Happy 2nd Anniversary Vino Bello!

Our favorite local wine bar, Vino Bello, is two years old! Congratulations to Michele for a successful venture that is a must-visit place in Burien and surrounding areas.

To celebrate, Vino Bello is having an anniversary party on Saturday (July 26) with a tasting, live music and even door prizes. Winemakers Tim Sorenson of Fall Line Winery and Alex Manoni of Stomani Cellars will be sharing their new releases.

We tasted Tim’s new releases at Washington Wine Highway, and they even surpassed his awesome Cabs in the previous vintage. I’ve written about Fall Line many times, and I look forward to trying Stomani’s wine on Saturday.

Yes, we are going to the party. Are you kidding? Superb Washington state wine, great music by J.D. Hobson and a warm atmosphere among friends, guided by the knowledgeable wine enthusiast, Michele. The fun begins at noon, with a wine tasting until 8 p.m. You can meet the wine makers starting at 4 p.m., and J.D. starts singing an hour later. Door prizes are from 5-7 p.m. 

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon and evening!


Coming up …

It’s almost wine o’clock, so it seemed appropriate to list the Washington state wineries that I plan to write about in the next couple of weeks:

Come back soon to read all about it!


Where oh where is 2004 Camille?

I’ve blogged a few times about how much we love Nicholas Cole Cellars 2004 Camille. So far we’ve only tasted it at events. And now we’re trying to buy a bottle or two. Does anybody know where 2004 Camille can be found in the Seattle area? (Nicholas Cole’s Web site is being relaunched, so I can’t check there.)

After Taste Washington Media Day, I quoted the tasting notes for 2004 Camille, which blends 64% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. “The 2004 Camille oozes with decadence.  This wine, with layer upon layer of balanced fruit and spicy oak blended with aromas of dark chocolate, fresh ground espresso and a hint of sweet pipe tobacco, will entice your senses.  Intense, dark color, with a complex structure embracing velvety tannins leads to a long caressing finish.  One of our most sophisticated wines to date, your palate will desire more of this silky, sensuous Bordeaux style wine.”

A few weeks later, at Washington Wine Highway, 2004 Camille topped the list of our favorite pours.

Please let me know if you’ve seen it at a Seattle-area wine shop!


Bramble Bump Red

Bramble Bump is a hill covered in berries in Woodinville, where JM Cellars is located. So it seems appropriate that the winery owners, John and Peggy Bigelow, named a red wine after this special place.

2006 Bramble Bump Red is a great red blend for everyday drinking. This recent release follows the successful 2005 vintage, named by Seattle Magazine in March as the “Best Bordeaux Blend Under $20.00.” (The 2006 Bramble Bump Red is $22.00.)

The full-bodied wine combines Cabernet Sauvignon (57%), Merlot (23%), Syrah (10%), Cab Franc (5%) and Malbec (5%) into a luscious blend that pairs well with strong cheese or beef. It’s ready to drink now, but unlike previous vintages, 2006 Bramble Bump Red can be cellared for 5-10 years.

But take note — wines from JM Cellars sell out quickly, so place your order soon!


© 2008

Woodhouse Family Cellars Expands to Eastern Washington

Puget Sound Business Journal broke the news on July 4th — Woodhouse Family Cellars eyes Yakima for new wine facility. Here’s the first part of the article, written by PSBJ staff writer Heidi Dietrich: (A subscription is required to read the rest of the article online.)

“A boutique Woodinville winery is raising $4 million to set up shop in Eastern Washington.

Woodhouse Family Cellars wants to buy land and build production facilities and tasting rooms in the Rattlesnake Hills area near Yakima. The move will allow Woodhouse to begin separating its five wine label brands.

Currently, all brands — Darighe, Dussek, Maghee, Kennedy Shah and Hudson Shah — are made and promoted at the winery’s single facility in Woodinville.

Woodhouse owner Bijal Shah wants to create distinct facilities and tasting rooms. He plans to begin by building wineries for Dussek and Maghee on the new Rattlesnake Hills property.”

Regular readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of Woodhouse Family Cellars wine and am a member of their wine club. I’ve also mentioned that we consider Bijal and his family as our friends now.

Best of luck, Bijal!


WWD: July 4th weekend

We had some wonderful wine with dinner (WWD) over the long weekend. It wasn’t very sunny, so we decided to pass on whites and instead chose some of our favorite reds — BLT Barrel Select Cabernet and the new 2004 Kennedy Shah Reserve Syrah from Woodhouse Family Cellars and 2005 Destiny from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

2005 Destiny, which received 93 points from Wine & Spirits Magazine last fall, is sold out, unfortunately. As wine club members, we bought one of the last bottles a few months back. Destiny is ruby colored with concentrated aromas of blackberries and cedar, and complex flavors including hints of vanilla. If you have a bottle, you can cellar it for years to come. We drank ours within a few months of purchase!

Like Destiny, BLT was sold out. Well, you could find it in $16.50 pours in New York City at BLT Restaurants, but that was it. Until recently! These days you might find a bottle or two of BLT at Woodhouse Family Cellars. BLT is an interesting blend of 75% Cabernet and 25% Malbec. And it was perfect paired with our barbequed steaks and corn on the cob on July 4th.

Hope you had a fabulous Fourth!


Red is the new white?

I recently read an interesting article in The Vancouver Sun, which used to be my hometown newspaper. The report was called Fishing for White, and states that red is the new white — much like fashionistas declare which wardrobe color is “the new black” each season. Here is the opening paragraph from the Sun article:

“You may have heard the new red is white, but making the switch has been anything but easy for most red wine drinkers in North America. Yet while many are still clinging to their acidified shiraz, and alcoholic zinfandels, British Columbian wine drinkers appear more willing than most North American tipplers to live at the edge of wine fashion and that means reaching for white wine this summer.”

Now perhaps it’s my British Columbian roots that bring me to “the edge of wine fashion” by drinking white wines and even rosé on my deck as the weather finally turns warmer in the northwest. But I don’t think so.

No, I think it’s natural for anyone–even hard-core red wine drinkers like me–to reach for something light and refreshing in the heat of summer … particularly if you’re nibbling on prawns or other light snacks that make up summer fare.

So here’s to summer!