Best Tasting Notes: Reininger Winery

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We recently went to a tasting event at our neighborhood winebar, Vino Bello, where we crossed paths again with Justin from Reininger Winery. Reininger was one of the first wineries that I ever blogged about (back on June 10) – and I think I received the most e-mail about that post because its title was 2004 Helix “Screw Sideways” Merlot. I can’t, and didn’t, take credit for the title — it came directly from the winery’s Web site.

That evening at Vino Bello, I couldn’t help but again notice Reininger’s creative tasting notes. So I decided that instead of using my words to describe the Reininger wines, I’d wax poetic with Reininger’s own words. You can find these and more tasting notes on the Reininger Winery Web site.

2004 Helix Pomatia: “Baby, somebody better call God because he’s missing an angel.  This bomb-shell of a wine will send you reeling with its toasted cedar backbone and hearty cherry marmalade.  With intensely flirtatious flavors of worcestershire and soy sauce, I wouldn’t get caught alone with this voluptous wine.” – Chuck Reininger, Winemaker

2005 Helix Syrah: ”Earth, wind and fire. A cup of black tea and dewy forest floor – this wine echoes the essence of nature. Velvet draped plums and rhubarb caress the jaw’s edges, lifting the finish above the terrestrial plain. Beam me up, Scotty.” -The Gang at Reininger

 

2004 Helix Merlot (This is the wine I wrote about in June): Screw “Sideways.” This is Washington State Merlot. Helloooo! This is one screwed together Merlot; it lives up to its name-Helix. It’s rich and powerful, with a fine slight firmness in tannin structure. This is no spaghetti wine! Spiraling about a core of dried plum, dark cherry and raspberry is a dust devil of sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, java and a dusting of Northwest cedar spice. Unlike Miles, this wine knows where it’s going.”

 

If I had an award to give out for the most creative tasting notes, Reininger would win! And better yet, their wines are winners too!

 

Cheers!

Wine Blog Wednesday #34

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How lucky am I? I started my blog about Washington state wine on Sunday and within two days, I was asked by the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman to participate in Wine Blog Wednesday! Thank you WWWWW! This month’s theme is Cabernet Sauvignon from the State of Washington. (And we get extra points if we talk about Walla Walla, where we visited in April and had a marvellous time. But more about that later.)

First, I want to say that in the brief time that I’ve been blogging about Washington state wines, I’ve received numerous e-mails from people who had no idea that almost 500 wineries are in Washington. With any luck, we’ll get to visit all of them! In the meantime, I’m faced with a major dilemma. I write about Washington state wine; I love Washington state wine; I’m a member of several wine clubs here; and how on earth can I choose my favorite Cab? I can’t — so I’ll talk about a few of them!

First, in the name of consistency, I decided to stick with the Cab that I mentioned in an earlier post: Fall Line Winery’s 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is unique — it’s a blend of 100 percent cab. How can it be a blend, if it’s 100 percent cab, you might ask? It’s because the grapes came from Boushey Vineyards in Yakima Valley (45.5 percent); Artz Vineyards in Red Mountain (45.5 percent); and Destiny Ridge Vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills. It’s all Cab, and a sophisticated blend of Cab at that. According to Delaurenti Specialty Food and Wines, all of Fall Line Winery’s blends “possess all the balance, grace and depth that Walla Walla and Columbia Valley grapes are capable of. Fall Line’s Cabernet Sauvignon is all Columbia Valley with chocolate, blackberry and leather.”

So yes, Fall Line Winery’s 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon remains my number one pick. Owners Tim Sorenson and his wife, Nancy Rivenburgh are delightful to chat with and so very enthusiastic about the entire region. If you haven’t tried their Cab, you definitely are missing out. Stop by their warehouse space in Seattle’s Georgetown district–they have wine tastings on the second Saturday of every month–or order wine directly from the Fall Line Winery Web site. It’s the best $30 that we ever spent.

Next, I have to pay tribute to the wines of Walla Walla. As mentioned, we spent some time there in early April and absolutely loved it. We drove from Seattle and stopped at wineries along the way. (Yes, there was always a designated driver.) We spent a couple of days in Walla Walla and visited several nearby wineries that were excellent. Our number one cabernet was Forgeron Cellars 2003 Pepper Bridge Cabernet, which we first heard of when we had delicious ribs at the Depot Grill. It was as good as our friendly, wine-knowledgeable waiter promised. No surprise — our first wine tasting the next morning was at Forgeron Cellars (where we especially love the 2002 Vinfinity but it’s not a Cab, so we won’t mention it).

We also really enjoyed Reininger Winery’s 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve also recently written about Reininger’s Helix Merlot. Reininger’s Helix cab also is a favorite. According to the winery’s Web site: “This Helix (snail) is saddled and ready. Vanilla bean and cherry Beech Nut gum say howdy to my nose and once cornered on the palate they get hog tied with some fig, plum and a pinch of cocoa. No sense in keeping this guy penned in by cellaring… with his smooth tannins, he’s ready to slide out the gate leaving a slightly dusty trail of cherry.” (To learn more about Helix and the snail–aka escargot–check out another posting from Wine Blog Wednesday from Alex at Huevos con Vino.)

Most of the other wines we enjoyed in Walla Walla were blends, which I’ll write about on another day. Today, after all, is dedicated to Washington State Cabs. And on our next visit to Walla Walla in the next few months, maybe we’ll even bump into WWWWW.

Cheers!

Sexy Syrah at Salty’s

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Last night, we attended our first “Sexy Syrah at Salty’s” event in West Seattle, and now we understand why it sells out quickly every year.  This was the 7th year for the popular event, and we will go back for the 8th! The Syrahs, the view from Salty’s on Alki Beach and Salty’s appetizers were awesome, and on top of all that, the event was a fundraiser for FareStart, a job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged people.

Forty northwest wineries were pouring, including some of our favorites that I’ve written about before and will write more about in the weeks ahead: Forgeron Cellars (we’ve loved Forgeron’s food-friendly wines for a couple years now and we finally met winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla, who is simply charming in addition to being a winemaker extraordinaire!); Reininger Winery (we met Chuck Reininger, whose 2005 Syrah is sumptuous and who writes the best tasting notes!); Kestrel Vintners, Chandler Reach Vineyards, Lost River Winery, Windy Point Vineyards, Hogue Cellars, and Di Stefano (one of the first Washington state tasting rooms that we visited when we moved here 10 years ago).

As it turns out (and not surprisingly, considering that this blog is about northwest wine), we had already tasted wines from more than half of the wineries that were represented at Salty’s, so we wanted to try some that were new to us. Of those, the one that stood out the most was Gilbert Cellars, a Yakima winery that was started in 2004 by brothers Sean and Nate Gilbert.

We had a nice chat with Sean, whose passion and enthusiasm were evident with every word he spoke. And after tasting Gilbert’s 2005 Estate Syrah, we were hooked. In the next couple of weeks, we are going to try more of their wines — so look for more blog posts about Gilbert Cellars, along with some of our other favorites from “Sexy Syrah at Salty’s.”

Cheers!

Seattle Wine Awards

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We all know that Washington state makes some fabulous wine, and is the second largest producer in the country, after California. There is so much good juice in this state, it’s often difficult to pick the best of the best – we have so many favorites.

So when the prestigious Seattle Wine Awards are announced, we always have pride – and fun – looking at the list. The tasting panel included Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, Professors of Viticulture & Enology, Wine Journalists, Wine Directors, Corporate Buyers and Wine Shop Proprietors.

We’ve tried many of these wines, but not all of them.  How many have you tasted? Congratulations to the Double Gold winners, listed here in alphabetical order:

Double Gold

  • 37 Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
  • Airfield Estates Winery 2011 Sweet Riesling, Yakima Valley
  • Airfield Estates Winery 2009 Merlot, Yakima Valley
  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2012 Crawford Viognier, Columbia Valley
  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2012 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Shepard’s Mark, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2010 Destiny Ridge Vineyard Quarry Butte, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Amavi Cellars 2010 Les Collines Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Amavi Cellars 2011 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Ambassador Vineyard 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Angel Vine 2010 The Hellion, Columbia Valley
  • Angel Vine 2010 Alder Ridge Vineyard Zinfandel, Washington
  • Apex Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Arbor Crest Wine Cellars 2010 Dionysus, Columbia Valley
  • Arbor Crest Wine Cellars 2010 Dionysus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Array Cellars 2011 Chardonnay Dijon Clone, Yakima Valley
  • Barili Cellars 2010 Double Barrel Red, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Barons V Winery 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Bartholomew Winery 2012 Uplands Vineyard Aligote, Snipes Mountain
  • Bergevin Lane Vineyards 2010 Wild Child Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Bergevin Lane Vineyards 2010 Princess Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Blooms Winery on Whidbey 2010 Poetic, Columbia Valley
  • Blooms Winery on Whidbey 2012 Blush, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Brian Carter Cellars 2011 Oriana, Columbia Valley
  • Brian Carter Cellars 2010 Opulento, Yakima Valley
  • Bunchgrass Winery 2009 Triolet, Walla Walla Valley
  • Bunnell Family Cellar 2008 Vif, Columbia Valley
  • Bunnell Family Cellar 2009 Malbec, Wahluke Slope
  • Bunnell Family Cellar 2008 Boushey-McPherson Syrah, Yakima Valley
  • Cadaretta 2011 sbs, Columbia Valley
  • Cairdeas Winery 2012 Sparkling Viognier, Columbia Valley
  • Cairdeas Winery 2012 Reserve Nellie Mae, Columbia Valley
  • Camaraderie Cellars 2009 Grâce, Columbia Valley
  • Camaraderie Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Caprio Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Castillo De Feliciana 2012 Vino Verano, Columbia Valley
  • Cave B Estate Winery 2010 Cuvée du Soleil, Columbia Valley
  • Cave B Estate Winery 2010 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Cave B Estate Winery 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley
  • Cave B Estate Winery 2010 XXV Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Celaeno Winery 2008 Both Barrels Minick Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2011 Ethos Late Harvest Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2011 Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2009 Ethos Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Claar Cellars 2010 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
  • College Cellars 2012 Stan Clarke Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Ice Wine, Walla Walla Valley
  • College Cellars 2012 Mourvedre Rosé, Walla Walla Valley
  • College Cellars 2012 Stan Clarke Vineyard Semillon, Walla Walla Valley
  • College Cellars 2012 Stan Clarke Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Walla Walla Valley
  • College Cellars 2012 Scholarship White, Walla Walla Valley
  • College Cellars 2012 Muscat Ottonel, Walla Walla Valley
  • Columbia Crest 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Columbia Crest 2010 H3 Merlot, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Convergence Zone Cellars 2010 Squall Line, Red Mountain
  • Corvus Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2008 Cougar Hills Vineyard Anniversary Cuvée, Walla Walla Valley
  • Cougar Crest Estate Winery 2008 Cougar Hills Vineyard Merlot, Walla Walla Valley
  • Coyote Canyon Winery 2010 Primitivo, Horse Heaven Hills
  • DaMa Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • DaMa Wines 2009 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Davenport Cellars 2009 Continuity, Columbia Valley
  • Davenport Cellars 2009 Merlot, Rattlesnake Hills
  • DeLille Cellars 2010 Harrison Hill, Snipes Mountain
  • DeLille Cellars 2010 D2, Yakima Valley
  • DeLille Cellars 2010 Doyenne Signature Syrah, Yakima Valley
  • Desert Wind Winery 2010 Merlot, Wahluke Slope
  • Desert Wind Winery 2011 Sangiovese, Wahluke Slope
  • Dineen Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley
  • DiStefano Winery 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley
  • Double Canyon 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Dubindil Winery 2010 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Dunham Cellars 2011 Lewis Estate Vineyard Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Dunham Cellars 2008 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Dusted Valley Vintners 2010 Rachis Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Dusted Valley Vintners 2010 BFM, Wahluke Slope
  • Dusted Valley Vintners 2011 Mourvedre, Wahluke Slope
  • Eaglemount Winery & Cider 2008 Eaglemount Red, Wahluke Slope
  • Efeste 2010 Final Final, Columbia Valley
  • Efeste 2010 Ceidleigh Syrah, Red Mountain
  • Elevation Cellars 2009 Jammin’, Columbia Valley
  • Elevation Cellars 2010 Stone Tree Vineyard Black Peak Tempranillo, Wahluke Slope
  • Eleven Winery 2010 Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Eleven Winery 2010 Sweet Sarah, Washington
  • Ellanelle Wine Co. 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Fidelitas Wines 2010 Optu Red, Red Mountain
  • Fidelitas Wines 2010 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Finnriver NV Spirited Apple Wine, Washington
  • Five Star Cellars 2007 Stellar, Walla Walla Valley
  • Five Star Cellars 2010 Malbec, Walla Walla Valley
  • Fort Walla Walla Cellars 2009 Treaty, Walla Walla Valley
  • Foundry Vineyards 2009 Artisan Cab, Columbia Valley
  • Gamache Vintners 2010 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley
  • Gamache Vintners 2009 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Gard Vintners 2011 Grand Klasse Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley
  • Gecko Cellars 2012 Rosé of Barbera, Wahluke Slope
  • Gifford Hirlinger 2009 Estate Malbec, Walla Walla Valley
  • Gifford Hirlinger 2009 Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley
  • Ginkgo Forest Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope
  • Goose Ridge Estate Winery 2010 Riesling Ice Wine, Columbia Valley
  • Goose Ridge Estate Winery 2011 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
  • Goose Ridge Estate Winery 2011 Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley
  • Goose Ridge Estate Winery 2010 First Flight, Columbia Valley
  • Gordon Family Estate 2009 SIX, Columbia Valley
  • Gordon Family Estate 2009 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards 2011 Semillon, Columbia Valley
  • Helix by Reininger 2010 Phinny Hill Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Hightower Cellars 2012 Murray Rosé, Red Mountain
  • Hogue Cellars 2011 Late Harvest Riesling, Yakima Valley
  • Hyatt Vineyards 2010 Gorilla Zinfandel, Rattlesnake Hills
  • J & J Vintners 2011 First Release Riesling, Yakima Valley
  • Januik Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • JM Cellars 2010 Longevity, Columbia Valley
  • JM Cellars 2010 Boushey Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley
  • Jones of Washington 2012 Rosé of Syrah, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley
  • Jones of Washington 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley
  • Jones of Washington 2012 Riesling, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley
  • Kestrel Vintners 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley
  • Kestrel Vintners 2009 Rapter Red, Yakima Valley
  • Kestrel Vintners 2008 Malbec, Yakima Valley
  • Kestrel Vintners 2008 Old Vine Merlot, Yakima Valley
  • Kiona Vineyards Winery 2011 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley
  • Kiona Vineyards Winery 2011 Chenin Blanc Ice Wine, Red Mountain
  • Kitzke Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Knight Hill Winery 2010 Rook’s Red, Wahluke Slope
  • Kontos Cellars 2010 Stonetree Vineyard LVLL Malbec, Wahluke Slope
  • Kontos Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Kontos Cellars 2010 Les Collines Vineyard Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Kontos Cellars 2010 Boushey Vineyard Tate Syrah, Yakima Valley
  • Kyra Wines 2012 Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley
  • L’Ecole No. 41 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • L’Ecole No. 41 2010 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Lake Chelan Winery 2010 Malbec, Columbia Valley
  • Leone Italian Cellars 2009 Nebbiolo, Columbia Valley
  • Long Shadows Vintners 2010 Poet’s Leap Botrytis Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Long Shadows Vintners 2009 Saggi, Columbia Valley
  • Long Shadows Vintners 2009 Sequel Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Lookout Point Winery 2010 Malbec, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Lookout Point Winery NV Two Coyotes, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Lookout Point Winery 2011 Grenache, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Lopez Island Vineyard & Winery 2011 Sangiovese, Yakima Valley
  • Lost River Winery 2009 Cedarosa, Columbia Valley
  • Market Vineyards 2009 Arbitrage Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Market Vineyards 2009 Derivative Red, Columbia Valley
  • Martinez & Martinez 2011 Selina Mechelle Orange Muscat, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve Sangiovese, Columbia Valley
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve Zinfandel, Columbia Valley
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve Mourvedre , Rattlesnake Hills
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve Primitivo, Wahluke Slope
  • Maryhill Winery 2011 Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Serendipity, Columbia Valley
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Zinfandel, Columbia Valley
  • Maryhill Winery 2010 Proprietor’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon , Wahluke Slope
  • Matthews Estate 2010 Blackboard Red, Columbia Valley
  • Mellisoni Vineyards 2012 180 Degrees, Lake Chelan
  • Mellisoni Vineyards 2012 Pinot Grigio, Lake Chelan
  • Mellisoni Vineyards 2012 45 Degrees, Lake Chelan
  • Mellisoni Vineyards 2010 Syrah, Lake Chelan
  • Mercer Canyons 2011 Riesling, Yakima Valley
  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Series Tempranillo, Wahluke Slope
  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Traditions Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2011 Brothers Blend, Columbia Valley
  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2011 The Estates Viognier, Wahluke Slope
  • Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 The Estates Merlot, Wahluke Slope
  • Mosquito Fleet Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Naches Heights Vineyards 2012 Riesling, Naches Heights
  • Naches Heights Vineyards 2012 Can-Can, Yakima Valley
  • Naches Heights Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley
  • Naches Heights Vineyards 2010 Mourvedre, Yakima Valley
  • Neufeld 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley
  • Newhouse Family Vineyards 2009 Vestige, Snipes Mountain
  • Northwest Cellars 2011 Sonatina, Columbia Valley
  • Northwest Cellars 2011 Viognier, Snipes Mountain
  • Northwest Totem Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley
  • Northwest Wine Academy 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Northwest Wine Academy 2011 Mourvedre, Columbia Valley
  • Northwest Wine Academy 2011 Late Harvest Viognier, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Nota Bene Cellars 2010 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Obelisco Estate 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Obelisco Estate 2010 Electrum Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Obelisco Estate 2010 111 Nefer Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Obelisco Estate 2010 Les Gosses Vineyard Syrah, Washington
  • Palouse Winery 2010 Cabernet Franc, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Patterson Cellars 2011 Late Harvest Roussanne, Columbia Valley
  • Patterson Cellars 2012 Mélange Blanc, Columbia Valley
  • Patterson Cellars 2011 Malbec, Yakima Valley
  • Pepper Bridge Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Pleasant Hill Cellars 2011 La Grande Affaire, Columbia Valley
  • Pleasant Hill Cellars 2010 Sangiovese, Columbia Valley
  • Plumb Cellars 2009 Damn Straight, Columbia Valley
  • Pondera 2009 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Proper Wines 2010 Syrah Estate, Walla Walla Valley
  • Reininger Winery 2009 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Revelry Vintners 2010 Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope
  • Rio Vista Wines 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Robert Karl Cellars 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Robert Karl Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Robert Ramsay Cellars 2010 Par La Mer Red, Columbia Valley
  • Rock Meadow Cellars 2010 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Rolling Bay Winery 2010 Upland Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Snipes Mountain
  • Ross Andrew 2009 Boushey Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley
  • Ryan Patrick Vineyard 2011 Ryan’s Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Saint Laurent Estate Winery 2008 La Boheme, Wahluke Slope
  • San Juan Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Seven Bridges Winery 2009 Les Collines Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Seven of Hearts 2011 Hellsgate Vineyard Chateau Figareaux, Washington
  • Silvara Vineyards 2010 Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Silver Bell Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Silver Lake Winery 2011 Roza Riesling, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Skylite Cellars 2009 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Skylite Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Skylite Cellars 2009 Soirée, Walla Walla Valley
  • Smasne Cellars 2009 Three Vineyard Reserve, Columbia Valley
  • Smasne Cellars 2010 Lawrence Vineyard Block #3 Syrah, , Columbia Valley
  • Smasne Cellars 2010 Upland Vineyard Ice Wine, Snipes Mountain
  • Smasne Cellars 2010 Upland Vineyard Ancient Rocks Red, Snipes Mountain
  • Smasne Cellars 2010 Upland Vineyard Mourvedre, Snipes Mountain
  • Snoqualmie Winery 2012 ECO Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Snoqualmie Winery 2012 Winemaker’s Select Riesling, Columbia Valley
  • Sol Stone 2011 Viognier, Yakima Valley
  • Sovereign Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
  • Spring Valley Vineyard 2010 Nina Lee Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Stottle Winery 2011 Elerding Vineyard Viognier, Washington
  • Stottle Winery 2008 Elerding Vineyard Nebbiolo, Washington
  • SuLei Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley
  • Tapteil Vineyard Winery 2010 Spilya Vineyard Syrah, Washington
  • Tenor Wines 2010 Two-of-Two, Columbia Valley
  • Tenor Wines 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley
  • Tero Estates 2009 Windrow, Walla Walla Valley
  • Terra Blanca Winery 2008 Arch Terrace Cabernet Franc, Red Mountain
  • Terra Blanca Winery 2008 Signature Series Red Blend, Red Mountain
  • Tertulia Cellars NV Late Harvest Semillon, Columbia Valley
  • Thurston Wolfe Winery 2011 Zephyr Ridge Vineyard Howling Wolfe Zinfandel, Horse Heaven Hills
  • Thurston Wolfe Winery 2010 Lonesome Spring Vineyard Touriga Nacional Port, Columbia Valley
  • Thurston Wolfe Winery 2012 PGV, Columbia Valley
  • Thurston Wolfe Winery 2010 Dr. Wolfe’s Family Red, Washington
  • Tildio Winery 2010 Malbec, Columbia Valley
  • Tranche Cellars 2010 Slice of Pape Blanc, Columbia Valley
  • Treveri Cellars NV Muller-Thurgau, Columbia Valley
  • Treveri Cellars NV Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut, Columbia Valley
  • Tsillan Cellars 2011 Estate Sempre Amore, Lake Chelan
  • Tsillan Cellars 2010 Estate Sangiovese, Lake Chelan
  • Tsillan Cellars 2010 Estate Syrah, Lake Chelan
  • Tulpen Cellars 2009 Merlot, Columbia Valley
  • Two Mountain Winery 2008 Copeland Vineyard Brothers No. 3, Rattlesnake Hills
  • Va Piano Vineyards 2009 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Veranda Beach Cellars 2012 Regatta Rosé, Washington
  • Veranda Beach Cellars 2012 Lakehouse Riesling, Washington
  • Walla Walla Vintners 2010 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
  • Watermill Winery 2009 Cabernet Franc, Walla Walla Valley
  • Westport Winery 2011 Airport Vineyard Fleur de Lis Pinot Gris, Washington
  • William Church Winery 2012 Viognier, Columbia Valley
  • William Church Winery 2010 2 Spires, Columbia Valley
  • William Church Winery 2010 Syrah, Columbia Valley
  • Willow Crest Winery 2011 Riesling, Yakima Valley
  • Wineglass Cellars 2007 Rich Harvest, Yakima Valley
  • Woodinville Wine Cellars 2009 Indomitable, Columbia Valley
  • Woodinville Wine Cellars 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

For the list of the winners in all the categories, see the Seattle Wine Awards website.

Cheers!

 

What’s going on …

Wine Comments Off

 

Thursday, Nov. 8

  • Try some beautiful blends from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Portfolio Restaurant in West Seattle and enjoy the breathtaking view of Elliott Bay. Reservations required: 206-239-2363 ($12) 

Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11

  • Taste of Red, Columbia Winery’s premier wine tasting and social event will be held from noon to 6 p.m. on both days. Taste an extensive collection of red wine, including wine pulled directly from the barrel. Samples of northwest food will also be available. Admission is $20 per person ($10 for Cellar Club members) and includes a logo tasting glass.

  • Learn how to make wreaths out of grapevines at Silver Lake Winery in Woodinville from noon to 4 p.m. on both days.

  • Chateau Ste. Michelle: A special book signing on Saturday, Nov. 10 with Northwest wine writer, Paul Gregutt book signing. $35 for a signed copy of the book, along with wines and appetizers.

  • Savor the elegant and finely structured wines from Reininger Vineyards at Vino Bello on Saturday Nov. 10 from noon to 8 p.m. $10

  • Learn how to put bold flavors into small bites with Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres on Sunday, Nov. 11 from noon to 3 p.m. at Januik Winery. Cost $90.

Tuesday, Nov. 13

Wednesday, Nov. 14

  • Chateau Ste. Michelle: An evening of wine and gourmet cheeses from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chateau Wine Shop. $20 at the door.

Friday, Nov. 16 to Sunday, Nov. 18

  • Winemaker Dinner: The Waterfront Seafood Grill welcomes Brian Carter as he showcases his exceptional European style blended wines paired with a multi-course dinner. The Nov. 16 event begins at 6:30 p.m. Price: $125 Information: 206.956.9171

  • Tri-Cities Wine Festival: This festival first started in 1978! This professionally judged wine competition begins on Nov. 16 and culminates in a public tasting on Nov. 17, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. At the Red Lion Hotel in Pasco, wines from small boutique wineries will be poured side-by-side with those from large producers. Find out more information here.

  • JM Cellars pours at the YWCA Childcare Endowment Fund Benefit along with Cadence, Guardian Wines, Mark Ryan, Reininger Vineyards and other wineries at the Wright Exhibition Space in Seattle on Friday, Nov. 16.

  • Welcome Guardian Wines to Woodinville at a special release party on Nov. 17, from noon to 4 p.m. More details about this exciting event are available on this blog.

  • Bottle Your Own Wine returns to Silver Lake Winery in Woodinville on Nov. 17-18, just in time for the holidays. Handcraft wine with your personalized label — you’ll get to bottle it, cork it, foil it and label it.

  • Discover perfect Thanksgiving pairings in a special wine tasting at Vino Bello on Saturday Nov. 17 from noon to 8 p.m. $10

  • Learn how to put bold flavors into small bites with Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres on Sunday, Nov. 18 from from noon to 3 p.m. at Januik Winery. Cost $90.

 Friday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 25: Thanksgiving in Wine Country

  • At all three Silver Lake Winery locations — Woodinville, Leavenworth and Zillah — sample complimentary newly released wines served with snacks and special holiday pricing of your favorite wines.

  • Grand Opening of Wilridge Vineyard Tasting Room near Yakima over Thanksgiving Weekend. Be the first to visit Wilridge’s organic and biodynamic vineyard oasis and Tasting Room on the Naches Heights, five minutes west of Yakima.

  • Port lovers unite! It’s a special Ports & Stickes Blowout at Vino Bello from noon until 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24. The wine bar will rock to the mean guitar blues of Kimball Conant and the Fugitives from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. $10

 Thursday, Nov. 29

  • Walla Walla Valley Annual Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend: Join the 2nd Annual Winemakers’ Fete at the Marcus Whitman Hotel. Two of our favorite Walla Walla wineries, Forgeron Cellars and Pepper Bridge will join 18 other wineries hosting a special dinner–five courses with a special wine with each course prepared by Chef Bear. 
  • EB Foote Winery Holiday Open House: Sample new releases, Rainy Day Red IV, 2006 Zinfandel and 2006 Syrah, and tasty snacks Nov. 29-Dec. 2. There is no cost but times vary each day. Call 206-242-3852.

Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2

  • Check out St. Nick’s Open House in Woodinville from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The wineries of Woodinville Wine Country open their doors for a single ticket price of $50. Some of the participating wineries are rarely open to the public, so don’t miss this opportunity! You’ll enjoy special tastings and specially prepared hors d’oeuvres to complement the wine. Check out Woodinville Wine Country’s Web site for a list of wineries and ticket information.

  •  Walla Walla Holiday Barrel Tasting is an annual event in the Walla Walla Valley. Winemakers will be on hand as more than 50 wineries open their barrel rooms. Each winery participates offers a variety of different features such as food, music, art exhibits, wine dinners, cooking demonstrations, poetry readings, and more.

Tuesday, Dec. 11

Wednesday, Dec. 12

  • Chateau Ste. Michelle: An evening of wine and gourmet cheeses from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chateau Wine Shop. $20 at the door. 

Cheers!

2004 Helix “Screw Sideways” Merlot

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We opened up a bottle of 2004 Helix Merlot Columbia Valley from Reininger Winery and cracked up at the tasting notes on Reininger’s Web site: ” ‘Screw “Sideways.’  This is Washington State Merlot.  Hellooo!  This is one screwed together Merlot; it lives up to its name – Helix.  It’s rich and powerful, with a fine slight firmness in tannin structure.  This is no spaghetti wine!  Spiraling about a core of dried plum, dark cherry, and raspberry, is a dust devil of sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, java and a dusting of Northwest cedar spice.  Unlike Miles, this wine knows where it’s going.”

This award-winning wine is elegant and big — the 2004 vintage was fine in the Columbia Valley. I think I’ll go have another glass right now!

Cheers!

Who’s pouring at Washington Wine Highway?

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Here are the wineries that are pouring tastes at Washington Wine Highway this weekend. There are so many good ones that I’m very glad we’re going on both days!

Airfield Estates
Apex Cellars
Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Arlington Road Cellars
Anton Ville Winery
Basel Cellars Estate Winery
Bergevin Lane
Brian Carter Cellars
Cave B Estate Winery
Cedergreen Cellars
Challenger Ridge
Chateau Faire Le Pont Winery
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chatter Creek
Columbia Crest
Columbia Winery
Cote Bonneville
Covington Cellars
DaMa Wines
DeLille Cellars and Doyenne
Des Voigne Cellars
DiStefano Winery
Dunham Cellars
Dusted Valley Vintners
Edmonds Winery LLC
Efeste
Eleven Winery
Fall Line Winery
Fidelitas
Five Star Cellars
Forgeron Cellars
Gamache Vintners
Gilbert Cellars
Gifford Hirlinger
Glen Fiona Winery
Goose Ridge Estate Winery
Gordon Brothers Cellars
Hightower Cellars
Hogue Cellars
Isenhower Cellars
J. Bookwalter
Kana Winery
Kestrel Vintners
Kiona Vineyards Winery
Magnificent Wine Company
Mannina Cellars
Matthews Estate
Milbrandt Vineyards
Naches Heights Vineyard & Winery
Nicholas Cole Cellars
Northstar
Northwest Totem Cellars
Nota Bene Cellars
O Wines
Olsen Estates
Otis Kenyon
Page Cellars
Pepper Bridge/ Amavi Cellars
The Pike Brewing Company
Pondera Winery
Prosser Wine Company
Red Sky Winery
Reininger Winery
Ryan Patrick Vineyards
Saint Laurent Winery
Silver Lake Winery
Snoqualmie
Stephenson Cellars
Stina’s Cellars
Terra Blanca Winery
Tertulia Cellars
Tildio Winery
Tiger Mountain Winery

Vindulac Winery
Waterbrook
White Heron Cellars
Whitman Cellars
Willis Hall
Wilridge Winery
Woodhouse Family Cellars

Hope to see you there!

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!

Tripping to Red Willow

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We are really looking forward to what promises to be an amazing weekend in eastern Washington after Labor Day. On Friday, we are joining Columbia Winery’s annual pilgrammage to Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. Our hosts Mike and Karen Sauer will tell us about their vineyard and share some of the excellent wines that Columbia Winery has produced from their grapes. Then there will be a barbeque in the vineyard and an incredible experience for anyone: 360-degree views of the spectacular sunset in that part of Washington state.

The next day, we’ll travel to Prosser, wine tasting along the way of course, until we reach The Hogue Cellars, where we will join their 25th anniversary celebrations. We really enjoyed our last trip to Hogue in April–this time, we’ll have the treat of tasting some of their library wines and a picnic-style lunch.

The Columbia Winery tour ends at that point, so we will head to Walla Walla that afternoon for another round of tastings at our favorite wineries: Forgeron Cellars, Reininger Winery, Goose Ridge Estates and Three Rivers Winery (we adore their 2003 Meritage) … to name a few. There are many more.

Maybe we’ll be luckier this time and find Long Shadows Vintners open for tastings. That’s been on our list for a long time, but the winery hadn’t opened yet when we were there in April. We’ve been anxious to taste the 2004 Pedestal Columbia Merlot for months. I just noticed their Web site says it’s sold out, but hopefully there is some left for tasting at the winery!

Cheers!

Washington Merlots Win Again

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Merlot Madness!! Washington Merlots Were the Winners is the title of an article yesterday on Ken’s Wine Guide. (Ken is a new blogger friend of mine who also writes all about wines on his blog Boston Wine Buzz.) Ken and his KWG panel held a blind tasting of Merlots in June. There were so many Merlots on the list that they were divided into two groups based on price. On the high end, 13 wines were reviewed — and Washington’s own 2003 Reininger Merlot and 2004 J. Bookwalter Winery Merlot were the top two winners.

How did Ken’s tasting panel reach its decisions? Did any other Washington state wineries make the cut? Read the complete article to find out.

And while you’re there, have a look at all 113 Washington state wineries that are recommended by Ken’s Wine Guide. Not surprisingly, Quilceda Creek Vintners takes the top three spots in both quality and price.

Cheers to Ken, who appreciates Washington state wines!

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