Wonderful Walla Walla Wine

Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Events, Syrah, Walla Walla, Washington wineries, Wine, Woodinville Comments Off

Regular readers of this blog know we are major fans of Walla Walla wine. We don’t get to visit Walla Walla nearly as often as we would like, so when Walla Walla comes to Seattle, it’s a must-go-to event.

So I dashed out to SoDo during my lunch break to visit friends and have a few (very small) tastes at “Walla Walla Wine @SoDo Park” last week.

I could only visit a few booths, and I know I missed out on lots of wineries. I wish I could have stayed longer, but work beckoned me back.

Here are the wines I tasted and would definitely purchase:

  • Abeja 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – This fine Cab is blended with 4% Merlot, in John Abbot’s fashion of being true to the varietal and to the state.
  • L’Ecole 41 2009 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon – I’ve been a major fan of this wine since the 2001 vintage.
  • Otis Kenyon 2008 Syrah – It has that “In the Rocks” funk – yum!
  • Watermill 2008 Cabernet Franc – if you love Cab Franc like I do, this is a must-buy.
  • Woodward Canyon 2009 Estate Reserve – It won’t be released until summer but the potential is already magnificent.

There are many, many more excellent Walla Walla wineries – and we highly recommend you visit them in Walla Walla. Some of them have tasting rooms in Woodinville too.

Cheers!

Washington Wine Month-Our Faves

Barbera, Bordeaux Blend, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Syrah, Tempranillo, Washington wineries, Wine, Zinfandel Comments Off

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!

    Cheers!

    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

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