

  • December 11th:  Club processed and cards on account charged for quarterly order 

  • December 13th:  Wine Club orders available for pick up starting today.  Tasting room open Fri-Sun 12-5pm

  • December 13th-15th:  Winter Wine Club Release Weekend

  • December 16th:  Wine Club Shipping Orders sent out

Categories
Awards Featured Press/Blog

The Art of the Blend

The Art of the Blend

GSM. Rhône-style Blend. Châteauaneuf-du-Pape. Cote Rôtie. If you’ve spent any time in the wine world (which, if you’re reading this, you have), you’ve heard these terms liberally sprinkled around, especially when talking about blended wines.

Centuries of practice, of trial and error, have taught winemakers in the “old world” a thing or two about whether to blend or not to blend.  In Burgundy no one is messing with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  These two varietals are perfectly grown, harvested and produced with only as much human intervention as is needed to correct anything the vineyard or weather flubbed up in delivery.  Subtle and supple, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir deliciously whisper.

The Rhône varietals that make up the GSM blend (shorthand for Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre), on the other hand, SHOUT.  They are daring, dynamic.  Syrah is a hot wind, a warm blanket, purple on the teeth, on the pallet, down the throat.   Firm Mourvèdre, terrifically tannic, crackles with black pepper, roasted meat and cocoa, earth wind and fire.  While lithe Grenache is all crowd pleasing personality, holding a bouquet of fruit forward lusciousness, smelling of warm strawberries or candied cherries.  Each of these three varietals can stand strong all by their lonesome.  But bring them together with care, and they harmonize. They blend.  A fourth dimension is discovered!

In most of the Rhône region of France 18 red varietals are grown and blended, a veritable alphabet soup of outsized personalities.  Little vineyards, small plots, small farms, multi-generational grape growing and wine making.  Practice practice practice.  In the cooler northern Rhône regions, white wines are more prevalent.  In areas such as Cote Rôtie, the dominant theme is blending of Syrah with smaller amounts (20% or less) of Viognier.  Other northern Rhone regions may replace Viognier with Roussanne or Marsanne.  The enzymatic reactions that occur when these aromatic white wines are blended with Syrah provide a softening and olfactory lift to the meaty and peppery Syrah, as well as enhancing color stability.

In the most famous regions of the southern Rhône it’s all about Grenache.  While the number of small AOC’s (the equivalent to AVA in the US)  and the blending rules within are too complex to even begin to untangle here, the one constant is that Grenache is the anchor.  The star of the show, with a rotating cast of characters to surround its star.

The Stone “Galet” vineyards of Châteaunneuf du Pape

Jump to the “new world”, the wild west; to California, Oregon and Washington.  Blend it all, blend anything.  Cruise Safeway, Costco, the big names abound even if they look like little names.  Charming names like Sea Glass and Little Bunny are there in that big box store, and they are owned & operated by the Big Guys. Consistency of product (wine) and craft is Manna.  No wonder the consumers’ eyes glaze over when they are looking for a nice blend to drink with their pork chop.  A blend in the hands of a conglomerate-owned winery generally means a boozy soup made of leftovers, nothing that resembles the intention from the Rhône region.

The ideal way to make a beautiful, balanced, blend is to bring together the perfectly ripe, carefully hand sorted fruit together.  But who will be the star of the show? In Napa, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon.  And while all of those high scoring Cabs often don’t want to admit they had any help, a sneaky little fact- that any Napa winemaker will tell you after a few glasses- is that Merlot is the key ingredient to making the whole thing pop!  That much maligned varietal (let’s move beyond Sideways already) provides just the right amount of softening effect to round out the rough edges.  State laws do allow 10 to 20 percent of blending while still allowing the wine to be designated as a single varietal.

Beyond that, in the new world we have no guard rails- very few rules- especially when it comes to planting vines.  In many vineyards in California, southern Oregon, and eastern Washington you could have Cabernet planted next to Syrah, with Sauvignon Blanc just across the street.  What?  Talk about confusion!  Finding the right site growing the right varietal is tricky.  First rule of thumb: Just because it ripens doesn’t make it right.  Second rule of thumb: Make what you love.

For Thane Hawkins, winemaker at Hawkins Cellars, it all came together during a trip to France a decade ago.  And specifically, a journey to a small, enigmatic region in southern France called Bandol.  See, Bandol is the only area in France allowed to produce 100% Mourvèdre.  In Bandol, they don’t even think about releasing a wine for public consumption that is under four years old.  Rustic and tannic in its youth and young adolescence, over time developing floral notes of crushed violet,  lavender, and dark fruit.  Spending a couple of days lost in Bandol, with its jagged hillsides of terraced vineyards, Thane was “glammed”.

The terraced vineyards of Bandol

But how to take this brooding show stopper and make it palatable to a wider audience?  Finding the star was easy.  Thane has worked with Kiona Vineyards since our first vintage in 2007, and the Red Mountain region is, as the kids might say, “in the pocket” when it comes to growing bigger, more robust red wines.  Check.

Syrah, meanwhile, has been with us since our first vintage, and we began co-fermenting Syrah and Viognier shortly after. Check.  And, as luck would have it, a block of Grenache came online at Lonesome Spring Vineyard, the same location where we source our Viognier.  Seeing as there is very little Grenache being grown in the Yakima Valley, Thane jumped at the opportunity to work with this fruit.  And thus, the Caldera Red was born.

For our Caldera Red blend, Mourvèdre is the star of our show.  Our Lizzo.  Bombastic, in your face, can’t look away.  Supported by a soulful cast of characters that make the whole groove undeniably catchy.  But with an edge.  This is not easy listening; rather, it’s an original.  However, if you keep an open mind- and have some pulled pork or thinly sliced steak with blue cheese on hand- you might just have an out-of-body experience.  The fourth dimension!

2017 Caldera Red and its sister Grenache

Our 2017 Caldera Red Blend recently received a Gold Medal from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  Our “all-natural MSG” blend contains:

44% Mouvédre

28% Syrah

25% Grenache

3% Viognier

As a small winery, our Caldera Red is only available online or at our tasting room in the Columbia Gorge.  Visit www.hawkinscellars.com to learn more about us and to order online.

— Co-Written by Thane Hawkins and Holly Evans-White

Categories
Events Featured

Live Music in Underwood

Live music outdoors on our lawn with a mountain view and tasty wine! 

Join us every Friday from 4-6 pm at our Underwood tasting room and rock out while sipping in the sunshine.

Reservations are highly recommended.  Please click HERE to reserve your table.  We offer wine by the glass or bottle purchases during live music.  No tastings available, if you would like to come in for a wine tastings, please schedule at another time. 

May 24th:  County Line

COUNTYLINE is a Columbia River Gorge based quartet playing an original mix of roots-rock and Americana music. The line-up includes Kerry Williams on mandolin and guitar, Jeremy Hadden on bass, Tim Ortlieb on drums, and songwriter Matt Mesa on guitar. The band focuses on original songs with some fiery picking and harmony vocals. They are heavily influenced by such luminaries as Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Son Volt, Wilco…well, you get the idea.

May 25th:  Heart and Hammer

Julianna Waters and Barry Crannell – award-winning seasoned songwriters who pull the audience into a quirky, intimate world with rich lyrics, engaging musicality, honest emotion and ribald humor. Guitars, clawhammer banjo, and ukulele give their lyrics life, and offer a glimpse into the hearts of this very special duo. Frequently joined by master mando picker, Kerry Williams – “the Nail.”

May 31st:  Robert Meade

Robert Meade’s a singer/songwriter, solo acoustic guitarist & vocalist who’s been living and performing throughout the Northwest area for over a decade. His brand of upbeat Rhythm ‘n’ Blues & Americana originals + singer/songwriter cover songs from the 60s-90s are bound to lift the spirit!

June 7th: Bob Connolly

Quick of wit, oozing with good natured humor, Cajun blood coursing through his veins, here is a musicians’ musician.

A many-faceted singer/songwriter whose name is synonymous with music to those who know or of him, music is the first thing that comes to mind when the name Bob Connolly is invoked.

Whether kickin out the jams with his band and filling many a dance floor through the years, or playing solo to a hushed crowd as his songs tell stories of love lost and gained as well as real or imagined personalities, Bob is the essence of music. This troubadour is ready at a moment to share his gift and it just flows from his soul.

June 14th: Amber Skies

Amber Skies is a delightfully entertaining duo performing originals and familiar covers. Amber Nelson and Mark Daly bring a uniquely diverse set of musical influences including folk, jazz, americana, and alt-indie. Their soulful harmonies and song arrangements are uniquely their own blend of fun.

June 21st: Al Hare

Born and raised in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, singer-songwriter and guitarist Al Hare draws inspiration for his music from the majestic views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, the incredibly scenic waterfalls along Interstate 84 through the Gorge, and from the green and gold hills that surround The Dalles, where Eagle Caves look down upon “Little Music City”.

Al’s performances display a comprehensive mastery of a very broad range
of styles. You will hear classic 90’s and newer Country, Rock from the 80’s to today, all colors of Blues spiced with modern Pop, and everything garnished with touches of Bluegrass, Jazz, and Reggae.

June 22nd: Scot and Rebecca: Wine Club Release Party

Longtime Columbia Gorge residents, Scot Bergeron and Rebecca Stonestreet perform classic folk-rock songs with a lively and energetic sound. The duo synergistically reaches audiences with toe-tapping and sing a long songs spanning four decades by favorites like John Denver, Neil Young, Eagles, Cat Stevens and more. Scot plays rhythm/lead guitar, harmonica and is the lead vocal while Rebecca backs him up with bass, percussion, and background vocals.

June 28th: Heart and Hammer

Julianna Waters and Barry Crannell – award-winning seasoned songwriters who pull the audience into a quirky, intimate world with rich lyrics, engaging musicality, honest emotion and ribald humor. Guitars, clawhammer banjo, and ukulele give their lyrics life, and offer a glimpse into the hearts of this very special duo. Frequently joined by master mando picker, Kerry Williams – “the Nail.”

July 5th:  Willey and Nelson Duo

Willy & Nelson will be playing as a duo. They are a “cover band” that plays the best music from the old “classics” to the “top hits” of today. A band with smooth harmonies.

July 12th: Tyson Huckins

Tyson is a soulful, unique musician whose crafted songwriting, melodic instrumentation, and dynamic vocals guide us through lyrical journeys of loss, triumph, life, and shared human experiences. His captivating work is proven to connect to audiences with an eclectic fusion of Soul, Folk, and Americana that retains timelessness and familiarity.

July 19th: Chic Preston

Chic Preston is one of the Gorge’s favorite and best known musicians, appearing in local venues solo or with various groups. He is fluent in many music styles from folk to jazz and is known for his highly personalized book of original songs.

July 20th: Alicia Viani:  Hawkins Open House Party!

Alicia Viani (vocals, guitar, and songwriting) and Mark Karwan (vocals, acoustic bass) comprise a duo, drawing on earlier professional music careers in other mediums (Alicia, classical oboe and Mark, classical, jazz, and rock bass). Their version of indie folk weaves in jazz, funk and americana influences with personal and provocative lyrics. Alicia and Mark play listening rooms, house concerts, music festivals, weddings and private events regionally in the Northwest and locally in Bend, Oregon. They deliver a rich, jazzy, funky, eclectic-folk listening experience.

Chic Preston is one of the Gorge’s favorite and best known musicians, appearing in local venues solo or with various groups. He is fluent in many music styles from folk to jazz and is known for his highly personalized book of original songs.

July 26th: John Bunzow

Portland Oregon native John Bunzow’s mix of eclectic musical influences – melding blues, country, rock and even jazz – have helped establish him as an original artist of heartfelt depth, substance and style.

He’s as likely to draw on his love of the music of country legend Merle Haggard or scuffling barroom bard Tom Waits, as he is the smooth R&B and soul of Marvin Gaye, the iconic folk wisdom of Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Ry Cooder or the blues of Albert King.

After beginning his musical career in the Northwest scene playing in popular all-original bands the Cowboy Angels, X-Angels and more for over two decades, John set his sights on songwriter heaven – Nashville – scoring a songwriting contract with EMI Nashville/Famous Music and a recording contract with Liberty/Capitol Records. He quickly found his services in big demand with Nashville recording artists and had the opportunity to write for and perform with some of country and rock music’s biggest names.

August 2nd:  Minda Lacy

Minda Lacy is a lyrically driven singer songwriter originally from the high desert town Silver City in SouthWest New Mexico. She currently resides in Portland Oregon where she is immersed in the unique, and rich music scene of the Pacific NorthWest. Minda has a preoccupation with time, death, and bugs. She toys with the balancing act of silliness and seriousness, and often approaches topics like mortality and suffering from a place of light hearted wit. She may spend too much time thinking about time, and is trapped in a perpetual paradox that she periodically digs herself out of through song writing. 

August 9th:  Megan Alder

Hailing from the Columbia River Gorge, Megan Alder is a vocal powerhouse performing upbeat swing and Americana music. She delivers her original songs with raw grit and soul.

Influenced by artists like Billie Holiday and Bonnie Raitt, Alder performs as a solo artist with live loops and kazoo flare. Her latest release, Quittin’ Time, features six original songs recorded live in Portland, OR. Quittin’ Time is available now on all platforms.

August 16th:  Brian Koch

Leo Moon is the solo incarnation of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Brian Adrian Koch. California born and Oregon raised, Brian has been active in the Portland music scene since arriving in 2000. He is a current and founding member of indie rock band Blitzen Trapper and psychedelic folk duo Dead Lee. Appearing now as a solo acoustic performer, his minimal and haunting tunes are stripped down paeans to the glorious absurdities of life; harmonica spattered psalms to the void

August 23rd:  TBD

August 30th:  Willey and Nelson Trio

Willy & Nelson is a 3-piece “cover band” that plays the best music from the old “classics” to the “top hits” of today. A band with smooth harmonies.

August 31st:  Hwy 14

Hwy 14 is a trio that plays an eclectic mix of rock, blues, honky tonk, and an occasional ballad.

 

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