Harvest in the Vines – Alexandria Nicole Cellars

One of our favorite annual winery events is Alexandria Nicole Cellars Harvest in the Vines Party, and this year was no exception. I plan to write a blog post with details of the party, the new ANC wine releases, our hosts Ali and Jarrod Boyle, and our fellow Tweeters who joined us at a special Twitter table at the party — when I get back from my continuing travels. For now, I (unfortunately) only have time to once again share my Twitter stream, which includes photos. I hope you enjoy!

Who’s on the bus to @ancwine Harvest party tomorrow? @wino4ever @writeforwine @laurieblondon @stacyh @titusk

RT @ancwine: Our Harvest Party hashtag is #anchp (ANC Harvest Party) @wino4ever @writeforwine @laurieblondon @stacyh @titusk @yakyakwine

Just got back from the Richland river walk, preparing for #anchp @ancwine Destiny Ridge Vineyard

Might be the last weekend for convertible driving in the heat this year – 84 degrees in Tri-cities & perfect for @ancwine harvest party #anchp

Ali and Dave from @writeforwine at the harvest party. #anchp http://twitpic.com/2rzoxp

Photo of great guy, Therron from @ancwine in Prosser http://twitpic.com/2safsz at Harvest Party #anchp

Music by Java Tunes and Wayman Chapman at ANC Harvest Party. #anchp  http://twitpic.com/2rztqo

Twitter table at @ancwine Harvest Party #anchp @wino4ever @yakyakwine @writeforwine @stacy @titusk

Sitting with Scott @wino4ever and Ev @ancwine party #anchp http://twitpic.com/2s1lk7

Out of focus @yakyakwine and@boxboylover at harvest party #anchp http://twitpic.com/2s1nh9

Ali and Jarrod a wee bit out of focus #anchp at @ancwine Harvest Party #anchp http://twitpic.com/2s1l41

Danced to Twist & Shout with Dave, @yakyakwine & @boxboylover & @stacyh and Brett and Ali @ancwine at Harvest party -so much fun! #anchp

RT @yakyakwine #anchp Moonrise at Destiny Ridge @ancwine http://yfrog.com/mub47tj

RT @yakyakwine #anchp Jose and the crew. Great Job!! @ancwine http://yfrog.com/03g21qvj

Thanks Ali and Jarrod, Vida, Matt, Jose, Therron, Rachel, Shannon and the rest of the staff @ancwine for a fabulous party last night #anchp

So disappointed that @stacyh and @titusk decided not to sing on stage last night @ancwine harvest party #anchp

And in the name of full disclosure, I help tweet for ANC in my spare time.

A great time was had by all!


Wow! Cascade Valley Wine Country

Wine Bloggers CVWCWe just got back from an amazing 3-day trip to Cascade Valley Wine Country, where we met some fantastic people, tasted some standout wines and ate too much delicious food. 

The next time you plan a weekend getaway, we highly recommend this destination.

Our special thanks and applause go to Cascade Valley Wine Country and its director, Jean Ashby; Chelan and Douglas County Ports; Nancy Smith of the Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce; Mike Steel of the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce; our Leavenworth guide, Ed Rutledge of Eagle Creek; and the many winemakers, winery and restaurant owners, and others who made our trip so memorable. (Truth be told, we visited 17 wineries and tasted additional wines at a speed blogging/tweeting event.)

Because my travels are continuing, I cannot immediately blog in-depth about our great adventures. So for now, here are highlights of my 100 tweets and photos that I posted live during the wonderful weekend. Enjoy!

  • On a bus with @nectarwine @winepeeps @writeforwine @winebeerwa @wawinereport @winefoot @catie @decanterbntr 
  • At Stemilt Creek Winery – planted first grapes since ’99, but other fruit for 100 years. #cvwc … Tasting 06 Stemilt Hill Red 
  • 07 Cab Sauv @fieldinghills is so big it makes me crave steak. Talk about the Wow factor! It was #39 in Top 100 wines of world, Wine Enthusiast!
  • At last I tasted the award-winning Cab Franc @fieldinghillswinery. As I was told would happen, I am in heaven. Rich smooth complex.#cvwc
  • At Martin-Scott in Wenatchee #cvwc – beautiful location- nice Pinot Grigio, 2007 Malbec & a lovely Petit Sirah http://twitpic.com/2pfg3q
  •  At @stlaurent winery #cvwc. So beautiful. http://twitpic.com/2pg6hh
  • Yes weddings are booked here @stlaurent winery #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2pg6hh
  • 1st course @stlaurent was excellent shrimp & mango springroll from Ravenous Catering paired w/ riesling w/ notes of mango #cvwc both delish
  • First look at Lake Chelan at Nefarious #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2pos98
  • Tasting @Nefarious 2009 Viognier – the wine they take home at night. Creamy with pear flavors.#cvwc
  • 2009 Consequence @nefariouswines is perfect for a warm day on the deck.55% Sauv Blanc 40% Aligote 5% Viognier.#cvwc
  • At Tsillan Cellars ih Lake Chelan, Bob Jankelson, Mike Steel and @WinePeeps http://twitpic.com/2ppcsg #cvwc
  • Next up at Tsillan is Bellisima Rossa, a well-rounded Bordeaux blend with Cab Sauv, Cab Franc and Merlot. #cvwc
  • Pinot Gris grapes at Tsillan Cellars. http://twitpic.com/2ppy61
  • Now at Karma, where a nice flight awaits us. Http://twitpic.com/2ppyma
  • Lake Chelan is most definitely a place I will visit again – so beautiful, lush and a great experience. #cvwc
  • Pond at Karma Vineyards – so pretty! http://twitpic.com/2pq64m
  • Josh and Catie at @vindulac.#cvwc http://twitpic.com/2pqg2u
  • I wasn’t a big Riesling fan until now @vindulac and its 2007 Lehm Dry Riesling. Mmmm. #cvwc
  • 2009 Red Cafe Rose @vindulac is a refreshing blend of Cab Franc and Sangiovese, perfect as the sun shines now in Lake Chelan. #cvwc
  • Happy to say that @vindulac 2007 Cab Franc lives up to the buzz, and the awards. Rich, mocha, chocolate -great way to end this visit. #cvwc
  • Thank you Chelan and Douglas County Ports for this lovely experience for wine bloggers visiting Cascade Valley Wine Country #cvwc
  • Musicians entertaining @bensonvineyards in Lake Chelan http://twitpic.com/2prsp1 Gorgeous! #cvwc
  • 2008 Sangiovese @bensonvineyards would pair well with Dave’s spaghetti with meat sauce # cvwc
  • I’ve got Rhythm! 2007 Rhythm @bensonvineyards, that is. Classy blend of syrah, merlot, cab franc & a touch of Sangiovese & cab sauv #cvwc
  • Just arrived at Chateau Faire le Pont – such a beautiful location for live wine blogging #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2pta5g
  • Chateau Faire le Pont, our host winery #cvwc, poured free-run 2006 Milbrandt Syrah – Jammy, peppery, and hitting all the right notes
  • Next up, Craig @crayelle, switches us back to whites, and it’s 2008 dry Riesling with the motto “balance, character & longevity” #cvwc
  • Wedge Mountain’s Charlie McKee has been making wine since 1955; tasting 2006 Charlie’s Stash Cab Sauvignon from Red Mountain #cvwc
  • Baroness Cellars is pouring 2008 Nebbiolo aka the noble woman – young but very enjoyable & approachable – just released today! #cvwc
  • Bergdorf Cellars poured hot, spicy Gluhwein – so different – served warm; a lovely winter drink … think après ski heaven! #cvwc
  • Two faves from @hardrow – Cab Franc and Pinot Noir – thanks Judy and Don.#cvwc
  • Mountain goats in Leavenworth #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2q1rro
  • Bob Johnson, the original owner of Enzian restaurant in Leavenworth blowing his horn http://twitpic.com/2q20mj
  • Silver Vineyards in Leavenworth where today’s tasting begins #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2q1yqn
  • This is it – the group of wine bloggers in Cascade Valley Wine Country this weekend. #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2q2dhc
  • Just arrived @winetidbits learning about Alan Yanagimachi wine making background #CVWC #WAwine 60% sales is apple wine. (via @winebeerWA)
  • We are at the beautiful @icicleridge in Leavenworth #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2q2qyh
  • Louis Wagner, patriarch @icicleridge, and his 1928 Chevvie pickup! http://twitpic.com/2q2uezhttp://twitpic.com/2q2uez
  • Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon @icicleridge has a nice mouthfeel and notes of cherries- winner of a silver Seattle wine award. #cvwc
  • Eagle Creek winemaker/owner Ed Rutledge hand-carved & painted these 2 beauties at his Leavenworth winery. #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2q3x2f
  • Wine bloggers run wild at Eagle Creek Winery in Leavenworth #cvwc http://twitpic.com/2q407d
  • Visconti’s restaurant continues to be a must-stop place on any trip to north central WA #CVWC
  • Almost home after amazing weekend in Cascade Valley Wine Country #cvwc. Thanks to the Ports, Chambers, our great hosts Mike, Nancy, Ed & Jean.

Thanks again, Cascade Valley Wine Country! And cheers!

At long last, Lake Chelan is on the horizon

I’ve been yearning to visit the Lake Chelan area for a few years now, and finally it’s about to happen! Not only is the area beautiful and relaxing, but Lake Chelan became the 11th American Viticulture Area (AVA) offically recognized in Washington state more than a year ago. Lake Chelan, by the way, is the longest lake in Washington and the third-deepest lake in the U.S.

The area boasts almost 50 wineries and tasting rooms with more than 75 wines from 27 varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay. Although I’ve not been there before, I have met some of the region’s warm and wonderful winemakers and producers.

Along with some of my wine blogger friends and colleagues, I’ll finally be able to visit Don and Judy Phelps at Hard Row to Hoe and stop by Fielding Hills,  where I hope to finally be able to taste some of their award-winning Cab Franc. Along the way, we’ll also see Martin-Scott, Saint Laurent, Tsillan Cellars, Nefarious Cellars, Chateau Faire Le Pont, Karma Vineyards & Cave and hopefully Vin du Lac .  

Then we’ll head to the Leavenworth area to La Toscana, Icicle Ridge and Eagle Creek. That means one of our favorite restaurants, Visconti, is also on the itinerary! And hopefully, there will be time to check in with Rob Newsom at Boudreaux Cellars too.

If you want to follow all of our tweets during our visit to Cascade Valley Wine Country next weekend, keep an eye on the hashtag ##cvwc.

Award-winning wines, majestic mountains, sparkling lakes and only two hours from Puget Sound. Tell me again why I’ve not visited yet? I can’t wait!



I Heart Cab Franc

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?