A Taste of Montana Comes to Washington

Dear World,

Last week my town hosted a shindig called Jazz in the Valley. Naturally, I came to town for the wine tastings. Friday night I was invited to the grand opening of Trapper Peak Winery’s newest wine outpost. Trapper Peak proprietor, Keith Smith is a farmer from Montana. His family’s 159 acres of  vineyards are in Mt. St. Helena in California but he produces and cellars the wine in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana where he lives. So, why is he in Washington you ask?

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This cowboy fit right into the mix in Ellensburg, Washington. We host one of the biggest rodeos in the world and grow some of the finest cowboys right here in the Kittitas Valley. We have a booming wine and grape growing industry and anything ‘wine and cowboy’ will sell in Ellensburg and Eastern Washington!

Keith walked me through each of his wines as a gaggle of ladies and cowboys feasted on smoked meats and wine; some of the cowboys brought their own beer and stuck to the tried and true frost brewing of Coors Light.

We started off with the Buckin’ Blanco Sauvignon Blanc. This is the only wine Keith does not make, it is produced for him in California. It was a golden color with aromas of citrus, nectarines and spice. On the palate it was light bodied with notes of tropical fruits. I’d say there was some RS in there because of its sweeter finish.

The Rodeo Red Cabernet Sauvignon was my favorite. The alcohol is 14.5 but the wine is balanced and the alcohol is well managed. It had a great dense color, aromas of blackcurrant, black cherry, cedar, smoke, and black pepper. On the palate it was full-bodied and rich and the black cherry was more obvious. Great finish and it was even better when paired with the smoked meats.

Keith also had a Sitting Bull Petite Sirah which was great. It could have been more approachable given time to unwind in a decanter or in the bottle for another 6-12 months.

His Bar Oil Cabernet Franc had just been bottled so I didn’t bother to try it fearing it was still in bottle shock and going through a bad teenager phase.

The packaging and wine branding comes with a large dose of Cowboy Poeticism and Grit. For example, here is the back label of the Cabernet Sauvignon reads:

If you like the smell of saddle leather on your horse at daybreak, or if a campfire smells like home, and a newborn calf smells like money, then this wine was made for you.


The wines are approachable, his prices are right, and if you’re looking for a wine to gift a cowboy/cowgirl this is the ticket!





~ by winnieswineworld on August 7, 2010.

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