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! *

March 2017 2558

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!*

March 2017 2559

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!*

March 2017 2572

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!

 

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/

Washington Wine Month: some must haves….

I enjoy wines from all over the world. There is no favorite wine region in my world, because I can find wines from any region that are lovely. To me a solid, good wine… is a solid, good wine no matter the location. However, March is Washington Wine month and being a proud Washingtonian, I feel the need to focus attention to Washington wines.

Even though I purchase wines from all over the world, it’s important to support our growing wine region in Washington. I am extremely impressed with many of the wines coming out of Washington. We are not to be overlooked. We are producing some powerful, favorable, and elegant wines. With that being said, today the focus is on “Carolyn’s favorite wineries of the moment.”

Winery #1

Fall Line Wineryhttp://www.falllinewinery.com/

Winery Tastings are by appointment only

I have fallen in love with Fall Line’s wines, especially their Bordeaux blends. They are smooth, earthy, and fresh. The two varietals I highly recommend are Boushey Vineyard Red Blend – out of YakimaValley (39% Cabernet franc, 34% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon). The 2009 received 91 points from the Wine Advocate. The Boushey is an easy drinking wine that infuses the flavors of cassis, herbs, current, earth and plum on the palate. It seems like a lot of flavors, but it all blends perfectly together. The winery suggests cellaring it for a couple more years, but this wine is enjoyable right now as well.

The other elegant, yet rugged Bordeaux blend is their Red Willow Vineyard Red Blend (64% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet franc). Out of the two blends, this would have to be my number one. It is a medium-bodied wine that is tight at first taste. But after a few swirls, it opens up beautifully. It could benefit from another 2-4 years of cellaring, but I find it even enjoyable to drink now. It has the flavors of smoke, black current, spices and cherry. Its tannins are slightly chewy (For the new wine novice, I will explain tannins in another blog. But basically they give a wine structure and texture). This wine also made the ‘100 Best Wines of Washington—The 2012 List,’ Seattle Met magazine, September 2012.

Both these wine are a little pricey. But worth the splurge. The Red Willow sells at The Grape Choice (http://thegrapechoice.com/) for $34.99 and the Boushey sells for around $30.00 on their website. Both wines can be found easily in many local wine shops throughout Washington.

**You can taste their wines in the Seattle area on Saturday, March 16, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m at West Seattle Cellars http://www.westseattlecellars.com

Winery # 2

Domanico Cellars

2008 Le Monstre

2008 Le Monstre

Ballard Winery and Tasting Room

825 NW 49th Street, Seattle, WA

Open for tastings Friday, 5:00-9:00PM and Saturday, 12:00-6:00PM

Or by appointment during other days of the week

http://www.domanicocellars.com/

I stumbled upon Domanico Cellars about 2 years ago. I don’t remember how I heard of them, but once I found this winery in Ballard, I had to check them out. Talk about a find of lifetime. Domanico Cellars is a small family owned and operated winery in the heart of Ballard (and opening soon, a tasting room in Prosser , WA- where their vineyard is located).

Jason Domanico is one of the most friendly, humble wine makers I have ever met. The second you walk into the winery, he makes you feel as if you are part of his wine family. Probably because his whole family is involved with the wine making process (Jason, his wife Jill and daughter Anna) so he has a family minded business sense. We have visited the winery many times on a Friday evening with our children and a box of pizza. The kids enjoy pizza (and if Jason’s daughter is around, a play mate) and we delight in his wonderful wine line-up.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite wine, because they are unique, charming and straight to the point. My recommendation would be to visit this winery and taste them all. The line up is usually (but in the world of wine, things can change):

1. 2010 Lewis Family Vineyard Riesling $15 – a dry, yet refreshing Riesling that would be a perfect pairing with seafood.

2. 2008 Le Flirt $21a blend of Merlot, Malbec and Cab Franc. It’s a spicy (flirty) blend!!

3. 2008 Mesa Rojo $21- A Cab, Cab Franc and Malbec blend that is an easy drinking, every day wine to drink with your dinner.

4. 2008 Le Monstre $21 -a predominately Cabernet Sauvignon (with 25% Cab Franc) wine. This is a dark, rich wine that could hold for up to 10 years.

5. 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $32 – I tried this wine for the first time about a month ago and fell in love. It is a smooth, rich, dark Cab that should be decanted for an hour or so. A must try!

But don’t take my word on Domanico Cellars, try it for yourself. Tastings are free and wines by the glass are only $5 (The reserve is $8). Pack the kids,the dog and head down on a Saturday evening. You will be happy to find this wine slice of heaven.

If you live in WA, make sure to support our local economy… and purchase a Washington wine (or two). If you live outside the Evergreen state, I challenge you to put down your California, French and Italian wine. Go to your local wine merchant and ask for a Washington wine. You will be pleasantly surprised – I promise!

PS – you can always order these wines through the winery’s website – unless you live in a state where they continue to have this funny law where wine cannot be shipped to you (and if that is the case, you should move).

Cheers!!!

 

Wines with a V

I am typically a red wine drinker. Since this past summer though, I have been drinking a lot more whites. Even in this cold, drizzly Seattle weather, sometimes a crisp white wine just sounds tasty. Lately, I have been gravitating towards wines that start with V… Strange huh? Does a wine that begins with V ring a bell for you?

The white wines most wine novices typically gravitate towards are Chardonnay’s, Sauvignon Blanc’s and Pinot Gris/Grigio’s. But not me. Because of you, my friends, I am a risk taker who is down with the V’s. Which means you should check them out next time you are at your local wine merchant. These wines will say to your guests, host or friends that you are adventurous, daring and wine knowledgeable…. (Trust me; they will be impressed with your picks)

These are my 4 varietal, go -to favorites lately

 

Verdejo (Verdelho) – Ola! This is bright and fairly medium bodied Spanish (and Portuguese) white wine (although, I have an Australian Verdejo last night from Mollydooker and it was a lot of fun). Being this is typically a Spanish wine, it pairs well with most fish/seafood dishes, pastas (esp. with pesto) and vegetarian dishes. This is also a wine that will go nicely with an Indian dinner or something with a lot of spice. It has a well balanced flavor with many foods!

Vermentino – I have been on a Vermentino kick lately. This is another medium bodied wine that often has hints of mineral and citrus (lemon and pear in my opinion). Vermentino is typically from Sardinia and Liguria, but can often be found grown along the Mediterranean coast. Simple fish dishes are what I would pair this with. I love the flavor of Vermentino, so I wouldn’t have it with a dish that would take away from its simple, yet elegant flavor. A nice tossed salad would also pair nicely with this wine

Vinho Verde– This fun Portuguese, semi-sparkling white wine is inexpensive and goes well with spicy foods. This wine, in general, does not have a whole lot of flavor, but I feel it blends nicely with spicy foods (I had one with empanadas and it tasted brilliantly together). It would also be a fantastic wine to drink with fish tacos, seafood stews and crab cakes. You usually can find this wine under $10. What a steal!

Viognier- This is a French (WA, CA, OR, and Australia as well) dry, florally, full bodied white wine. Now, my issue with Viognier is that the floral nose and taste can be overpowering (I prefer subtle wines). However, if you find the right balanced Viognier, it is heaven in your mouth. You do have to play around with them to find your perfect Viognier though. Once you find that perfect wine, it will go nicely with Asian dishes, Chicken, dishes with cream sauces, lobster and pork. Viognier is one of those wines that will blend nicely with a variety of cheeses…

Alright, just one more V wine…

Valpolicella – This is not a white wine, but I wanted to add in as a favorite red wine of mine. Valpolicella is an Italian, light-bodied dry red wine from the Veneto region. Like with Viognier, I have had some bad Valpolicella that tasted thin and had the flavor of dried cherries and stale licorice. I am REALLY picky about my Valpolicella. Finding the right one can take work, but again high risk means high rewards. Once you find the right Valpolicella (look for Valpolicella Classico Superiore) it will be smooth, well rounded. This wine is great to start your dinner party off with. Pairs well with Italia dishes (pizza, pasta, etc), Risotto, grilled/roasted chicken and sausage.

Go ahead and show off your adventurous wine side to your friends. Bringing one of these V wines to your next party will impress your other wine novice friends. And it’s just nice to break out of the norm.

Put down that Chardonnay and pick up a Vermentino!

Cheers and Happy February friends….

 

locally grown

After my weekend in jaunt in Napa, I realized more of my energy should be focused on my community. And when I say community, I mean wine community. To quote Paul Gregutt, the author of Washington Wines and Wineries: the Essential Guide, Northwest Editor for Wine Enthusiast and Seattle Times columnist, “You have to come here and visit the wineries. The vast majority of the wines up here can only be had at the winery or a local wine shop.” You know what Paul, I agree and will take you up on that. I am going to spend my next couple of blogs talking about Washington Wines. I promise a return to French, Italian, Argentinian, etc. wines, for those who love an assortment from various regions.  But I feel the need to give a shout out to my State, which produces quality wines and need our community support. 

 Unfortunately, there is some sad news in the world of Washington wine;  the closure of some amazing wineries. This is why we need to support our local wine makers. Three quality wineries that have closed their doors: Olsen Estates of Prosser, Whitman cellars of Walla Walla and Yellow Hawk Cellars of Walla Walla. The closing of these wineries weren’t due to their lack of high quality, simply delectable wines. Consumers are not shelling out the cash for high quality wines. And smaller vineyards are not able to produce two-buck Chuck type of wines (and would we want them too?) Everyone wants a bargain; biggest bang for your buck. I am all for bargains, I shop at Nordstrom Rack and buy Target brand cereal. Some wines at $10 are good, but if once in a while you invest in a slightly more expensive wine, you could have a nice surprise (and a realization it is totally worth the money). There are times you need to throw caution to the wind and allow yourself to splurge $30 on a bottle of Washington wine, which could literally blow your mind. You, my friend, will never pick up a two- buck Chuck again.

Tonights Tasting:

2009 Naches Heights Vineyard “Two Dancers” Columbia Valley $18.00 West Seattle Cellars

75% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Franc

First of all, I love the label. And I think the label itself describes this wine beautifully. It has a dance between fruit and dryness. At first sip (and smell), fruit hit’s you right in the face – blackberry was the fruit that caught my attention first, then cherry –  but then it leaves you with a dry tingle in the back of your tongue. It took me a few swirls and sips to get into this wine. I couldn’t figure out if it was crisp or dry. It was a tango in my mouth – love/hate. Eventually, love one, slightly. It is complex and fun, so we talked about this wine a lot during our tasting. We came to the conclusion though that Two Dancer’s needs to be paired with food. Ian and I drank it alone, and I think it would have less tango and more salsa if paired with the right meal combination. Phil Cline, the maker of this wine, suggests pairing it with a protein such as spicy ribs or BBQ. I think my brother-in-law, BBQ king, needs to serve “Two Dancers” this summer when he throws a big BBQ bash (hint, hint)!

Oh, about the second bottle in this picture, it is a 2006 WineGlass Cellars Merlot. This is a sneak preview into the next blog: Just give Merlot a chance!!

Cheers!

(Quote from Paul Gregutt was from the book: What’s a Wine Lover to Do? by Wes Marshall, 2010)

Washington vs. California Wineries part 1

Ok, first of all.. I am slightly biased, since I live in Washington and a supporter of local businesses. However, in recent years it seems I have made more trips to California wine country than to Washington wine country. Really, I am just a fan of wine – California, Washington, Oregon, France, etc. Good wine is good wine.  There are some California wines that are so delicious, goose bumps run up and down my arms, than there are Washington wines that blow me away. No matter what region you are a fan of, you must visit wineries. You gain a whole new perspective on your favorite wines. The best thing about visiting wineries, is the history you receive. You learn all sorts of fun facts about that specific winery, as well as tasting wines you cannot find in your local grocery store. Plus, you spend all day tasting wine. How fun is that!

I want to tell you my top favorite wineries (as of this moment), but there are still thousands more that I have not been too. Since this is my blog however, I am going to let you in on some wineries you probably have not heard of and must check out. I will divide this into two parts. Washington is first, then California (within the next week). I know you are all busy, with short attention spans, so I didn’t want to make this a long, drawn out blog.

A few Washington wine facts:

In Washington, there are over 500 wineries and is the second largest producer of wine in the US (can you guess who is first). Washington wines really started to take off in the early 1980’s – and the quality rivals many California and Old World wines. Washington has 11 wine regions within the state. Northwest, Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound/Woodinville, Southwest, North Central, Yakima, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Spokane.

So, now you have an extremely brief history  – now here is the fun part, 5  wineries you must visit – According to Carolyn!

1. Tefft Cellars, Woodinville/Outlook

Outlook: 1302 Independence Road, Outlook WA 98938

www.tefftcellars.com

Woodinville:  16110 Woodinville Redmond Rd, Woodinville WA

 My first visit to Tefft was 6 years ago in Outlook, WA. I was impressed by their wines. Not my favorite, but consistent and nice. The winery itself is beautiful. They also have a Guest House you can rent. A couple of years ago, they opened a tasting room in Woodinville. Which is a spacious, Italian-themed room, which you can also rent for private parties. They don’t charge a tasting fee, and want you lounge in their over sized couches, while tasting anywhere between 5-10 wines. They really make you feel special and don’t rush you. I have to add that the quality of their wine has increased and is closely becoming a favorite of mine.

2.) Windy Point Vineyards, Wapato

420 Windy Point Drive, Wapato WA 98951

www.windypointvineyards.com

View, View, View!! Holy cow, Windy Point has an amazing location on top of a hilltop in Wapato, where you gaze upon Yakima Valley, orchards and Cascade mountains. Plus, they make some fabulous Syrah’s and Cab Franc’s (first place I ever had a Cab Franc). It is a little off the main road, but worth taking this detour for the view and outstanding wines.

3.) Pontin del Roza, Prosser

35502 North Hinzerling Road, Prosser WA 99350

509-786-4449 (no website)

For me, this winery is similar to those wineries I visited in France – Family run, vines in their backyard, tastings in their home (well, a trailer next to their home), with cats, dogs and various other animals running around. They are very welcoming with picnic facilities available for you. Nothing fancy, but a family feel attraction. Pontin wine has to be one of my favorite’s from Washington, and priced right as well.

4.) DeLille Cellars, Woodinville

14421 Woodinville-Redmond Road, Woodinville, WA 98072 (this is for their tasting room)

http://www.delillecellars.com/index.cfm

DeLille Cellars, hands down, makes top-notch wines. Although, you pay the price for top-notch wines. If you cannot afford a DeLille wine, you at least need to visit the tasting room. As you taste it, you can feel the hard work and passion they put into their wines. Most of DeLille’s grapes come from Red Mountain (not all however).  Red Mountain is known for killer Cabs.

5.) Wineglass Cellars, Zillah

260 North Bonair Road, Zillah WA 98953

www.wineglasscellars.com

So, I saved the best for last. My most favorite winery (and wine for that matter). You must bring a picnic to this tasting, you will be here for a while (unless you come on one of their pizza nights, then they will supply you with plenty of pizza). You may also want to think about biking to this winery, as the website gives you directions on a bike loop! Biking, driving, running, however you get to Wineglass, there is not a bad wine in the bunch.  I cannot even begin to tell you a favorite, I love them all (which I why I belong to their wine club!)

I am not trying to be exclusive;  there are many wineries I have enjoyed visiting, and more I dream of seeing – and will someday. These 5 stand out in my mind as wineries worth the trip. Do you have a favorite Washington winery? Let me know!

Happy Trails!!

ps – some of my facts came from the book Wine Trails of Washington by Steve Roberts

Grocery Store Challenge 1

Alright, it has been a couple of months since I decided to take the “Grocery Store Wine Challenge”  and I now have my first chain grocery store finding.  This was hard for me… since I am so partial to my local stores. So as I stopped by Safeway, with a sleeping baby, I decided to use my time wisely and peruse the wine section. I went in to this, with a sour attitude,  but to my surprise the wine section  at Safeway wasn’t horrific (meaning, there was more than just Carlo Rossi boxed wine!). So, to my fellow novices who are unable to hit West Seattle Cellars, Picnic on Greenwoood, Esquin wine merchant, and/or Vino Verite on Capital Hill (or any other wine shop in your neighborhood), there are decent options at your local grocery store. Here are some of the wines I found at Safeway on Roosevelt (and 75th). I am sure that each store (especially in a different state) has different wine selections, but take a look at these wines the next time you pop by Safeway.

*** I also have a wine tasting tonight, so take a look below!

Grocery Store recommendations – Safeway

Just a little information – if you purchase 6 or more bottles, you receive a %10 discount – with their Safeway Club card

L’ecole 2006 Caberent Sauvignon  $26.94- A Walla Walla red. I have only had L’ecole once, but loved it. For the most part Walla Walla wines are smooth and full of flavor. This wine is worth the investment. You can also find this wine in local wine shops as well.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Columbia Valley

Kestral – Lady in Red  $14.99 – Prosser WA – another great wine. I have been to this winery twice and have always enjoyed their wines. Great everyday drinking wine.

Gascon Malbec – Argentina  $11.49.  I have had this wine once. Not my favorite Malbec but has a nice, light flavor. Good wine to take to a party.

Red Bicyclette Syrah – France  $8.99. A can’t beat price. I purchased a glass of this wine in a restaurant once and had a nice flavor – a hint of pepper if I remember correctly.  

Powers Cabernet Sauvignon 2007  – Tri-Cities, WA $10.84. I met one of their wine makers about a year ago. Very nice gentleman and his wines do not disappoint. They also own Badger Mountain Vineyards as well. Once fact about Powers, is that all their wines are organic. Exceptional price.. pick up a bottle.

If in doubt and need a wine in a hurry – Bogle Vineyards  in CA make inexpensive wines that hold their own. Make sure to drink this wine last. Always start with your more expensive, hard to find wine first – then end with the cheap stuff. Bogle wines are around $10.00 and I have seen them at most major supermarkets.

Tonight’s Tasting:

Tre Donne – D’Arc 2006 Italy ($15.00 West Seattle Cellars):

This wine is a blend of 40% Barbera D’Alba, 30% Pinot Noir, 20% Dolcetto D’Alba, and 10% Freisa.

We opened this wine with our dinner – which was vegetarian Chili. Wow!! That is pretty much all I have to say.  A smooth, vibrant and intense wine, I was more than impressed.  I was planning on having just a glass with dinner, but I have a feeling this bottle may be gone by the end of the night. If you can find this (and it won’t be at Safeway) – please grab a bottle. They say this wine goes perfectly with pork, but I beg to differ. It goes great with a vegetarian meal. Take my suggestion, grab this wine while you can.

I hope you have a great time searching for tonight’s tasting or grabbing a Safeway wine!

I have seen a Ghost

The Ghost of 413 a Red Blend from Columbia Valley. At first taste, all the moisture was pulled from my tongue. As I look at the bottle, it doesn’t say what the blend is. My guess is some sort of Cab blend – with the dryness and big bang flavor. I wasn’t sure of this wine, it took almost a half of glass for me to decide if I liked it or not. The smell and taste of this wine doesn’t match. The smell is full of berry and spice, but the taste has a woody, cherry, coffee flavor. It is a nice wine however, especially if you like a full bodied Cab. This isn’t my favorite wine, but if you are a fan of big, dry wines, or you like to try new things, you will enjoy this one.

Tonight Tasting:

The Ghost of 413 – 2007 Red Blend, Columbia Valley ($14.99  – QFC, Whole Foods, Metropolitan Market): 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 12% Syrah

Limited cases of this wine – very big flavor. Not a 100% Cab, but has the big bang of one. I do not eat meat, but I can imagine this would taste very nice with a grilled steak or juicy prime rib. It you prefer a lighter red wine, or not a fan of red’s at all, steer clear of this. But, if you would like to shake up your taste buds a bit – give this wine a try. And remember not to judge at first taste. This one takes a while on your taste buds.

Happy Tasting!

http://giantwine.com/index.html

New Holiday on February 14

I am not a fan of Valentines day. I actually find it the most pointless day. It is a throw-it-in-your face day if you are single or an I am disapointed in you day if you are married/dating. We all know this is just a Hallmark holiday, yet we still fall for this need to be romantic, buy a gift, pass out candy (that we don’t need) day. I would like to change this day. My challenge to you, fellow novices, is not to fall for this silly holiday by purchasing a gift for your loved one, but treat them to a FABULOUS bottle of wine. Or for all the single ladies or men, no need to stress over this pointless day – treat yourself to a wonderful bottle of wine. I am turning February 14th into Wine Day – anyone else in on this with me??

I would like to recommend some of my most favorite wines that will leave you feeling happy. I will have a wine in almost every price range. Take notes, grab a bottle (or two) and enjoy!

DeLille Cellars D2 (Columbia Valley) – around $32.00 – you can find this at local grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Ballard Market, Greenwood Market and most local wine shops.  This wine is worth the price, hands down. If you feel the need to splurge on this day, splurge on this wine!!

Wineglass Cellars Zinfandel 2007 (Yakima Valley) around $22.00 – if you are out of WA state, this will be a challenge for you to find For those in WA,  check your local wine shops, however I have seen it in Whole Foods, Ballard Market and QFC. Check Winecellars website, it tells you the places where their wines are sold. www.wineglasscellars.com This Zin is dark, rich, chocolately and heavenly. If you can find it, grab as many bottles as you can find. It is amazing!

FYI to my out-of-state novices, if you are looking to join a wine club for WA wines, Wineglass Cellars will not let you down. I belong to their wine club and I have NEVER been disappointed with any of their wines.

Stump Jump Vintage 2008 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre (South Australian)  around $11.00- I have mentioned this wine on many occasions, but I have talked about their pure Shiraz. This blend is also a very nice wine – and a little fruitier. For the price, you cannot beat this wine!! It tastes delicious. This wine is pretty easy to find – Costco, Whole Foods, many large grocery store chains and local wine stores.

Rigoloccio Rosato (Italian – Tuscan region)- $9.75. This Rose is refreshing and romantic. A Rose doesn’t have to be saved for summer time. This wine is perfect for any occasion. I have only seen it at West Seattle cellars, but take the name into your favorite wine store and I am sure they can find it for you.

Guenoc – 2007 Petite Sirah (California). Is around $8.00- good wine for a “can’t beat” price. I have seen it at Trader Joes, West Seattle Cellars and a few chain grocery stores.

 

My recommendation list could go on for days, I have so many favorites… however these 5 wines I think are perfect for this Wine Day holiday. They will compliment almost any meal you cook and will taste divine with chocolate. Please don’t look at February 14th as another annoying, stupid, marketing holiday. Look at it as a day to explore and try new wines. Remember this is now Wine Day!

Happy Wine Day!!