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

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Taste Washington Phoenix - I

Yes, Washington came to Arizona. It appeared that the event for buyers in the trade was dominated by Wanderlust Trading. Why? Because Wanderlust doubled the number of Washington State wineries available in Arizona. What a fabulous event for people in the "trade". An opportunity for retailers and restauranteurs to taste the fabulous wines of Washington State. With about 75 wineries presenting over three hundred wines, this was a royal opportunity for wineries to present to their wines to the retail trade. But here's the problem: so many small businesses are freaked out by the current financial melt down that they can't bring themselves to take advantage of this exceptional opportunity to present something new, to save themselves and offer wondrous wines to the consumer who is open to incredible wines at incredible prices from Washington State. So here's the deal! No one who drinks wine has cut back on their c0nsumption. Everybody from millionaires to us peasants has cut back on what they pay for a bottle of wine. If you were drinking $200 bottles, you've cut back to $100 or less. If you were drinking $60s, your down below 30. Fifteen's are drinking $5 to $10. If you were drinking two buck chuck, hopefully you can afford jug wine. Everybody has cut their pricepoint by 50% or more. Washington State wines are incredible on their own, but in this economy, they are even more attractive as alternatives to California and France. At about half the price of their overseas brethren and their neighbors to the south, they represent the perfect pricepoint in the most severe recession since the great depression. So here are my comments on Washington State wines at Taste Washington Phoenix in alphabetical order. Wineries marked by an asterisk are represented by Wanderlust Trading Company.

Abeja - Winemaker John Abbott ( should definitely be on the great winemaker list) presented his 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon which tasted like a light airy chocolate souffle in a bottle. His Chardonnay is outstanding with lots of minerality in an almost European style.*

Airfield Estates - An up and comer we first tasted at Debuts and Discoveries in Seattle. Winemaker Marcus Miller produces amazingly good wines at pretty reasonable prices.
The 2007 Bombshell Red is an amazing blend of Merlot, Cab Sauv, Syrah, Malbec, Sangiovese, Cinsault and Counoise.*?

Alder Ridge, Six Prong, & Zefina - The Six Prong Red from Horse Heaven Hills another blend of multiple grape varieties at a reasonable price Cab Sauv, Zin, Syrah, Malbec, Merlot and Cab Franc went into this one. The 2004 Zefina Serience Red from Horse Heaven Hills is a blend of of Rhone varietals, including Grenache, Syrah, Counoise, Mourvedre, and Cinsault.

Badger Mountain & Powers Winery - The 2007 Badger Mtn Organic Riesling is a classic, balanced Riesling at a very reasonable price (about $12). The 2007 Powers Merlot is big, but not jammy at a reasonable price of about $16.

Balboa Winery & Beresan Winery - Tom Glase wanted to bring reasonably priced wines to WalaWalla and he did. The Merlot of the softest wine followed by the Syrah. The Cab Sauv has a little more structure, just as it should. They are all wonderfully user-friendly, with soft round velvety flavors at reasonable prices*

Barnard Griffin - Rob Griffin is a Washington State wine Pioneer. Despite production of 70,000 cases all of his wines are well made and reasonably priced.

Basel Cellars - These wines are usually excellent. The 2006 Claret is way better than some previous vintages and priced right at about $22.*

Bergevin Lane - These are all excellent wines in a softer more elegant and refined style than many Walla Walla wines. The Calico Red and Fruitbomb are outstanding values, especially the Fruitbomb with a nose that literally explodes out of the glass. An amazing value at about $11.*

Boudreaux Cellars - Winemaker Rob Newsom makes outstanding wines (another one who should be added to best winemakers). His Chardonnay was not available for tasting, but you should look for it. It really is like a great White Burgundy. The 2005 Cab Sauv is only 80% Cab Sauv, with the rest of the space reserved for the likes of Merlot, Syrah, etc.,The 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills is excellent, but a little pricey at over $100.*

Brian Carter Cellars - Brian Carter is another outstanding winemaker. He works magic with all of his wines. I am especially fond of his Abracadabra and L'Etalon.

Bunnell Family Cellar - Regrettably, I somehow missed this one and I have to confess that I know nothing about Bunnell. It is on my list for next time.

Buried Cane - Another one I missed. Planned to come back and somehow didn't get there.

Well, that's a dozen. Tune in for six more parts of this series.

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