In the Spotlight

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August has been another busy month for us, so we’re going to do something unusual. Instead of blogging about our favorite wines or wine events, we’re going to give you some insights about Write for Wine.

Today, we appeared in the spotlight of South Florida Food and Wine blog – an amazing blog that covers food, wine and events in, as the name suggests, South Florida. But these fine writers also offer a weekly “In the Spotlight” series – and this week, we’re honored to be in that spotlight. Thank you Christine!

We hope you enjoy the blog post and the interview – and while you’re there, check out the South Florida Food and Wine Blog in more detail too: http://southfloridafoodandwineblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/write-for-wine-great-wine-blogger-in.html

And remember – it’s wine o’clock somewhere!

Cheers!

BLEND

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I finally found an event that seems to be tailored just for me – BLEND. Of course it’s not! But regular readers of this blog know that well-crafted Bordeaux-style blends top my list of favorite wines. So a Seattle event focused on blends is a must-go for me.

On Sept. 12, BLEND features wine blends from 40 top producers in Washington state, Sonoma county and Portugal. The food will be created from chefs at Inn at Langely, Friday Harbor House, Salish Lodge, Bell Harbor, Kenwood Inn & Spa, Oitavos Hotel in Portugal, Lakedale Resort, Kitsap Conference Center and the World Trade Center.

And if that’s not enough, there are two blending seminars by Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery. The event takes place throughout Bell Harbor, including the waterfront outdoor patio.

Plus, there are chances to win two-night getaways to Columbia Hospitality’s hotels and a five-night stay at The Oitavos hotel in Cascals, Portugal. Tickets can be purchased online – the seminars are $15 and the Grand Tasting is $59 per person.

We hope to see you there. Cheers!

Two More Wonderful Walla Walla Wineries

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We had two more wineries to visit before leaving Walla Walla after the Wine Blogger Conference. Yes, we were officially on our sixth day of wine tasting, for those of you who insist on counting! (Note: “wine tasting” is not a synonym for “wine drinking.”)

Our first stop was Forgeron Cellars, the former site of a blacksmith shop, where we’ve visited on every single trip to Walla Walla. In fact, we have been such fans of Marie-Eve Gilla’s wines for so long that she and her husband, Gilles Nicault (the resident winemaker at Long Shadows), have become good friends of ours.

One of our favorite wines from Forgeron Cellars is the 2003 Vinfinity, an elegant, layered wine that is a beauty. We also favored the 2004 Boushey Vineyard Syrah, which won gold at Sexy Syrah at Salty’s in April (and then sold out). More recently, Forgeron’s ’06 Zinfandel has become a crowd pleaser, even moreso because Washington state Zin is a rarity.

Forgeron began growing Zinfandel in 2001, and has produced seven vintages. The ’06 combines fruit from three vineyards: Alder Ridge, Clifton and Les Collines. I like my wine big and bold, and Forgeron’s ’06 Zin meets my criteria. And I adore Marie-Eve’s comment: “Be sure to have an extra bottle or 2 of this Zinfandel on hand. You don’t want to run out of wine before you run out of food!” Pay heed!

Our next stop was Watermill Winery, which I promised to visit back in March, when Bob Silver introduced me to their 2006 Syrah. I renewed that vow in June at Seattle Wine Awards, where I met winemaker Andrew Brown and fell head-over-heels for Watermill’s 2007 Estate Cab Franc.

Watermill Winery is actually located in Milton Freewater, Oregon, only 10 miles from downtown Walla Walla, so it was an easy drive, and well worth the trip. Crystal was our charming host, and poured us through most of their superb lineup.

We really enjoyed the 2007 Estate Midnight Red, 2007 Cab Sauv, the 2007 Walla Walla Merlot and the 2007 Estate Malbec. Both the Merlot and Malbec won double gold at Seattle Wine Awards. But we left with the Syrah and Cab Franc to savor back at home.

(Disclosure: I help Marie-Eve with their Twitter account.)

Cheers!

Two Wonderful Wineries of Walla Walla

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You’d think the last thing we would want to do after three days at the Wine Blogger Conference would be to drink more wine. But hey, we were still in Walla Walla and we had invitations to visit two more wineries. And what a day it was!

We started out at L’Ecole 41 – regular readers of this blog know how much we love their wine. Back in February, I wrote a long post about L’Ecole wines – their 2006 blends, Apogee and Perigee, 2006 Walla Walla Cab Sauv, 2007 Estate Syrah and 2007 Estate Merlot. Fast forward four months, and there we were in the L’Ecole schoolhouse, in for an amazing treat – a vertical tasting of library wines, hosted by our friend, Jamie Chalk.

What an experience tasting side-by-side verticals of these Bordeaux-style blends – the ’99, ’03 and ’07 Apogee from Pepper Bridge Vineyard and the ’03 and ’07 Estate Perigee from Seven Hills Vineyard. Apogee was rich, bold and earthy, while Perigee was elegant and complex. Comparing them over time sent me to Bordeaux heaven!

LEcole Library Tasting Joining me there were several friends, including Melanie, who posted this photo of all of us on her blog, Dallas Wine Chick.

From L’Ecole, Melanie, Dave and I drove to Va Piano Vineyards, which we had never visited before. We will definitely go back. In fact, all three of us had so many superlatives for Va Piano wines that we all joined their wine club.

And winemaker Justin Wylie has become an honorary member of Write for Wine’s “favorite winemakers club!” How can you not like a winemaker who says, “My winemaking philosophy is very simple, grow the best grapes we can and don’t screw it up in the cellar.”

Our favorite Va Piano wine was the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon – Justin added a touch of Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot to this luscious cab, which makes it uniquely rich and complex. We also tasted the ’07 Syrah and ’08 Syrah, which sealed the deal.

Justin also offers a line of wines inspired by his friend Father “Bruno” Segatta, whom Justin met at Gonzaga University. Bruno, an artist and priest, inspired Justin to give back to the community. As a result, Va Piano offers Bruno’s Blend, a multi-vintage red blend with Bruno’s paintings on each label. When the wine is sold out, Va Piano donates a portion of the proceeds to a charity of Bruno’s choice.

We’re looking forward to catching up with Justin at the Auction of Washington Wines picnic next week, and tasting more of his wonderful wines.

Cheers!

The Must-Attend WA Wine Weekend of Summer

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One of our favorite summer wine events is around the corner – the 23rd annual Auction of Washington Wines, which benefits Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Washington Wine Education Foundation. Called “2010 – A Wine Odyssey,” the weekend kicks off with a barrel auction and picnic with the winemakers on Aug. 19 at Chateau Ste. Michelle.

We went last year and had such a wonderful time — we knew months ago we’d be back again this year. What’s not to like? An August afternoon on the beautiful grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle, top-rated Washington wines, delicious food and a silent auction so good, it’s hard to decide what to bid on. And this year, the picnic dishes are being prepared by those amazing chefs from Tulalip Resort Casino. Oh yes, and to top all of that, many of Washington’s best winemakers are pouring their releases and talking up a storm.

The next night, Aug. 20, offers a number of Winemaker Dinners at various gorgeous locations, from homes to estates, from Bainbridge to Bellevue, from Crescent Beach to Mutiny Bay. These unique dinners feature winemakers from Woodward Canyon, Thurston Wolfe, Barnard Griffin, Walla Walla Vintners, Betz Family Winery, Sleight of Hand Cellars, Gorman Winery, Mark Ryan Winery, Sparkman Cellars, Côte Bonneville, DeLille Cellars, Quilceda Creek Vintners, Andrew Will, Boudreaux Cellars, Leonetti, Long Shadows, Abeja, Cadence, Waters and Dunham Cellars.

On Saturday, Aug. 21, the popular Covey Run 10k race and 5k run/walk through Woodinville wine country raises money for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Register online for this fun event that starts and finishes at Red Hook Brewery.

That evening, the weekend wraps up with a black-tie Gala Auction at Chateau Ste. Michelle. A menu prepared by world-renowned chefs will be paired with Washington wines, and after the auction, there will be dancing to the Brian Nova Orchestra.

According to the website, this wonderful wine weeked, which is for such a good cause, is “The original, largest and most prestigious charity auction showcasing the stars of Washington wine.”

Find more information about all the events at the Auction’s website, and purchase tickets online too.

Cheers!