Seattle Wine & Food Experience

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There’s only one week left to buy your tickets for the Seattle Wine and Food Experience at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. If you like good wine, beer and food – and seriously, who doesn’t? – mark your calendars for this delicious experience on Feb. 26.

In addition to the wonderful wines of Washington, our neighbors to the south, Oregon, are also featured this year. And face it, there aren’t many events where plentiful choices of both Washington and Oregon wine are available for tasting.

Some of our Oregon favorites — Erath Winery, King Estate, Sokol Blosser and Willamette Valley Vineyards – will be side by side with our Washington friends from Barrage Cellars, Forgeron Cellars, Airfield Estates and Kiona, to name a few. And then there’s Watermill, which straddles both states and has some great juice too.

And let’s not forget Stag’s Leap, Francis Ford Coppola Winery  and other California wineries will also be pouring, along with wineries from Idaho and around the world (France, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, Australia and Argentina).

There’s something for everybody, including beer and cider and spirits, non-alcoholic beverages and coffee.

Did we mention food? Seattle Wine & Food Experience showcases too many Washington restaurants to name, so here is the list. You’ll be able to nibble on tasty treats such as barbequed beef slider, Kona coffee-rubbed filet, boeuf Bourguignon stew, seafood salad, roasted lamb leg, foie gras and much more.

The cost for this explosion of tastes is $49 in advance or $60 at the door (cash only).

Enjoy – and cheers!

An Evening with the Grape Killers

Bordeaux Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Washington wineries, Wine Comments Off

Six of seven Woodinville wineries that make up the Grape Killers generated lots of fans and fun at their annual “Holiday in the ‘Hood” wine tasting event last night in Woodinville’s Wine Warehouse District.

Winemakers, and friends, from Gorman Winery (Chris Gorman), Mark Ryan Winery (Mark Ryan McNeilly), Darby Winery (Darby English), Guardian Cellars (Jerry Riener), Baer Winery (Lisa Baer) and Sparkman Cellars  (Chris Sparkman) offered some amazing wines, appetizers and good cheer. Perfect example? Chris Sparkman appeared dressed as Elvis. (Photo courtesy of our friend Taryn Miller)

Not surprisingly, we enjoyed all the wines we tasted at Grape Killers Holiday in the ‘Hood party. But these were our favorites:

  • Gorman Winery 2008 Bully Cabernet Sauvignon (blended with Petit Verdot), Red Mountain
  • Sparkman Cellars 2009 Kingpin Old Vine Cab (blended with Petit Verdot), Red Mountain
  • Darby Winery 2009 Dark Side Syrah (100% Syrah), Yakima Valley
  • Baer Winery 2009 Arctos, a Cabernet-driven blend, Columbia Valley
  • Guardian Cellars 2008 The Rookie Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
  • Mark Ryan Winery 2009 Dead Horse Red, Bordeaux blend, Red Mountain

Do you sense a trend here? Indeed, our palates prefer Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends, and as Dave said, “I never met a grape from Red Mountain that I didn’t like.”

You could tell the six winemakers (plus Tim Stevens of Stevens Winery who couldn’t participate this time) are pals who hang out together in their spare time. Their camaraderie was evident at each of their tasting rooms. This was a night full of smiles and laughter!

And to top off the good fun, a portion of all wine sales will benefit Woodinville’s Homeward Pet Adoption Shelter.

If you didn’t make it to the Grape Killers event last night, be sure to stop by these wineries in the future. They make good juice!

Cheers!

Love Tempranillo? Head to Fall Line in Seattle Now!

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Fall Line Winery just released one of the best Washington state Tempranillos we have ever tasted.

This 2009 Yakima Valley Tempranillo is a new addition to Fall Line’s lineup, appropriately called El Otro (“The Other One”) because it’s a departure from the other red wines beautifully crafted by Tim Sorenson.

El Otro is 100% Tempranillo planted specially for Fall Line at Boushey Vineyard; it’s also 100% drinkable now. Believe me, this dark ruby wine has the WOW factor – it is silky, structured and so layered, I actually said “wow” when I tasted it. Seriously.

Wine Advocate awarded it 92 points last month: “Spice box, cedar, rose petal, and black cherry aromas set the stage for a lingering, already complex, lengthy offering that is a fine example of the potential for Tempranillo in eastern Washington. Drink this outstanding wine from 2012 to 2021.”

Only 166 cases were made, with a low price point of $25 for a wine this elegant. So if you are a big fan of Tempranillo, head to Fall Line soon, because this beauty will sell out quickly.

While you’re there, try some of Fall Line’s other red wines too. We’ve been fans of Tim’s wine for years – my first post about Fall Line was on June 9, 2007, just six days after I started this blog (and when people still referred to “the blogosphere”)!

I fell in love with his 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon — 100% Cab sourced from Boushey Vineyards in Yakima Valley, Artz Vineyards in Red Mountain, and Destiny Ridge Vineyards in Horse Heaven Hills. To my surprise, the next vintage was even better, as I wrote on Feb. 18, 2008: Fall Line Does It Again.

Fast forward to November 2011, and I am once again applauding Fall Line’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not surprisingly, this enticing wine was also awarded 92 points from Wine Advocate last month: “A hint of mint, exotic spices, incense, violets, and assorted black fruits lead to a firm, sweetly-fruited, elegant offering. This well-balanced, lengthy effort will benefit from another 2-3 years of cellaring and will be at its best from 2013 to 2024.”

Fall Line’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo are joined by four unique blends - Yakima Valley Boushey Vineyard Bordeaux-style blend (91 points), Red Mountain Artz Bordeaux-style blend (90 points), Yakima Valley Exhibition Red, and Yakima Valley Red Willow Bordeaux-style blend – to round out the 2009 lineup.

You can taste Fall Line wines and join Tim at West Seattle Cellars on Dec. 3 or at his Georgetown winery for a holiday tasting on Dec. 10. More details are available on the Fall Line website.

Once you sip these fantastic-value reds (and find out their price points), you likely will want to buy some for your holiday dinner or to take with you to a special holiday party.

Cheers!

Time for Taste of Tulalip!

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It’s here, the Taste of Tulalip weekend wine and food spectacular at Tulalip Resort Casino! See my previous posts, listed below, for information about activities, times, locations and ticket information.

I will be there for many of the seminars, tastings and parties – you can follow me over the weekend on Twitter @writeforwine and you can also follow many wine tweeps and foodies on the Twitter stream at #tasteoftulalip

Previous Posts:

Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

Still Tickets Left for Taste of Tulalip

Events, Wine 2 Comments

You’re in luck – there are still tickets left for the Grand Tasting and All-Access Pass on Saturday at Taste of Tulalip, held each year at Tulalip Resort Casino, and recognized as one of the top Northwest foodie “happenings.”

This is one of our favorite events of the year. For the Grand Tasting, Executive Chef Perry Mascitti and his fabulous team, and Sommelier Tommy Thompson go all out for guests with an array of mouthwatering bites, and pours from 65 Washington wineries, 20+ from Napa and more than 20 from Italy.

The All-Access Pass includes this exciting lineup:

  • 12:00 PM – VIP Seminar featuring Carla Hall, who will “wow” you as she performs a cooking demonstration, table talk and a question and answer session with Executive Chef Perry Mascitti and Sommelier Tommy Thompson.
  • Private Magnum Party in mpulse lounge hosted by “Liquid Kitchen” star Kathy Casey. You’ll be treated to some of the most elite wines from around the world, selected by Sommelier Tommy Thompson and sample some of Kathy Casey’s tasty appetizers. (We can’t wait for this event!)
  • 1:30 PM – Early entrance into the Grand Taste
  • 3:30 PM – Rock-n-Roll Cooking Challenge judged by “Thirsty Girl” Leslie Sbrocco and Carla Hall

You can purchase tickets right now!

And of course, if you don’t feel like driving home after such a wonderful day, the Tulalip Resort has a beautiful hotel to relax in.

We hope to see you at the 2011 Taste of Tulalip! You can follow me on Twitter @writeforwine and you can follow the Twitter stream at #tasteoftulalip

Cheers!

Do Not Miss Taste of Tulalip!

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You might not know this but Taste of Tulalip, held each year at Tulalip Resort Casino, has been recognized as one of the top Northwest foodie “happenings.”

It doesn’t surprise us, considering the wonderful food, wine & hospitality experience we had there in May.

The resort’s superb reputation was underlined again last week at a tweetup, when its food and wine maestros — Chef Perry Mascitti and his fabulous team of chefs, and Sommelier Tommy Thompson — treated a few of us to a sneak peak of Taste of Tulalip.

Once more, we encountered an explosion of flavors and aromas — the food, wine and hospitality merged into a premium, five-star experience. We were also delighted to discover the well-deserved honor given to Barrage Cellars, which was named the official 2011 winery parter of Taste of Tulalip.

Don’t just take our word for why you should attend Taste of Tulalip - below are some of the tweets that were posted during our preview event. Read them, and then get your tickets – Nov. 11 & 12 – at the Tulalip website.

At Taste of Tulalip, you’ll find 65 Washington wineries, more than 20 from Napa and more than 20 Italian wineries, along with mouthwatering food and a Magnum party with exclusive tastes from world-renowned wineries.

These are the wines we sampled:

  • 2002 Louis Roederer “Cristal” Champagne
  • 2008 Domaine Leflaive Batard Montrachet Burgundy
  • 2006 Leonetti Cellars Reserve red blend
  • ZD Abacus Cabernet Sauvignon XII

Here is just a sample of tweets from our sneak preview of the scrumptious food and wine at Tulalip:

Are you convinced now? Mark your calendars for Nov. 11 & 12, and get your tickets here. See you there!

Cheers!

It’s a Perfect Time to Visit Swiftwater Cellars

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Merlot, Syrah, Wine Comments Off

The summer tourists have gone home and the skiiers are waiting for the season to kick off, so now is the time to visit Swiftwater Cellars, a destination within a destination at Suncadia Resort - a one-hour drive from Seattle in the heart of the Cascade Mountains.

We visited a couple of months ago, and it was gorgeous – mountain views, a 360-degree bar, a two-story stone fireplace, a shop with unique gifts and collectibles, and Swiftwater Cellars premium wine – what’s not to like? If you’re lucky, owners Don and Lori Watts, both consummate storytellers, will regale you with anecdotes about their lives and about the former Roslyn Coal Mine No. 9 that the winery sits atop.

And let’s not forget the wine! Veteran winemakers Tony Rynders and Linda Trotta create a number of outstanding wines with fruit sourced from a selection of vineyards in Washington and Oregon. The Watts family also owns Zephyr Ridge in Horse Heaven Hills.

Not surprisingly to regular readers of this blog, my favorite was Swiftwater’s Proprietary Red – a beautiful Bordeaux blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Cab Franc, 16% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot and 10% Syrah. But full props also go to Swiftwater’s Syrah and Pinot Noir (sourced from Willamette Valley).

We also enjoyed some white wines from their second label, Number 9, naturally named after the coal mine. At the moment, Switfwater Cellars produces a total of 2,500 cases of wine, with plans to double that in the future.

But Swiftwater Cellars is more than fine wine – the Fireside Lounge offers an all-day menu and The Hoist House dinner menu has many mouth-watering choices.

And there are frequent events; for example, this weekend you’ll find live music and “Experience the Crush.”

Did I mention this destination winery would also be an awesome location for a wedding or holiday party?

Whether you’re looking for a day-trip, a wonderful weekend or a unique place to hold an event, we recommend checking out Swiftwater Cellars. We plan on going back!

Cheers!

Dunham Cellars

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Syrah, Wine Comments Off

We recently had the fortune to sit at a dinner table with Mike and Joanne Dunham of Dunham Cellars. We were at the 20th annual Washington Wines Festival at Waterfront Seafood Grill in Seattle, and we couldn’t have asked for more delightful company.

Mike and Joanne are so down-to-earth and so much fun, with so many stories to tell. We talked about wine, of course – Dunham Cellars wines and other Washington wines that we tasted at the festival. And we jokingly tried to identify some of the more obscure ingredients in the many tasty courses that were placed in front of us.

We also talked about their winery in the remodeled World War II-era airplane hangar in Walla Walla, and we shared many, many tales of all of our dogs.

The two of them had us laughing throughout the delicious dinner and prestigious auction. We had met Mike and Joanne briefly at their winery and at several wine events in the last 10 years or so. But we never had the luxury of time to talk to them at length, particularly over good food and delicious wine.

We’ve enjoyed Dunham Cellars wines for years – my first blog post about their Three Legged Red blend was in 2007 – a price-friendly wine packed with flavors and named after their wonderful dog, Port.

We met Port when we first stopped by the Dunham Cellars tasting room – he was as adorable as his photo on the wine bottle. When he passed away in 2008, I wrote a tribute.

Since then, we’ve sipped several vintages of Dunham Cellars Trutina, a delightful blend of Cab Sauv, Syrah, Merlot and Cab Franc, and we love 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon XII, which received a 93 rating from Wine Spectator.

We haven’t yet tasted 2007 Pursued by Bear Cabernet Sauvignon, which was a creative collaboration by their winemaker son, Eric Dunham and actor Kyle MacLachlan of Desperate Housewives. And we’re looking forward to trying the recently released 2007 Cab and Syrah from Lewis Vineyard.

We’ve always said that Washington wine is about so much more than the juice itself - it’s about the people, the stories and the spirit. Mike and Joanne Dunham, and their award-winning wines, exemplify the passion of the wine industry in this state.

Cheers!

The Hottest Wine Event of the Summer

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One of our favorite summer events is the Auction of Washington Wines, a glamorous and fun weekend that benefits Seattle Children’s and the Washington Wine Education Foundation.

The weekend kicks off early with the Picnic & Barrel Auction at Chateau Ste. Michelle on Aug. 18. We have attended the picnic for the last few years, and had such a good time. First, the weather usually is sunny and warm. (Hopefully, that statement won’t jinx it this year!) Second, the fine wines of Washington state are showcased, as you stroll around the beautiful grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Winemakers pour tastings of their newest – and oldest – releases, and are available to talk to you about their selections. And what would a picnic be without great bites? Chefs from the Tulalip Resort Casino will provide gourmet picnic fare to pair with the wine. And then there are the delicious desserts!

Featured wineries include: Adams Bench Winery, Andrew Will Winery, Bergevin Lane Vineyards, Brian Carter Cellars, Boudreaux Cellars, Buty Winery, Cadaretta Wines, Columbia Winery, Dunham Cellars, Dusted Valley Vintners, Hestia Cellars, J. Bookwalter Winery, L’Ecole Nº 41 Winery, Maison Bleue Winery, Nefarious Cellars, Reasons Wine, Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Robert Karl Cellars, Sparkman Cellars, Spring Valley Vineyard, Va Piano Vineyards, Walla Walla Vintners and Woodward Canyon Winery.

And then there’s the auction; 25 vintners will offer barrel samples of their futures to taste and buy. The top five bidders on each wine will receive one case each.

Two days after the picnic, on Aug. 20, a prestigious Wine Gala will feature a six-course meal paired by wines from around the state.

Featured chefs include: Wayne Johnson (Andaluca), Jason Stoneburner (Bastille Café & Bar), Janet Hedstrom (Chateau Ste. Michelle), John Sarich (Chateau Ste. Michelle), Peter Birk (Ray’s Boathouse), Jason Stratton (Cascina Spinasse), Jacob Crenshaw (T. Maccarone’s), Tim Towner (TM Dessert Works), Brian Scheehser (Trellis at The Heathman Hotel) and Perry Mascitti (Tulalip Resort).

Each table will be hosted by a winemaker who will pour their wines to pair with each course. Tickets for the gala are $500 per person – remember, this event benefits Seattle Children’s and the Washington Wine Education Foundation.

This year, the gala is no longer a black-tie event. Cocktail attire is the way to go, no jackets required.

Cheers!

Update: Washington Wines Festival This Weekend

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This weekend is exciting for wine enthusiasts who want to make a difference.

It’s the 20th annual Washington Wines Festival, where – uniquely – more than 60 premium Washington wineries must be invited to pour at this prestigious event.

Here are the festivities:

  • July 7: Winemaker dinners with locally renowned chefs are held in top Seattle restaurants and private homes for $200-$350. The $850 per-person dinners in Walla Walla and Red Mountain include round-trip chartered jet from Seattle.
  • July 8: A magnum tasting for serious wine lovers at Waterfront Seafood Grill and Vinolution 14 – wine under the stars at the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park. All activities are $350; Vinolution tickets only cost $65 ($75 with parking).
  • July 9: The main event is an auction of extravagant wine-related packages, a sunset barbeque from Waterfront Seafood Grill, and music on the rooftop of the Bell Harbor Conference Center ($350 and up).

The non-profit Festival benefits Camp Korey and Washington Wine Education. Last year, more than $850,000 was raised for Camp Korey, a free-of-charge, medically supervised camp for seriously ill children.

On the festival’s website, you can find more information about tickets, wineries, restaurants and chefs.

We hope to see you there !

Cheers!

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