Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Friday, June 22, 2007

Walla Walla Arrival

I'm not talking about Walla Walla's arrival, I'm talking about my arrival in Walla Walla. I'm sitting here in Elmer's Restaurant having breakfast, but I didn't really come here for breakfast. The only hotel room we could get in Walla Walla in June was at a new Dis - Comfort Inn here in Walla Walla. The signal from Elmer's across the road was stronger that the signal at the Dis - Comfort Inn. In fact, I couldn't connect at all from the Dis - Comfort Inn, so here I am at Elmer's where I am eating a sort of South Beach breakfast as opposed to the total carbs available at the Inn. I have nothing against Comfort Inns, mind you. I have fond memories of a stay at a Comfort Inn in Alberquerque a few years ago, but this shakedown cruise is quite an experience.

On our way to Walla Walla, we stopped for a picnic at Sagelands. Sagelands is a bit of an anomaly among Washington wineries. A mid-size ( 50,000 cases?) winery among small boutiques and a few giants. The wines actually vary from vintage to vintage and I felt that the 2004s released these were , for the most part, just not as good as the great value 2003s, especially the Four Corners blends which are widely available in supermarkets. However, the 2004 Cab from Dovol Vineyard was exceptional, like the 2003. Alas, it is only available at the winery. The 2004 Merlot Select was quite good, too - also, available at only at the winery. Definitely worth a stop, on a trip to the wine country. BTW, the Doval and the Merlot Select are great buys at about $20.

As usual, we stopped at the schoolhouse on the way into town. L'Ecole No. 41 usually produces excellent wines although in 2003 and 2004 I found a lot of the wines disappointing. IMO, the Semillons are the benchmark distinctive wines here. Usually the best Semillons in the state, the 2005 Semillons seemed weaker than their ancestors. The 2005 Columbia Valley Semillon, formerly "barrel select", was very light and easy, a good summer quaff, but not the more substantial stuff of the past. The Fries Vineyard showed more complexity but not really to my gout. The Seven Hills was sold out. The 2005 Columbia Valley Chard was fresh, light and easy with a hint of lemon - another good summer wine. The 2005 "Recess Red", a blend of six grapes, is predominantly Merlot. It had a beautiful complex nose, but needs a year or two to get rid of the modest tannins. Reminds me of the 1998 Nelms Road Merlot from neighbor Woodwood Canyon .

Bob & Kathy just arrived. Gotta go....


  • At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You must have dinner at 26brix. Steak frites and the 2003 Chester-Kidder...heaven...

  • At 9:23 AM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    Thanks for your comment. Gene

  • At 10:50 AM, Blogger Catie said…

    ELMERS! Now I feel guilty. I could have at least scrambled you an egg and given you a cup of espresso.

    Gee boyz and girlz, this is one serious wine-blogger! He blogs while he is tasting! When I am out winetasting the furthest thing from my mind is the computer and phones. However this is a good thing for me --- when we're out winetasting together, I will copy the notes from his blog. Take good notes Gene.

  • At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Margot-Write for Wine said…

    I read your letter to the editor of Seattle Magazine and wanted to say hello. I enjoy your posts --if you see Catie while you're in Walla Walla, say hello. She introduced me to Wine Blog Wednesday too. I just started a blog about Washington State Wine. Please send me an e-mail.

  • At 9:48 AM, Blogger SeattleWineBlog said…

    LOL! At least, I don't blog before I taste the wine! Besides this "real time" blogging leaves something to be desired. I guess I could have raced back to Elmer's to blog some more or alternatively I could have stayed at the "hot spot" at the I-90 rest stop for an hour. Great tasting with you!


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