Tomorrow: The Moyer Foundation and The Local Vine

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Don’t forget that tomorrow evening at The Local Vine, former Mariner Jamie Moyer will be signing wine bottles for a good cause — the kids in distress who receive help from The Moyer Foundation.

Until I learned of this event, I did not realize that Jamie is a wine enthusiast. He and his father-in-law, former Notre Dam basketball coach and ESPN analyst Digger Phelps, will be autographing wine bottles from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Seattle Belltown hot spot. If you buy a bottle of wine to get autographed, 25 percent of its cost will be donated to The Moyer Foundation.

Check my earlier blog post about this event for details.

Cheers!

Robert Stewart at Vino Bello

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Regular readers of this blog know that Vino Bello is one of our favorite hangouts. We love to go there, kick back and enjoy a glass of wine. The ambience is friendly, you can enjoy the conversation at the bar, or sink into deep leather chairs for a private chat. It’s always fun to stop by Vino Bello.

But “fun” doesn’t begin to describe Vino Bello on Friday night. It was awesome! Robert Stewart, from The Fiasco, performed solo and after listening to his rich, unique voice singing soulful rock, we’re going to buy his new CD as soon as it comes out.

Now if you’re a long-time Seattle resident you’ve probably already heard of both Robert and The Fiasco. And if you haven’t, then we highly recommend that you find out where Robert is playing next and go!

And keep your eye on this blog, because he’s probably coming back to Vino Bello. And what could be better than fine wine, good company and the soulful sounds of Robert Stewart?

Cheers!

What’s going on …

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Friday, Dec. 14

Saturday, Dec. 15

  • Wines of South Africa at Vino Bello from noon until 8 p.m. Come try a Petite Chenin, Pinotage, Shiraz and a Bordeaux-style blend. ($10) Enjoy live blues-folk music featuring JD Hobson from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 19

  •  Meet all-star pitcher Jamie Moyer at The Local Vine, in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood from 6 to 8 p.m. Jamie and ESPN analyst Digger Phelphs will be autographing wine bottles from more than 300 selections. Twenty-five percent of proceeds from wine bottle sales will be donated to The Moyer Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to helping children in distress.

Saturday, Dec. 22

  • Get ready to ring in the new year at Vino Bello’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine tasting from noon until 8 p.m. Enjoy live folk music by Charlie Spring from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. ($10) 

Saturday, Dec. 29 

Cheers!

Last week for event listings

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I made a very difficult decision this week to stop my Thursday listings of wine events in Washington state. Tomorrow will be my last one. While I’ve enjoyed sharing the information in my blog, I’m now getting more press releases than I can handle. It’s become about people marketing their events to me, not about a two-way conversation.

Blogging is about relationships, about conversations. Press releases and mass mailouts do not involve either one. I will continue to promote Washington state wine by talking about my favorites;about industry news, people and discussions; and about tastings or events that I attend. I encourage everyone to join in the conversation.

I’d love to hear from more of you. What are your favorite wines? What makes you decide which wine events to attend? What do you think about screw-cap closures versus corks?What are you most proud about in the Washington wine industry? How do you think British Columbia and Oregon stack up against Washington wine? There are so many things to talk about — let’s do it!

Cheers!

WWD: Windy Point 2004 !Exclamation Point!

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Back in October, I wrote about how much we enjoyed a tasting at Vino Bello by Windy Point Vineyards. In fact, we liked Windy Point’s 2004 !Exclamation Point! so much that we took a bottle home with us.

Last night, we opened the bottle — a screw cap closer that holds fruit and maintains freshness more effectively than natural and synthetic corks — to have with dinner. And the blend of 60% Cab Franc and 40% Merlot was as rich as I remembered. Windy Point recommends that it be paired with Pave of Beef Sirloin served with roasted vegetables in a puff pastry shell, accompanied by parsnip and potato puree topped with a savory beef wine sauce.

No, that’s not what we had for dinner. But if you’re interested in the wine and the recipe, visit Windy Point’s Web site for details. We will definitely be looking for another bottle of 2004 !Exclamation Point! (The Web site says it is sold out, but the 2005 vintage will be released soon.)

Cheers!

Best Tasting Notes: Reininger Winery

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We recently went to a tasting event at our neighborhood winebar, Vino Bello, where we crossed paths again with Justin from Reininger Winery. Reininger was one of the first wineries that I ever blogged about (back on June 10) — and I think I received the most e-mail about that post because its title was 2004 Helix “Screw Sideways” Merlot. I can’t, and didn’t, take credit for the title — it came directly from the winery’s Web site.

That evening at Vino Bello, I couldn’t help but again notice Reininger’s creative tasting notes. So I decided that instead of using my words to describe the Reininger wines, I’d wax poetic with Reininger’s own words. You can find these and more tasting notes on the Reininger Winery Web site.

2004 Helix Pomatia: “Baby, somebody better call God because he’s missing an angel.  This bomb-shell of a wine will send you reeling with its toasted cedar backbone and hearty cherry marmalade.  With intensely flirtatious flavors of worcestershire and soy sauce, I wouldn’t get caught alone with this voluptous wine.” – Chuck Reininger, Winemaker

2005 Helix Syrah: “Earth, wind and fire. A cup of black tea and dewy forest floor – this wine echoes the essence of nature. Velvet draped plums and rhubarb caress the jaw’s edges, lifting the finish above the terrestrial plain. Beam me up, Scotty.” -The Gang at Reininger

 

2004 Helix Merlot (This is the wine I wrote about in June): Screw “Sideways.” This is Washington State Merlot. Helloooo! This is one screwed together Merlot; it lives up to its name-Helix. It’s rich and powerful, with a fine slight firmness in tannin structure. This is no spaghetti wine! Spiraling about a core of dried plum, dark cherry and raspberry is a dust devil of sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, java and a dusting of Northwest cedar spice. Unlike Miles, this wine knows where it’s going.”

 

If I had an award to give out for the most creative tasting notes, Reininger would win! And better yet, their wines are winners too!

 

Cheers!

What’s going on …

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Saturday, Dec. 8

  • Fall Line new release tastings: Fall Line, along with the other members of South Seattle Artisan Wineries — Cadence, :Nota Bene, and O•S  — will be open for wine tasting from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. 

  • Vino Bello offers a tasting full of gift ideas from noon until 8 p.m. Vino Bello has some great gift ideas and stocking stuffers for the wine lovers on your list. Silpada Jewelry is on sale too. Enjoy live folk music by Charlie Spring from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. ($10) 

Tuesday, Dec. 11

Wednesday, Dec. 12

  • Chateau Ste. Michelle: An evening of wine and gourmet cheeses from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chateau Wine Shop. $20 at the door. 

  • Sparkling Wines and Champagne: Before you celebrate the festive season, enjoy a bubbly evening with Wine educator Steve Vernon at Columbia Winery. $30 per person.

Friday, Dec. 14

Saturday, Dec. 15

  • Wines of South Africa at Vino Bello from noon until 8 p.m. Come try a Petite Chenin, Pinotage, Shiraz and a Bordeaux-style blend. ($10) Enjoy live blues-folk music featuring JD Hobson from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 19

  •  Meet all-star pitcher Jamie Moyer at The Local Vine, in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood from 6 to 8 p.m. Jamie and ESPN analyst Digger Phelphs will be autographing wine bottles from more than 300 selections. Twenty-five percent of proceeds from wine bottle sales will be donated to The Moyer Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to helping children in distress.

Saturday, Dec. 22

  • Get ready to ring in the new year at Vino Bello’s Champagne and Sparkling Wine tasting from noon until 8 p.m. Enjoy live folk music by Charlie Spring from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. ($10) 

Saturday, Dec. 29 

Cheers!

Washington State Wine on Facebook

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I went to a Facebook conference today, in hopes of turning our BOWW (Bloggers of Washington Wine) Facebook group into a lively forum for our bloggers. Our membership is small and we’re just starting out. Look for changes, improvement and growth in the weeks ahead.

If you blog mainly about Washington state wine and you’re on Facebook, please join us! Also, check out my BOWW WOW slide show on my Facebook page. (This is the public link, not the Facebook link.) It shows dogs of wine writers — much like the many photos you’ve seen of dogs of wineries. Who knows, maybe I’ll write a book one day!

Cheers!

WWD: Columbia Winery 2003 Zinfandel

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We tasted Columbia Winery’s 2003 Zinfandel, Alder Ridge Vineyard at the winery’s Taste of Red weekend, and simply had to bring a bottle home. We knew it would be an excellent wine to be paired with any number of meat dishes. 

When my husband made his mean (delicious) heaping plates of spaghetti, and we knew it was time to open the Zin. This peppery ruby red wine has notes of raspberry, cherries and vanilla, with a spicy finish. Part of winemaker David Lake’s Signature Series, the grapes were hand-harvested from a slope near the Columbia River at Alder Ridge Vineyard.

Drinking this wine made it clear why Lake was deemed “Dean of Washington Winemakers” by both Wine Spectator and Decanter Magazine. We highly recommend it. Columbia Winery only has limited availability of this wine left. Hopefully we can snag a couple more bottles next time we stop by the winery.

Cheers!

St. Nick’s in the Snow

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First, I have to say that Woodinville Wine Country and the wineries of Woodinville know how to throw a great event. We braved the predictions of snow today and went to our first Saint Nicholas Day Open House tasting, and it was fabulous! I’m sure I’ll be writing blog posts about it for days to come.

We decided, in our limited time before the snow started to fall, to visit wineries that we had never been to before. Our first stop was DeLille Cellars. This superb, renowned winery is rarely open to the public, which explains the long lineups outside and the (friendly) crowds inside. We also visited the tasting rooms of Mark Ryan Winery, where I had an opportunity to chat with the winemaker himself, Arlington Road Cellars, Baer Winery, Cuillin Hills Winery, Edmonds Winery, Page Cellars, Red Sky Winery and Woodinville Wine Cellars.

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again. Washington state wineries make some excellent world-class wines.

I will write specifically about my favorite wines and wineries in the days ahead, in addition to special treats (appetizers, music and art) that we found at many of the tastings. I wish we had time to go back for the second day of St. Nick’s tomorrow, but we’re heading to Portland for the first time in almost ten years. And thanks to your suggestions, I’m sure we’ll find some great tastings there too.

So come back often in the next couple of weeks to read details of both St. Nick’s and our brief trip to Portland.

Cheers!

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