Spring Valley Vineyard at Semiahmoo Resort

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 9.08.36 AMThe July Winemaker Dinner at the scenic Semiahmoo Resort featured impressive Spring Valley Vineyard wines paired with a delicious five-course meal designed by the creative Chef Bruno.

Throughout the meal, winemaker Serge Laville entertained the crowd with stories about the vineyard and each of the wines.

Spring Valley, located in Walla Walla, is known for producing only reds, but a special release of 2014 Viognier was also poured at the dinner. Serge explained that there was Viognier remaining from his co-ferment with the Nina Lee Syrah, so he decided to add a white wine to his portfolio. If you like Viognier, you will love this one — although it likely can’t be found anywhere but the winery itself and at special occasions such as winemaker dinners like this one.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 9.07.57 AMAs Serge visited with each table during the five courses, he was asked to name the wine of which he was the most proud. His response: his Syrah from the tough growing season in 2011. The  entire harvest took place in November (much later than usual) and was completed in 17 days instead of the typical 40-day period.

We enjoyed the Syrah, but we also appreciated the Cabernet Franc, the winery’s best-selling Uriah, and the lovely Frederick.

Here is the full menu of dinner courses and wine pairings, listed on a unique wooden menu at each place setting.

Menu

First Course
Goat Cheese Panna Cotta, Micro Herbs, Brioche Toast, Sockeye Salmon Ceviche, Pickled Cucumber, with Spring Valley Vineyard 2014 Viognier

Second Course
Pan Seared Foie Gras, Crispy Pork Belly Bacon, Creamy Polenta with Pecorino, Fresh Cherries, with Spring Valley Vineyard Katherine Corkrum 2010 Cabernet Franc

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Third Course
Roasted Halibut, Spot Prawns, Braised Heirloom Tomatoes, Black Olive & Fresh Thyme Vinaigrette with Spring Valley Vineyard Uriah 2013 Red Blend

Fourth Course
Japanese Wagyu Beef Ribeye, Smoked Rainbow Carrots, Red Wine Jus with Spring Valley Vineyard Frederick 2012 Red Blend

Dessert
Vanilla Cremeux & Washington Berry Trifle with Spring Valley Vineyard Nina Lee 2012 Syrah

Semiahmoo Resort holds winemaker dinners each month  so mark your calendar for these upcoming events.

  • August 25: Wagner Family Wine featuring Caymus
  • Sept. 8: Rodney Strong
  • Oct. 4: Cakebread Cellars
  • Nov. 3: Stags Leap
  • Feb. 10, 2017: Second Annual DeLille Cellars Dinner
  • May 11, 2017: Joe Dobbes

Whether you live in Washington state, British Columbia, or anywhere else, Semiahmoo Resort is a great weekend getaway with breathtaking scenery, kayaking, birdwatching, swimming and lots of other activities in addition to the winemaker dinners. We are lucky to live nearby!

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Woodinville Wineries

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 9.14.49 AMNow that we don’t live in Seattle anymore, we have to carefully choose the wineries we want to visit on our trips to Woodinville.

It is not an easy task! Woodinville Wine Country boasts 108 wineries now — an amazing growth rate since 30 tasting rooms when we started Write for Wine in 2007.

Here is a list of the wineries (in alphabetical order) that we tend to visit most often — they are among the best, although there are more. So spend your time wisely – do your homework and develop a plan before you go!

  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars
  • Ambassador Wines
  • Avennia
  • Baer
  • Barrage Cellars
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle (Estates)
  • Darby
  • DeLille Cellars
  • Efeste
  • Fidelitas
  • Forgeron
  • Gard Vintners
  • Gorman Winery
  • Guardian Cellars
  • JM Cellars
  • Laura Ashton
  • Obelisco
  • Otis Kenyon
  • Savage Grace
  • William Church
  • The Woodhouse Wine Estates

For a list of all wineries in the area (including maps), restaurants and events, check out the Woodinville Wine Country website.

We highly recommend visiting Woodinville wineries every month, because there are always new releases to taste and a warm, welcoming tasting room where you can learn about wine and have fun at the same time.

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Semiahmoo Resort’s Oenophile Club

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 12.45.13 PMSemiahmoo Resort launched a unique wine club this month, targeted at wine aficionados in Washington state and British Columbia.

The Oenophile Club features six wine tastings annually, plus reduced pricing for a number of events at the spectacular resort.

  • Six wine tastings annually; additional tastings throughout the year are reduced to $15 per tasting (full price is $20)
  • No corkage fee on one bottle per visit, per week, at Pierside Kitchen or Packers Oyster Bar
  • Advanced notice of all vintner and winemaker dinner dates — including Spring Valley (July 28), Cakebread Cellars (Oct. 4), Stag’s Leap (Nov. 3) and more. See more details in our previous blog post.
    • Preferred vintner and winemaker dinner reservations at 10% off
    • Special reserved seating for eight guests and 10% off entire reservation (when using one member card)
  • Access to private wine storage in resort wine room, subject to availability; maximum five bottles
  • Access to private cooking classes, and wine pairings, at Pierside Kitchen with the resort chef
  • Preferred resort room rates on vintner and winemaker dinner nights, subject to availability
  • Personalized Oenophile Club card

The annual cost is $225 — which works out to be less than $20 per month.

So now you have an opportunity to support your local resort – and have fun doing it!

We hope to see you there!

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Crowdsourced Cabernet

Crowdsourced CabWord first came out two years ago that Columbia Crest was planning to become the first winery in the world to crowdsource a wine through an interactive online experience.

A new website, Crowdsourced Cabernet, was launched, so voters could make decisions through every step of creating the wine — bud break, harvest, fermentation, the final blend and the label.

On June 3, 2016, Columbia Crest’s 2014 Crowdsourced™ Cabernet was released (1,000 cases) and can now be purchased online and in the winery’s tasting room in Paterson, Washington. ($30 SRP)

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 8.46.29 AMThe two-year journey began when Columbia Crest’s head winemaker, Juan Muñoz-Oca, chose a five-acre estate block in one of his best vineyards, which is used for his highly acclaimed reserve program.

The vineyard can be seen in a series of YouTube videos made during the crowdsourcing program. Throughout the process, he educated and guided the crowd, explaining how much water to apply to the vines, how the temperature impacts harvest and other key factors needed in winemaking decisions. Voters were then given a series of choices to make.

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Ultimately, they decided harvesting should take place at night, the wine should be created with a lot of complexity and soft tannins, and be aged 16 months in 30% new oak barrels.

More than 6,000 people participated in the adventure. Depending on which voter you ask, the crowdsourced experiment was a lark, an adventure and/or an educational experience about the craft of winemaking. The outcome? From the tasting notes:

The result is a beautifully integrated and layered Cabernet Sauvignon from the Horse Heaven Hills. The 2014 Crowdsourced Cabernet Sauvignon has a delicate nose of tobacco, dried herbs, bright cherries and anise. On the palate, the wine develops warm blueberry pie flavors and a silky texture with dark chocolate and toffee undertones. It finishes with a bright, elegant and refined texture.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 8.32.58 AMBut the program isn’t over. Columbia Crest is embarking on another journey for the 2015 vintage of Crowdsourced Cabernet. Decisions are still in progress so if you are interested, you can place your votes on the website, Crowdsourced Cabernet. You can also follow #crowdsourcedcabernet on Twitter and Instagram.

We enjoyed our glasses of this one-of-a-kind Cab Sauv on the deck, as pictured above and on Instagram. As expected with a new release, the wine was a bit tight when we opened the bottle, but after some decanting, the flavors developed into one delightful sip after another.

Thanks to Columbia Crest for sending us a sample.

Cheers,
Margot and Dave