Delectable Dunham Cellars

We have been fans of Dunham Cellars since their inaugural vintage, a 1995 Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2007, when Write for Wine launched, we first visited Dunham’s friendly tasting room in a remodeled World-War II-era airplane hangar in Walla Walla.

Our most recent visit was in May, where we tasted through a wonderful lineup and enjoyed a lengthy conversation, and a trip down memory lane, with general manager John Blair. While all the wines are noteworthy, we thought the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon XIX topped the charts of all the Dunham wines we’ve enjoyed over the years.
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Figgins and Toil Oregon

During our last trip to Walla Walla, we had the good fortune to stop by the Figgins wine studio, where we enjoyed some wonderful wines expertly crafted by Chris Figgins.

“Crafted” might not be the best word — the Figgins’ website clearly states: Figgins wine is “grown” not “made” and as such, the wine quality is achieved through meticulous, sustainable farming practices and carefully controlled, yet “hands-off” winemaking.

We’ve been fans of Figgins wine for years; more recently, Chris introduced us to Toil Oregon wines at the Northwest Wine Encounter at Semiahmoo Resort. The silhouette on the Toil label is taken from a photo of Chris’ father and great uncle William Leonetti, planting the first Leonetti vineyard in 1974. The family history in the valley goes back even further; they moved to Walla Walla in 1902.
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Waerator – a Wine Aerator

If you are in the market for a new wine aerator, look no further. Waerator is an electric, instant aerator, on sale for $59.99 (a $40 savings) with free shipping at Amazon. As wine lovers, we think the price tag is worth the investment.

Instead of decanting your red wine for several hours to let it breathe, this just requires a push of a button to open up the wine’s flavors so it tastes fuller and richer. Waerator provides the equivalent of decanting your wine for more than 90 minutes.
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Good Value BBQ Reds

Summer time, the living is easy, and it’s grilling season! So bring out the glasses and fire up the BBQ.

To complement juicy hamburgers or ribs, here are some good-value reds that we’ve tasted recently. These three wines were sent to us as samples for tasting.
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Exploring Wines from Villa Maria

In 2017, Drinks International named Villa Maria the most admired wine brand in New Zealand and the fourth most admired in the world. So we were happy to attend a tasting of Villa Maria Winemaker’s Collection facilitated by Snooth on June 27. Our guides — Snooth’s co-founder and chief taster Mark Angelillo and Villa Maria winemaker Helen Morrison — talked us through the tasting of six delicious, sustainable wines ranging in price from $13-$45.
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Barrister Beautiful-Part 2

This is the second post in a two-part series about our recent trip to Barrister Winery in Spokane. The first post tells the story of Barrister’s unique “train-settling style” of winemaking, the signature style of soft mouthfeel and gentle tannins, and other information. Now here are some details about the beautiful wines that we tasted at Barrister.

 

2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Klipsun Vineyard ($19)
This single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing, with notes of citrus and the minerality that you might expect from wine fermented for two months in 100% stainless steel. We’ve always said that we never met a grape from Red Mountain that we didn’t like, and this is no exception. This Sauv Blanc captures the power of Red Mountain fruit, which comes from old vines planted in 1982. A true summer sipper!
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