2004 Baer URSA – Not The Big Dipper, The Big Sipper!

Dear World,

It seems half of Kittitas County is under water this evening and so I’ve decided to go inside and stay warm and dry. I just found a 6 pack box of Baer Winery’s 2004 Ursa.

Just in case you are already confused and hoping for a lecture on star constellations…please note I’m not talking about the Ursa Shakespeare wrote about, not the Starry Night Over the Rhone by Van Gogh, nor the constellation Ptolemy noted in the second century. This is not the Ursa you find in the sky dominated by the Big Dipper, this instead is The Big Sipper.

There is however a connection to the constellation and this wine: many civilizations have viewed Ursa Major in the nighttime sky and have seen a Bear.

Baer Winery exclusively uses Stillwater Creek Vineyard fruit – my family’s vineyard is located along the Frenchman Hills in Royal City, Washington within the Columbia Valley AVA. Lance Baer was one of my favorite Washington wine makers.

Lance and Me, Sailing 2005

He was the first to come out to the vineyard and select his grape acreage in 2003. At our vineyard instead of selling grapes by the ton, we sell the grapes by the acre. This allows for much more of a partnership between grower and vintner in the vineyard; the wine makers can have input on pruning, crop load, thinning and tailor the canopy management of their individual acreage contracts to reflect their unique wine styles. 2004 was a perfect year in the vineyard for us, we had a great growing season and a wonderfully warm Indian Summer which allowed for longer hang time enabling the grapes to develop more flavors on the vine.

The 2004 Ursa blend is made up of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.

Here are my tasting notes:

Dense, garnet appearance.

Aromas of black cherry, black berry, leather, blueberries and a hint of perfume/floral notes.

On the palate initially, I get a lot more of the floral notes, then the blackberry and cassis flavors, followed by smooth and very velvety tannins with a rich finish of spice and blackberries.

Pairings – as I sit here making my notes on the wine and blogging, I am drinking it without any food so it can work as a cocktail wine, a Big Sipper if you will 😉 It will be great with a pork roast, a mushroom risotto or a winter beef stew. I think a rib steak or rich spaghetti sauce might overwhelm the elegance of the fruit in this wine.

I think it is drinking beautifully now, there is still a plentiful fruit core and great tannin structure. Optimally, drink within the next 24 months.

If you happen to be in the Woodinville, Washington area I would definitely recommend visiting Baer Winery. Lisa and her father, Les Baer and their winery crew are amazing people and the wines are fabulous! Sign up on their website for their newsletter to keep informed about recent releases and winery events as the wines sell out quickly upon release!

Tootles,

Winnie

2011 winnieswineworld
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~ by winnieswineworld on January 18, 2011.

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