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

Monday, April 07, 2008

Taste Washingon - I

This year Taste Washington was spectacular! The food was excellent. There were over two hundred wineries and, for whatever reason, the crowds were less densely packed. My first stop after a sip of Quilceda Creek Red was Palouse Winery. George and Linda were pouring at their first ever Taste Washington and as usual the pours were spectacular. The semi-sweet 2007 Riesling was "full flavored." The 2007 Viognier was exceptionally aromatic. The 2005 "Dineen" Cab Sauv was "awesome." The 2004 Eclipse eclipsed everything else except the Cab and the Syrah. I promised Linda and George I would remember my reactions to their wines and I did! After that, everything is a blur except the Kumomoto and Totten Bay oysters from Elliot Bay, but it was such a long trip to the Buty booth to get some beautiful Chard to go with the oysters. I will just share some random thoughts and impressions to be followed by a regional breakdown and a list of new wineries. Vashon Island is definitely worth a day trip to visit Palouse and Vashon winery. Try to schedule it when Andrew Will is having a release weekend. Ron Irvine's wines this year seem like some of his best. These are wines to be sought out. I noticed more of a trend toward established vineyards making at least some of their own wines, instead of selling all of their grapes to other winemakers. In addition to Goose Ridge, and Stillwater Creek, Milbrandt Vineyards has started making their own wine. I also saw a trend toward more women winemakers and owners such as Ashley Trout at Flying Trout and Juliet Pouilon at Domaine Pierre Noire.

I only managed to taste wines from two of the South Park gang of four, aka SSAW. Tim Sorenson was up to his usual speed although his Horse Heaven Hills wine this year is in an entirely different style. Tim Narby at Note Bene once again shows a consistently high level of quality. Unfortunately, I missed "OS" and Cadence. Dave Larson at Soos Creek is making wine in a similar vein. I missed John Bell's wines which are definitely in the same class. I ran into Brian Carter but didn't have a chance to taste his wines. Brian is an excellent winemaker. BTW, Harry Alhadeff sold Apex Cellars, and Matt Wysman is no longer winemaker at Kana Cellars. Glacial Lake Missoula is making their usual overwhelming "Deluge." I had a chance to meet Lloyd Andersen whose Walter Dacon Syrahs where excellent as usual. Latah Creek over in Spokane made what may be the state's second Petit Verdot which, while not quite as big as Mike Januik's, was quite tasty. BTW, Januik's Petit Verdot has turned from a well-behaved beautiful child into a huge strapping teenager. What will it be like in adulthood? Townsend Cellar in Spokane is also turning out some good wines. Winemaker Serge Lavillle was pouring Spring Valley Vineyard's wines and once again Uriah was a standout. Five Star was stellar as usual. The new Amaurice wines are excellent. Trey Busch at Sleight of Hand continues his usual magic. He very cleverly bottles his "everyday" wines in screwcaps, and his "age-ers" in corks. Saint Laurent had several good new reds to taste, though I missed their outstandingly dry Riesling. Balsomroot continues to make good wines and Nefarious wines were totally wicked. Devin Stinger at Adamant was adamentine in his approach to some new reds. He is definitely a guy to watch. So many wines, so little time. Next we will review our impressions by region and finally we will list new wineries.

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