Walla Walla Wine On Tour

IWalla Walla Wine on Tourf you can’t make it to Walla Walla, the next best thing is to go to “Walla Walla Wine on Tour.” We drove to Seattle to do just that, and it was a perfect opportunity to celebrate stellar Walla Walla wine. We visited winemakers we’ve known for a while, like Trey Busch at Sleight of Hand Cellars and Joe Czarny at Canvasback, and said hello again to Emily Kiefer, the hospitality goddess at Caprio Cellars. In addition, we met some others for the first time – Doug Frost of Echolands, Tim Lenihan of Dossier, and Kelsey Albro Itämeri from itä wines. We tasted impressive new vintages of old favorites and enjoyed amazing wines that are new to us. Cheers to Walla Walla wine! And happy 40th anniversary to the AVA!

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Our Faves from Seattle Wine and Food Experience

Screen Shot 2013-01-27 at 6.41.50 AMWe had a wonderful time at the Grand Tasting at Seattle Wine and Food Experience (SWFE) — great wine, tasty bites and good conversations. If you missed it this year, be sure to mark your calendar now to check it out in 2017!

Below is the list of our favorite wines we tasted at SWFE, but the ones we took home were Ambassador Wines Plenipotentiary 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bartholomew Winery’s Primitivo 2013 and Des Voigne Cellars 2012 The Duke Zinfandel.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 11.44.57 AMOf the wineries that were new on our list, Ambassador Wines was our favorite. Plenipotentiary Cab Sauv is a rich, robust delight from Red Mountain; according to the tasting notes: “Deep dark chocolate cherry, blackberry jam, toast and finishes off with vanilla sweetness and spice. The mouth explodes with dark fruit flavors, a rich and full mid-palate and a nice lingering vanilla, blackberry and spice finish. The tannins meld nicely with the acid and to create a nice enticing finish begging you to take another sip.” We are looking forward to visiting their tasting room in Woodinville to try some of their other wines.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 11.43.18 AMHere is the list of our other favorites that we tasted at SWFE (in alphabetical order):

  • Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Jet Black Syrah (new release)
  • Brian Carter Cellars 2010 Solesce
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Tenet The Pundit Syrah
  • Double Canyon 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Guardian Cellars 2013 Chalk Line
  • Mercer Estates 2011 Ode to Brothers GSM
  • Three Rivers Winery 2013 River’s Red Wine (a unique blend of Sangiovese, Malbec, Syrah, Merlot and Cab Sauv)
  • Watermill Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc
  • Wilridge Winery 2013 Estate Melange Noir Red Blend (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cab Sauv, Malbec and Petit Verdot)
  • The Woodhouse Wine Estates 2012 Darighe

We also enjoyed some tasty treats from these restaurants: Duke’s Seafood and Chowder House, Anthony’s Budd’s Broiler, Chinoise Cafe, The Kitchen by Delicatus, Macrina Bakery and Delicious Health Cultered Cashew Cremes.

We can sum up our experience at SWFE in one word: Delicious!

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

There’s nothing like a stellar Cab Franc from Washington State

Cab FrancOne of our favorite wines is Cabernet Franc, which is one of the main varieties in Bordeaux blends.

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

Cab Franc is typically used as a blending wine to add more complexity to the robust Cabernet Sauvignon or more structure to the softer Merlot. But Cab Franc is also created as a single-varietal wine; in other words, a stand-alone wine.

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 amazing.

Cab Franc is known for its complex aromas of cherry and berry, with notes of herbs, spices, chocolate, cedar, and even violets. Frequently wine enthusiasts describe the nose as a peppery perfume.

The hot climate in Walla Walla and Yakima Valley is perfectly suited to ripen the Cab Franc fruit. Wineries in Lake Chelan have also produced some fine vintages.

We’ve enjoyed many excellent stand-alone Washington state Cab Francs over the years, including a beautiful Matthews Estate 2003 Conner Lee Cab Franc, an elegant 2004 from Corliss Estates, a robust 2012 Outcast from Barrage Cellars, and a rich 2012 Cooper Estate Red Mountain Cabernet Franc.

Here are some other Washington state wineries that, in our opinion, produce the Cab Franc grape as a shining single-varietal wine.

What Cab Francs do you like best from Washington state? Please share your favorites with us!

Cheers!
Margot and Dave

Better Move Quickly – Tickets on Sale at Seattle Wine & Food Experience

It’s that time of year again — the Seattle Wine and Food Experience at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. If you like good wine, beer and food – and seriously, who doesn’t? – mark your calendars for this delicious experience on Feb. 24, from 12-5 p.m.

In addition to the wonderful wines of Washington, our neighbors to the south, Oregon, are featured again this year. You can also tour a world of wine in one place, by heading to booths where you’ll find pours from California, Idaho, Italy, Spain, France and Israel.

Some of our Oregon favorites — Seven of HeartsErath Winery, Youngberg HillTroon and Willamette Valley Vineyards — will be side by side with our Washington friends from Barrage Cellars, Obelisco, Dunham Cellars and The Woodhouse Wine Estates, to name a few. And then there’s Watermill Winery, which straddles both states and offers some mighty fine wine.

You can find a full list of wineries that will be pouring, along with beer and cider, spirits, and coffee, in addition to information about numerous restaurants serving gourmet bites, at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience website. Tickets are $55.

In addition, this year’s featured experiences includes the Snoqualmie Casino Luxe Lounge, where you can “play” a hand or two at one of the classic gaming tables, listen to live music, enjoy a premium wine or craft beer and taste some of the signature dishes from their award-winning restaurants – Terra Vista, 12 Moons Asian Bistro and Sno Deli.

And it’s important to note – this is the fifth annual SWFE, which is testimony to the reputation and following this event, with its explosion of tastes, has generated in Seattle.

We hope to see you there.

Cheers!