Wine with Dinner (WWD) A new feature

I’m starting a new feature in this blog called WWD, or Wine with Dinner. It’s a complete takeoff on a great idea from my friend Thad, blogger of Beyond the Bottle. Thad frequently writes about WIDWD or “What I drank with dinner” in his blog. I like his idea so much that I decided to start writing here about wines that we have with our dinner.

And, by the way, I totally agree with Thad’s choice today in his blog: Brian Carter Cellars 2004 Tuttorosso. In fact, regular readers of my blog might remember my recent post about how four wines by winemaker Brian Carter were described as “outstanding” by Robert Parker: the 2005 Oriana, 2003 Tuttorosso, 2003 L’Etalon and the winery’s flagship 2001 Solesce.

Hmmm, it’s almost dinner time now, so I think I’ll go open a bottle from Brian Carter Cellars to have with dinner tonight. Thanks for the idea, Thad!

Cheers!

Washington Wine Alerts

Back in June, Catie at Through the Walla Walla Grapevine was the first to welcome me to the world of Washington state wine blogs. At the time, she told me that she found out about my new blog about Washington state wine through a Google alert. Four months later, I finally got around to setting up my own Google alert for Washington wine. Wow — people are really talking about the fine wines in our state. I receive up to ten alerts each day to prove it. Brilliant!

For example, I discovered this interview with Paul Gregett, author of Washington Wines and Wineries: The Essential Guide. He shared some very interesting pearls of wisdom–in particular he noted that many more wines are being released at a young age these days for many reasons.
•  It’s very expensive for a winery to inventory wines.
•  Consumers seem to be more interested in fresh, fruity flavors than in the complexities of mature wines.
•  A lot of wines don’t improve with age.
•  Winemaking has changed so that wines are designed to be consumed young.
•  There is pressure from the wine press and trade to get new vintages out as soon as possible.

But have no fear, Gregett also said,  “Many winemakers are crafting terrific red wines that are delicious upon release.”

Cheers! 

The Little Black Book

Have you ever read The Little Black Book of Wine? I have perused many of its pages, but today was the first time that I specifically searched through the “Types of Grapes” section to see where Washington state varietals were listed.

According to the book, Washington wine country is known for these whites: Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Gewurztraminer. Washington state, according to the book, is not known for Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris, although our neighbors to the north, British Columbia, and our neighbors to the south, Oregon, are both listed as regions for those to dry whites. And although California and Oregon are both listed for Viognier, Washington state is not.

According to the book, Washington wine country is known for these reds: Merlot, Syrah and Cab Franc. What, only three reds in Washington state? Please! How can we not be listed for Cabernet Sauvignon? Or Sangiovese? Or Barbera? I have had excellent wines from all three varietals at numerous Washington state wineries.

Do these omissions surprise you? I look forward to your comments!

Cheers!

Washington Wines — only the good stuff!

Some people have recently asked me why I only write positive comments in my blog about Washington state wine. Surely, they say, there must be some wines in Washington state that aren’t so great. Of course there are. I found a few recently in Yakima that had 15% alcohol. I chose not to write about them.

Why not? Because I’m not a critic. I’m not a wine reviewer. I simply like to share my thoughts about what I consider good wine. And Washington state produces a bounty of good wine.

I don’t mind being called a cheerleader for Washington state wines. There is a lot to cheer about!

Cheers!

What’s going on …

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Saturday, Oct. 13

  • Let Vino Bello bring you some California sunshine with a wine tasting of hip California wines. Try the latest cool wines from California wine country and mellow out to live country music of Charlie Spring. ($10)

  • An Evening of Bubbles at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar on Fourth Ave. in Seattle: A four-course dinner paired with different champagnes. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. and costs $100 per person. For reservations: 206-838-3853.

 Monday, Oct. 15

  • The Mac is back at The Tasting Room in Post Alley in Seattle! Taste some wonderful wine pairings with mac-n-cheese every Monday, from 5 p.m. until the mac-n-cheese runs out. You can even order a mac-n-cheese wine flight.

Thursday, Oct. 18

  •  Try some racy Rieslings from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Portfolio Restaurant in West Seattle and enjoy the breathtaking view of Elliott Bay. Reservations required: 206-239-2363 ($12)

Saturday, Oct. 20

  • From Vampire 7 to Deadly Zins, Vino Bello offers a special Halloween wine tasting. ($10)

Thursday, Oct. 25

  • Book signing and live music with Paul Gregutt at The Tasting Room. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Paul will be signing his new book, “Washington Wines & Wineries: The Essential Guide.” Paul writes weekly wine columns for the Seattle Times, the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. 

  • Try some marvellous Merlots from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Portfolio Restaurant in West Seattle and enjoy the breathtaking view of Elliott Bay. Reservations required: 206-239-2363 ($12)

Friday, Oct. 26

  •  Second annual Wurst & Wine Festival at The Tasting Room from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. For $15, you can try world-famous links paired with wines. Space is limited, so call 206-770-9463 or e-mail jen@winesofwashington.com

Saturday, Oct. 27

  • Richard Corella from Chandler Reach Vineyards is back for a special wine tasting of his newest releases at Vino Bello. ($10)

  • If you’re near the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail in Zillah, don’t miss Hallowine, where chills and thrills await you from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, Nov. 8

  • Try some beautiful blends from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Portfolio Restaurant in West Seattle and enjoy the breathtaking view of Elliott Bay. Reservations required: 206-239-2363 ($12) 

Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11

  • Taste of Red, Columbia Winery’s premier wine tasting and social event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on both days. Taste an extensive collection of red wine, including wine pulled directly from the barrel. Samples of northwest food will also be available. Admission is $20 per person ($10 for Cellar Club members) and includes a logo tasting glass.

  • Learn how to make wreaths out of grapevines at Silver Lake Winery in Woodinville from noon to 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18

  •  Bottle Your Own Wine returns to Silver Lake Winery in Woodinville just in time for the holidays. Handcraft wine with your personalized label — you’ll get to bottle it, cork it, foil it and label it.
  • Grand Opening of Wilridge Vineyard Tasting Room near Yakima over Thanksgiving Weekend (November 23, 24 and 25). Be the first to visit Wilridge’s organic and biodynamic vineyard oasis and Tasting Room on the Naches Heights, five minutes west of Yakima.
  • At all three Silver Lake Winery locations — Woodinville, Leavenworth and Zillah — sample complimentary newly released wines served with snacks and special holiday pricing of your favorite wines.

Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2

  • Check out St. Nick’s Open House in Woodinville from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The wineries of Woodinville Wine Country open their doors for a single ticket price of $50. Some of the participating wineries are rarely open to the public, so don’t miss this opportunity! You’ll enjoy special tastings and specially prepared hors d’oeuvres to complement the wine. Check out Woodinville Wine Country’s Web site for a list of wineries and ticket information.

  •  Walla Walla Holiday Barrel Tasting is an annual event in the Walla Walla Valley. Winemakers will be on hand as more than 50 wineries open their barrel rooms. Each winery participates offers a variety of different features such as food, music, art exhibits, wine dinners, cooking demonstrations, poetry readings, and more.

Tuesday, Dec. 11

 

Washington state wine bloggers unite!

Thad over at the Beyond the Bottle blog sparked my interest in his recent quest to find other Washington state wine bloggers. In a post titled Where are the Washington-based wine bloggers, Thad lists four other Washington state wine bloggers, in addition to the two of us. Are there only six bloggers who reside in Washington state and blog about Washington state wines?

There must be more! Thad has been blogging for about five months now, just a month longer than I have. If you live in Washington state and blog about Washington state wines, please let me know. Maybe we can start a wine group in Facebook!

Cheers!

What’s going on …

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Saturday, Oct. 6

  • Don’t miss  Alexandria Nicole Cellars Puget Sound Wine Dinner in Prosser on Oct. 6. It sounds like a great event for $75 per person – starting at the tasting room at 11 a.m., moving on to a vineyard tour and cellar tasting, and then back to the tasting room for dinner. 
  • It’s Happy Hour all day long at Vino Bello! And that’s not all. Enjoy a wine tasting with Yakima’s Windy Point Vineyards from noon until 9 p.m. ($5) and live blues-inspired music featuring JD Hobson. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, part of the proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Tuesday, Oct. 9

Thursday, Oct. 11

  • Wine of Europe Tasting at The Wine Alley in Renton from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Four wine samples, salami and cheese for $10 per person.

Saturday, Oct. 13

  • Let Vino Bello bring you some California sunshine with a wine tasting of hip California wines. Try the latest cool wines from California wine country and mellow out to live country music of Charlie Spring. ($10)

Saturday, Oct. 20

  • From Vampire 7 to Deadly Zins, Vino Bello offers a special Halloween wine tasting. ($10)

Saturday, Oct. 27

Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11

  • Taste of Red, Columbia Winery’s premier wine tasting and social event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on both days. Taste an extensive collection of red wine, including wine pulled directly from the barrel. Samples of northwest food will also be available. Admission is $20 per person ($10 for Cellar Club members) and includes a logo tasting glass.

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Thanksgiving Weekend:

  •  Grand Opening of Wilridge Vineyard Tasting Room near Yakima over Thanksgiving Weekend (November 23, 24 and 25). Be the first to visit Wilridge’s organic and biodynamic vineyard oasis and Tasting Room on the Naches Heights, five minutes west of Yakima.

Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2

  • Check out St. Nick’s Open House in Woodinville from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The wineries of Woodinville Wine Country open their doors for a single ticket price of $50. Some of the participating wineries are rarely open to the public, so don’t miss this opportunity! You’ll enjoy special tastings and specially prepared hors d’oeuvres to complement the wine. Check out Woodinville Wine Country’s Web site for a list of wineries and ticket information.

Tuesday, Dec. 11

Hogue Terroir-a taste of heaven (Horse Heaven Hills)

Hogue Terroir, the newest label from The Hogue Cellars,  is worth a trip to Prosser in the Columbia Valley. We had a wonderful time visiting Hogue for its 25th anniversary celebration, thanks to the Washington Cellar Club. We were given an insider’s look at the winery, special library tastings and a delicious barbeque.

My favorite moment came when I tasted a pairing of Hogue Terroir 2004 Malbec with goat cheese and raspberry chipotle. It was a taste of heaven! We also loved the Hogue Terroir 2004 Cabernet. Both wines come from grapes grown at Andrews Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills. Both were bottled with a screw cap “to ensure perfect aging and preservation of flavors as intended by the winemaker.”

Hogue Cellars was the first winery to scientifically analyze the effects of various bottle closures. In 2004, the winery released the results of its Screw Cap Study, which found that screw cap closures hold fruit and maintain freshness more effectively than natural and synthetic corks. The results of the extensive study were presented at the 55th annual American Society of Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) Conference.

If you have questions about screw caps and Hogue’s study, check out the FAQ page on the winery’s Web site. You can also read a series of articles about the increasing popularity of screw caps in The Seattle Times .

Cheers!