March 10, 2012
Barbera, Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Syrah, Tempranillo, Washington wineries, Wine, Zinfandel
We love Washington state wine. So to us, every month is Washington Wine Month. But there is an official month to celebrate this state’s amazing wines – March — and it comes with its own website and promotions from participating wine shops, tasting rooms, restaurants and hotels.
In honor of Washington Wine Month, here is a list of some of our favorite reds (in alphabetical order).
21 Grams 2008 Red Blend
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2008 Destiny Bordeaux Blend; 2007 Mr. Big Petit Sirah; 2009 Petite Verdot
Barrage Cellars 2007 Outcast Cabernet Franc; 2007 Double Barrel Cabernet Sauvignon; 2008 Secret Weapon Cab Sauv
Cooper Wine Company 2007 L’Inizio; 2007 Cooper Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla
Darby 2009 Dark Side Syrah; 2008 Chaos
DiStefano 2007 Sogno Cabernet Franc Reserve; 2005 Sogno Cab Franc
EFESTE 2008 Big Papa Cabernet Sauvignon; 2009 Jolie Bouche Syrah; 2008 Ceidleigh Syrah
Fall Line 2009 El Otro Yakima Valley Tempranillo; 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Fidelitas 2007 and 2008 Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon; 2008 Red Mountain Red Wine
Fielding Hills 2008, 2007 and 2005 Cabernet Franc
Forgeron Cellars 2006 Zinfandel; 2003 Vinfinity
Gilbert Cellars 2007 Cabernet Franc; 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
Gorman Winery 2009 Evil Twin Syrah-Cab blend; 2008 Bully Cabernet Sauvignon (blended with Petit Verdot)
Hard Row to Hoe 2008 Burning Desire Estate Cabernet Franc; 2008 Pinot Noir
Heaven’s Cave 2009 Two Degrees Barbera; 2005 Angel’s Blend.
JM Cellars 2009 Boushey Vineyard Syrah; 2009 Tre; 2009 Margaret’s Vineyard Estate Red
L’Ecole 41 2008 Apogee Pepper Bridge; 2008 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; 2001 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon
Northwest Totem Cellars 2008 Qo-ne’ Cab Franc blend; 2006 Cab Franc
Otis Kenyon 2008 Syrah
Ross Andrews 2006 Syrah-Cab blend
Va Piano 2008 Walla Walla Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Vin du Lac 2007 Barrel Select Cab Franc
Walla Walla Vintners 2008 Columbia Valley Cab Franc
Watermill Winery 2007 Estate Cab Franc
Waters 2009 Forgotten Hills Syrah
The Woodhouse Wine Estates 2006 and 2004 Dussek Cabernet Sauvignon; every vintage of Darighe
Woodward Canyon 2009 and 2007 “Artist Series” Cabernet Sauvignon; 2003 Charbonneau
William Church 2009 and 2008 Bishop’s Blend; 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
We are really looking forward to tasting new releases from these wineries and trying pours from wineries that are new to us too at Taste Washington, the Super Bowl of wine events, March 31-April 1.
We hope to see you there!
January 2, 2012
Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Washington wineries, Wine
We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many wonderful Washington, Oregon and California wines lately – and in a less-busy world, I would write separate posts about each of them. Unfortunately, busy is my middle name these days.
So here is a list (in alphabetical order) of wines that we’ve celebrated in the last couple of months – they are sourced from Washington grapes, unless noted otherwise:
Happy New Year – may your best day of 2011 be your worst day of 2012! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to delve into ’12!
April 10, 2011
Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Wine, Zinfandel
We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many, many wonderful Washington wines lately – and in a less-busy world, I would write separate posts about each of them. Unfortunately, busy is my middle name these days.
So here is a list (in alphabetical order) of Washington wines that we’ve celebrated in the last couple of months, and recommend – plus three of our Napa Valley and Sonoma faves too!
Wait – there’s more! For my list of favorite wines at Taste Washington, see my post in Seattleite Magazine.
January 1, 2010
Regular readers of this blog know that Dave and I have three criteria for what we think makes a Washington state winery special: fine wine, great people and terrific events. And we’ve been fortunate to find a few wineries that exceeded our expectations and whose owners, winemakers and staff have become our friends. It is these wineries and people to whom we tip our hats and say play it again in 2010!
Special thanks to (in alphabetical order):
- Airfield Estates: We were delighted to hear that our friends at Airfield Estates in Prosser are opening a tasting room in Woodinville in 2010, so that more people can experience their wine. Winemaker Marcus Miller, his father/owner/grape grower Mike Miller, and assistant general manager Amy Sonnichsen were wonderful hosts on our visits to the winery. Mike heralded us with incredible stories about the airport hangar and its history, while Marcus and Amy enthusiastically took us behind the scenes during crush. We’re big fans of their Bombshell Red and the Aviator, to name just a couple.
- Alexandria Nicole Cellars: Mr. Big Petite Sirah is a favorite in our house, and there are a dozen other beyond-excellent ANC wines too! Don’t just take our word for it – ANC won KING TV’s Best Winery in Western Washington and many other awards in 2009. A special shoutout to Jarrod and Ali Boyle and the wonderful people, such as Kathie Statler, in the tasting rooms in both Prosser and Woodinville. And props to the ANC wine club, Vida Johansen and her crew, for the incredible club parties and special features that members enjoy.
- Efeste: Our hardest decision at Efeste is whether we prefer Jolie Bouche or Ceidleigh, because both Syrahs are so luscious. And then there’s Big Papa and Feral and the list goes on. In addition, Efeste throws such terrific events that we actually faced rush-hour traffic from Seattle to Woodinville to attend one of their week-night parties. Everyone associated with Efeste is so much fun – from Brennon Leighton (winemaker) to all the owners — Daniel and Helen Ferrelli, Kevin and Angie Taylor and Patrick Smith.
- Gilbert Cellars: We first met Sean Gilbert at an event called Sexy Syrah at Salty’s a couple of years ago. His winery – and his wines – have exploded since then. Gilbert Cab and Cab Francs are definite must-haves for our special dinners. Gilbert Cellars tasting room is also a wine bar and a must-stop for us in Yakima and/or on the way to Prosser and Walla Walla. Sean and his promotion/sales manager Anders Zwartjes have shared stories and glasses with us in the last couple of years – and we look forward to more.
- JM Cellars: We’ve been fans of Tre Fanciulli and Bramble Bump Red for a few years now. But in 2009, we also fell in love with JM’s Sauvignon Blanc – an amazing feat since we rarely drank white wine before we discovered this beauty. And while we’re just getting to know John and Peggy Bigelow, we’ve been big fans of Paige and Lisa in the tasting room as long as we can remember. Beyond fans, we consider them friends.
- Page Cellars: Rothelle Page has been warm and welcoming to us from the first day we met her, and her winemaker husband Jim has created some unique wines that we love including Red Zepplin Cab Franc and Preface Cab Sauvignon. Plus their band, Nice Legs (as in wine legs), rocks the house at events and features son Brett Cummings on saxaphone.
- William Church Winery: From an amazing Malbec to some incredible blends, we always have a bottle of William Church on hand in our house. Owners Leslie and Rod Balsley are truly a delight – a combination of talent, fun and smarts. They’re also winning the hearts and minds of local bloggers, holding tweetups and blogger gatherings with barrel tastings and syrah meatballs to line up for! Winemaker Rod, along with assistant winemaker Marcus Rafanelli, create exceptional wines and with Leslie, turn their events into a wonderful experience.
- Woodhouse Family Cellars: From Bijal and Sinead Shah to winemakers Tom Campbell and Jean-Claude Beck, we’ve always been made to feel like part of the Woodhouse family. We’re huge fans of Dussek Cab, which is also a favorite of my sister in Vancouver. And then there’s the velvety Darighe – we’re hoarding vintages of this opulent wine!
We also want to say Happy New Year to our new friends at Goosecross Cellars, David and Colleen Topper. We spent hours talking to them about wine and social media when we were in Napa Valley last May – and we know we’d see them frequently if we lived closer. David and Colleen are fantastic – and their wines, made by Geoff Gorsuch, frequently grace our table. We opened their rich Cab Franc over the holidays and started our New Year’s Eve celebration with their artisan AEROS. A visit to their Napa winery is an experience we recommend to anyone headed that way in 2010.
So Dave and I thank all of you for sharing your wines and your stories with us. We lift our glasses to you - Happy New Year … and play it again in 2010!
March 6, 2009
We opened a bottle of Darighe 2002 Proprietor’s Blend from Woodhouse Family Cellars with dinner the other night and wow, do we love this wine. Let us count the ways:
This high-end flagship Bordeaux blend is simply spectacular. And it’s also still available, along with the amazing 2001 vintage. But the Darighe 2000, 1999 and 1998 are sold out. Whatever the year, this is one special wine.
So here’s a toast to winemaker Tom Campbell!
December 31, 2008
Happy 2009 to my family, friends and regular readers of this blog — I wish you all a year full of good health and much fine wine! What are you drinking to bring in the new year?
For us, it’s the luscious 2002 Darighe Proprietor’s Blend from Woodhouse Family Cellars. This is an exquisite old-world wine with a Washington finesse. With its deep garnet hue, this is a fine Bordeaux-style blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 13% Malbec and 13% Petit Verdot.
According to the tasting notes: “On the nose, the new French oak imparts rich spicy notes of vanilla, clove, nutmeg, anise and cedar, which support a complex fruit core of ripe plums, black cherries, cassis, minerals and wet earth. On the palate, the wine enters round and sweet, quickly broadening to incorporate the ripe fruit flavors of plums, black cherries, earth, cassis and vanilla, as well as the dense tannic structure that is a hallmark of Darighe. The fruit flavors and spiced vanilla notes mingle in the lengthy finish.
Happy New Year!
December 11, 2008
What are your favorite Washington wines? Sean over at Washington Wine Report is taking a survey, so check out his blog post and mark your faves for 2008. And let me know on this blog too!
There are so many wonderful wines in this state that I couldn’t submit all of them to the survey. Indeed, I actually listed 12 before realizing that Sean only wanted us to list our top five. Ooops! Here are the first 12 Washington wines that came to my mind:
2003 Darighe, Woodhouse Family Cellars
2004 Dussek Cab Sauv, Woodhouse Family Cellars
2005 Estate Cabernet Sauv, Gilbert Cellars
2006 “Jolie Bouche” Syrah, Efeste Wines
2006 Destiny, Alexandria Nicole Cellars
2005 Limited Edition Cab Sauv, Page Cellars
2005 Tre Fanciulli, JM Cellars
2006 Cab Sauv, Columbia Valley, Fall Line Winery
2006 Bishop’s Blend, William Church Winery
2006 Black Tongue Syrah, Stevens Winery
2003 Vinfinity, Forgeron Cellars
2004 Camille, Nicholas Cole Cellars
I wrote down the names of wines as I thought of them — and as it turns out, not surprisingly, most of the wines were poured recently at St. Nick’s in Woodinville. (Although I still missed Guardian Cellars, Mark Ryan, DeLille, DiStefano, and many others!)
And I wonder if the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman will complain to this Washington Wine Wench for not choosing enough Walla Walla wines. (Now that’s a lot of W’s!)
Anyway …. please tell me your favorite Washington wines in 2008 — and be sure to stop by the Washington Wine Report and submit your entries there too.
November 22, 2008
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it’s time to decide what to take out of the cellar for the celebration. We’re not big white wine drinkers, so that narrows down the field a wee bit. But which reds to drink? Our favorite Cabs these days are the 2005 Estate Cab Sauv from Gilbert Cellars and 2004 Dussek Cab Sauv from Woodhouse Family Cellars. We also love Woodhouse’s Darighe.
But the choice isn’t that easy — we recently adored 2005 Preface and 2005 Libra from Page Cellars and then there’s the 2005 Estate Cab from Alexandria Nicole Cellars. And what about the robust Syrahs and the smooth red blends offered in Washington state? Our cellar is also stacked with wines from JM Cellars, Airfield Estates, Fall Line, Dunham Cellars, William Church, Windy Point, Desert Wind, Forgeron Cellars, Sparkman Cellars, Mark Ryan and Guardian Cellars.
Help! What are you drinking with Thanksgiving dinner? Please let us know!
October 20, 2008
I’ve written numerous times about my wonderful sister with the amazing palate. She’s influenced my life in so many positive ways — from inspiring me to participate in online media back in 1994 to opening up the wonderful world of wine to me. And many, many more!
My sister remains my inspiration — so when she puts her stamp of approval on a wine that I recommend, it makes my day.
That happened recently when she phoned me from Vancouver to tell me her opinions on a few bottles of Washington state wine that I gave her the last time I went home for a visit. She thought some of the wines were okay (her husband loved them), but there were only two that she raved about: Dussek Family Cellars 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and Gilbert Cellars 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. And she wants more!
The price point of Dussek is super for such an excellent Cab – $36. Here are the tasting notes from Woodhouse, which produces the Dussek label (and four others — Kennedy Shah, Darighe, Maghee and Hudson Shah):
“The Dussek Cabernet Sauvignon is Woodhouse Family Cellars’ take on what is likely the world’s most famous grape. Combining an oaky, fruit forward, style with the classic minerality and earth character found in the Cabernet based wines of Europe, Dussek perfectly exhibits Washington state’s ability to straddle the line between the old world and the new.”
The price point for the Cab from Gilbert Cellars is only $26 a bottle. Here are the Gilbert tasting notes:
“This juicy, decadent Cabernet Sauvignon offers an aroma of savory dried fruit and crushed herbs that leads into supple, sweet tannins accompanied by unbridled flavors of blackberry jam, fresh cedar, pipe tobacco, and black licorice.”
Only 312 cases of Gilbert Cellars 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon were produced, and only 840 cases of Dussek 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon were produced, so I’d better go order a few bottles for my sister right now! (And maybe some for us, too!)
September 4, 2008
Seattle Metropolitan magazine’s latest issue features “100 Best Wines of the Northwest” on the cover. The list contains some surprises by writers/tasters Condé Cox and Jessica Voelker. For example, 2005 Woodward Canyon Old Vines Cab ($79) has the top spot (congratulations!) while 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon ($115) comes in at #12 .
But there are other choices that were comfortably predictable. The top ten list includes two favorites from Leonetti: 2006 Columbia Valley Merlot ($65) at #4 and 2005 Walla Walla Reserve blend ($125) at #7. Others in the top ten include 2005 DeLille Chaleur Estates Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot ($72) at #5 and 2005 Betz Pere de Famille blend ($55) at #9. All three wineries placed more than once in the Top 100 list, also no surprise.
And one of our favorite wineries in Oregon, Domaine Drouhin, came in at #18 for its 2005 Lauréne Pinot Noir ($65) and at #67 for its 2006 Oregon Estate Pinot Noir ($45).
It was nice to see 2006 Guardian Cellars Gun Metal blend at #25 — we just picked up a couple of bottles a few weeks ago. And we welcomed the addition of Fall Line’s 2005 Horse Heaven Hills Red Blend at #82. Brian Carter Cellars hit the list for our favorite 2005 Solece at #51, along with 2005 Byzance at #68 and 2005 Tuttorosso blend at #92.
Other favorites: #31 was 2005 Otis Kenyon Syrah while 2004 Goose Ridge Sol Duc Meritage came in at #61, 2005 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah at #74, 2006 William Church Jennifer Syrah (which will be released very soon) at #76, and 2005 Arlington Road Monolith at #80.
But we were disappointed that Woodhouse Family Cellars didn’t enough recognition. Yes, it was listed for its fine 2005 Hudson Shah Viognier at #96. But what about the Woodhouse flagship wine, Darighe? I’m surprised that didn’t show up high on the list, let alone be omitted altogether.
Other favorites of ours are also missing (Alexandria Nicole, Nicholas Cole, Page, to name a few) but some did make the cut (Di Stefano, Buty, Erath, Zerba among others).
For the complete list of 100, you’ll have to get an issue of the magazine. Not only is the list a good read (even if I don’t agree with all of it) but there also is some cool wine photography by Jim Henkins.