Forget the critics

Catie, the self-described “Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman,” really knows her wine, and I’m a regular reader of her blog, Through The Walla Walla Grapevine. A few weeks ago, one of her posts caught my attention, and I finally have time to write about it. 

Back on Aug. 1, Catie’s blog post focused on the favorite Washington state wines of Gary Vaynerchuk in Episode 177 of Wine Library TV. Catie noted that Gary’s trademark, “Changing the Wine World,” has been featured in TIME Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and on Conin O’Brien’s NBC Late Night Show.

Today on Episode 307, Gary focused on our state’s wine again, including one of my favorites, 2004 Pepper Bridge Merlot. But what really caught my attention was this statement by Gary, which underlines how he is indeed changing the world of wine: “Get everyone to know wine is about personal taste and not what a critic says …”

I couldn’t agree more. I prefer red blends or big Cabs. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t good whites or roses. Some people prefers whites and even dessert wines, which I cannot fathom. But the bottom line is there is no right or wrong when it comes to taste.

Some people have a good nose and a refined palate and therefore can distinguish the multi-layered combination of aromas or flavors of a wine. (Sometimes I can. Other times I can’t.) Others are baffled by tasting notes and wonder how wine can taste flinty or earthy. Other people can’t distinguish bouquets or aromas, but they know what they like. As Gary so wisely said: Wine is about personal taste and not what a critic says.

So what are your favorites?


Dropped by Darby’s

There’s a new winery in Woodinville! Darby Winery recently opened its doors to a new tasting room at 19501 144th Ave NE. We stopped by on Sunday and enjoyed chatting with winemaker Darby English, in between pours on a busy Labor Day weekend.

We tasted both his 2006 “Le Deuce” Rousanne & Viognier blend ($22) and 2005 Destiny Ridge Syrah ($30). Regular readers know that I prefer red wines, particularly Bordeaux-style blends. Darby’s 2005 Destiny Ridge Syrah was made for my palate.

To complement his old-World style wines, Darby’s wine label is the color of parchment and contains a stamp and postal markings. And while his current offerings are small –he made 195 cases of Le Deuce and 212 cases of Destiny Ridge Syrah — he plans to triple the volume within three years to 1,200 cases.

Join Darby for his grand opening celebration on Sept. 22 from 5 – 9 p.m. at the new tasting room and welcome him to Woodinville. I hope to see you there.