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An afternoon at Nodland Cellars.

I was honored to spend the afternoon with Tim and Tracy Nodland of Nodland Cellars. What fun I had getting to better know this genuinely over talented couple and tasting their hand-crafted wines. 
If you didn't know, Tim Nodland is an accomplished Jazz guitarist and his wife Tracy is an wonderful artist. Together they make great wine

Sipping the top-notch wine in the tasting room is always a treat but this afternoon we also barrel tasted the wines to be used in their next Private Blend. This hand-crafted blend is a unique variety which contains large percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and very small, yet precise amounts of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere. The fruit comes from prestigious vineyards in Walla Walla, Red Mountain, Yakima and other parts of the Columbia Valley and are gathered all together for this one hit wonder. Yes, traditionally but with some rare exceptions they produce just one red and one white. Tim opened an unlabeled bottle of Carménère, which some lucky visitors also got to sample.

Sip's stash. Thank you!
After talking with Tim, I realized how much work is put in prior to even getting the grapes. Sourcing and interviewing (yes, a try-out with the grower to buy their grapes) is the first step in wine making. And to get in on some of the most coveted vineyards, one also needs to sample and show their wine making skills to the grower. Nodland Cellars has only been a commercial winery since 2005 but this will be their 12th vintage. So don't think this is just beginners luck as the Nodlands take no shortcuts while creating their liquid art and their fruit comes from some very prestigious vineyards. Like with their perspective visual and performing arts, they diligently practiced wine making collaboration prior to any performance or offering for the public.

So today, Tim and Tracy were beginning the process of deciding what percentage of each wine would be used to create their magnificent blend. I was honored to partake and I learned so much as we tasted the line up and compared them to some of the wine used in the 2006 Private Blend.

Tim had me use the "wine thief" a large dropper used to extract wine from the barrels. I had been the recipient of the wine from the "wine thief" but this was my first wine using it.

Some funny moments happened while tasting. The stolen wine from the barrel containing the Pepperbridge Cabernet Sauvignon was so big, they decided it will be predominate in the blend. Besides the deep berries and dark cherries, I tasted a slight hint of snickerdoodles. Sometimes I wonder if I should share these thoughts when tasting with such sophisticated palates.  But Tim has never had a snickerdoodle. Tracy understood what I was saying as the cinnamon and nutmeg were prevalent but not so surgery sweet. It was like a hint of baking spice. Another time we realized that I had mixed up my glasses as Tim tasted freshly cracked pepper and I looked at him and said Really? while thinking I am so out of my league. All was restored to normal when we lined up my glasses with his. Tracy, thanks for labeling my glasses for me.

(Note to SIP: Really? Never had a snickerdoodle. Get that man a snickerdoodle!)

We ended our day with a kit of scents. I so want one! The vials contain a large variety of different smells and can be used for a training tool for deciphering scents. Tim wasn't done working (tasting) but Tracy and I played "Name that Scent". To me, the strawberry vial smelled like Bonnie Bell Lip Smacker (remember that?) and we both thought the Carmel was like a whiff of Coffee, giving away what our Starbucks order sometimes is. I missed a few obvious yet so familiar scents (peaches) and surprised myself with a couple less familiar scents I nailed.

Nodland Cellars wines are on such notable wine lists as Beverly's at the Cda Resort, Latah Creek Bistro, The Davenport Hotel and Tower and Downriver Grill.

In the top of the post picture video, you'll see Tracy's art which adores the tasting room. She sells giclees (reproductions) of her wine related paintings but as of yet hasn't parted with the originals. I can understand that. Tracy used the magnificent color from the grape skins in her fabulous paintings. 

Tim or as known on stage as Timmy Swift performs regularly around town with the Swinging Vinos. Tim is an accomplished jazz guitar player. Check out the video. Tim is on the left.

A couple of  years ago I was thrilled to write their story for  Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living magazine. Click on the link to read this update version of  Nodland Cellars, a liquid symphony.
It seams like this couple got more than their fair share of talent. Tracy is a great artist and Tim is an accomplished musician. Together they artistically choreograph great wine.

Nodland Cellars
(Saturdays 12-4pm until sold out)
11616 East Montgomery Drive Suite #70
Spokane, WA 99206
Sip Tip: Blissful blend. Owner Tim Nodland is an accomplshed Jazz guitarist and his wife Tracy is an artist. Together they make great wine.
Endangered Vino: Nodland Cellars is out of their 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley. The Bebop is also sold out. In other words Get thee to this winery! post haste.

About the fantastic label: The artist that created the jazz band label is Tim Rogerson from Florida. He created this work specifically for Nodland Cellars. And yes, that's Tracy and Tim painted into the label.

Nodland Cellars wants you to know they will have NEW WINE in October 2010! It will go by the name "Avant-garde" and is 100% Carménère . Avant-garde (French, means "advance guard" or "vanguard"). The adjective form is used to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, cult...ure, fashion and music. Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo. I like it.

Carménère (pronounced car-men-YAIHR) wine has a very deep red color (almost inky violet color) and aromas found in red fruits, spices and berries. The tannins are gentler and more plush than those in Cabernet Sauvignon. Although mostly used as a blending grape, some wineries do bottle a pure varietal Carménère. How Avant-garde of Nodland. I had the honor of tasting Carménère one afternoon with Tim and Tracy. I found the Carménère was cherry-like, maybe even cranberry-like with fruity flavors, a little smoke, a trace of baking spice with some earthy notes. The deep crimson color that makes me want a plush velvet sofa in this color. (yes, really). The taste is reminiscent of dark chocolate, tobacco, with a bit of coffee and slight leather. Click on the link below for details on my afternoon at Nodland Cellars. This is a great chicken and steak bbq wine but also good with pasta, pork loin and can handle foods with a little spice. So looking forward to this upcoming release.

But wait there's more....

Rockin' Red is the first release from Nodland's new "Rock and Roll" series to complement their existing Jazz Series wines (Bebop, Private Blend, etc.) and will feature new label artwork from our artist, Tim Rogerson, and will be released in November before Thanksgiving. It is a completely new blend, this one is right bank, that is full of nice fruit, cherries and blackberries, vanilla and spice and nice and oaky with a long finish, all for only $20


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