David Phinney’s Department 66

D66 Wine by David PhinneyWinemaker David Phinney made his mark with The Prisoner, a best-selling and widely recognized Napa Valley red blend of Zinfandel with the unlikely mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Charbono.

A couple of years ago, Phinney sold The Prisoner to beverage giant Constellation Brands for $285 million. He then turned more attention to another grape.
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Score Success for the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla

More than 200 writers and media influencers gathered in Walla Walla this month to attend the annual Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC).

We are so proud of the Washington state wine community for hosting this successful major event, and introducing the latest wines to wine enthusiasts from all over the country and different parts of the world.

To our delight, we experienced four days of wine tasting, winery tours, live blogging, mystery dinners, and a delicious banquet.

One of the trickiest and fun events was live wine blogging, where we each tasted 10 wines in one hour.
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Red Willow Vineyard and WA Wine Royalty

Jon Sauer, Karen Sauer and Mike Sauer stand in front of signs from Red Willow Vineyard.Last week, we had the honor of visiting Red Willow Vineyard and spending an afternoon with the incredible Sauer family, Washington wine royalty.

We toured part of the vineyard with Mike, Karen and their son, Jon, and later were joined by Jon’s wonderful wife Kelly and their five lovely children. In this photo, (from left) Jon, Karen and Mike stand in front of old signs of grapes planted at Red Willow. Of note, the sign for the 1986 Syrah represents the first grape planted in Washington state.

During our visit, Mike told us about the harvest, which was almost but not quite over. He also discussed his clone project, and we tasted three wines made from some of those clones.

Although we spent time with Mike and Karen at a wine event in 2017, we hadn’t been to Red Willow in nine years. It was an amazing experience.
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Murrieta’s Well Wins Again

We have been fans of Murrieta’s Well blends, The Spur (red), and The Whip (white), since 2011, and their latest vintages continue to impress.

We enjoyed samples of these two blends, plus a few other wines in the portfolio of this popular Livermore Valley winery, at a recent Snooth virtual tasting with Murrietta’s Well talented winemaker Robbie Meyer.

But before getting to our tasting notes, Murrieta’s Well has credentials worth mentioning – it is one of California’s original wineries, propagated in 1883 with vineyard cuttings from Chateau Margaux and Chateau d’Yquem in France. The winery is owned by Philip Wente of Wente Vineyards, the country’s oldest, continuously operated family-owned winery. And now, the wines …

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