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!

Who Has a Pretty Mouth?

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"Pretty Mouth"

EFESTE, that’s who – with their oh-so-drinkable Jolie Bouche Syrah. “Jolie Bouche” translates from French to “pretty mouth” – a perfect name for a Syrah with a wonderful mouthfeel.

Back on Dec. 8, 2008, my blog post declared EFESTE’s Jolie Bouche Syrah a winner.  Year after year, it remains a favorite.

The previous day, Dec. 7,  2008 at St. Nick’s Open House Weekend in Woodinville, was when we a) first barrel-tasted the 2007 Jolie Bouche release at EFESTE; b) pre-ordered 2006 Jolie Bouche; and c) joined EFESTE’s Inner Circle Wine Club.

Ever since, we’ve been big advocates of EFESTE , winemaker Brennon Leighton, and winery owners Daniel and Helen Ferrelli, Patrick Smith and Kevin and Angela Taylor.” (EFESTE is pronounced like the letters “F, S, T” for the first initials of the last names of the owners.)

We’re not particularly patient when it comes to wines we love – we drank most of our 2006 Jolie Bouche within a couple of months of its arrival. But somehow we managed to cellar one bottle, which we savored last week.

"EFESTE Jolie Bouche"As we tasted it, we were reminded of a review in Wine Advocate,  which rated 2006 Jolie Bouche at 90 points:

The purple-colored 2006 Jolie Bouche Syrah spent 20 months in 24% new French oak. It offers up an expressive nose of cedar, incense, violets, blueberry, and blackberry. Medium to full-bodied, ripe and savory on the palate, it displays some elegance, good balance, and a fruit-filled finish. It will continue to blossom for another 2-3 years and drink well through 2018. -Jay Miller for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

This beautiful wine did indeed blossom in the three years since we first tasted it, becoming even more elegant and full-bodied. In fact, the pretty mouth developed into a gorgeous mouthfeel.

We now, of course, wish we had cellared more!

Not surprisingly, the most-recent release, 2008 Jolie Bouche Syrah is sold out. After all, it received 95 points from Wine Spectator. But the good news is 2009 Jolie Bouche will be released in the fall of 2011 – just  few months away.

We can’t wait!

To find out more about EFESTE and winemaker Brennon Leighton, read my article in Seattleite Magazine.

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!

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