Coming Up – Taste Washington!

The 21st annual Taste Washington is March 22-25 in Seattle — the country’s largest single-region wine and food extravaganza. We go every year and always look forward to the explosion of tastes, fun and education during the four-day event.

This year, Taste Washington features more than 230 wineries, 65 restaurants and some of the nation’s top chefs. Although both days of the Grand Tasting are sold out, there are lots of other events still available. Continue reading for details, and check out “Featured Events” on the Taste Washington website to buy tickets for these diverse activities:
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Fielding Hills Winery

img_4131On a trip to Lake Chelan last month, we discovered that the new tasting room at Fielding Hills Winery is as  magnificent as the wines. (The tasting room isn’t really new, it’s two years old, but we hadn’t visited in six years, so it was new to us.) Located on the shores of Lake Chelan, the views are spectacular and a great backdrop to some wonderful Washington wines.

Winemaker Mike Wade released his first vintage in 2000, and two years later, he was named one of Washington’s Rising Stars by Wine Spectator. We first met Mike in 2010 at his vineyard, during our tour of Cascade Valley wine country. At the time, he told us that the winery’s history began a lot earlier.

“Fielding Hills Winery actually began in 1919 when my grandfather, Isham Fielding Wade, set off from Tennessee to find his place in the world. Settling in Eastern Washington, he started a family and a business, both tied to cultivating the land. The name of our winery is a tribute to him and the character qualities he lived. I believe his legacy is found in each glass of Fielding Hills wine.”

We’ve been fans of Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon for years, and these two beauties did not disappoint in their recent vintages. Here are our thoughts on them and the other wines we enjoyed during our visit.

img_4127 2010 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc Estate Barrel Select
No surprise here, we love this library wine — one select barrel of 100% Cabernet Franc from Fielding Hills estate vineyard. This Cab Franc is beyond rich; it is luxe, pure, full-bodied and unique to the character of the grape and the 2010 harvest. This is a special occasion wine, so we purchased a couple of bottles for some milestone events coming up soon.

2012 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc ($34)
This is another lovely wine — 90% Cabernet Franc blended with 5% Syrah and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s drinking well now, but will be even better after a year or more in the cellar. “Aromas of coffee, cherry, vanilla, woodspice, mesquite and herbs lead to concentrated, rich cherry and chocolate flavors that linger.”

2012 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon ($44)
Deep, inky, complex, this Cab Sauv is bold, dense and opulent with a long finish. Smokey, silky and smooth, the tasting notes describe it as “revealing multiple layers and a hedonistic styling.” This is one of the best Cabs we’ve tasted in recent months. Pair it with steak or simply enjoy it with dark chocolate.

2012 Fielding Hills Tribute ($34)
In our opinion, this wine is a tribute to Washington state’s fine varietals, in addition to showcasing Fielding Hills lineup – a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah and 20% Merlot with aromas of cocoa, spices, cedar and black cherries.

img_41322010 and 2011 Fielding Hills Merlot ($36)
We were split on which vintage we preferred; here are the tasting notes:

2010: “Lush and appealing with notes of vanilla and other barrel spices accenting herbs and red fruit. The palate is creamy in feel with tart, mouthwatering acids that draw out the flavors for a long finish.”

2011: “81% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Franc – Woodspice, coffee, raspberries, light gamy notes, richly flavorful and  balanced.”

2012 Fielding Hills Syrah ($40)
Rich, full-bodied and smooth, this wine is comprised of 94% Syrah, blended with 2 percent each of Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Merlot, and displays the smokey, peppery notes we appreciate in the varietal.

If you’re looking for a weekend get-away, we highly recommend the Lake Chelan area — and Fielding Hills, with its lake and mountain views and excellent wines, is a must to visit.

Cheers,
Margot and Dave

A Chance to Support Lake Chelan Wine Valley

Crush-2015As you no doubt heard in the news this summer, wildfire destroyed Ventimiglia Cellars in Lake Chelan. The so-called Chelan Complex Fire took at least 70 buildings, blazed across 135,000 acres and left more than 750 people without work.

Many of the winemakers and grape growers in Lake Chelan Wine Valley, including Judy and Don Phelps of  Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards, had to evacuate their homes.

The local economy, particularly tourism, suffered after the devastating fires; according to the Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, business in August dropped about 75 percent.

You have a chance to help support the economy in Lake Chelan Wine Valley — a scenic community of 25 wineries — by attending the Valley’s annual Crush festival: two weekends of wine tasting and a behind-the-scenes look at winemaking on Oct. 2-4 and Oct. 10-11.

Over both weekends, the wineries will feature live concerts, barbecues, grape stomping, vineyard tours and more. And of course, there is the beautiful 50-mile lake, mountain biking, hiking and golf to enjoy.

And a special shout-out to Tildio Winery for a new red blend called The Phoenix, “dedicated to the fire fighters and the people who are rising from the ashes.”

Find out more details about Crush at Lake Chelan Wine Valley’s website.

Our friends in the area hope to see you there.

Cheers,
Margot and Dave