Sogno Superbo

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

The first time we ever tasted Cabernet Franc is stamped in our memories because we immediately fell in love with this grape. The year was 1999, when we had just moved to Seattle and took our first drive to Woodinville wine country. The winery was DiStefano. We became instant fans and remain so today.

Slightly more than a year ago, we included DiStefano’s 2005 Sogno Cab Franc in our Top 11 Washington state wineries that produce the Cab Franc grape as a shining single-varietal wine.

We now add 2007 Sogno Reserve to the list. Wow!

Released in July 2011, only 150 cases were made of this powerful 100% Cab Franc. From the tasting notes:

“Intense dark chocolate, raspberry and toasted hazelnut push their way out of the glass. The palate is rich with silky chocolate and dried cherries, with hints of spicy oak, black pepper on the finish.”

Cab Franc is typically used as a blending wine to add more complexity to Cabernet Sauvignon or more structure to Merlot.

But when Cab Franc is created as a stand-alone wine and done well, like 2007 Sogno Reserve, it’s magic. Glorious. Superbo!

Did we mention only 150 cases were produced? What are you waiting for?

Cheers!

What We’ve Opened Lately

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Washington wineries, Wine Comments Off

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!

Cheers!

Tweets from Taste of Tulalip

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

We had an exceptional time at Taste of Tulalip, where we were guests of the Tulalip Resort. In the next couple of weeks, I plan to write a full blog post about our two days there – from the Celebratory dinner to the Magnum Party of elite wines and the Grand Tasting. Until then, here is a sample of some of my tweets live from Taste of Tulalip.

Friday Night Celebratory Dinner

Saturday Magnum Party

Grand Tasting

As you can see, there was an explosion of tastes and flavors at Taste of Tulalip. The resort is beautiful and the staff superb. Special thanks to Allan, Norma, Cheryl Kyle, Chef Perry Mascitti and his fabulous team, Sommelier Tommy Thompson, and Lisa Severn.

We will be back!

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!

Glorious Cabernet Franc

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Wine 2 Comments

Cab FrancOne of my favorite wines is Cabernet Franc, which is one of the main varieties in Bordeaux blends. Cab Franc is typically used as a blending wine to add more complexity to Cabernet Sauvignon or more structure to Merlot.

But Cab Franc is also created as a single-varietal wine; in other words, a stand-alone wine. And one of the best we’ve tasted recently was a 2004 Cab Franc from Corliss Estates in Walla Walla.

This beauty was elegant and balanced, with a complex bouquet of cherry, spice, cassis, pepper and cocoa. We found it so rich that it was excellent without food. However, parmesan cheese went well with it, and later, we paired it nicely with a slow-cooked savory stew.

Many people don’t realize that Cabernet Franc is one of the genetic parents to Cabernet Sauvignon; the other is Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to Washington, you can find it planted in California and in the Bordeaux and Loire regions in France.

When blended, it adds both a subtly and an “oomph” to Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. But on its own, quite simply, Cabernet Franc is glorious.

Corliss 2004 Columbia Valley Cab Franc is a prime example.

Cheers!

Barrage Cellars And Tulalip – The Perfect Pairing

Cab Franc, Events, Wine Comments Off

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!

Happy Canada Day, Happy 4th of July!

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Counoise, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Primitivo, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Wine, Zinfandel Comments Off

What a great weekend – Friday is Canada Day and Monday is the Fourth of July! And the weather is sunny, which means wine on the deck and BBQ’ing.

First, Dave and I wish all our Canadian family and friends a Happy Canada Day today. Tonight, we shall sip on both white and red wine (the colour of the flag) in your honour.

Then on Monday, we wish all our American family and friends a wonderful Fourth of July. In your honor, we plan to start with white wine on the deck, moving to a robust red later with some blue steak (the color of the flag).

What wines will you be drinking this holiday weekend on both sides of the border? Sauv Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Marsanne, Riesling, Chard? Cabernet, Cab Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Zinfandel, Primitivo, Counoise or perhaps a nice Bordeaux blend? Let us know in the comments below.

We hope your holiday is wonderful and safe.

Cheers!

Margot & Dave

Va Piano, Va Delicious

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

I never met a wine from Va Piano Estate Vineyards that I didn’t like. A lot. Or love.

We first went to Va Piano Vineyards after the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla one year ago.

Our dear friend Melanie, aka Dallas Wine Chick, suggested we start at Va Piano, south of downtown Walla Walla, for our apres-conference tour of Washington state wineries.

At the time, I wrote that we had so many superlatives for Va Piano wines that we all joined their estate wine club.

One year later, we still feel the same way. And winemaker Justin Wylie remains an honorary member of Write for Wine’s “Favorite Winemakers Club.”

This weekend, we enjoyed a late spring barbeque, accompanied by the luscious 2008 Va Piano Uniti. This robust Bordeaux-style wine is a  blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cab Franc, 14% Merlot and 14% Petit Verdot. Smooth, elegant, rich and expressive, this is one standout wine. As regular readers know, my palate prefers Bordeaux blends, and the 08 Uniti is right at the top of my list.

In addition, Va Piano’s 2008 Estate Merlot rises far above most Merlots we’ve tasted, both in Washington and elsewhere. And let’s not forget the 2008 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; we tasted it at one of Justin’s winemaker dinners, and immediately recognized its “wow factor.” We put a couple of bottles in our cellar for a special occasion.

The fruit for all wine for Va Piano’s estate club program comes from the estate vineyard that surrounds the winery. These wines — Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Bordeaux Blend — are not sold in their tasting room, wine shops or restaurants; the only way to get them is to join the Va Piano Vineyards Estate Club.

We highly recommend it!

Cheers!

What Have We Opened Lately?

Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, Wine, Zinfandel Comments Off

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.

Cheers!

Next Entries »