Best of Our Trip to Wine Country

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We tasted many fine Washington wines this past weekend when we visited Yakima, Prosser, Horse Heaven Hills and Red Mountain. It’s impossible to list the best of those wines, but we do want to share  our picks for the best of the wines at some of the wineries we visited (in no particular order).

When we drove back from wine country a couple of days ago, Dave said, “This trip confirms — again — what we have always believed: our favorite wineries offer fine wine, wonderful events and great people.” We’re fortunate that many of those great people have become our friends!

Come back for more details about these wines and about Alexandria Nicole’s fabulous Harvest Party we attended at Destiny Ridge Vineyard. And you can also follow my updates at http://twitter.com/writeforwine

Cheers!

Harvest Parties Here We Come!

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We’re spending some time at Harvest parties in Horse Heaven Hills and Red Mountain, so the best way to follow our adventures live (or almost live!) is on Twitter (http://twitter.com/writeforwine) or possibly on Facebook (http://facebook.com/writeforwine).

There are few places that are definites during our trip, and I’m sure there will be lots of surprises too! Here are the definites:

And it’s wine o’clock now, so …

Cheers!

Recent Recommendations from Woodinville

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We went to a few release parties and wineries in the last few weeks, and I’m finally finding some time to write about them. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – Washington state makes some excellent wines.

Here are some of the wines that we tasted and recommend – if your palates are similar to ours!

  • William Church Winery: 2 Spires (new release) – a Syrah/Cabernet blend
  • Woodhouse Wine Estates: 2005 Kennedy Shah Reserve Tempranillo (new release for wine club members only)
  • Gorman Winery: The Evil Twin 2007 – (new release – also a Syrah/Cabernet blend)
  • Page Cellars: 2008 Sentimental Blonde Sauvignon Blanc (named after owner Rothelle by her husband/winemaker Jim)
  • Senoj Estates: 2007 Primitivo (a genetic twin to Zinfandel, which will be released in November)
  • Dusted Valley: 2006 BFM Red Blend (a Walla Walla winery that recently moved to Woodinville)
  • Gifford-Hirlinger: 2007 LV  (80% Cabernet Sauvignon/20% Merlot; located next door to Dusted Valley, another Walla Walla winery that recently moved to Woodinville)
  • Smasne Cellars: 2003 Bunk House Red (a library wine)
  • Davenport Cellars: 2007 Snowflake (a white blend from this Woodinville newcomer)

I expect to be writing more about these great wines and wineries in the near future.

Cheers!

Score! Alexandria Nicole Cellars

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This just in from Wine Enthusiast’s December ratings for Alexandria Nicole Cellars (ANC) in Woodinville and Prosser … Props to winemaker Jarrod Boyle and Ali (Alexandria Nicole) Boyle!

91 points for:

  • 2008 Late Harvest Riesling Horse Heaven Hills (Editors Choice)
  • 2008 Crawford Viognier Columbia Valley (Editors Choice)
  • 2006 Alderdale Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills

90 points for:

  • 2008 Shepherds Mark White Blend Horse Heaven Hills
  • 2007 Gravity Merlot Horse Heaven Hills
  • 2007 Mr. Big Petite Sirah Horse Heaven Hills

Next week, we’re heading to ANC’s Destiny Vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills, where the grapes for these great wines are harvested on 243 acres on the high bluffs overlooking the Columbia River. We’ve been to both tasting rooms in Woodinville and Prosser, but never to the vineyard itself. We can’t wait!

Cheers!

Full Pull Wines in South Seattle

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There’s a new wine retailer in town, but this one is unique. All you will find in Full Pull Wines is Washington State wines. This is bound to please supporters of this state’s fine wines … like us, for example. And the company’s business model is unusual too.

Full Pull Wines is the brainchild of Paul Zitarelli, who was kind enough to send me some information just prior to its launch. He noted that the Washington-focused venture is a non-traditional retailer operating out of a warehouse in SODO. Full Pull sells wine through a mailing list, using a one-offer-per-day model. After ordering, you can pick your wine up at the warehouse or have it shipped.

According to my colleague at Wine Peeps, “If you are a shopper like me who loves the personal attention and customer service of Nordstrom but prefers the prices of Target, Full Pull Wines could be the perfect wine retailer for you.”

We haven’t made it to the warehouse yet, but we hope to visit it and meet Paul one of these days soon. I just signed up for the mailing list, which is the only way to purchase wine from Full Pull. Hopefully you’ll do the same and support a new Washington wine venture.

Cheers!

Delicious D2 from DeLille

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We decided not to wait for a special occasion to drink DeLille Cellars 2006 D2. Every day is special, eh? And wow, so is this wine.

The name of this wine also has a special meaning for us, because it is named after the “grand route de vin” (principal wine route) in Bordeaux, where we spend a wonderful week a few years ago. In Bordeaux, there is a tradition of making a “deuxieme” or second wine. So D2 also represents an abbreviation for the second wine at DeLille Cellars.

Don’t let the description “second wine” fool you. This is a magnificent blend of 52.5% Merlot,  38.5% Cabernet Sauvignon , 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. I don’t use the word “magnificent” lightly! Regular readers know that my favorite wine is a Bordeaux blend, and this one generated a big sigh of happiness when I sipped it.

If you want further proof, check out these awards given to D2 over the years! Unfortunately, the 2006 vintage is sold out. But you can pre-order the 2007 vintage at DeLille’s website.

Update: Before I had a chance to post this, we also opened DeLille’s Doyenne 2006 AIX. This Provence-style Cab-Syrah blend also is highly recommended; in fact, Wine Spectator gave it 93 points in 2006 and the previous vintage. However, as mentioned (many times) I favor Bordeaux-style blends, so D2 was my preference!

Cheers!

We’re Back!

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The Write for Wine blog unexpectedly took a holiday over the Labor Day weekend, but we’re back! And it’s all thanks to Louis!

The “holiday” began after we read a CNET article: “WordPress blogs falling prey to worm The worm does not affect the current version 2.8.4 and the one prior to it. And it only affects people who host their own WordPress blog.”

We host our own WordPress blog but it’s not on the current version, so our immediate reaction was to upgrade to version 2.8.4. Makes sense, eh? You’d think, except our manual upgrade didn’t quite work and the blog site went down, down, down – and remained in that dark state for two days. Two l-o-n-g days.

But then my wonderful nephew Louis came to the rescue – and voila, Write for Wine is back in business! We can’t find enough words to thank Louis, who along with the lovely Karyne, became new parents a mere one week ago when my beautiful great-niece Lyv was born in Montreal. Felicitations et merci beaucoup!

Cheers! Salut!

Super Syrah from Alexandria Nicole Cellars

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It’s a tough call – Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2006 Block 17 Syrah or Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2005 Estate Syrah? We opened bottles of each wine recently and it’s hard to pick a favorite. Next time, we’ll do a side-by-side tasting!

I’ve already written about the amazing 2006  Block 17, which recently won a gold medal at The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wines in the world. More recently, we discovered the limited release (571 cases) of 2005 Estate Syrah, which is rich and velvety.

It might not have received the awards or accolades of the more famouse Block 17, but 2005 Estate Syrah is showing nicely now and is “expected to gain complexity and soften a bit in the next seven to ten years.”

But you see, that’s the “problem” I have with Jarrod Boyle’s ANC wines – they are so good that we never want to wait. We want them now!

Cheers!

Gehringer Brothers Okanagan Valley

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As a true-blue British Columbian (even though I live in Seattle these days), I am delighted to blog about a perfect summer wine from the Okanagan Valley: Gehringer Brothers Estate Winery 2007 Sauvignon Blanc. Better yet, I discovered this tasty wine through Twitter.

More specifically, our good friends from Vernon, Kate and Peter, were coming down to visit, so I asked on Twitter for recommendations for a great B.C. Sauv Blanc that they could bring us. I knew from my own experience that my home province was better known for its whites than reds.

I received several replies, but the one that stood out was from @okanaganfof (Okanagan Feast of Fields in Summerland B.C.), who recommended Gehringer Brothers. The winery is located in the Okanagans’s premier grape region, on the scenic south-west beaches of Oliver, known as the “Golden Mile.”

This Sauv Blanc was made in a non-oaked style, which brings out the typical characteristics of grapefruit and citrus, but also adds a hint of asparagus and gooseberries.

We only recently discovered that we like this crisp white varietal, which was a pleasant surprise after drinking mainly red wines for years. Reintroduced to Sauv Blanc in Napa Valley a couple of months ago, I blogged about the tastes from Goosecross Cellars, Hall Wines, and PlumpJack. Then in Washington, we fell for Efeste’s 2008 Feral and JM Cellar’s 2008 Sauv Blanc. More recently, we enjoyed a tasty 2008 Sauv Blanc from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

So I think it’s safe to say that 2009 is the year that we’ve tiptoed back into whites – and I know my dear sister will be shocked to read this. I’m just saying!

Cheers!