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. Continue reading →
Happy New Year! As we begin 2018, it’s time for our annual Top Washington Wineries List. We have returned to our original list of 50, after it climbed up to 65 wineries last year. Why? As time goes on, our palates change, and our wine experiences become more focused. In addition, in 2017 we visited Walla Walla again for the first time in a few years, which shone the light on some new favorites. Continue reading →
Thousands of people participated in the annual celebration of the excellent juice made in this state — at the Grand Tasting, educational seminars, lunches on local farms, and at restaurants, wineries, hotels and retailers that offered special deals and promotions throughout the month.
But 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, marketing specialists, tasting room staff and more.
In particular, we applaud the workers in the vineyard 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.
And there were some delicious bites too. Our favorite was these amazing Salted Caramel Fudge Brownies from Blazing Bagels. (Their bagels were mouth-watering too, of course!)
We also enjoyed seafood from Anthony’s Pier 66, Ivar’s, Ray’s Boathouse and The Crab Pot. We munched on a lot of crab cakes this year!
Here are some of our favorite wines, in alphabetical order:
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Quarry Butte Red Bordeaux Blend ($26)
Ambassador Wines of Washington 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($38)
Andrew Will 2013 Champoux Vineyard Red Blend ($74)
Avennia 2015 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc ($28)
Barrage Cellars 2012 “Cease and Desist” Cabernet Franc ($35)
Barrister Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc ($31), pictured left with Petit Verdot & Barrister’s Block
Bartholomew Winery 2014 Tannat ($32)
Betz Family Winery 2013 Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)
Boudreaux Cellars 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($115); winemaker Rob Newsom and his daughter Keely are pictured below
Canvasback 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($40)
Cooper Wine Company 2014 L’inizio Bordeaux Blend, Red Mountain ($55)
Happy New Year! As we begin 2017, it’s time for our annual Top Washington Wineries List. Why 65 wineries? The list grew to 65 from 60 last year, and from 50 the year before, as we were introduced to new wines or new wine experiences.
The way to get on our list is fairly simple; we only have two criteria: 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 or at a wine event such as Taste Washington, Taste of Tulalip,Seattle Wine and Food Experience,Bellingham Bay Rotary Grape and Gourmet orBellingham Northwest Wine Festival. 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 might be the winemakers or the winery owners; in some cases, they are the hard-working staff in a tasting room who went out of their way to make us feel welcome or the amazing workers in the vineyards where it all begins.