Winetrails of Washington: A Guide to Uncorking Your Memorable Wine Tour

Some time ago, I had an opportunity to glance at the new Washington state wine book, Winetrails of Washington: A Guide to Uncorking Your Memorable Wine Tour, because I work with Kelly Roberts, niece of the book’s author Steve Roberts.

Kelly’s copy of the just-released book was so pristine that I didn’t want to mess it up pouring over the pages. But I knew, just from my quick glance, that this is one book that I definitely want for my collection.

As it turns out, the author is making appearances in some of my favorite haunts over the next few weeks. On Saturday, he’ll be at my local wine bar, Vino Bello, for a book signing. Then on Feb. 5, he’ll be at The Tasting Room in Pike Place Market’s Post Alley for another signing.

I’m considering buying two copies of this guide book — one to keep for reference by my computer and one to keep in the car. Trust me, Winetrails of Washington: A Guide to Uncorking Your Memorable Wine Tour is one handy reference book.  

Steve spent the last 18 months visiting more than 225 wineries and tasting hundreds of wines as he traveled from Walla Walla to Woodinville and from Lake Chelan to Lopez Island. His book suggests 32 different “tasting trails” around Washington state.

I’ll try to blog more about this book after I have a chance to read it!

Cheers!

And the winner is …

Erath Vineyard’s 2005 Pinot Noir Leland was the wine we drank with dinner last night. And it was everything we expected — complex, rich, powerful and elegant. Not surprisingly, Leland paired well with steak. Most Pinots would.

Once again I’m surprised — delighted is a better word — at how much Pinot Noirs have developed in the 10 years since we lived in Oregon. I don’t think such an excellent Pinot Noir such as Erath’s Leland would have been made back in those days.

The problem is that I now want to open Erath’s 2005 Pinot Noir Prince Hill. I don’t want to cellar it. In fact, I’d like to open it tonight. We are on holidays, after all. Hmmmm. What to do, what to do.

Cheers!

WWD: Erath Vineyards

We’re trying to decide which wine to have with our steak dinner tonight. (WWD means wine with dinner, if you’re a new reader of this blog. And welcome!)

We brought home two fabulous bottles of Pinots from our December visit to the tasting room of Erath Vineyards, southwest of Portland. I hope that by writing about both of them, the choice will become easier.

Erath’s 2005 Pinot Noir Prince Hill is a very limited selection from the vineyard’s Prince Hill reserve block. Owner and Oregon wine pioneer Dick Erath lives above the Prince Hill Vineyard, where the first Pinot Noir vines were planted in 1983. The ten best barrels were chosen for this single vineyard bottling.

Erath’s 2005 Pinot Noir Leland is from the four-acre Leland Vineyard–Erath has contracted Leland’s entire Pinot Noir crop since 1987.

Pinot Noir Prince Hill has rich, weighty and firm tannins while Pinot Noir Leland’s tannins finish soft, smooth and supple. Prince Hill is powerful and elegant with hints of marionberry. Leland also is powerful  and intense, with aromas of black cherry and a dark fruit finish.

No wonder why we can’t make up our minds!

Both wines can be opened in 2008 or cellared through 2018. And it is indeed 2008! Maybe we’ll drink both tonight?

Cheers!

Sokol Blosser

We loved Sokol Blosser when we lived in Portland ten years ago, so we were delighted to discover the wines these days are even better than we remembered. And we tried a holiday flight of seven wines when we visited in early December!

We have always liked Sokol Blosser’s Pinot Gris with seafood in the summer, and 2006 Dundee Hills Cuvee Pinot Gris was no exception. We also enjoyed the 2005 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, with its smooth finish. Our absolute favorite was the 2005 Estate Cuvee Pinot Noir, with its rich, lush flavors of black cherry and blackberry.

But a special treat was the unexpected Meditrina IV –a unique rich and juicy blend of Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel, a Meritage which, at $18, is a great value. We have never tasted anything like it!

What did we take home? Sokol Blosser’s Evolution (11th Edition), a blend of nine different white grapes with a unique parade of flavors. Yes, our preference is red wine. But in the spring, when we have our first taste of Copper River salmon, this will be the wine that we drink.

Cheers!

DeLille Cellars

DeLille Cellars, one of the premier wineries in Washington state, is often compared to the best chateaux in Bordeaux. It is no coincidence that the winery recently was named on four Top 100 lists: Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, the Robb Report and Seattle’s Paul Gregutt.

The winery is not often open to the public, so the tasting room was packed during St. Nick’s weekend. And no wonder — the wines being poured were superb; the warm appetizers and cheese-and-cracker table, awesome; and the chateau was beautiful as big white snowflakes descended on it.

We found the 2005 Doyenne Grand Ciel Syrah excellent, and simply had to order a bottle. The Doyenne 2005 Aix was rich and delicious, and the smoky, silky 2006 Chaleur Estate Blanc exceeded my expectation of a complex white wine.

Yes, DeLille Cellars lives up to its glowing reputation, and then some. We are looking forward to returning to the release party in February.

Cheers!