Summer Sippers and BBQ Reds

Oh summer! The time of crisp white wine or refreshing rosé during sultry warm afternoons or evenings on the deck or patio, or at the lake, ocean or pool. The time of rich reds at barbecues with family and friends. And the wines that pair well with a celebratory toast to Independence Day.

Here are some of our favorite whites and rosés to sip with a summer salad, or seafood such as prawns, scallops, sushi, crab or halibut. Or you can simply drink pink without food, watching the sunset reflected in its pretty color. In addition, here are some beautiful reds to pour at your BBQ.

There are so many wonderful wines to explore this summer. But we had to keep our lists short. As a result, these represent only wines that we have tasted in recent months, either at tasting rooms, events or in samples sent to us by wineries. Specifically, these wines are from Washington state, Oregon, California and New Zealand.

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Our Favorite 50 Washington Wineries

NYE WineHappy New Year! As we begin 2019, it’s time for our annual Favorite Washington Wineries List for the previous year. The way to get on our list is fairly simple: wineries must offer great juice and good people who provide an excellent wine experience.

Perhaps we had fun or learned something in a tasting room, a wine shop tasting, or at a wine event. Perhaps someone from the winery gave us a call, or sent us a personal note or samples. Or perhaps we were invited to an incredible winery party.

These people who made our experience special include the winemakers; the winery owners; the hard-working staff in a tasting room who went out of their way to make us feel welcome; and the amazing workers in the vineyards where it all begins.

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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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Another Success for Taste Washington

Congratulations to the Washington State Wine Commission and Visit Seattle for another successful Taste Washington March 22-25, 2018. Thousands of people participated in the annual celebration of the excellent wine made in this state — at the Grand Tasting, educational seminars, lunches on local farms, and other events.

Every year, we hope that people did more than taste the fine wine of Washington. We hope they appreciated it, and the hard work by people in our state’s wine industry – from farmers to vineyard managers to those in the production facilities, winemakers, distributors, tasting room staff and more. In particular, we applaud the workers in the vineyards who toil over the grapes and the terroir; the winemakers who balance creativity and science in every barrel and bottle; and their families who support this extreme effort. We definitely appreciated every taste that was poured for us at the Grand Tasting. Our top 25 favorites are listed below. ((Note, some were “under the table” pours!)
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