Passport to Woodinville – Update

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The mega-popular weekend Washington wine event, Passport to Woodinville, is almost sold out. As mentioned back in early February, more than 1,000 tickets were sold within the first 24 hours for this fave of wine enthusiasts.

The good folks at Woodinville Wine Country told me today that more than 3,200 tickets have now been sold. At the moment, there are about 800 tickets left for the weekend and about 400 tickets left for Sunday only. And the event is still almost two months away!

Passport Weekend will be held on April 18 and 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and features pours from more than 30 wineries. It’s also an opportunity to meet winemakers and learn more about this exciting growth area of Washington wine country.

Participating wineries include Adams Bench, Anton Ville Winery, Baer Winery, Brian Carter Cellars, Chandler Reach, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Winery, Covington Cellars, Cuillin Hills Winery, Des Voigne Cellars, DiStefano Winery, Edmonds Winery, Efeste, Gordon Brothers Tasting Room, Guardian Cellars, Hestia Cellars, Hollywood Hill Vineyards, J. Bookwalter Tasting Studio, Matthews Estate, Northwest Totem Cellars, Page Cellars, Pomum Cellars, Red Sky Winery, Sparkman Cellars, Silver Lake Winery, Washington Wine Company/Patterson Cellars, William Church Winery, Woodhouse Family Cellars, Woodinville Wine Cellars and XSV.

Ticket prices: Two day tickets – $60. Sunday only – $40. Tickets can be purchased at Woodinville Wine Country’s website. 

We’re going on Sunday (April 19) – hope to see you there!

Cheers!

Efeste is the Place to Be on Saturday

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Don’t forget that Saturday, Feb. 28, Efeste Winery is the place to be from 12 – 5 p.m. That’s when 2006 Jolie Bouche Syrah is released, and we highly recommend it.

Winemaker extraordinaire, Brennon Leighton, is creating some softer wines with native fermentation, and what a mouthfeel! No wonder why the wine is named Jolie Bouche (pretty mouth in French). This wine is really unique.

Two other 2006 releases will also be poured on Feb. 28: Ceidleigh Syrah and Final Final Cab/Syrah blend. They are all winners – and we hope to see you at Efeste!

Cheers!

ANC Wine Release Party

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Alexandria Nicole Cellars knows how to throw a party! As regular readers know, we are members of ANC’s Club 1000. Regular readers also know that we join wine clubs because of their excellent wines, fine people and great events. So let’s take a closer look.

Excellent Wines: At the Feb. 21 release party, there were pours of the award-winning Block 17 Syrah, which was my favorite. According to the tasting notes: “Block 17 Syrah is distinguished by its deep, dark red and inky color followed with full-bodied rich bouquet of fruit aromas, hints of plum and rip fruit, toast vanilla, spices, with layers of smoke, cassis, cedar and chocolate flavors.” What makes this wine special is the co-fermentation with 4% Viognier, “adding nuances of smoky toffee.” Yum! “Paired best with peppered red meats, sausage, full-flavored meats and Barry White’s ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love.’ “

Other wines released at the party: 2008 Late Harvest Riesling (we’re not big white wine drinkers, but this will be amazing this summer on the deck with cheese or prawns and some smooth jazz); 2007 Lemberger (also known as Blau Frankisch in Austria and one of Dave’s favorites); and a toasty 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon that was smokin’.

Fine People: Jarrod Boyle is an incredible winemaker and his wife Ali (aka Alexandria Nicole) is involved in many aspects of the winery too. They both have their hands and talents in many other wineries (Heaven’s Cave and Altered State of Wines, to name just a couple) and they are tons of fun too. And then there are the wine club wizards, Vida in Prosser and Kathy in Woodinville. We adore all four of these people!

Great Events: This brings me back full circle to the beginning of this blog post. The wine release party was packed with people, excellent appetizers from El Gaucho and fine music from Wayman Chapman. The only problem was trying to applaud and dance with hands full of excellent wine and food!

Cheers!

Efeste, Alexandria Nicole, Woodhouse – It’s Wine Release Time!

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Only one week to go until Efeste‘s Jolie Bouche Syrah is released, and we can’t wait. It was one of our favorite tastes at St. Nick’s weekend in December and we highly recommend it. Winemaker Brennon Leighton spun some magic on this one! Jolie Bouche means “pretty mouth” in French and the phrase exemplifies this wine!

On Feb. 28 (from 12-5 p.m.), three Efeste 2006 releases will be available: Jolie Bouche Syrah, Ceidleigh Syrah (we enjoyed glasses of the previous vintage last night) and Final Final Cab/Syrah blend. They are all winners! So save the date and stop by Efeste next Saturday.

Next Sunday (March 1) is the release of Woodhouse Family Cellars’ Tempranillo, another excellent wine that we tasted a wee bit in advance. So Woodinville is definitely the place to be next weekend.

But first, this weekend, we’re going to a release party at Alexandria Nicole Cellars. There are three wines being released: 2006 Cab, 2007 Lemberger and 2006 Block Syrah, which recently won a gold medal at The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wines in the world. (Almost 5,000 bottles of wines were entered and judged this year.)

As an aside, we belong to three wine clubs — Efeste, Woodhouse Family Cellars and Alexandria Nicole Cellars, the wineries mentioned in this blog post — for three reasons: magnificent wines, wonderful, friendly, knowledgeable people at the winery, and great events.

What wine clubs do you belong to, and why?

Cheers!

Spam oh ridiculous spam!

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I’ve had this blog now since June 2007. I’ve tried hard to encourage conversation — to ask questions and get your opinions on the wines you like and why.

And while some of you have commented — and it’s been wonderful — the spam on this blog drives me crazy. In one-and-one-half years, this blog generated 53,388 spams! More than 53,000 comments that are spams. That is insane!

So please, help me keep my sanity, and start commenting more often! I’d love to hear what wine enthusiasts have to say! There’s lots to talk about the great wines of Washington state. And blogging is meant to be a discussion, so I don’t want to turn off the comments feature. Please, won’t you join in?

Cheers!

Red Wine and Chocolate for Valentine’s Day?

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What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? I hope there is red wine and chocolate in your plans. Many Washington state wineries have big plans for Valentine’s Day. Here are just a few of the events that I’ve heard about so far!

Woodhouse Family Cellars: The warehouse chic Kennedy Shah tasting room is the perfect place for good wine and a couple’s appetizer plate — an intimate start to your Valentine Day’s celebration. Reservations are required.

Efeste: An intimate winemaker’s dinner at the winery. Wonderful food prepared by Chef George Stevenson combined with Efeste wines – both new and old releases. Reservations are required.

Alexandria Nicole Cellars: A weekend of ANC’s red wine and chocolate from Theo’s Chocloate of Seattle.

William Church: Meet local chocolatier Julie Berg from Wellington Choclates and try the new Bishop’s Blend at a special pre-release price of $18 a bottle. Time: noon to 5 p.m.

Fall Line and the other seven wineries in Seattle’s SoDo district: All eight wineries are open for tastings — some will offer red wine and dark chocolate pairings.

Cheers!

Coming soon – 2007 Cab Franc Reserve

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Almost a year ago, I raved about the Kennedy Shah Cab Franc from Woodhouse Family Cellars. We really enjoyed it — so we were curious to taste the 2007 vintage when it’s released next month.

We lucked out and had the fortune to try a pre-release tasting at Woodhouse a few weeks ago, and wow- what an excellent mouthfeel. To our surprise, we like the new release even more!

If you like Cab Franc, you will love this one. Here are the tasting notes:

This wine introduces itself with aromas of cinnamon, orange zest, toast, and mild coffee, and greets the palate directly with bold flavors of black cherry, vanilla, plum and mulling spices. A full rounded mouthfeel with sensations of balanced acidity and silky, supple tannins lead to a lingering finish that is mouthwatering and savoring. This wine was aged in new French oak barrels for 24 months.

It’s possible though that this release might be for wine club members only. And – speaking from experience – Woodhouse Family Cellars has so many good wines that it’s a great wine club to join. I love their wines so much that I started doing some consulting for them!

Cheers!

Success! Washington Wine Rocks!

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About 400 people stopped by Efeste throughout the day yesterday to taste pours from seven wineries and donate to a good cause — the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The event, Washington Wine Rocks,  was a smashing success. There are so many wines to write about, but I just have time right now to name my favorites of the event:

In the weeks ahead, I’ll write more about these wines and the winemakers whom I had a chance to meet — although the event was so crowded and noisy, our conversation was somewhat limited. That being said, here’s to Efeste’s wonderful owners and winemaker for a superb event that will help a very good cause.

Cheers!

Going Quickly: Passport to Woodinville Tickets

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You’d better act soon to buy tickets to Woodinville wine country’s kickoff spring event – the extremely popular Passport to Woodinville. This event is such a fan fave that more than 1,000 tickets were sold within the first 24 hours!

The two-day event will be held on April 18 and 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and features pours from more than 30 wineries. It’s also an opportunity to meet winemakers and learn more about this exciting growth area of Washington wine country.

Ticket prices: Two day tickets – $60. Sunday only – $40. Tickets can be purchased at Woodinville Wine Country’s website. 

Participating wineries include Adams Bench, Anton Ville Winery, Baer Winery, Brian Carter Cellars, Chandler Reach, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Winery, Covington Cellars, Cuillin Hills Winery, Des Voigne Cellars, DiStefano Winery, Edmonds Winery, Efeste, Gordon Brothers Tasting Room, Guardian Cellars, Hestia Cellars, Hollywood Hill Vineyards, J. Bookwalter Tasting Studio, Matthews Estate, Northwest Totem Cellars, Page Cellars, Pomum Cellars, Red Sky Winery, Sparkman Cellars, Silver Lake Winery, Washington Wine Company/Patterson Cellars, William Church Winery, Woodhouse Family Cellars, Woodinville Wine Cellars and XSV.

If you love St. Nick’s weekend, this one’s for you. It’s similar to St. Nick’s but warmer outside! If you’ve never been to St. Nick’s weekend, check out my first blog post after the event: Amazing Woodville Wines.

Cheers!

Update: Washington Wines Rock Event

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This just in – more details about Saturday’s Washington Wines Rock! event at Efeste Wines in Woodinville.  Three more wineries have been added to the festivities, including two new wineries – Eklipse and Rotie Cellars.

Here is the full list of wineries and winemakers, who will be pouring 3-7 samples, including some pre-release tastings:

In addition to Washington state wines, there will also be rocking good music by the band “Creeping Time” and brick oven pizza. The event is happening from 3 – 7 p.m. and the proceeds from the $25 tickets go to a great cause — the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The event is limited to 300 people, so buy your tickets here soon! We hope to see you there!

Cheers!

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