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2021 Joe Swick 'City Nights’

2021 Joe Swick 'City Nights’

Region: Yakima Valley < Washington

Grapes: 50% Grenache Blanc, 25% Roussanne, 25% Cinsault

Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; high elevation vineyards on sandy loam soils.  All direct pressed. No skin maceration. Everything fermented and aged separately 16 months in barrel, then blended and aged 500-liter 5-year-old barrels for about 9 months of elevage; bottled unfined, unfiltered, minimal added sulfites; 12.8% ABV

Winemaker: Joe Swick

Joe Swick is a 5th generation Oregonian winemaker who is somewhat of a natural wine pioneer in the Pacific Northwest. After traveling and working in wine all over, he returned to Oregon to start his own label in 2013. Like many young natural winemakers, he doesn’t own any vineyards but sources grapes from organic or biodynamic vineyards in the Willamette and Columbia Valleys of Oregon and Washington.  He makes a bunch of different bottles, most with no added So2, and all with cheeky names. Like this white/red blend called 'City Nights', the origins of which Joe explains: "The Cinsault grapes barely reached 9.5% potential alcohol. When we pressed it, it came out as a Blanc de Noir, white wine of a red grape. The high elevations at the Conley Vineyard mean that we often don’t get later-ripening red grapes ripe enough for red wine (in cooler vintages, like '21).  So instead we use the lean Cinsault in this fun Rhone inspired white wine. Conley is sits at 1600-1700 feet in the Yakima Valley. Extended barrel aging brings out the honey and beeswax notes while still retaining the fig and tangerine notes (from the Roussanne)."  

There's richness, yes, and texture in this elegant Rhone blend, but the bright acid and low alcohol keep the autumnal fruit front and center.  Think golden apples, pears and citrus, drizzled with a slightly bitter honey and fed to the Queen Bee.  Joe calls it 'City Nights' because this  captures the feel of a city night – elegant, sexy, with pro-level entertainment.  Provocative, but we kind of love this.  And we definitely love this wine with holiday meals, as it is supremely food-friendly and has a little something for everyone.

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