I recently had the pleasure of meeting Josh Lawrence, vineyard owner, and Aryn Morell, winemaker, for Gard Vintners and tasting several of their delicious wines. Gard Vintners is a Washington State vineyard with seven separate vineyards located in the Royal Slope of the Columbia Valley.
Talking to Aryn, on the left, and Josh, pictured on the right, it was clear to see the passion they shared for the crafting of wine from the vine to the glass.
Two of their wines were true standouts to me. I’m going to mention their rosé first, mostly because it’s still hot outside. The 2017 Gard Rosé is a Grenache rosé. It is a lovely salmon pink color. It has citrus notes on the nose, great juice in the front and terrific acidity on the finish. It’s dry, but fruity, with a nice mouth feel. It is fermented in stainless steel by grapes grown to make rosé wine. Aryn explained that this rosé is made with long skin contact with the grapes, as opposed to grapes that are primarily used for red wine where skin contact must be limited to achieve the coveted salmon pink color. This wine is easy to drink. Easy enough that it makes sense to buy at least one more bottle than you think you might need. And the price, retailing at most places at about $22, makes it easy to stock up. This wine is wonderful as an aperitif, goes well with salads, fish and soft cheeses. Its is also a nice late summer, early fall, sipper to have on its own. Enjoy it outside. It pairs beautifully with sunshine.
The second wine I found to be outstanding was The Don. The Don is a Cabernet, Syrah blend that, again, is one of the easiest drinking wines I’ve had the pleasure to try.
The wine is named after Isidro Mondragon, Gard’s vineyard manager. Mr. Mondragon’s employees call him, “The Don.”
The Don, as expected, has good flavors of earth in front with great flavors of fruit midbody and on the finish. At only $25 it drinks well above its price point. And again, food friendly. It will pair well with steak, barbeque, pizza, and hard cheeses. It is also a wine that drinks beautifully on its own.
By the way, I know some, maybe most, sommeliers would argue wine is not meant to be drunk on its own. I’ve had sommeliers tell me that wine is meant to be the “gravy” for the food as it washes over each morsel of food in your mouth. They said, and not in the most complimentary way, it’s an American concept to open a bottle and have a glass of wine to just have a glass of wine. And you know what? I’m ok with that. Yes, being able to pair wine with food is an important facet of wine. But I’d like my wine to taste great if I just want to pour a glass, and those wines that taste great without food, are always going to rate among my favorites. Both of these wines from Gard taste great with food, and are just as delicious on their own.