Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, October 12, 2006

NV Harvest Moon Red - Not All Yakima Valley Wines Are Incredibly Light

Harvest Moon Red is something of a mystery. Clues - Non-vintage, "Penguin Cellars", and "Red" ? A search for Harvest Moon wine yields useless stuff. Non-vintage tells you nothing. Penguin Cellars leads to Penguins and Cellars unless you do an advanced search where you find only a hint that the wine was possibly made by Tefft Cellars. This wine is such a mystery, I can't even remember where I bought it, though I think I paid about ten bucks for it.

More mystery! Open the bottle, pour the wine. Aroma? None! Color? Dark red! Taste? Very little fruit, medium bodied, closed with some tannin. Not exactly user-friendly, fruit forward, big or exuberant, kind of linear, sort of in the style of an ordinary Bordeaux like a 1970s Chateau Dauzac or Chateau Du Tertre. Solution? When in doubt, decant! Even though a wine may have no sediment, decanting can help get rid of off flavors and bring out the fruit in a wine. Sure enough, 15 minutes later, signs of life, hints of black fruit.

My guess is that this is a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and some Syrah for color. It actually went well with lamb chops and cheese. I don't even know why I picked this bottle off the shelf. Maybe I thought it was a new winery that I hadn't heard of. It's obviously not made from free run juice, but it's not bad with food. Can you help solve more of the mystery? Does anyone know more about Harvest Moon or Penguin Cellars? Any guesses about the blend?


  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger Santo said…

    Just found your site, nice. Being that I'm from the area and I come back a few time a month I do know a little about Harvest Moon. The winemake is Mike McCune who lives in the Puget Sound AVA, or king county. From my last contact with my old work place (Fine Wine & Cigars) Mike has quite a following. Every time we had a harvest moon tasting, he would sell all his wines. Matter fact, once a year the store would have a holiday party, Mike would sell more wines than any other winery. The man was pouring against some the bigger named wineries in WA. As for the blends, I can get them to you when I get back home tonight (NJ). He has no winery of his own, but uses teft cellars equipment. Him and Joel are great friends. If you get a chance try Harvest Moon Row 54, 2000. I know mike was holding a case for me so I can get you one if you'd like.

  • At 1:27 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Wow, Santo, thanks for your great and informative comment! And thank you, Mike, for making such great wine. Santo, it would be interesting to see which wines it was served against. We tasted some Harvest Moon with a $30 bottle of Syrah and it stood up very well. It's very generous of you to offer to share the Row 54. If you would send another comment with your e-mail address(which I will not publish on the net), I will e-mail you my shipping address. Gene

  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Santo, Mike McClune should take more credit for this wine, identify himself on the label. Do you know what grapes went into it?

  • At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Did you know there is already a Harvest Moon Winery in Santa Rosa?


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