I Heart Cab Franc

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Cab FrancWhen you think of Cabernet Franc, it’s probably in the context of a blending wine that adds more complexity to the robust Cabernet Sauvignon, or adds more structure to the softer Merlot. When combined with both Cab Sauv and Merlot, Cab Franc rounds out the trio in Meritage blends. Indeed, Cab Franc is one of the main varieties in Bordeaux-style blends.

In Washington state, like in France’s Loire Valley, wineries are also creating Cab Franc as a purebred — in other words, the dominant variety, or a stand-alone wine. And I, for one, am delighted, because I heart Cab Franc.

Cab Franc is known for its complex aromas of cherry and berry, with notes of herbs, spices, chocolate, cedar, and even violets. Frequently wine enthusiasts describe the nose as a peppery perfume.

The hot climate in Walla Walla and Yakima Valley is perfectly suited to ripen the Cab Franc fruit. Wineries in Lake Chelan have also produced some fine vintages.

Here are some of the Washington state wineries that, in my opinion, produce the Cab Franc grape as a shining single-varietal wine.

In our cellar, we still have a bottle of one of my all-time favorites, Matthews Estate 2003 Conner Lee Cab Franc, which received 96 points from the Wine Advocate. 

Meanwhile, I’ve read about, but not tasted, the award-winning 2007 Fielding Hills Cab Franc, the 2007 Red Sky Cab Franc, and  2007 Dusted Valley Cab Franc — I hope to enjoy some of them within the next year.

I also tip my glass to Goosecross Cellars for its 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc.

And I tip my glass to LeAnn Moore for the photo of Cab Franc growing at Hedge’s Family Estate Vineyard. Thanks, LeAnn!

What Cab Francs do you think we should taste?

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!

Wine, Dogs and Cats for a Cause!

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There’s a party for the animals this weekend – and it involves wine! Bonza Bash Summer 2009 will benefit  The Seattle Humane Society, and juice will be flowing from Washington wineries such as Darby, DiStefano, Sparkman Cellars, Barrage Cellars and Bookwalter, in addition to Australian wines, The Black Chook and Woop Woop.

The fun begins Saturday (Aug. 22) at 8 p.m. at Seattle’s Fremont Studios with wine tasting and appetizers; dancing “to old school and new school beats” begins at 11 p.m. and goes through 2 a.m.  There also will be raffles and a silent auction including restaurant and spa gift certificates, winery packages and tickets to sports events.

The Seattle Humane Society will benefit from ticket sales, raffles, silent auctions and donations. And you know what a good cause this is — the shelter in Bellevue gives healthy and adoptable animals as long as it takes for staff to find them homes, regardless of their age, breed or beauty. We know this from first-hand experience because we have two shelter dogs.

Two items to note:

  • All previous Bonza Bash events have sold out quickly, so you are encouraged to purchase tickets soon at the Bonza Bash Summer 2009 website.
  • There’s a “Red, White and Bright” dress code of colorful summer cocktail attire

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!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Thanksgiving to family, friends and readers of this blog. Dave and I hope you have a wonderful holiday! We’re thankful for many, many things.

First, always is health and family, followed by good friends and good jobs. We’d also like to give thanks for any unknown blessings already on their way.

Dave and I also are thankful that we’ve had an opportunity to become friends with many people at Washington wineries including Jarrod and Ali, Vida and Ross, Matt, Kathie, Rachel and Shanah at Alexandria Nicole Cellars; Rod and Leslie, Marcus and Cheryl at William Church Winery; Brennon, Patrick, Angie and Kevin, Dan and Helen at Efeste; Kevin and Rebecca at Barrage Cellars; Bijal and Sinead and Jean Claude at The Woodhouse Wine Estates; Marie-Eve at Forgeron Cellars and Gilles at Long Shadows; Charlie, Jess and Cindy at Fidelitas Wines; Mike and Kate at Northwest Totem Cellars; Justin at Va Piano; Neil at Cooper Wine; John, Peggy and Paige at JM Cellars; Mike and Joanne at Dunham Cellars; Cole at Hestia Cellars, Sean and Anna at Gilbert Cellars; Tim and Nancy at Fall Line; Judy and Don at Hard Row to Hoe; Hope and Eric at Heaven’s Cave; Darby at Darby Winery; Trey at Sleight of Hand; new friend Jamie Brown at Waters and 21 Grams; Kathy at O Wines; Amber and Greg at Desert Wind; Bart at Bartholomew Wine; and Mike, Karen, John and Kelly Sauer of Red Willow Vineyard.

And a special shoutout to our Walla Walla gal-pals Jamie at L’Ecole 41; Muriel at Otis Kenyon; Shari at Woodward Canyon; and bestie Catie at Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman.

Of course there are dozens of fabulous friends and wine enthusiasts — too many to name — whom we’ve met on Twitter and Facebook, and we wish you all the best too.

Oh my -we hope we didn’t forget anyone! If so, please blame it on the fact that it’s Wine O’clock on the Wine Wednesday before Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers!

Margot and Dave

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!

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!

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!

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