Airfield Estates Is the Bomb(shell)

Airfield Estates 2007 Bombshell Red just keeps picking up speed. We first tasted it last September, when we visited the winery in Prosser. We then had a double flight in March. Apparently, you can cellar the 2007 Bombshell until 2014, but frankly we didn’t want to wait any longer.

And after almost a year in our cellar, the wine has matured to the point that it’s very drinkable alone (while waiting for dinner to cook) or with a wide variety of foods ranging from barbequed (or grilled) hamburgers to pizza.

The Bombshell Red blends seven varietals – 50% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Syrah, 3% Malbec, 2% Sangiovese, 1% Cinsault and 1% Counoise – which makes it truly unique.

The bad news is that all 631 cases have sold out. But keep your eye on Airfield Estates for the next release. If you can’t make it to Prosser, have no fear – the owners attend many events in the Seattle area.


2010 National Wine Bloggers Conference in Washington State

Great news — more than 250 wine bloggers will convene in Walla Walla in 2010. Here is the official news release.

SEATTLE (July 24, 2009) – The Washington Wine Commission announced today that the North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference – a new and wildly popular event held by and for wine bloggers and industry professionals, and held in California for the past two years – will hold its third annual conference in Washington State next summer.

Wine bloggers from throughout the United States and Canada will travel across Washington State to gather in Walla Walla from June 25-27, 2010. The Washington Wine Commission has been working closely with the organizers of the event to bring this conference to the state, and the entire Washington wine industry looks forward to welcoming more than 250 influential bloggers, traditional media, wineries and members of the trade to the Pacific Northwest.

Event organizer Allan Wright said, “Washington State is one of the premier grape growing and winemaking regions in the United States, and so a perfect location for the Wine Bloggers Conference.  Additionally, the wine industry – led by the Washington Wine Commission – has been very energetic and forward thinking in helping us bring the conference to Washington.  They understand the importance of bloggers and that makes holding the conference in Washington an easy decision.”

Washington Wine Commission Executive Director Robin Pollard added, “We’re thrilled to welcome the wine blogging community to Washington State.  We think conference attendees representing this new and exciting form of media will feel right at home with our diverse and dynamic industry.”

A sponsor of this year’s conference in Santa Rosa, California, the Washington Wine Commission hosts attendees for a discussion of the 2010 conference on Sunday, July 26, 2009.  The Commission will also post live updates throughout the conference, via Twitter, on its website –

Washington State is the second largest wine producing region in the country, with more than 650 wineries and 33,000 vineyard acres, and an economic impact of $4.7 billion annually.  More information on the Wine Bloggers’ Conference can be found at  For more information on the Washington wine industry and its many unique regions, please visit


Zin Sunday is Almost Here

In case you missed my blog post Zest for Zin?, this Sunday is when ZAP —  Zinfandel Advocates and Producers — brings its popular summer wine tasting event to the northwest from San Francisco.

More than 40 California wineries will be pouring 100+ Zinfandels, including Cakebread Cellars, Steele Wines, Ravenswood, Cline Cellars and others.

We hope to see you there – The Gardens at South Seattle College’s Arboretum from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $40 and available at the ZAP website and at the door.


Tickets Selling Fast: Auction of Washington Wines

As regular readers of the Write for Wine blog know, I do not usually republish news releases verbatim. But the release that landed in my inbox today is for a great event and a great cause, so I’m going to make an exception. The event is the Auction of Washington Wines – and the cause is Seattle Children’s Hospital. Here is the press release:

SEATTLE (July 20, 2009) – Summer is in full swing across the Pacific Northwest, and the region’s original, largest and most prestigious charity auction showcasing the stars of Washington wine is just around the corner. The 22nd annual Auction of Washington Wines is being held during a challenging year for many people, but sales are exceeding expectations.

Despite less than favorable economic conditions, the Auction of Washington Wines is still drawing strong sponsorship support and robust ticket sales for the many exciting events over the weekend of August 13th through 15th. In fact, winemakers and chefs have stepped up in greater numbers this year to host more Friday winemaker dinners throughout the Puget Sound area than ever before.

“It just goes to show that, even in tough economic times, people are still willing to give to great charitable causes, and Children’s Hospital deserves all the support we can give them,” says Auction Executive Director Carol Munro.

Since its inception in 1988, the Auction of Washington Wines has raised more than $21 million, with a majority benefitting uncompensated care at Seattle Children’s Hospital. This distinguished event gives wine lovers the chance to bridge a critical funding gap for children across the Northwest.

The Auction is also excited this year to host national travel expert and syndicated radio personality Peter Greenberg, who will be broadcasting his weekly radio show Peter Greenberg Worldwide from the Chateau Ste. Michelle grounds during the Barrel Auction and Picnic with the Winemakers on Thursday, August 13th.

The culminating event on Saturday evening is the elegant Gala Auction, featuring talented regional chefs preparing a multi-course meal accompanied by outstanding Washington wines. Highlighted auction items include destination vacations, one-of-a-kind wine lots, exquisite dinner parties with some of Washington’s most esteemed winemakers, and much, much more.

Additional information can be found at the auction’s website.


Woodstock 40th Anniversary Wine Party

So what if you were too young to attend Woodstock! Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards is holding a wine party that you don’t want to miss on Aug. 15 at on the north shore of Lake Chelan in Madson, Washington. Here are just some of the reasons to go:

  • Great wine – Love the 2006 Miss de Miner (and its name!) and can’t wait to try others
  • Fun people – Judy and Don Phelps are so much fun – and they have great stories too
  • Beautiful location – A vineyard overlooking the lake and the North Cascades
  • Far out – it’s a Woodstock reunion!

Now take a look at this — the party description on Hard Row’s Facebook page:

40 years ago some dudes got together in a cow pasture in New York and changed the world as we knew it. Judy was there in the mud, sprained ankle and all. Now we are going to rock the crush pad with our own version of a Woodstock revival party – break out your love beads, bell bottoms and tie-dyed shirts and come enjoy the event of the summer – the music will start at 5 in the afternoon and end at some time that night. You do not want to miss this one! Admission is $10 but wine club members and hippies get in free! Wine and food can be purchased separately.


Wine, Harborside, with Benefits

How can you beat that combo – wine, water and benefits? I am giving you lots of notice – the first annual Kitsap Wine Festival will be held on Sunday, Aug. 23, at Harborside Fountain Park near the ferry landing in Bremerton. The benefits?

Well, it’s a celebration of beneficial wine … and local food such as Amy’s Chocolates from Bremerton, Crimson Cove Smoked Specialties from Poulsbo and cuisine prepared by Chef Marsha Henry of Kitsap Conference Center and Chef Shawn Walker of Anthony’s at Sinclair Inlet.

Another benefit: if you take the ferry from downtown Seattle, you don’t need a car, because the wine festival takes place right next to the ferry terminal along the marina.

Seriously though, this is the real benefit: a portion of ticket proceeds will benefit Harrison Medical Center Foundation. A worthy cause! Tickets are $45 and can be purchased online or at Kitsap Conference Center.

These are the wineries that will be pouring: Balboa, Camaraderie Cellars, Chateau Ste. Michelle, DiStefano Winery, Domaine Ste. Michelle, Dusted Valley Vintners, Forgeron Cellars, Gordon Brothers Cellars, Hard Row to Hoe, Hightower Cellars, J Bookwalter, Mercer Estates, Novelty Hill, Olympic Cellars, Revelry Vintners, Snoqualmie, SYZGY, Thurston Wolfe Winery, Vin du Lac, Whidbey Island Winery, Yellow Hawk Cellar and Zero One Vintners.

We are definitely going and we hope to see you there! Cheers!

Kitsap Wine Festival

Woodinville Wine Notes Wednesday

Be prepared for Woodinville’s wonderful wines to wow you at Wine Notes Wednesday on July 15. Or as Woodinville Wine Country puts it, “Wine Notes Wednesday will provide you with the perfect opportunity to wine down your Wednesday and to identify wineries that you will want to visit throughout the summer.”

The event will be held at Columbia Winery from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. In addition to fine wine from more than 20 wineries, Wine Notes features music from Nice Legs, the house band from Page Cellars.

The band’s name relates to wine legs –the streaks that form on a wine glass when the wine is swirled. We’ve enjoyed tunes from Nice Legs many times at Page Cellars – the son of Page owners Rothelle and Jim, Brett Cummings, plays a mean saxaphone.

Reserve your Wine Notes tickets online for $30 or $40 (cash only) at the door.


New Grape Killers Wine Bar Brings Woodinville to Seattle

The buzz has begun on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and in old-fashioned email that Grape Killers Lounge will open on July 15 on Pier 70 in Seattle. Grape Killers is the new Seattle location for seven great Woodinville wineries –  Baer, Darby, Guardian Cellars, Gorman Winery, Mark Ryan Winery, Sparkman Cellars and Stevens Winery.

We have bottles in our cellar from each one of these wineries, so I know we’re going to be fans of Grape Killers Lounge!

At Grape Killers, you can taste pours from each winery – three or six ounces – or you can buy a bottle and savor it while relaxing at the lounge on the pier. Rare, exclusive and library wines will be available too. And a  retail shop will handily be available, in case you loved the pours and want to take a bottle or two home. Chances are, that will happen. Seriously, these seven wineries make excellent Washington wine.

And that’s not all: there will be a “small bites” menu, special entertainment, board games, a library of wine-related books and magazines, winemakers dinners and wine education nights.  The lounge will be open for lunch on Mondays – Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner every day from 4 to 11pm.

Count on seeing us there!

Sauv Blanc-Crisp Wine for Summer

The summer whites that top our list right now are JM Cellars 2008 Sauvignon Blanc and Efeste 2008 Feral Sauvignon Blanc.

We first tasted Feral when it was released in March. Made using native, wild yeast for fermentation, the grapefruit aromas inherent to Sauv Blanc are enhanced, and the mouthfeel is somehow both rich and crisp at the same time.  And for me personally, Efeste’s 2008 Feral was the kickstart to drinking white wine again after more than a decade of reds only.

Had it not been for my newly found fondness for Feral, I probably never would have even tasted JM Cellars 2008 Sauvignon Blanc. Thankfully, I did. JM Cellars Sauv Blanc’s refreshing and delicious white is paired perfectly with hot sun on the deck or with warm summer nights. In other words, it drinks well alone, although chilled prawns and other summer treats go well with it too.

This is the ninth year that the JM Cellars Sauvignon Blanc was made from old-vine grapes from award-winning Klipsun Vineyard in Red Mountain. Its pure citrus flavors come from fermentation and aging in stainless steel. The 2006 vintage was rated 90 by Wine Advocate.

I am so glad that I took the red blinders off this summer, because Sauv Blanc is an amazing way to enhance any summer day.