Sunday, August 28, 2011

Some Of The Best Wines Start In A Garage

About a year ago I was talking with an employee at one of the area grocery stores about wine. She asked for my card and whether her friend could call me about his wines. She said it was a hobby of his and he was looking for an opinion about his wines. Out of curiosity I agreed to have him contact me.

My thoughts were that I’d meet this hippie who was fermenting a few gallons of juice each year and creating nastiness to give friends at the holidays.

When Sam Regev called me I became even more curious. First, his very thick Israeli accent hit me like a brick. Next, through the accent I realized that this highly trained chemist has been growing a few acres of grapes outside Richland for a few years. Not your normal Merlot and Cabernet varietals either. We’re talking Primitivo, Dolcetto, Amarone, and several other strains you don’t normally hear of from this region.

Meeting Sam at his house I realized that this truly was going to be an experience. His house is filled with beautiful racks of wine bottles lying on their sides, aging wines to perfection.

Regev’s story goes like this. He moved to this country to attend school at UC Davis for Chemistry back in the 1970s. He has worked at inventing additives for the petroleum industry and as a nuclear chemist his whole professional career. But, having studied at Davis brought him in contact with the wine bug that was emanating from that school back in those days.

Regev caught the bug and made it his hobby for many years. His wife calls herself a “wine widow” for all the time he spends out in the vineyards, and buried in his wine barrels.

As I mentioned, a year ago was when I met Sam. His problem, quite frankly, wasn’t his wine. His problem was that he couldn’t get rid of it. He was a hobbyist. Not able to sell all the wines he has been making.

With that, I directed the Regevs to get a bonded winery license, and to start working their way to a marketing plan. I put Sam in touch with a few people along the way and was pleasantly surprised when he contacted me a few weeks ago telling me that he was now licensed and ready to sell his label “Chateau Le Garage”.

I met Sam again this past week, and tasted through some of his newest vintages. Currently his wines are only available at Albertsons in South Richland, however he is in discussion with several wine shops in the region. My hopes are that he will be selling at Bellingers and Great Pacific soon.

Here are a few notes I gathered from last weekend’s tasting. If these wines interest you I suggest contacting Sam at

Chateau Le Garage 2008 Primitivo - Fresh squeezed prune juice right out of the field, mixed with tobacco, cardamom, and a nice tannin to acid balance makes a wonderful finish. This is what Primitivo is supposed to taste like.

Chateau Le Garage 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon - Rich, dark plum and berries, with a soft tanned leather in the background. This wine is perfect for a T-bone steak on the grill, or just sitting on the deck.

Chateau Le Garage 2008 Shir Raz - Dark berries and fruit on the nose and palate, with dark cocoa overtones.


1 comment:

  1. Correction to my article:
    Sam Regev holds a PHD in Physiology from UC Davis. Sam also told me that he doesn't have a thick accent (It must be my Idaho accent instead, LOL!).
    All my best!!


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