Beautiful Boudreaux

A month ago, we met Rob Newsom, winemaker extraordinaire of Boudreaux Cellars. Pouring his recently released 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Rob entertained us with stories of the winery he founded just outside Leavenworth, Washington.

We felt like we made a new friend almost instantly. Maybe my Canadian roots connected to his Cajun ones. Maybe his sense of humor and tales of Louisiana and Leavenworth charmed us like so many others.

In addition to making excellent hand-crafted wine, Rob plays bluegrass music, he’s a Cajun cook, and he writes little poems for each of his wines. Here’s the ditty for his 2006 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon:

“Like my mentor told me.
The one with the cars.
This vino is good.
I don’t care who you are.

Its like eatin’ ribs.
Forget the fork.
Doesn’t need words.
Just pull that cork.”

Indeed, the 2006 Reserve is impressive and elegant. And that’s possibly an understatement. This is a well-balanced wine with complex layers that – in Rob’s own words – “is so good it is bewildering to describe.” And if he can’t describe it, you know I’m not going to try! Only 200 cases were produced. The 100% Cabernet Sauvignon fruit was sourced from Champoux and Loess Vineyards.

And then there’s the winery. Boudreaux Cellars is the only winery in Washington state that is self-powered. Located on the Icicle River, the winery is four miles off the power grid, with spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains. For details on how Rob relies on nature to aid his winemaking, see his story on the winery’s website.

Not surprisingly, it’s off the beaten track and tastings are by appointment only. Next time we head that way, we will definitely be making an appointment!


Winners: WBC or Bust (The Road to Walla Walla)

Congratulations to 12 wine bloggers who won the WBC-or-Bust contest. The event was the brainchild of Marcus Pape of WineCHATr, who wanted to generate conversations about Washington wines leading up to June, when the 2010 Wine Blogger Conference is being held in Walla Walla.

Marcus first spoke of his idea months ago to me and Shona Milne of Woodinville Wine Update , and subsequently added several more Washington wine bloggers to be on his panel of judges for the WBC-or-Bust contest. 

The contest participants were non-Washington wine bloggers, who wrote posts over the last several months about the Washington wine industry. Their prize? A road trip across Washington wine country – from Seattle to Walla Walla – in advance of the conference, with stops in Woodinville, Yakima Valley, and Red Mountain. Nice!

Congratulations – the 12 of you deserve it!


A Washingtonian Drinks California Wine in Texas

Talk about lucky – I was in Dallas for my job at the PR agency a week ago, which just happened to be at the same time that Mirassou Winery and Stephan Pyles Restaurant hosted a wine tasting and dinner for the media. And my wonderful friend and colleague, Melanie, the Dallas Wine Chick, invited me to join her.

Of course, I said yes. The Mirassou family has been crafting California wines for 156 years, and is America’s oldest winemaking family. Our dinner was hosted by sixth-generation winemaker, David Mirassou, a delightful, affable storyteller, whose great-great-great-great grandfather was the first to bring cuttings of black burgundy (aka pinot noir) to the U.S. from France.

It was quite the evening. David’s Mirassou wines were paired with amazing courses that fully demonstrated why so many people told me that Stephan Pyles is one of the best restaurants in Dallas.

The event began with a crisp 08 Mirassou Pinot Grigio, which was perfect for this Washingtonian trying to deal with the Dallas heat and humidity. Accompanying the refreshing white wine was an amuse bouche of cured hake, caviar and a confit of pine nuts with a balsamic gelee.

My favorite wine was up next – 08 Sauvignon Blanc, with bright flavors of grapefruit, melon and pear. I was shocked to learn that this glass of wonderful costs only $12.00 a bottle. At Stephan Pyles, it was paired with sea scallop “migas” with spring pea emulsion and chorizo. Delicious!

My favorite course came a little bit later – a cherry salsita-stuffed waygu shortrib with Dallas goat cheese-chimichurri tamale. Its mouthwatering richness was offset by a soft 07 Mirassou Cabernet.

Yes, there was much more – a total of seven wines and courses. I highly recommend that you read Melanie’s Dallas Wine Chick post that describes each course and wine pairing in detail. (You’ll also see a delightful photo of Melanie with the winemaker.)

One last note for anyone planning a summer wedding: Mirassou Winery is hosting its sixth annual “I Do with Mirassou” contest where brides and grooms can enter for a chance to win $10,000, plus a trip to San Francisco to meet with Food Network Chef Aida Mollenkamp and David Mirassou to plan a custom wedding menu, complete with food and wine pairings.

Enter now through June 27, 2010 at


World – Welcome Washington Wine #WAWine!

It’s really very simple. We want the country – make that the world – to know about Washington state wine. We know it. We love it. And we know the world will love it too.

Enter, stage left: Josh Wade of Drink Nectar and Sean Sullivan of Washington Wine Report decided to organize a Twitter event in celebration of our state’s juice. And you’re invited!

Date: Thursday, June 3

Time: 5 – 8 p.m. PT

Location: Twitter

What happens: Hundreds of people will taste Washington wine and write about it on Twitter. Some people – in Washington, across the U.S. and Canada, and in other countries – will simply enjoy a bottle of Washington state wine in the comfort of their homes and tweet their tasting notes. Others will attend dozens of events in Seattle, in central Washington, Walla Walla and Spokane, where wine will be poured and people will discuss it.

The purpose: To spread the word about the wonderful wine and wineries we have in Washington state

How to participate: It’s simple! Sign up and find an event nearby, or find a bottle of your favorite Washington wine and start writing on Twitter at 5 p.m. (PT) on June 3. Use the hashtag #WAWine to follow the conversation and be sure to use the same hashtag in your tweets. Visit the event site for additional details.

If you’re from a winery and want some ideas on how to successfully participate, visit Josh offers a list of ways you can to celebrate with your fans and introduce new people to your winery!

“The event is sponsored by Washington Tasting Room Magazine and the Washington Wine Commission and will leverage the collective reach of 14 wine writers and Washington wine events Wine Rocks in Seattle, Taste Washington in Spokane and the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla.”

This Twitter event also builds on the success of its predecessor, #WAMerlot, which generated more than 500 participants on Twitter and 1,000 people at events across the state.

We hope you’ll join in. (Disclosure: I’m one of the event’s wine writers.)


Coming Soon: The Seattle Wine Awards

The fifth annual Seattle Wine Awards Grand Tasting celebrates the best wines in the Northwest at Seattle’s Rainier Club. Known as one of the most prestigious wine awards, the Seattle Wine Awards began in 2006 by Christopher Chan, Director of Wine & Spirits at the Rainier Club and a certified sommelier.

An experienced tasting panel includes prominent wine directors, buyers, distributors, educators and Seattle’s top sommeliers. The panelists know the varietal, but they do not know the price or the producer. (This is called a single-blind tasting.) A 20-point system is used to score the wines, based on color, aroma, flavor & palate, balance, finish and overall impression.

This event has grown in popularity each year. Chan says he expects 800 wines to be submitted this year, compared to 274 submissions in 2006.

Now here comes the best part – at the 2010 Grand Awards Tasting on June 13, wine enthusiasts will be able to sample the winning wines. Your ticket also includes a delicious lunch buffet and a souvenir Riedel tasting glass.

Not surprisingly, considering the historic venue and the prestigious awards, the tickets are a bit pricey. But there is a special pre-sale price until May 31.

To learn more – and to buy tickets, visit the Seattle Wine Awards website.


Facebook or Twitter?

On a whim this week, I decided to ask people which social media platform they would choose, if they could only use Facebook or Twitter, and not both. I posed the same question on on my two Twitter accounts @writeforwine and @margotsavell and also on my Facebook page.

The poll, which obviously was not scientific, was held for about 24 hours. Not surprisingly, the seven responses on my Facebook page typically voted for Facebook. My favorite response was written by one of my former managers, Keith Greer, who stated “FB. How can i possibly antagonize you fully in 140 characters or less?” Ah Keith, if anyone can, it’s you!

On Twitter, 30 people answered the question with mixed reactions. Sixteen of them preferred Twitter–again not surprisingly. But five preferred Facebook and four copped out by answering “both.” (People, the question was clear – you could only choose one! :))

So where were the remaining five votes?

Five people replied that they would personally prefer Twitter, but they would recommend Facebook over Twitter for wine brands. Interesting!

Here is a sample of a few more responses:

pmabray for myself personally, twitter, if I were a wine brand, FB.

waderockett For chat [conversations], FB beats Twitter. FB forwards messages/comments via SMS to my mobile, Twitter makes me sit and watch.

wino4ever I guess it would have to be FB – more control over who views it.

rhodesjpdx I’d have to go w/ Facebook. More of my personal and professional connections sustained through it.

RigginsConst  Twitter is WAY more conversational than FB. FB is better for sharing photos.

hornOKplease  twitter all the way

paulbalcerak Twitter, hands down.

Funny, but many people on Facebook simply replied “FB” without elaboration. Maybe they should consider how successful they’d be with a 140-character limitation on Twitter? (Sorry friends, couldn’t resist joking about it!)

What would your vote be?