Wines, Wonderful WA Wines

We recently tasted some new Washington state wines – by new, I mean the wines were either new releases or new to us. For example, over the last couple of weeks, we tried the lush 2006 L’Ecole No 41 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, the fun red blend 2007 Riot from Trio Vintners and the 2006 Syrah from Desert Wind, with concentrated flavors of blackberry and chocolate.

We also attended a party for Efeste‘s new releases of their fabulous Syrahs, Jolie Bouche and Ceidleigh, and at Full Pull Wines, we experienced a preview taste of the new — and amazing — Block 17 Syrah from Alexandria Nicole Cellars.

Add in a first visit to the recently opened restaurant/wine bar Sip Seattle this weekend, where Fidelitas Cab was as wonderful as promised. And next week, JM Cellars is releasing the last of their 2007 reds: the popular Tre Fanciulli, Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain), and Boushey Vineyard Syrah.

In other words, there is lots to blog about – and I will, so please watch for it! The last couple of months have been more than busy, but it’s time to starting writing often again!


Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival

The award-winning Portland Indie Wine & Food Festival is back for its sixth time on May 8th. How on earth did we miss the first five festivals? (I have a soft spot for Portland, because I first started writing about wine in 1997 when I wrote a column for KOIN-TV’s web site.)

This event showcases 40 jury-selected Oregon craft wineries and benefits the Indie Wine Foundation, a non-profit organization to preserve and sustain the art of craft winemaking.

In March, a jury of renowned wine experts, celebrity chefs and journalists will gather in Portland to evaluate the entries. To qualify, the wineries must produce only 2,500 cases or fewer each year. The selected wineries will be announced on April 2.

At the May festival, 15 of Portland’s top chefs will prepare tasty bites to pair with the wine. And to make it even more interesting, the festival has partnered with Hotel Vintage Plaza to offer a special indie wine package that includes wine-flight certificates at Pazzo Ristorante.

Even though the festival doesn’t occur until May 8th, tickets are on sale now — which should tell you something about this popular event! General admission tickets are $75 per person for a tasting glass, festival passport and access to pours from all wineries and food from all featured restaurants. You can also follow indiewinefest on Twitter.

Hope to see you there!


Mark Your Calendars for Seattle Food & Wine Experience

We are really looking forward to Seattle Food & Wine Experience on Feb. 28 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. This major food and wine event has so much to offer that I have a feeling we will be there for the entire time (from 1 – 5 p.m.).

Where to start? With wines, of course – Seattle Food & Wine Experience offers more than 1,000 wines from 10 different countries, including pours from 25 Washington wineries, 15 Oregon wineries and 50 California and International wineries. You can see who is pouring on the event’s website.

In addition, there will be gourmet samples from chefs and restaurants, including Campagne, Ray’s Boathouse, Earth & Ocean, Andaluca, Ponti Seafood Grill, John Sarich of Chateau Ste. Michelle, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Hunt Club, Pearl Bar & Dining, Cicchetti Kitchen and Bar, Artisanal Brasserie and The Artisanal Table, Salty’s on Alki, Copperleaf Restaurant, Blackfish, Pike Place Brewing Company, TASTE Restaurant, Maximus-Minimus, Frost Doughnuts and Beecher’s Cheese.

Oh, and did I mention there will be a Starbucks Coffee and Music Lounge, and an Artisan Beer garden, featuring regional and international breweries and cider companies?

The cost is $49 per person. A portion of proceeds will benefit Beecher’s Flagship Foundation, which gives support to non-profit organizations that provide education about the benefits of all-natural foods.

And then there’s this nice opportunity too: Ticket buyers will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win a wine touring package for 10provided by Butler Transportation.

Hope to see you there!


Tweet-up Continued at William Church Winery

After the Woodinville wine tweet-up at Alexandria Nicole Cellars, most of us went across the way to William Church Winery to taste their wines too. Owners Rod and Leslie Balsley were on hand to greet us, and poured some of their recent releases: the popular 2007 Bishop’s Blend, 2007 “2 Spires” and ’07 Yakima Syrah.

Rod was in his element, standing by the barrels and discussing winemaking with the wine tweeps – a captive audience indeed! Leslie was also chatting with everyone and discussing social media – again the Twitter-addicted audience was captive.

And then we were treated to a pre-release tasting of William Church’s 2008 Malbec – wow! I’ve tasted it a few times, starting when it was still in the barrel, and it definitely has the wow-factor! We also tasted a pre-release of their second Cabernet. While it was still a wee bit tight, it is so absolutely promising. We absolutely adored their 2005 Cab; my sister kept a bottle that I gave her and I’m hoping she’ll open it when we’re back visiting her in Vancouver.

These are the wonderful tweeps who also gathered at William Church:  @YasharSeattle @Shona425 @WABrokers @nwwineandre  @DivaTink @winebeerWA @beanfair and @NWwines. (I, obviously, was there too @WriteforWine)


Tweet-up at Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Seattle-area wine bloggers and enthusiasts on Twitter gathered for a wine tweet-up yesterday in the Woodinville tasting room of Alexandria Nicole Cellars. We had to limit the amount of people who attended, because ANC was kind enough to give us a table in the back room based on my membership in their wine club (and I didn’t want to impose)!

These are the wonderful tweeps who gathered at ANC: @Shona425 @WABrokers @nwwineandre @YasharSeattle @SeattleWineGal @DivaTink @winebeerWA @beanfair @NWwines @incrediblechef and @Smalllot. (I, obviously, was there too @WriteforWine)

To our surprise — because frankly, we invited ourselves — Kathie, our friendly and knowledgeable host at Alexandria Nicole Cellars, had set up a beautiful table for us and asked Rob from Russell’s to pair his tasty treats with ANC wines. The wine was flowing and the pairings were delicious. What an event!

We tasted 2008 Sauvignon Blanc,’08 Crawford Viognier, ’08 Shepards Mark, ‘07 Merlot, ‘07 Syrah, ‘07 Quarry Butte, ‘06 Cabernet Sauvignon,  and an ’08 Syrah Ice Wine. Looking at tweets today, the 2007 Quarry Butte was the favorite – not surprising since ANC just won a gold award for it at the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wine Competition – one of the premium wine contests in the country. In fact, ANC won awards for all eight of the wines they entered into the 2010 competition – and 4,900 wines were entered!

For more details about our tweet-up: NWWinesandRE posted more on her blog and several people posted photos of the tweeps, the wonderful wine, and the fine food: