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

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Palouse Dragon

Winemaking is a glamorous occupation and, like chefs, some winemakers become superstars. But behind the sizzle, there is a lot of hard work and a lot of expense. On our way back to the ferry from Andrew Will we stopped at Palouse Winery and had a nice chat with Linda Kirkish and tasted some of their wines, but dominating the space and the conversation was a monster with a big head and a long tail from Italy - a bottling machine! Not as big as a Palouse combine, but bisecting their garage winery nevertheless. It takes some small wineries years to make the investment in a bottling machine - in fact, some use mobile bottling units - but for George and Linda it all added up, especially since they are going to increase production to 1200 cases over the next few years. That's good news for all of us, since they will start distributing their wine off island in the Puget Sound area soon.

We tasted a 2006 Semillon made from Klipsun grapes, called Blondie, but I think the bottle had been open too long. The 2005 Eclipse, a blend of 36% Cab Sauv, 36% Merlot, 19% Cab Franc, and 7% Petit Sirah, was deep purple with a nose of violets and lots of big fruit. It could have been named The Big Purple! The 2005 Cab Franc, made from Porteus grapes, had a nose of bread and yeast, medium body, refreshing fruit and a round, but lighter style. As a professional wine taster I almost always spit, but every once in a while, I involuntarily swallow, a tip off to me that I really like the wine. The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cab from the Dineen Vineyard near Scott Greer's Sheridan Vineyard - round soft velvety with delicious juicy fruit.

Garagistes, Linda and Georges, went to marketing school last year and I think they've got the 'hang' of it as they create "buzz" for their wines. They are certainly not flying by the seat of their pants and they are definitely no fly-by-night outfit! Pretty soon they will be "buzzing" the greater Seattle area with Big Purples, Black Pearls, and they may even Eclipse the moon, but will they be able to maintain those prices? George loved his Black Pearl Petit Sirah so much that he priced it at an outrageous $65 a bottle, figuring that if no one bought it (heh, heh), he would have it all to himself. Unfortunately, it all sold out very quickly:) Seriously, maybe like Andrew Will, they will be able to maintain these prices when they increase production, but I'm not sure I would want to pay $130 for any bottle of wine in a restaurant, even if it is as good as these Palouse wines.

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