Glorious Cabernet Franc

Cab FrancOne of my favorite wines is Cabernet Franc, which is one of the main varieties in Bordeaux blends. Cab Franc is typically used as a blending wine to add more complexity to Cabernet Sauvignon or more structure to Merlot.

But Cab Franc is also created as a single-varietal wine; in other words, a stand-alone wine. And one of the best we’ve tasted recently was a 2004 Cab Franc from Corliss Estates in Walla Walla.

This beauty was elegant and balanced, with a complex bouquet of cherry, spice, cassis, pepper and cocoa. We found it so rich that it was excellent without food. However, parmesan cheese went well with it, and later, we paired it nicely with a slow-cooked savory stew.

Many people don’t realize that Cabernet Franc is one of the genetic parents to Cabernet Sauvignon; the other is Sauvignon Blanc. In addition to Washington, you can find it planted in California and in the Bordeaux and Loire regions in France.

When blended, it adds both a subtly and an “oomph” to Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties. But on its own, quite simply, Cabernet Franc is glorious.

Corliss 2004 Columbia Valley Cab Franc is a prime example.

Cheers!

Second Tasting Room for William Church Winery

Regular readers know that we have long been fans of William Church Winery, and its owners Rod and Leslie Balsley.

I first wrote about William Church 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon in March 2008. Since then, I’ve frequently written about Rod, Leslie and assistant winemaker, Marcus Rafanelli, and raved about many of their wines, from Bishop’s Blend to Two Spires to Sur La Mer, and from Viognier to Malbec to Syrah.

So you can imagine our delight to hear that William Church is opening a second tasting room on July 16. Now we – and you – can enjoy William Church wines in the Hollywood School area of Woodinville, in addition to their existing location in the wine warehouse district.

The grand opening of the new tasting room —  located right next to Purple Cafe — is from noon to 6 p.m. on July 16. And, in addition to Leslie, Rod and Marcus, another good friend has joined the wonderful William Church team – Cheryl Cardwell is the new tasting room manager. How cool is that?

We will definitely be there to celebrate with all of them – and we hope to see you there too.

Cheers!

Now Being Served: Dinner at Desert Wind Winery

You might recall the wonderful experience we had at Desert Wind Winery last summer.  My blog post Pamper Yourself at Desert Wind Winery shares the wonderful time we had with our hosts Desert Wind owners Greg and Amber Fries.

We also were treated to an outstanding 5-course dinner prepared by Chef Frank Magaña from Picazo 7Seventeen. Since then, we have enjoyed Desert Wind wines and bites created by Frank’s Picazo team at many wine events in the Seattle area. As well, Picazo 7Seventeen moved to Kennewick, and is now called Picazo Restaurant & Bar.

So we were delighted to hear that MOJAVE, a joint venture by Desert Wind and Picazo, is now offering dinner service at the Prosser winery. MOJAVE’s menu features small plates, hand-cut steaks and Northwest seafood, with local, seasonal ingredients and produce from local farmers.

If you are heading to central Washington this summer, mark these spots as must-visits. We’re visiting in September, and are looking forward to seeing Frank, Amber and Greg again.

Cheers!

Update: Washington Wines Festival This Weekend

This weekend is exciting for wine enthusiasts who want to make a difference.

It’s the 20th annual Washington Wines Festival, where – uniquely – more than 60 premium Washington wineries must be invited to pour at this prestigious event.

Here are the festivities:

  • July 7: Winemaker dinners with locally renowned chefs are held in top Seattle restaurants and private homes for $200-$350. The $850 per-person dinners in Walla Walla and Red Mountain include round-trip chartered jet from Seattle.
  • July 8: A magnum tasting for serious wine lovers at Waterfront Seafood Grill and Vinolution 14 – wine under the stars at the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park. All activities are $350; Vinolution tickets only cost $65 ($75 with parking).
  • July 9: The main event is an auction of extravagant wine-related packages, a sunset barbeque from Waterfront Seafood Grill, and music on the rooftop of the Bell Harbor Conference Center ($350 and up).

The non-profit Festival benefits Camp Korey and Washington Wine Education. Last year, more than $850,000 was raised for Camp Korey, a free-of-charge, medically supervised camp for seriously ill children.

On the festival’s website, you can find more information about tickets, wineries, restaurants and chefs.

We hope to see you there !

Cheers!