January is Barrage Month

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Halfway through January, we discovered it’s all about Barrage, baby! Barrage Cellars, that is.

Let me explain why.

In November, we stopped by (with our dog, Sir Winston) at the Barrage Cellars tasting room in Woodinville’s Wine Warehouse district, and fell in love all over again with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc created by winemaker Kevin Correll.

We had a great time tasting some fine juice and catching up with Kevin and Rebecca, and walked away with quite a few bottles of more than one vintage of Barrage Cellars Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon and Outcast Cab Franc.

As a result, January has become Barrage Month at our house, as we opened some of the bottles. It is hard to cellar these very drinkable wines.

We are captivated with 2007 Double Barrel and the 2009 Outcast is simply superlative. These two wines are our favorite varietals these days, and Barrage Cellars is high on our list of must-haves.

This is not surprising — Barrage Cellars Outcast has made our list of favorite Cab Francs more than once — just try searching Write for Wine for Barrage Cellars. And it’s not just us – Seattle Magazine voted 2007 Outcast the best Cab Franc in Washington state in 2011, and Seattle Wine Awards gave Outcast a silver medal the same year.

But let me tell you, Kevin’s wines simply get better and better with each vintage. Every time we think we’ve tasted his best yet, he surprises us the following year with better yet.

Like many winemakers in Washington state, 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.

But unlike many winemakers who blend different grapes together into one wine, Kevin prefers to blend wine with the same grape from different vineyards.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to stop by Barrage Cellars in Woodinville for Kevin’s red and white wines, make a point of it. You won’t be disappointed.

Sir Winston wants to go back too because Kevin and Rebecca love puppy dogs!

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!

Barrage Cellars And Tulalip – The Perfect Pairing

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Kevin Correll of Barrage Cellars makes one of the best Cab Francs in the state. Tulalip Resort Casino offers a rich food-and-wine experience. Put Kevin and Tulalip together, and you are guaranteed an evening of fabulous wines and scrumptious food on July 9.

Earlier this year, we experienced a winemaker dinner at Tulalip Bay – see my Wine O’clock Wednesday column in Seattleite Magazine. But Kevin’s wines are going to be featured as part of the Taste with Tommy wine experience, orchestrated by award-winning Tulalip sommelier Tommy Thompson.

Paired with Kevin’s wines, the menu from Tulalip Executive Chef Perry Mascitti is mouth-watering — Victory Garden Road Stand, The Ring of Fire (“where the Guest is the Chef”), Four-way Sliders Grill, Mini Flame-Raised Pizza, Sidecars and sweet desserts.

The event takes place in Tulalip’s Mpulse Lounge, priced at $95 per person, including tax and gratuity. Tickets can be purchased from the Tulalip Resort website

Cheers!

Such a pretty bottle, such a pleasing wine

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We finally decided to open our beautifully engraved bottle of 2008 Red Wine from Barrage Cellars – Kevin Correll’s featured wine of 2011 Taste of Tulalip, the annual wine and food extravaganza at Tulalip Resort.

Kevin’s 2008 Red was originally known as Stealth, a new wine label in honor of his and Rebecca’s beloved dog, Murphy — a gorgeous chocolate Lab, known for his playfulness and surreptitiousness around the wine barrels.

“Stealth,” a red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, sold out almost immediately. We weren’t surprised to hear this news, because we’ve never met a wine from Barrage Cellars that we didn’t like, or more often, love.

Back in 2011, with the announcement that Barrage Cellars was honored as the official winery partner of Taste of Tulalip, Kevin rebottled what little remained of Stealth and renamed it ”Murphy’s Blend.” He and Rebecca lovingly poured the nectar into engraved bottles that were featured at the event.

We bought a bottle there, and later wished we had purchased more.

But we decided to hold off on opening it; the bottle is so pretty, and filled with wine that we knew would be so, so pleasing.

But last night, we did it – we uncorked the bottle, and raised our glasses to Murphy (who is now romping around in doggy heaven with our beloved retrievers, Sam and Shadow) and also to Kevin and Rebecca, whom we are happy to call our friends.

Cheers to friends, dogs and fabulous wine!

P.S. We’re keeping the bottle!

Syrah Saturday

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Syrah grapeFor the first time in many months, we went wine tasting on Saturday in Woodinville, where Syrah was both king and queen. Our tasting tour took us to see old friends and meet new ones at Efeste, William Church, Alexandria Nicole Cellars, Obelisco, Barrage Cellars and Darby. Each winery featured a fine lineup of Washington wines, but according to our palates, Syrah took the lead every time.

Efeste: Winemaker Brennon Leighton continues to excel at a number of Syrahs crafted for Efeste. 2008 Jolie Bouche hails from one of Washington’s finest, Boushey Vineyard, and was rated 95 points by Wine Spectator, while 2008 Ceidleigh is a rich wonder from Red Mountain, rated 93 points by Wine Spectator.

William Church: Co-owner and winemaker Rod Balsley creates Syrah once again with his trademark flair. His “Jennifer” 2008 Syrah was sourced from three premium vineyards: Dineen Family, Red Willow and Stillwater Creek.  This Syrah, complex, dark and aromatic, was co-fermented with Viognier, resulting in an elegant mouth-feel and 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Alexandria Nicole Cellars: Block 17, creatively crafted by co-owner, winemaker Jarod Boyle, has always been on our list for heavenly Washington state Syrah. The 2008 vintage is no exception, with its dark red, inky color and a wonderful balance of luxury and delicacy. Jarrod notes that Block 17 is young and bold, so decant first, if you drink it prior to 2012.

Obelisco: This relative newcomer to Washington state offers 2008 Estate Syrah that explodes with robust flavor from the southwest corner of Red Mountain. This dark beauty, with moderate tannins, received 90 points from Wine Spectator and 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

Barrage Cellars: The newly released 2008 Eclipse Syrah is another favorite, which is no surprise since the fruit comes from Les Vignes De Marcoux Vineyard, the sister vineyard to the Sauer Family’s Red Willow Vineyard. Barrage owner-winemaker Kevin Correll worked his wonders with the grape, and the result is one fine Eclipse Syrah.

Darby: Darby English’s 2008 Aunt Lee Syrah was released just two weeks ago, and it’s already drinking well. This dense 100% Syrah is lush and smokin’, and (in Darby’s own words, and we totally agree), delicious!

Four years ago, Washington wine pioneer and self-proclaimed farmer of Red Willow Vineyard, Mike Sauer told us that 80% of  Syrah in Washington state was propogated from cuttings from his vineyard, where the first production of Syrah grapes in the state took place in 1988.

Syrah, whether spicy or smoky, pairs well with beef, BBQ, pork, game and spicy foods. Enjoy!

Cheers!

Murphy, R.I.P.

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This is a tribute to one of our favorite winery dogs, Murphy of Barrage Cellars, whom we were saddened to recently find out went to doggy heaven.

Murphy, a simply gorgeous chocolate lab, was always hanging around the tasting room to greet us with a big smile and a wagging tail. Winemaker Kevin Correll once said all Murphy wanted was love – and this absolutely wonderful dog got love by the barrel from Kevin and Rebecca.

Last April, Murphy shone in the “coffee table” book of photographs, Winery Dogs of Washington, and he even “signed” books for those who “pawchased” them. What a star! And oh so photogenic!

Around that time, Kevin released a new wine label in their dog’s honor. Underlining Murphy’s playfulness and surreptitiousness around the wine barrels, “Stealth,” a red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cab Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, sold out almost immediately. On release day, word had it that Murphy signed bottles as well as books, but we were out of town and unfortunately had to miss that joyous occasion.

Earlier this month, Barrage Cellars was honored as the official winery partner of Taste of Tulalip, so Kevin and Rebecca renamed Stealth as “Murphy’s Blend,” which was lovingly poured into engraved bottles that were featured at the wine and food extravaganza at Tulalip Resort.

After the photo shoot for the Winery Dogs of Washington book, Kevin and Rebecca took this photo of Murphy, saying he was all tired out and resting after all the posing and fanfare.

And now we know he is resting in peace in doggy heaven.

Kevin and Rebecca, our hearts hurt with yours. Murphy was your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You were his life, his love, his friend.

We miss you too, Murphy. And we hope, from the bottom of our hearts that our dogs Sam and Shadow met you on the bridge to doggy heaven and you’re romping around with them right now.

We raise a glass (or two) of our favorite Barrage Cellars wine to you! Murphy, R.I.P.

Special Wines for New Year’s Eve

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Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 9.30.32 AMSome wines are just perfect for special occasions, and bringing in a new year seems like a great time to pop open the cork on one of them.

There are so many to choose from, we decide to list several special-occasion wines from Washington state and decide later which one we will open!

We highly recommend all of them!

Let us know some of your favorites.

Cheers to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2014 from your friends at Write for Wine!

Margot and Dave

What’s in Our Glasses Lately?

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In the past couple of weeks, we have particularly enjoyed three bottles of red wine — two from Washington state and one from Carlton, Oregon.

2008 Barrage Cellars Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon

We’ve enjoyed Barrage Cellars 2009 and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignons and Cabernet Francs frequently this year, but on Friday night, we decided to dip into our cellar for this 2008 beauty.

Oh my, it is drinking well. We savoured every sip. The 08 Double Barrel is 100% Cab Sauv sourced from three excellent Washington state vineyards: Destiny Ridge, Red Willow and Sheridan. This is one big, beautiful and bold Cabernet. From winemaker Kevin Correll’s tasting notes:

A deep purple color reminiscent of a new world Syrah, but with that first taste there is no mistaking that this is a huge Cabernet Sauvignon. Flavors explode on the palette with complex layers of big red fruit, anise, tobacco and some graphite followed by huge. Fine grain tannins that are well integrated, but suited for aging.

2008 Northwest Totem Cellars Qo-ne

Another stellar Washington wine from our cellar, Qo-ne has long been one of our favorites from Northwest Totem Cellars. The 2008 blends Cab Franc (60%) with Cab Sauv (29%) along with 9% Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot to round off the distinct flavors.

Qo-ne means “friend” in Haida, the language of the First Nation by the same name in British Columbia. This wine has a special meaning for me, because I worked for the Haida years before I met Mike Sheridan, winemaker for Northwest Totem Cellars. Here are Mike’s tasting notes:

Rich with aromas of blackberry, vanilla, coffee and nicco wafers, this wine is well balanced with notes of chocolate and black cherry finishing with a hint of that signature Cab Franc white pepper on the finish.

2010 Troon Vineyard Cabernet Franc Reserve

We wish we had purchased more than a couple of bottles of this gem of a Cab Franc during our recent visit to Carlton, Oregon. This rich, structured wine consists of 80% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot. Troon was recently named “One of the Top Ten Hottest Wine Brands” in the U.S. by Wine Business Monthly.

I know it’s early to think about Thanksgiving, but this Cab Franc will be on our list. Here are tasting notes from  owner and vintner Chris Martin:

Our effort is characterized by aromas of fresh mint and loam, with a structured, yet elegant finish. It is, as are all our reserve wines, unfined and unfiltered to perserve its body and integrity.

We recommend all three wines, if you like robust reds.

Cheers!

What’s in Our Glass?

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Summertime means warm, lazy evenings on the deck and tasty weekend BBQs. And what better accompaniment than a crisp Sauvignon Blanc, a medium-bodied Pinot Noir or a robust Cabernet Sauvignon?

Yes, those have been in our glasses so far this summer – refreshing whites with prawns or humus on the deck, medium-bodied reds with unique, flavorful salads, and big and beautiful reds with hamburgers or on occasion, steaks.

Here are the wines in our glasses — at home or in tasting rooms — that we’ve loved in the past couple of months.

What’s in your glass this summer?

Cheers!

 

Another wonderful time at Taste Washington

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For years, we’ve said if you only go to one Washington state wine event each year, Taste Washington is it. This year was no exception. We had a lovely day sipping our way through some of the best wines that Washington state has to offer. (We also spilled a lot, which is quite acceptable, along with spitting, at wine tastings.)

Every wine we tasted was a stand-out. But two were stellar to our palates: 09 Cabernet Franc from Barrister Winery and 07 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Boudreaux Cellars.

The other stand-outs were:

And while all the food we tasted was delicious too, the winner (in our opinion) was Tulalip’s fried chocolate bread pudding with a bourbon carmel-vanilla milkshake. Sigh.

Cheers to the Washington Wine Commission and cheers to Washington state’s 730+ wineries!

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