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)

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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

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!!