If you read it, I will write…

I know, it has been a while since you have heard from me. Recently people have asked why I wasn’t writing about wine anymore…  I actually don’t have a great answer as to why the writing stopped. Life happened and blogging got away from me. Which is odd since I am quite opinioned on the matter and love to talk about it So, I am back and if you read it.. I will write!

*Just a warning in case you forgot- I am not a professional writer or an English major.. I am a wine drinker/educator who just wants to talk about  delicious fermented grapes. You may find typo’s or run on sentences or other grammatical errors, but you will also find great wine tips and passion! Read on my friends….* 

I am a massive fan of Washington Wines.  What makes drinking WA wines even more convenient are the hundreds of tasting rooms in my backyard. Woodinville, WA is a close, easy, Saturday afternoon trip to taste some of the states most delicious wines. However, it is not our wine region. To get a sense of our actual wine growing region,  you need to leave the comfort of your home, head east of the Cascades and explore.

Walla Walla, Washington is one of those perfect wine country weekend get always. Hundreds of tasting rooms/wineries, stunning culinary experiences, inexpensive places to stay and sunny weather (most of the time). I was lucky enough to visit this adorable city back at the end of February. Instead of the 5 hour car ride, I took a quick a 40 minute plane trip from SeaTac Airport. I would highly recommend this mode of transportation if you are low on time. There are inexpensive car rentals right at the Walla Walla airport or just take an uber (at the time of this blog, they had 5 uber drivers)! Either drive or fly, it’s a must visit for wine lovers.

Here are the top 4 wineries I recommend. This is by no means my complete list of recommendations. There are hundreds of wineries in Walla Walla and many I adore. This is just a quick glimpse of my top 4 picks from this visit. Otherwise this blog would go on and on…..

I chose these 4 based on my experience in the tasting room, attentiveness of the staff and of course the quality of the wines!!

1. Gramercy Cellars -http://gramercycellars.com/. By Appointment Tuesday through Friday
Open Saturdays 11am to 5pm

This small, family run, boutique winery produces Rhone and Bordeaux style wines. Their philosophy is simple:” to develop or partner with the best vineyards, harvest ripe, not overripe, grapes, intervene minimally in the winemaking process, and use as little new oak as possible.” Everything I tasted was clean, eloquent and well balanced.   *Vin Pick 2014 Lagniappe Syrah – lush, roasted cherry, mocha,  pipe tobacco and bright! *

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2. Rotie Cellars- https://rotiecellars.com/ Appointment only

This adorable tasting room is located in the heart of downtown Walla Walla. Since 2007, winemaker and owner Sean Boyd’s goal has been to make traditional Rhone blends in Washington State. Boyd’s winemaking philosophy is simple- combine old world winemaking techniques with the highest quality Rhone varietals that Washington has to offer. And you can taste his hard work in all his wines. *Vin Pick 2014 Southern Blend 70% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah. Fresh fruit of bing cherry and blueberry , balanced and minimal tannin. A very pretty wine!*

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3. Sleight of Hand Cellars – http://www.sofhcellars.com  Thu – Mon, 11am – 5pm
Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Talk about a winery with a vibe. Everything about this winery is my jam. Great ambiance, killer music, fun staff  and fantastic wine. Their motto is “serious wines without the serious attitudes.” And that is exactly how I felt walking into the tasting room. Sleight of Hand Cellars was founded in 2007 by Trey Busch and Jerry and Sandy Solomon. Their only goal from the outset has been to “make world class wines while having the most fun that is legally possible”. That they do… *Vin Pick 2014 Enchantress Chardonnay. Pear, Peach and citrus are rocking this bright and acidic chardonnay!*

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4. Tranche Cellarshttp://tranche.wine/  Open Daily 11am-5pm

Breathtaking. That is one word to describe this winery. When you pull up, the architect of the tasting room takes your breathe away. With the Blue Mountains in the background, this is a perfect winery to sit, relax (by the fire pit) and enjoy their luscious wines. To quote the owners Michael and Lauri Corliss “A taste of Tranche is a slice of life… the life of the place, the vines, the people who make the wines, and most of all, you who drink them. We have given our lives over to making every bottle worthy of your attention. “I would have to agree with this statement. *Vin Pick  Estate Cabernet Franc. Raspberry, leather and herbs de province.  Herbaceous notes of eucalyptus, cedar and slight smoke make this a truly beautiful Cabernet Franc.*

My advice, leave the comfort of Woodinville,  and see what is really going on in the world of wine. We have so much to offer with Washington wines between Yakima Valley, Red Mountain, Walla Walla, Chelan… and the list goes on. Explore and find your top wineries (and make sure you tell me!).

Stay tuned for my next blog when I explain how I have learned to love Prosecco….

Cheers!

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer

 

 

A family fun 4th of July!

A family fun 4th of July!

I truly love summer, especially a Seattle summer. Hot sun, long nights, BBQ’s with friends and a slower pace life. However, with this love comes some headaches.. known as school summer vacation. My kids are home, all day long. I have put out more arguments then I can count. I am continually finding new activities to entertain the little darlings. Begging my friends for play dates. Constantly looking at the clock wondering if it’s an acceptable time to crack open a bottle of wine (if that already hasn’t happened during a play date)

I am really not complaining though. Summer is my favorite time of the year. I just find it exhausting entertaining (or finding things to entertain) my children all day long. But the perks do outweigh the negatives.. by far. And wine tastes so much better, sitting out on my deck in the sun, watching dad play with the kids so I can unwind.

Summer wines can vary for me. I do tend to drink more whites and rosé’s. However, with the long summer nights, we tend to open some amazing reds we have been saving for special occasions. But for the sake of this blog, I am going to give you my top 5 summer wine varietals. This is a fun list to explore. Head into your local wine merchant and ask about this list. They should be able to point out some stellar wines for you (or check out http://www.vinwineseattle.com if you want someone to come and pour a tasting of these varietals for you).

5. Vinho Verde – an inexpensive, Portuguese, high acid, light bodied slightly effervescent white wine. There are many reasons why I love a Vinho Verde. First of all, it’s a low alcohol wine, which is nice for those evenings where you want a glass of something, but don’t want to feel all wobbly. Also because of the low alcohol, it pairs very nicely with loads of summer friendly foods. I personally love a Vinho Verde with Mexican foods, seafood, Asian foods, and anything spicy. The slight bubbles help tone the spiciness down. Check out the Espiral from Trader Joes, only $4.99 and surprisingly delightful!

4. Sauvignon Blanc– this is a staple summer wine. Again, pairs deliciously with summer foods. A Sauv Blanc can be light – medium bodied, acidic and depending on the country of origin, it may be grassy, citrusy, or even slightly oaky. I prefer either a more citrus or slight oak Sauv Blanc, especially to pair with food. I have many go to Sauv Blancs between France, WA and CA, but my all time favorite is Salvestrin Winery Sauvignon Blanc ($24.00) out of CA. The problem with this wine is that you cannot find it in WA. But if you take a Napa Valley trip, make sure you stop by! Check out their website though. http://www.salvestrinwinery.com

3. Chardonnay – a medium to full bodied white wine, produced in many parts of the world. I know this wine can often get a bad rep. But this summer I have fallen (hard) for this delicious, rich, white wine. Give me a smooth Chard and I am one happy gal. I do prefer the crisp, mineral, slightly oaky Chardonnays (Chablis) from the Burgundy region of France. I find them slightly complex and enough minerality to keep my attention. However, I have discovered many WA Chardonnays (and a few Chilean)  that also keep me interested. My two favorites WA chards at the moment are Revelry Vintners (around $15.99) and Baer Winery’s “Shard” ($24.00).  Both are stainless steel, crisp and heavenly.

2. Petite Verdot- This varietal has long been a blending varietal into Bordeaux wines from France. But in recent years, it’s been standing beautifully on it’s own. It has stout tannins and can have a violet, dark fruit and vanilla flavor on the palate. It is a particular grape, so it can be a hit or miss. With food, you need weight, protein and fat.. so basically cheeses and heartier meat dishes. The Petite Verdot I am in love with this summer is the Blue Print Petite Verdot from El Corazon ($34.99)

1. Rosé – really, a no brainer this summer. This light to medium bodied wine is perfect for a long summer evening. Almost every region makes a rosé (Rosado in Spain, Rosato in Italy). A rosé goes perfectly with summer meals as well. Charcuterie, grilled fish, pork, salads, shrimp, egg dishes, pretty much anything you would eat in summer. I am a big fan of Provençal rosé’s and Spanish Rosado’s. The AIX rosé from Provence ($14.99) is a standard in our home. I also have fallen in love with Espelt Rosado ($12.99) and the 2013 Red Car rosé from CA ($19.99 and Pinot Noir grapes, delicious).

There you have it! A must try wine list to survive the summer heat (or your children). Enjoy exploring this list… and let me know what you try!

Cheers!

A successful summer play date!

A successful summer play date!

Check out your local wine merchants rosé selection!

Check out your local wine merchants rosé selection!

 

Check out Vin’s March Specials!!

March is filled with all sort of Vin specials!!!

1. March is Washington Wine month! We will have a special WA wine tasting this month. For $99.99, Vin Wine and Events will bring you a selection of 4 boutique, top Washington wines to enjoy with 10 of your friends. More than 10 friends? Want 5 wines instead? No problem. For an additional $25.00 we will throw in another outstanding Washington wine. Sign up here Or contact us for more information – vinwineseattle@gmail.com

2. Personal wine shopping- Vin Wine and Events can be your personal wine shopper. Let us evaluate your tastes and needs to build your wine cellar or just bring you fun, new wines. No need to feel overwhelmed wine shopping again!

This month, For $25.00 plus the cost of wine, Vin will personally hand pick your favorite types of wine and deliver right to you (within a 15 mile radius from Seattle). *6 bottle minimum. If you live more than 15 miles from Seattle, no need to worry. We can deliver to you as well (we just add a small delivery fee).

 

3. Wine Clubs

Don’t forget about our Wine Clubs!! We can still get you our February wine club.

What could be better than a Vin Wine and Events in-home private tasting? Vin Wine and Events delivering wine bi-monthly for you! Six times a year, Vin will search for special, small vineyard, boutique wines to share with you. You can chose 4, 6, or 12 bottles of red, white or mixed to be delivered (shipping TBD) or picked up! Included with your wine club is an in-home tasting once a year! Let Vin help you figure out which wines you love, and we will create a custom wine club for you. Sign up today for more information vinwineseattle@gmail.com

4 bottle Vin Club

6 bottle Vin Club

12 bottle Vin Club

Cheers to Spring around the corner and new wines to be explored!!

 

Vinwineseattle.com

 

 

National Drink Wine Day

Drink wine day

Today is National Drink Wine day. What are you planning on opening up? For me, I am not sure. There are so many choices. I have this Chablis chilling, which sounds crisp and refreshing. However, it’s been a stormy, rainy, cloudy day here in the Pacific Northwest, so a red sounds a little more cozy. But which kind of red? I have one of my favorite WA blends in my cellar, Avennia, waiting for me to open.. but what if I just want one glass? I would hate to waste any of the bottle. It is one of my favorites. Hmm, what about this Sangiovese I have had for a while, that sounds lovely. Although I had Italian food last night.. and a Sangio pairs so well with Italian food (go figure). Maybe I should wait until I have Italian food again…..

See, I have a dilemma. I can’t decide. It’s such a fantastic holiday that I can’t make up my mind which wine to open. Maybe I should wait for my husband to get home to help. Yes, that is what I will do; get a second opinion.

But, I do have this Burgundy….

Cheers to a great holiday!

Carolyn

ps – don’t forget to check out Vin Wine and Events at   http://vinwineseattle.com

 

 

Vin Wine and Events

Vin Wine and Events is off and running…. and might I say, I am SO excited!! I have tastings booked for January and into February. My line up is delicious! This journey has been amazing and I cannot wait to see where it takes me. I have a website up for Vin, so take a look when you can.

http://vinwineseattle.com

If you are in the Puget Sound region and interested in a tasting or to find out more about Vin, please email me!!

vinwineseattle@gmail.com

Cheers to a fantastic 2014

~Carolyn

Keep it simple

 

While sitting here, creating a Thanksgiving wine list to help my fellow novices, I came across a blog I follow. www.Grapefriend.com has summed up everything for me: “Drink whatever the (beep) you want!!” You are so right!!! I am a believer in that for all meals; drink whatever you like. However I do get asked, often, on what wines to pair with what foods. Now, I have taken the class so I know technically how wines pair with food. But, I am also in the mind set of just drink whatever wine pleases you.  Yes, artichokes and asparagus can make your wine taste more acidic/metallic (*hint, you can lesson the hassle by adding additional fat or sweetness to mask the acidity of asparagus and artichokes), but if you love your California Cab and want to drink that with an artichoke pasta, then by all means do it.

So there you go, I am not going to list every single wine to drink with your Holiday meal. I will give you my favorites for this holiday, but to quote Grapefriend again “Drink whatever the (beep) you want!!”

1. Bubbles (refer to my past blog) – these would be perfect to start the night off with. However, they can pair nicely with most of the food groups you will be consuming.

2. Chardonnay– I would suggest an unoaked chardonnay. But that could be just me. I am not a fan of overly oaky, buttery chards. A clean, crisp chardonnay will taste brilliantly with anything that has butter, cheese, crab/lobster (if going the unconventional route of Thanksgiving), turkey and vegetables.

3. Riesling– Another versatile wine that will pair nicely with most Thanksgiving menu items. I know it’s an America holiday, but a nice German Spatlese, Austrian Riesling or an Alsatian wine would taste lovely!! If you go with a sweeter Riesling, save that for dessert. (PS German and Austrian Rieslings tend to be lower in alcohol, so you can keep your wits about you if you drink too much of it!).

4. Pinot Noir – This red wine is light (although can be full – bodied) and has a nice complexion of fruit, minerality and alcohol to complement your table. I prefer a Burgundy, however my bank account doesn’t always agree. Check out California (especially from Carneros) and Oregon. Or take a walk on the wild side and grab a New Zealand Pinot Noir. I was pleasantly surprised with the one I tried!

5. Cotes De Rhone- A medium-bodied, French Rhone red that I think would be a hit at your gathering. It has some dark fruit on the palate and moderate tannin structure. Will go nicely with white meat dishes as well as vegetables, cheese and mushrooms (think earthy foods).

6.Beaujolais Nouveau – Ah, yes the coveted Beaujolais. The wine everyone clamors for during this time of year. Yes, pick up a bottle and yes enjoy it with your Thanksgiving meal. Not my favorite, but many of my friends love it. And it seems nostalgic….

7. Zinfandel – especially a fruity one. Zin’s can actually be a very versatile wine, because of it’s spice, berry and pepper flavors. Most meats pair perfectly with this wine.

8. Port, bubbles, Eiswein, Sherry, Muscat – all perfect dessert wines to end your perfect night. For the pumpkin pie – do with Port or Sherry.

 

** Don’t forget the bubbly water, cucumber water and coffee for guests who need a wine break!**

There you go.. a simple list. Stick with two or three of these wines and you will have a happy crowd (just don’t forget to pick up the beer for your non-wine drinking brother)!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS check out Grapefriend’s blog. It’s fantastic! http://www.grapefriend.com

 

 

 

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

The holidays are fast approaching. And while I would love to continue my summer fantasies, reality has hit. I am sitting here in a coffee shop, wrapped in a scarf, sweater and tall boots; trying to warm up with a latte. Out the window is drizzle and bare trees. In Seattle, this means the holidays are near. So instead of longing for those summer nights, I am buckling down and focusing on one major thing, wines I will be drinking this holiday season. It all starts with Thanksgiving and pairing the perfect wine with this gluttonous holiday.

What I love about Thanksgiving is the time I spend with my family and friends; eating, laughing, telling stories and shopping the next day. And of course, I love the wines we will open for this dinner. For the next month, my blogs will focus on wines for the holidays. Those to splurge on, those case-worthy and those that will pair delightfully with all your holiday meals.

When in doubt, bring on the bubbles…

Let’s start with Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Sparking wine, bubbles… etc. Whatever you call it, these little effervescence’s of love taste delightful with many holiday meals, particularly Thanksgiving. They are festive, cleanse the palate and versatile. Because we eat a variety of foods on Thanksgiving, Sparkling wine is a great go-to because it tastes delightful with all stages of the meal (even with the pies).

Bubbles can vary greatly in price. I am a true believer that you can find a perfect Bubbley bottle for $20-30. While Champagne has the glamorous the reputation, there are many other Sparkling wines that are just as tasty and easier on your wallet.  Here are a couple options.

**If you need a little refresher course on all the different types bubbles, refer to my past blog on 9/19/2010 – Too much wine? It’s explains the definition of Cava, Champagne, etc.

Splurge: Eric Rodez Cuvee des Crayeres, Grand Cru Brut – (a Growers Champagne)

Around $50.00, The Grape Choice

For many this is a splurge, others it is a steal. According to my pocket book, it’s a splurge… but a delicious, smooth, dance in your mouth one at that! This Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Champagne has notes of honeysuckle and pear and is simply decadent; a crowd pleaser. He also makes a Rose Champagne as well, that’s just as amazing. If you are unable to find an Eric Rodez Champagne, ask your local wine shop for other Grower Champagnes. If I am going to throw down the cash for a Champagne, I always search for a Growers Champagne. These Champagnes come from smaller, local vineyards in the region of Champagne, France. They are described more as artisanal wines. The vineyards are usually independently owned around a single village (as opposed to Moet et Chandon who buys grapes throughout the Champagne region). I am a fan of small, local businesses, which is probably why I am pulled towards Growers Champagne.

Thanksgiving Splurge

Thanksgiving Splurge

Steal: Domaine Carneros – Napa, California

$28.00-100.00

I have talked about Domaine Carneros before and I will say it again, they produce marvelous Sparkling wines. Founded by Taittinger (a Champagne), so they know exactly what they are doing. For the “steal” I would pick up a bottle of their Domaine Carneros Brut Vintage ($28.00). This is one of my standard go-to wines (it helps that I belong to their wine club; I receive a shipment every other month). It is vibrant and fresh; hints of lemon zest, pear and mineral. This wine will add a spark to any holiday meal. I have been able to find this wine in most wine shops and markets. You can also make a purchase through their website http://www.domainecarneros.com/.

Domaine Carneros Le Reve

Domaine Carneros Le Reve

*This is a picture of their Le Reve, which is a splurge at $99.99. This is my Thanksgiving contribution though. This Blanc de Blanc is made of Chardonnay grapes and aged 6 years before release. This will be my first Le Reve and I am beyond excited! I will let you know if it’s worth the price!

Other Options:

If you are concerned about price, look into Prosecco’s and Cava’s. While I often find Prosecco’s slightly sweet on my palate, they are easy on the budget and will likely be a hit with everyone. Just today I saw a great deal on Prosecco at Trader Joes. Cava is also another fantastic option.

Whether you splurge for that $50.00-100.00 bottle of Champagne or go for the $9.99 Trader Joe’s Prosecco, Bubbles are the hit wine for Thanksgiving.

Gobble Gobble my friends!

Carolyn

Wine makes the perfect gift….

Wine gift

It is that time of year!! Parties, gift-giving and cheer. Sometimes (or for me, all the time) it can be overwhelming to try and find the perfect gift. But, I would like to put your mind at ease… I am here to help!!! Let Vin Wine and Events help put together the perfect hostess, employee, mother-in-law, etc. gift for you… wine!!

Since I am still patiently waiting for liquor control board to finalize Vin Wine and Events, I cannot ship or sell through the company yet. However, I can still put together a customized wine list for you. If you have some ideas about what your gift receiver enjoys, I can help guide your wine gift for them. Or, if you want to surprise them with something new… I can help as well!  Just let me know where you like to shop for wine (Safeway, Costco, The Grape Choice, local gas station, etc.) and I can prepare a list to guide you in your store.

Send me an email Carolyn at vinewineseattle@gmail.com and I will make your holiday wine shopping easy!

Or if you just want to follow my blog, I will be putting out Holiday wine buys and meal pairings throughout this holiday season! (Thanksgiving recommendations will be out later this week)

Cheers!
Carolyn

Vin: Wine and Events

Vin: Wine and Events

white bean chicken chili

Zoup to Nuts

I’ve never been a huge chili fan.  As an adult, I’ll be polite and eat it if someone invites me to dinner and serves chili.  I’ll eat, but I wouldn’t ask for seconds.  In fact, I’ll probably feign fullness about 3/4 of the way through the bowl.  If there’s anything else on the menu, I’ll order that.  My poor mom, though.  Oh, the torment.  As a child, I hated chili.  The world record for the longest time taken to eat a teaspoon of chili was most certainly set by yours truly in 1973.  If there was a way to consume that teaspoon of chili without ever allowing said chili to touch my teeth, lips, or tongue, I mastered it.  There weren’t enough Saltine Crackers in a box to make a bowl of chili palatable to my budding taste buds.

And my mom was a good cook!

So how I became…

View original post 358 more words

A wine to watch

Sometimes there is a winery you need keep an eye on. Meaning, get a bottle or case now, because it’s about to become so popular prices will sky rocket in about 5 years (if you will even be able to get their wine in 5 years). In Washington, we have a wine just like that. A winery whose wine Seattle Magazine has rated “Red Wine of the Year”.  A winery which has received Wine Advocate scores of 90 points or higher on all wines. This is Avennia (a Roman name for the city of Avignon- the heart of Old World wine making).

Avennia

According to Seattle Magazine (August, 2013) “Avennia hopes to make Old World -style with a New World Energy and sense of place.” Marty Taucher (business/marketing side) and Chris Peterson (winemaker) moved into this Avennia adventure together; deciding to make wine from only the highest quality fruit available in Washington. Winemaker/partner Chris Peterson spent 7 years perfecting his wine making skills at DeLille Cellars (out of WA as well). Before that, he was traveling the world and teaching about wine. He knows the industry and knows the fruit (and who to source his fruit from). Seattle Magazine touted him as WineMaker to watch. A huge accolade.

As of now, they make a handful of wines. I am certain that will change in the future. So far their tasty line-up includes:

2012 Oliane – 100% Sauvignon Blanc – Just released this past September ($25.00)

2011 Justine – 46% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 24% Syrah ($38.00) – Just released this past September as well

2011 Arnaut – 100% Boushey Vineyard Syrah ($48.00)

2010 Gravura– 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc ($35.00) – **Vintage is currently sold out

2010 Sestina – 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc ($50.00) **Vintage is currently sold out

Avennia wines can be purchased through their website (if you order through their website,that can get you in the door for special releases). http://www.avennia.com/

However, you should be able to find their wines in most wine shops through the Pacific Northwest. I know The Grape Choice, in Kirkland, is flying through this wine.  They may have a couple bottles left of the Sestina and Gravura which is sold out online (unless I get to them first!).  Avennia is slowly becoming a “cult” like wine. You are hooked at first sip.

With the holidays fast approaching, I am certain most of you have a “wine snob’ on your Christmas list. These wines will definitely impress those “snobs.” Although, you may find yourself not letting the bottle go.. Avennia is a keeper.

Cheers!!!

http://www.avennia.com/

http://thegrapechoice.com/

http://www.seattlemag.com/