Update: A Tough Decision

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Comments are back on at Write for Wine! I finally found time to install Akismet to help me with spam, so hopefully the 150 spam comments received each week will be minimalized. (Three spams arrived in the brief time it took to configure Akismet, by the way!)

Now I can breathe a sigh of relief – as mentioned three weeks ago, the difficult decision to turn off comments flies in the face of everything I believe about social media as a way to engage with people and build relationships.

So thank you everyone who wrote with ideas for spam reduction – we appreciate your feedback and your support.

Cheers!

Seattleite Magazine & Shameless Self-promotion

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I don’t think I’ve ever written a blog post containing shameless self-promotion. (And if I have, I’m sure I’ll get email about it!) But there’s a first time for everything.

I recently started writing for Seattleite Magazine, which launched earlier this month. As you can see on its About Us  page, “Substance, style and sophistication, Seattleite is the luxury lifestyle resource for Seattle’s newest generation of affluent, trend-setting professionals who are in-the-know and on-the-go.”

In a few short weeks, Seattleite took off — it’s very exciting news, and I encourage you to check out the online magazine yourself.

Here’s where the shameless self-promotion enters the picture! I hope you enjoy the articles I’ve written so far for Seattleite, and I hope you continue to read my contributions in the future! I write a Wine O’Clock Wednesday column each week, in addition to Must-Have articles when I have time. Here are the articles I’ve written so far:

Wine O’Clock Wednesday:

Other Articles:

Future articles can be found on my Author’s Page - coming up soon, Valentine’s Day red wine and chocolate tastings. If you’re in the Seattle area and want to be included, please send me email margot@writeforwine.com by end of day Tuesday!

But don’t restrict your reading to only wine posts – there are many articles about fashion, food, Seattle events and more to grab your attention!

Cheers!

EFESTE Rocks Reds and Whites

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efesteIn the last couple of months, we found ourselves drawn, like magnets, to several EFESTE wines – the rich Big Papa Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon, the smooth Final Final red blend and the robust Eleni Syrah, in addition to long-time favorites, Ceidleigh and Jolie Bouche Syrah.

We’re in good company for recognizing EFESTE’s fine wines, created with an individual twist and an amazing talent by winemaker Brennon Leighton.

For example, Washington wine expert Paul Gregutt recently recognized Brennon’s Lola Chardonnay:

“Leighton’s Lola is the sort of wine that makes you rethink domestic chardonnay entirely – it is light years beyond the dull, apple-flavored juice, sometimes slathered in new oak, that generally typifies the category. … When first opened, the 2009 Lola had me immediately gushing: “This is as good as the best from California – textural, creamy, a delicious mix of lemon custard, meringue, caramel, papaya and toasted coconut. At one third the price of comparable bottles, this young wine just seduces from the instant it hits the tongue.”

Gregutt also named EFESTE’s 2007 Big Papa Cab as No. 26 on the list of Top 100 Washington wines in The Seattle Times. Meanwhile, I called Big Papa a “Must-Have Cabernet Sauvignon” in my article, Must-Have Bottles of Wine in Seattlelite Magazine.

Brennon at EFESTE

In 2009, Seattle Magazine hailed Brennon as Winemaker to Watch and Efeste Wines as the Best New Winery. These days, Brennon is indeed considered a star  in the Washington wine world.

But he remains exactly the same as when we first met him in 2008 – open, blunt, sharp and passionate, a talented man whom my mother would have said “pulls no punches,” and an artist who also likes to experiment.

Actually, everyone from EFESTE is passionate, smart and fun – Daniel and Helen Ferrelli, Kevin and Angie Taylor, and Patrick Smith. I’m happy to say that Dave and I have become friends with the wonderful group at EFESTE, and I’ve helped them with Twitter for almost a year.

But it began with the wine. We first tasted the wine at St. Nick’s in 2008 and instantly became members of EFESTE’s Inner Circle wine club. The friendships developed over time.

If you’re in the Woodinville area, stop by EFESTE’s tasting room. Try their wines, chat to anyone there, and we fully expect you’ll have a great time.

Cheers!

Learn to Taste Wine From an Expert

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TimWineFinalIf you’re a wine enthusiast who lives in the Seattle area, this is definitely an event to consider: an exclusive wine education and tasting event at Bartholomew Winery with internationally renowned wine master sommelier and educator, Tim Gaiser.

Tim is one of 175 people in the world to attain the elite Master Sommelier wine title and is currently the Education Chair for the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has the skills and experience to open a bottle of wine and identify its age, quality and complexity. And according to the event material that we received, Tim will “teach you to think like a genius sommerlier, enabling you to select wines with confidence.”

The evening also includes food pairings from Green Apple Catering and music by bass soloist, Brendan Wires.

So mark your calendars for Feb. 4, 6-9 p.m. at Bartholomew Winery, located in the Old Rainier Brewery, 3100 Airport Way in South Seattle. There is limited seating so reservations are required; register at In The Wings Special Events.

We hope to see you there!

Cheers!

A Tough Decision

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I made a decision today about something I’ve been thinking about for a few months. It wasn’t easy, but I decided to cut off comments on this blog, for now. The result of this tough decision flies in the face of everything I believe about social media as a way to engage with people and build relationships.

Unfortunately, this blog now generates about 150 spam comments each week. Since late Aug. 2009, approximately 9,000 spam comments were left on Write for Wine. Five spams arrived in the brief time it took to write this post!

This is not a new trend. As far back as Feb. 2009, I wrote about how this blog received more than 50,000 spams in its first 1.5 years. I thought the amount would decrease if I moderated the comments, which I started doing in mid-2010, but it didn’t help, unfortunately.

facebook logoOn the bright side, many people leave legitimate comments about my blog posts when they appear on Facebook and on Twitter.

Twitter logo

So, for now, I’ve decided to turn off comments on this blog. But I’d still love to hear your ideas and feedback about my blog posts, so please also follow Write for Wine on its Facebook page or follow me on Twitter.

Cheers!

Washington Wines & Wineries, The Essential Guide-Part 2

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Washington Wines & WineriesIf you didn’t receive the wonderful book Washington Wines & Wineries, The Essential Guide over the holidays, here is another reason why you should buy it yourself. The book is full of fascinating factoids about the Washington wine industry.

Frankly, I thought I knew a fair amount about the industry, because I’ve written about Washington wine since 2007. But as I was turning the book’s pages, I kept saying “Dave, did you know this?” or “Dave, listen to this!” (He found the information captivating too, so he didn’t mind that I interrupted his reading of another book, thankfully.)

Here are just a few of the factoids in Paul Gregutt’s second edition of his book. There are many more, and Paul’s tone is so conversational that you don’t even realize you’re being educated while reading a great story.

  • National sales of Washington state wines increased 9.1 percent by value and 6.8 percent in volume in 2009, compared to the previous year – figures well above the national averages.
  • Washington has seen five straight exceptional vintages following the freeze of 2004.
  • MFK Research estimated that tourists who visited Washington wineries in 2006 spent more than $237 million, up from just $8.9 million in 2000.
  • In that same period, the number of visitors increased fivefold, from 350,000 to more than 1.7 million.

By the way, this information is all revealed in the Preface; it’s just a taste of the many interesting facts, stories and opinions throught this book.

My suggestion – check out Paul’s website to find out when and where he’s signing books. Or go to Amazon and purchase the book online.

You will have hours and hours of reading pleasure. You can find more in my previous post, The Essential Guide is the Perfect Gift.

Cheers!

Barrage Cellars

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Barrage CellarsI’m not sure why I haven’t written a blog post focusing on Barrage Cellars before, but it’s about time, and a great way to start the new year!

We’ve actually been fans of Barrage Cellars for quite awhile; these days we’re major advocates of the 2007 Outcast Cabernet Franc. And I’ve had many conversations with the amusing and talented owner/winemaker Kevin Correll at events such as the Seattle Wine Awards.

A few weeks ago, we ventured to the Barrage tasting room in the Woodinville Wine Warehouse District. In addition to some excellent Washington wines, we had a wonderful time talking to Kevin and his girlfriend, Rebecca, again. And we loved his dog, Murphy!

Like many winemakers here, Kevin started making wine as a hobby in his garage; from there, he moved his craft to the barn. Put the two words barn and garage together – Bar+rage – and voila, Barrage Cellars was born.

In addition to Outcast Cab Franc, Kevin creates wine with other Bordeaux grapes and makes some good whites too. We tasted the lineup at his tasting room, where he told us he prefers to blend wine with the same grape from different vineyards, rather than blending different grapes together in one wine.

While our favorite continues to be Kevin’s Cab Franc, the most popular Barrage wine has always been Riesling. The 2009 vintage is no exception. This wine is all about the fruit – from its aromas to the palate. With a price point of $18, this wine sells quickly.

I’ve also seen people at events flock to Kevin’s table for his Nuclear Blonde Chardonnay, just because of its name. We’re not big Chard drinkers, but this one is special.

As for the other reds, Dave leaned toward the Trifecta Merlot, while I favored the Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon. (This is typical of our palates.) Frankly, we wanted to bring all the reds home with us, but we ended up leaving with just the robust, delicious Cab Franc.

Cheers!

135 Washington Wineries to follow on Twitter

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wine glass sunsetHappy New Year! Indeed it is 1-1-11 and the beginning of a new year. To start 2011 out right, I want to share a list of 135 Washington state wineries you can follow on Twitter.

In alphabetical order, these are wineries that I follow, likely because we’ve tasted their wines or they’ve reached out to me on Twitter, Facebook or through this blog. If you’d like to be added to this list, follow me @writeforwine and I will follow you back and add you to this list.Twitter logo

In the meantime, to all Washington wineries, here’s to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011!

Happy New Year & Cheers!