Update: Number 19 in Google’s Top 100 Wine Blogs!

I just received word from the Enobytes blog that Write for Wine’s ranking in Google’s Top 100 Wine Blogs has been moved up to number 19! Earlier today, this blog was at number 24, but a few outdated blogs have since been eliminated and now we’re at lucky 19! (Coincidentially 19 has always been my favorite number.)

As Enobytes points out: I created the “Google Top 100 Wine Blog” list by simply typing in a simple key term “wine blog” in the Google search engine. I then removed content that did not meet certain criteria, excluding blogs that haven’t been updated in over 3 months or websites that simply list other blogs. I also excluded blog directories, redirects, subsets or duplicates and blogs that heavily focus on content other than wine … This is clearly a ranking system that reduces bias and alienation, allowing readers to find great content.”

This is a great day — thanks again! You can see the whole list at Enobytes blog! 


Write for Wine is Number 24 on Top 100!

I was delighted to find out that Write for Wine is listed 24th on the Top 100 Wine Blogs ranked by Google! The news, plus the explanation of the ranking system, was revealed in Enobytes Wine Blog today. Not bad for a blog that raves about Washington state wine in 98% of its posts!

Thanks to all of you who supported this blog in the last year-and-a-half since I began blogging. Thanks to those who make such excellent Washington state wine, and thanks Enobytes, for revealing this statistic.


Washington Wine Wench

A week or two ago, my boss at my day job at the PR agency bestowed the name “Washington Wine Wench” on me. I laughed with her and quickly decided it was one of my favorite nicknames of the many given to me over the years. Thanks Laura!

Before I decided to embrace it, though, I had a chat on Twitter with my friend and colleague Catie, who is well known in wine circles as the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman. Click on that link, and you’ll see that Catie sells Walla Walla wine and gourmet gifts at her website of the same name. She also has a blog called Through the Walla Walla Grapevine, which was one of the first Washington wine blogs that I read. I recommend you check out both of her sites.

So I asked Catie if Washington Wine Wench was too close to Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman or if she would give me her stamp of approval. Her response: “I say that we need more W’s and I would be honored for you to join me.”

So I did! I now own the URL for washingtonwinewench.com. Right now, the URL points to Write for Wine, but look for announcements about my plans in the weeks ahead.


More Dussek and Gilbert Cabs Please!

I’ve written numerous times about my wonderful sister with the amazing palate. She’s influenced my life in so many positive ways — from inspiring me to participate in online media back in 1994 to opening up the wonderful world of wine to me. And many, many more!

My sister remains my inspiration — so when she puts her stamp of approval on a wine that I recommend, it makes my day.

That happened recently when she phoned me from Vancouver to tell me her opinions on a few bottles of Washington state wine that I gave her the last time I went home for a visit. She thought some of the wines were okay (her husband loved them), but there were only two that she raved about: Dussek Family Cellars 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and Gilbert Cellars 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. And she wants more!

The price point of Dussek is super for such an excellent Cab – $36. Here are the tasting notes from Woodhouse, which produces the Dussek label (and four others — Kennedy Shah, Darighe, Maghee and Hudson Shah):

“The Dussek Cabernet Sauvignon is Woodhouse Family Cellars’ take on what is likely the world’s most famous grape. Combining an oaky, fruit forward, style with the classic minerality and earth character found in the Cabernet based wines of Europe, Dussek perfectly exhibits Washington state’s ability to straddle the line between the old world and the new.”

The price point for the Cab from Gilbert Cellars is only $26 a bottle. Here are the Gilbert tasting notes:

“This juicy, decadent Cabernet Sauvignon offers an aroma of savory dried fruit and crushed herbs that leads into supple, sweet tannins accompanied by unbridled flavors of blackberry jam, fresh cedar, pipe tobacco, and black licorice.”

Only 312 cases of Gilbert Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon were produced, and only 840 cases of Dussek 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon were produced, so I’d better go order a few bottles for my sister right now! (And maybe some for us, too!)


Found a great Claret

I am always a happy camper when I find a good Bordeaux-style blend, so I’m pleased to say that Gilbert Cellars in Yakima struck a high note again with its 2006 Estate Claret. We first tasted the 2006 vintage shortly after its release, when we visited Sean Gilbert at the winery’s new tasting room in Yakima in September. The Claret was very good then and now, just a couple of months later, it’s even better. (I’m finishing one of the bottles we purchased as I write this blog post!)

Gilbert Cellars 2006 Estate Claret is a tasty blend of 74% Cab Sauv, 12% Merlot, 8% Malbec and a pinch (1%) of Cab Franc. We loved the previous 2004 vintage, which we tasted earlier this year, and the new release is even better. Here are the tasting notes:

The follow up to our very successful 2004 Claret is another wonderful example of the success of Bordeaux varieties on the Wahluke Slope. A bouquet of dark cherries, crushed herbs and Christmas spices accent a  rich, full palate of blackberries and cocoa leading into a lingering finish of crème de cassis and subtle vanilla.

We first met owner Sean Gilbert at Sexy Syrah last April at Salty’s on Alki in Seattle. We’ve been following his wines ever since and hope you will, too. And the next time you’re in downtown Yakima, be sure to stop by his fun tasting room. Seriously, it’s more like a wine bar!


St. Nick’s Tickets on Sale Now!

Tickets have just gone on sale for one of our favorite wine events of the year, St. Nicholas Day Open House in Woodinville — known fondly by regulars as St. Nick’s weekend. It’s a two-day blast and we highly recommend that you attend. We went last year and loved it. (At the end of this blog post, I’ve linked my descriptions of the wineries we visited last year.) We will definitely be there this year too.

Woodinville Wine Country hosts the event, which is becoming as popular as their long-running Passport to Woodinville weekend. Wineries that aren’t frequently open to the public participate in this event, along with your old favorites and all those other wineries that you’ve been meaning to try.

Participating wineries to date include: Adams Bench, Anton Ville, Arlington Road Cellars, Brian Carter Cellars, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Winery, Covington Cellars, Cuillin Hills Winery, Des Voignes Cellars, Di Stefano Winery, Edmonds Winery, Efeste Wine Cellars, Hollywood Hill Vineyards, Januik Winery, J. Bookwalter Winery, Matthews Estate, Northwest Totem Cellars, Novelty Hill Winery, Page Cellars, Red Sky Winery, Ross Andrew Winery, Silver Lake Winery, Sparkman Cellars, Stevens Winery, William Church Winery, Woodhouse Family Cellars and Woodinville Wine Cellars.

But note: tickets are in limited quantity and they sell quickly. A limit of 2,500 two-day tickets ($50) and 800 Sunday-only tickets ($35) will be sold only on Woodinville Wine Country’s website.

So think about getting your tickets soon — before they sell out and before your December gets too busy with holiday events. And by the way, this is a great event to not only taste fine Washington wine but also to purchase wines for holiday entertainment and/or gift-giving.

Here’s what I wrote after last year’s St. Nick’s Weekend:

We hope to see you there!


40 + Winos to Follow on Twitter

I’ve been meaning to write for weeks about a blog post that called me a wino! It actually was meant as a compliment, but when I first saw it, I admit that I was taken aback. But then I became very pleased.

The mention came in a post called 40+ Winos to Follow on Twitter on the site, Drinks are on Me. I was surprised and honored to be on the list — and relieved that 40+ wasn’t in reference to my age. (That might be true, but I don’t need to advertise it!)

I don’t write tweets nearly enough on Twitter, and when I do, they aren’t always about wine; they are sometimes in relation to social media analysis and measurement, which is what I do in my day job. Nonetheless, I appreciate the shout-out and will do my best to be a true wino on Twitter.

In case you are not on Twitter, my recent tweets have been about Nicolas Cole Cellars pouring at The Local Vine in Seattle on Oct. 16 and my fun time at Woodhouse Family Cellars last weekend.


Eagle Creek Winery and Visconti’s – Best of Leavenworth

We opened a bottle of Eagle Creek 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Bacchus) on the weekend and we were wow’d! This elegant wine was like smooth velvet and had a price point of only $26.00. I wish we had purchased more during our trip to Leavenworth a few weeks ago.

We also bought a bottle of Eagle Creek 2006 Montage, a spicy, smoky blend of Cab Franc and Merlot, which I think will pair well with my husband’s delicious spaghetti.

Located just outside Leavenworth, Eagle Creek is the town’s oldest winery, with a new downtown tasting room called d’Vinery. Unfortunately, our schedule didn’t match the times that the winery was open. But  d’Vinery was pouring until 7 p.m. that day, so we stopped by before dinner.

In addition to the excellent wines, d’Vinery showcased beautiful hand-carved woodwork by winemaker Ed Rutledge; it was convenientally located on Front Street, and the staff was knowledgeable and friendly. Eagle Creek’s d’Vinery was one of our highlights during our brief time in Leavenworth.

Another highlight was Visconti’s Ristorante Italiano — it was amazing and surpassed many of the restaurants we’ve tried in both Vancouver (B.C.) and Seattle! Visconti’s was casual chic, with superb pasta  and an award-winning wine list. Our experience made it clear why Wine Spectator has given its Award of Excellence to Visconti’s for nine years in a row. If this restaurant were situated in Seattle or Vancouver, the lineups would be around the block.

During our next visit, we will definitely go back to Visconti’s. And we will plan to visit Eagle Creek Winery itself and its vineyards — and maybe even stay in the winery’s on-site chalet just outside town.


Washington Wine in UK Telegraph

Every so often, I like to take note of when our fabulous Washington wines are recognized in traditional media. The latest story to catch my eye was in the U.K. on Sept. 19.

In an article called WInemaking in Washington, the UK Telegraph notes that many European winemakers have recently bought vineyards in our state because Washington wines “combine New World purity and intensity with Old World structure and freshness.”

The article also points to what we’ve known for years — our state’s latitude is the same as some of the best wineries in France.

” … many of the best wines in the world come from the most northerly (in our hemisphere) viticultural outposts where the grapes can just about stagger to full ripeness. The reason can be summed up in one word: freshness. Cooler temperatures make for fresher, brighter flavours in wine.”

 So let’s hear it for Washington state wines!


Chateau Ste. Michelle Honored in New York

If you’re a fan of well-known Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville, you will be pleased to hear that the winery was named “Wine Brand of the Year” by Market Watch at an awards ceremony in New York last month.

Chateau Ste. Michelle, a Washington wine pioneer, was recognized for its impressive growth in the last ten years. You can find full details in a Sept. 22 article in Eastside Business.