MOHAI- Must Go

It sounds like an incredible evening of wine tasting at MOHAI’s “Debuts & Discoveries Celebrates 75th Anniversary of the End of Prohibition” on June 4. MOHAI — the Museum of History and Industry — is going all out for this sixth annual event.

There will be pours from more than 40 new northwest wineries including Flying Trout, Sleight of Hand, Airfield Estates, Pondera and Hestia Cellars, in addition to samples from chefs from some of Seattle’s newest restaurants.

And we can’t forget the amazing photo displays and other exhibits at MOHAI — for example, “Essential Seattle” tells the story of Seattle’s transformation from the frontier to a fabulous city. And did I mention that proceeds of this event help MOHAI’s community outreach programs?

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets or by calling 800-838-3006. “Debuts & Discoveries” is produced by Sommelier David LeClaire, who recently started a new social club for wine enthusiasts called Seattle Uncorked. We became members a few months ago — there are some great offers to check out at the Seattle Uncorked Web site.

Hope to see you there!


Tre Fanciulli, Tres Bien!

We opened up our bottle of JM Cellars latest release (2005) of its popular flagship wine,  Tre Fanciulli, and all we can say is tres bien! It was a smooth blend of Klipsun Cabernet Sauvignon, Ciel du Cheval Merlot, Lewis Syrah and Boushey Syrah. And although it could be cellared for up to ten years, we could not wait! It paired marvellously with sharp cheese and then later with London Broil.

But the news isn’t all good — we just became familiar with JM Cellars last year, so we only pre-ordered one bottle. When we went to the winery to pick up our pre-order, we learned that all 275 cases produced for this vintage sold out in pre-order! So, unfortunately, we can’t buy anymore. Lesson learned: Pre-order larger quantities in the future!

I think we’ll have to head back to the Woodinville tasting room in the next couple of weeks and at least have a pour!


Choosing a wine club

Once upon a time, we belonged to six wine clubs. And sometimes, after lengthy tastings at amazing Washington state wineries, we came close to signing up for dozens more!

But in the last year, we decided to put the brakes on all but three wine clubs: Woodhouse Family Cellars, Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Columbia Winery

How did we decide? Those three clubs combine excellent wine, a variety events and friendly people. Through our wine clubs, we have attended elaborate tastings, incredible pairings, fiestas, release parties, vineyard tours and barbeques. We’ve met talented wine makers, creative entrepeneurs and fun PR folks.

Of course, there are more wine clubs that we’d love to join. We tried some clubs from wineries in Walla Walla and Prosser, but we prefer to pick up our wine in Woodinville rather than add to the cost with shipping fees.

How many wine clubs do you belong to and why did you choose them? Let us know!


The David

I’m making an exception by writing about a Napa Valley wine today instead of the Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia wines that I usually discuss. Yes, my heart remains in the wines of the northwest, but every so often a wine from another region is so awesome that I have to write about it. And since everyone else is writing about Spring Release weekend in the Walla Walla Valley, and we’re stuck on the other side of the state, this seemed like a good day to do it.

We recently had a few special occasions–anniversaries and birthdays–to celebrate, so we opened a bottle of Del Dotto 2004 The David. Del Dotto Vineyards is a family-owned winery in Napa that we had the pleasure to visit in 2007, before they opened their shiny new winery and caves in St. Helena. 

We purchased 2004 The David after attending one of their extensive barrel tasting tours in historic caves that were dug in 1885. During the barrel tour, we learned a lot about their wines, including why the locals fondly refer to the winery as “Del Blotto.”

At the time, and after more than a year in our cellar, The David stood out as a rich, robust blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc. We paired it with steak and prawns — our first barbeque of 2008 — and absolutely adored it.

Did I say “rich?” Make that opulent or even voluptuous! A deep ruby color, The David 2004 was full-bodied with a luxuriously textured finish. It was a wine to savor. And believe me, we did!


Happy Hour at Woodhouse Family Cellars

Woodhouse Family Cellars hosted its first Friday happy hour last weekend and what a turnout there was at the “warehouse chic” tasting room in Woodinville. There were two complimentary tastes — Auntie Meredith’s Picnic Blend 2006, which is perfect for summer evenings on the deck, and 2003 Malbec, a smoky versatile wine — along with a variety of cheeses, salami and crackers. You could also purchase your favorite Woodhouse wine by the glass, half bottle or bottle.

Full disclosure: we are wine club members at Woodhouse Family Cellars and have the pleasure of knowing co-owners Bijal and Sinead Shah, their uncle and winemaker extraordinaire, Tom Campbell, and their friends Lori and Michael. How could we not have a fantastic time swapping stories and sipping wine with that lively group?

The evening also marked the first time that we met their beautiful daughter, Kennedy Shah, whose name represents one of five wine labels at Woodhouse Family Cellars. Indeed both Auntie Meredith’s Picnic Blend and the 2003 Malbec are made under the Kennedy Shah label, along with some of our other favorites, the 2005 Merlot and 2005 Tempranillo.

We also had the joy of meeting Kennedy’s young brother Hudson, whose name also adorns a wine label of three white wines: 2005 Viognier, 2005 Chardonnay and 2006 Riesling. Yes, the Hudson label originated with a friend of the Shah’s who worked at Microsoft, but it also became the name of their adorable son.

And one final note – props to Teresa and Jennifer from the winery’s tasting room. They worked so hard at the happy hour, yet still found time to answer questions and smile at everyone who stopped by for a pour.

The next time you hear about a happy hour at Woodhouse Family Cellars, make the trip to Woodinville. It’s definitely worth it!