Happy Canada Day!

July 1st is Canada Day! What Canadian wine do you recommend? A white from British Columbia? A red from Ontario? Please share your favorites with us!


More Washington state wine musings

As a follow-up to my previous post about how everyone is writing about Washington wines these days, I found these two recent articles interesting — one was in the San Jose Mercury News and the other in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Both pretty much said, ”Look out California, Washington state is making some fabulous wine!” 

Walla Walla wineries producing top-notch cabernet, merlot
San Jose Mercury News – CA, USA
One of the Walla Walla wineries pouring Columbia Valley appellation wines was Long Shadows Vintners, a project started by Washington wine pioneer Allen Shoup.

WINE OF THE WEEK: Washington wine savvy choice for those who love
Las Vegas Review – Journal – Las Vegas,NV,USA
Serious wines are being produced in Washington state these days, challenging the position of California as a leader in the domestic wine market.


Everybody is Writing about Washington Wine!

I have a Google Alert set for Washington wine, and the information is coming in fast and furious. Rather than writing about each of them individually, here are some links for some further reading about the fine wines of our state.

  • Summer Wine Touring in Lake Chelan Valley
    Washington State is becoming well-known for its wines all over the world, especially those from the Walla Walla Valley and the Columbia Valley. One area that you may not be familiar with if you live outside of Washington is Lake Chelan.
  • Move over, California; other states are producing their own fine wines
    Yet many of the other wine regions are now making some spectacular wines. Two states, Washington and Oregon, have long been credited as successes, but in my view, not for the right reasons.
  • 2005 Sequel Syrah
    Hey, this Columbia Valley (that’s in Washington) wine is pretty damned good! Beats the pants off of just about any Aussie Shiraz I’ve had, that is 4 sure. Why? Well grab a drink, pay attention and I’ll tell ya!

Happy reading! Cheers!

Dusted Valley Vintners

We had the opportunity to taste wines from Dusted Valley Vintners at Washington Wine Highway, and chat with one of the owners, Chad Johnson, too. This Walla Walla winery offers good wine and fun people. And their wine club is called Stained Tooth Society. Say no more!

Actually I will! We really enjoyed Dusted Valley’s Walla Walla Syrah 2006. The tasting notes on their Web site explains: “This is Walla Walla Valley Syrah.  The Walla Walla Syrah is earthy, gamey without the big rustic tannins.  It is a absolute favorite of ours.  The rustic nose of the outdoors meets the sexy elegance of the tango dancer.”

Rustic yet sexy. I couldn’t phrase it better myself.

Dusted Valley also is proud of their new entry wine called Boomtown. The name reflects Washington State’s booming wine industry. And the Boomtown releases include a chard, pinot gris, cab, merlot and a syrah.

We tasted the 2006 Syrah at Washington Wine Highway, and agree with the designation by Wine & Spirits Magazine which gave the 2006 Boomtown Syrah 90 points and named it in the top 100 value wines of 2008.

We will definitely stop by to see Chad and the gang at Dusted Valley Vintners the next time we visit Walla Walla!


More on MOHAI

We recently attended David LeClaire’s “Debuts & Discoveries” at MOHAI — the Museum of History and Industry — and had a wonderful time. The place was packed with wine enthusiasts who enjoyed pours from more than 40 new northwest wineries.

We enjoyed wine from William Church Winery, Sleight of Hand Cellars and quite a few others, which I will describe in more detail in the near future.

The event was even more fun than usual because friends Kathie and Bob from Ottawa joined us, and their palates are different than ours. So we heard firsthand about varietals that we don’t usually try. Come back to read more about this great evening in the next couple of weeks.


The Chocolate Block

We’ve been so busy lately with new releases, big wine events and with life in general that we hadn’t been able to visit our favorite wine bar, Vino Bello, in awhile. So it was great to see owner Michele Smith again last weekend.

As usual, Michele had some special surprises in store for us in her frequently changing wine menu that always has something for everyone. We also had a taste of a unique wine called The Chocolate Block 2006 made by Boekenhoutskloof from Western Cape, South Africa.

As Michele aptly described it, “The Chocolate Block has a lot going on.” Its name comes from the spicy dark chocolate profile that the wine displays. There are also strong dark berry flavors in this unique blend of Syrah (55%), Grenache Noir (17%), Cinsault (15%), Cab Sauv (9%) and Viognier (4%).

The Chocolate Block is rich and robust with balanced, smooth tanins. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever tasted. And it reminded us of yet another reason why we will be going back to Vino Bello again soon. Hope to see you there!