Actually, 200 of the almost 500 Washington wineries were pouring 800 wines at the largest regional wine tasting in the country. With over 120,000 tons of grapes harvested in 2006 by 350 vineyardists from 31,000 acres, Washington state is by far the largest grape grower in the country after California. With nine AVAs ( almost ten) the variety of grapes grown supports the experimental attitude of Washington winemakers. Washington State offers the perfect balance between New World fruit and Old World structure coming from the "perfect climate."
Eight hundred wines in two hours, that's nine seconds per wine and that includes travel time. Even a speed taster like me can't handle that! The strategy - taste wine from new wineries or wineries that I haven't tried before. I will report on that adventure in a later post. But for now I want to remind you of all the fabulous wines and wineries I had to skip this time around. Of course, I have tasted many of these wines on other occasions.
Of the top wineries Quilceda Creek, DeLille, Betz, Terra Blanca (Onyx), Northstar, Long Shadows, Pepper Bridge and Sheridan Vineyard were all there. Cayuse and Leonetti were their usual no shows. If you can afford them, virtually any wine from these wineries will be good. Wines from Januik or Brian Carter, McCrea or K-Vintner are bound to be good, too. Cougar Crest, Hightower, Dunham, Five Star, Dusted Valley, Isenhauer, Kestrel, Patit Creek, Novelty Hill, Red Sky, Reininger, Saviah, Walla Walla Vintners, Willow Crest, Syzygy, Three Rivers, L'Ecole, Syncline, Spring Valley Vineyard and Yellow Hawk all produce excellent wines, too. Great values can be had from Barnard Griffin, Chinook, Gordon Bros. Columbia Crest, Red Diamond. Sagelands, Ryan Patrick, or Hogue. To be continued...