We Taste So You Can Drink: Issue 1

New Arrivals Wine In Focus

The personal wine tasting experience has always been the best way to understand the likes and dislikes we find in wine. It is such a personal (and subjective) experience. Without the ability to get out and go wine tasting, now more than ever, consumers should lean on their trusted wine shops for recommendations (personal recommendations if possible). While we wait and see how society will adjust to the new normal that is social distancing, we hope to be wine tasting on the patio as soon as possible. As of now, we do not know what changes we will be implementing. Until things open up, we continue the normalcy of our retail business that does have a component which relates to wine tasting. That is tasting wine(s) for the purpose of deciding which wine(s) meet the criteria for inclusion at The Wine Crush. We continue to taste wines weekly (although not nearly as many as we had prior to this pandemic) and continue our search for outstanding wines to add to our shelves.

Although every wine in the store should be considered a recommendation (since we felt it met the level of quality we look for), the following are just a few of the wines currently available that come highly recommended.


Beaux Frères 2018 ‘Les Cousins’ Pinot Noir

One of many great Oregon Pinot Noir producers, Beaux Frères has been producing world class wines since 1991. Beaux Frères focuses on single vineyard offerings from both their estate and few other well-known Oregon vineyards. As is the case with many single vineyard wines, these wines are not necessarily  “Tuesday night wines”, meaning they are age-worthy (cellar and hold) and may cost a little more than most would like to spend for an everyday wine. For those of us who would like to enjoy the incredible quality of a Beaux Frères Pinot Noir on a weeknight there is the ‘Les Cousins’ Pinot Noir. At less than half the price of their single vineyard offerings, this little gem provides us one of the best “value” Pinot Noirs you will find. 



If there is a flaw with this wine it is availability. It is only produced in “special” vintages. Even when it is made, so little is produced, that it does not last very long and typically sells out. The pedigree and quality being offered in this wine for the price being asked cannot be matched. Grab a few extra bottles of this one before it is gone.

Click here to read the tasting notes and purchase yourself a bottle (or more).


Elephant Seven 2018 Yellow Bird Vineyard Grenache

The name is inspired by Georgia’s legendary Elephant Six Music Collective. Like the music collective, Elephant Seven is dedicated to quality and enjoyment over mainstream success.The wines are produced by owner/winemaker Joshua West and are inspired by his love of Rhone varietals from the Walla Walla Valley appellation of Washington. Micro-level productions makes it difficult to even get some (if any) of the 7 wines they produce. The Wine Crush was fortunate to secure enough cases of the 2018 Blue Mountain Vineyard Viognier to feature it in our May white wine club shipment this year.

The 2018 Yellow Bird Vineyard Grenache is my favorite of the reds we sampled recently. A blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Syrah makes this wine a slightly fuller style of Grenache without losing its identity as an actual Grenache. The well-balanced, silky palate makes it an extremely enjoyable wine. It softens beautifully with just a little aeration. A whopping 150 cases were produced for the 2018 vintage. We just received a small allotment for the store and the winery will probably be sold out before we get the opportunity to reorder. We typically find most wine drinkers do not have a large enough experience with Grenache, making it a slightly misunderstood varietal. As I mentioned, it does lean to the heavier style of Grenache (vs. the lighter, more elegant Pinot-like style) but there is no mistaking the incredible quality of this wine. 

CLICK HERE to read the tasting notes and purchase yourself a bottle (or more).   


Eric Kent 2018 ‘Appellation Series’ Chardonnay

Shopping for wines based on the label (and how cool they look) can be a tenuous proposition at best. Eric Kent provides some of the most distinct wine labels you will see (thanks to the commissioned artwork curated for every wine they produce). The quality and inspiration of the artwork on the outsidel is only a precursor to the quality you will find inside just about everything Kent Humphry is producing. His wines have earned their way in to three of our wine clubs at the time of this post..

Beginning with the 2018 vintage, Eric Kent started producing an Appellation Series to provide more opportunity to enjoy Eric Kent wines. The 2018 ‘Appellation Series’ Chardonnay comes from a well-known Sonoma Coast vineyard (they cannot divulge the vineyard source) and is an impeccably balanced wine. These appellation wines by Eric Kent are truly impressive for the quality to price ratio. This is an absolute steal for such a well-structured Chardonnay. 

CLICK HERE to read the tasting notes and purchase yourself a bottle (or more). 


Beekeeper Cellars 2016 ‘Secret Stones’ Zinfandel

Passion is one of the many underlying traits we find when tasting wine and talking to winemakers. This passion sometimes leads to unique opportunities/projects that, in the end, create some truly incredible wines. Such is the case of Beekeeper Cellars, founded by friends who share a passion for all things Zinfandel. Their mission says it best: “craft beautiful vineyard expressions from premier vineyard sites, and reintroduce the quality wine audience to Zinfandel.”  These wines are certain to make you rethink popular opinion of Zinfandel (that Zinfandel cannot produce the same level  of quality as other varietals). The masterminds behind Beekeeper Cellars is Ian Blackburn, a wine education pioneer for the past 25 years through learnaboutwine and wineLA, and Clay Mauritson, the owner/winemaker at Mauritson Wines. Having carried Mauritson wines for many years, our customers are familiar with Clay’s deft touch and quality winemaking.

The Secret Stones Zinfandel comes from the Madrone Springs Vineyard located in the Rockpile AVA of Sonoma. Rockpile sits high above the more well-known Dry Creek Valley and although its boundaries encompass 15,000 acres, only 160 are planted to vines. The high elevation and rugged terrain of the region make Rockpile Zinfandels, in my opinion, some of the most interesting and delicious Zinfandels around. The 2016 Secret Stones is 80% Zinfandel and 20% Petite Sirah, which helps in building the big and bold profile of the wine. 

Unfortunately, this wine will not be made available on our website, however, it is  available for sale. With a phone call or email we can set the wine aside for you. Or just ask for it the next time you are in the store and we will pull it out of the hidden cellar.

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