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, March 03, 2009

Taste Washington Phoenix III

Here are another dozen wineries to contemplate:

Efeste - Sounds Greek to me, like efcharisto! But thanks to Big Papa I found out that it is just an acronym for the owners names, nevertheless, Big Papa is Greek. The wines are well made all-Ameican wines, though the Riesling did have a wonderful smell of a pine forest reminding me of Retsina.

Elegante Cellars - Winemaker Doug Simmons is by far the happiest winemaker I've ever met. He loves his second career as a winemaker and is so grateful to be able to work with wine. What a refreshing attitude! He made a 2006 Walla Walla Cab and a 2006 Walla Walla Merlot. I preferred the Merlot.

Five Stars - Dave Huse is a big friendly man and his wine's are big friendly wines. I prefer the Cabernet Sauvignon. although Dave raved about his award winning Sangiovese.*

Gifford Hirlinger - Like so many family wineries, GH started out growing grapes. Happily, Winemaker Mike Berghan loves making wine. I prefer the 2005 Walla Walla Merlot.

Gilbert Cellars - Gilbert Cellars is a relatively new winery that has been getting accolades for it's wines lately. I preferred the Unoaked Chardonnay.

Gordon Bros. - It was a pleasure to meet Jeff's daughter, Katie Nelson who is the Marketing Director for the winery. Gordon Bros are always well-made wines with reasonable prices across the board. I aways like the Merlot and the Chardonanny. This year I also tasted the 2006 Kamiak Cellar Select Red Wine which is a outstanding Cab-based red at the very reasonable price of about $14. The Kamiak Cellar Select White is an interesting blend of Chard and SB with a 5% hint of Riesling to smooth things out. Not to my taste, but a very appealing wine nevertheless, especially at the very appealing price of about $11.

Grape Group - Grape Group is not a Winery, but, rather, a marketing group under the umbrella of Precept Brands. This is a three-fer: Rainier Ridge, Willow Crest, and Apex II. Willow Crest is the standout, as Dave Minick is an outstanding winemaker, another one to add to the "Best winemakers."

Guardian Cellars - A new winery from the Woodinville incubator, again under the aegis of Mark Ryan. The 2006 Chalk Line is an excellent blend of 50% CS, 22% Malbec, 17% Syrah, 11% Merlot. The 2006 Gun Metal is a more traditional blend of 46% CS, 43% CF, 1% M. A winery to watch!

Hestia Cellars - I like to think that I discovered Shannon Jones, but then, maybe Shannon discovered me. In any event, I was one of the first wine writers to recognize the quality of what he was doing. Big amazing wines from a small winery. The Syrah is my favorite.*

Hedges - A pioneer on Red Mtn. Very good wines, but not usually spectacular. The "CMS" is widely distributed and a good value,. The Three Vineyards is also widely available and quite good.

Hogue - Headline: Asparagus growers make wine. Mike and Gary Hogue pioneered Washington State wines. The winery has passed through several corporate hands, but the quality of the wine is consistently good. All three product lines, regular, Genesis, and Reserve are good, but, as is so often the case with me, I prefer the simplicity of the regular line which is widely available in supermarkets and a good value, especially on sale.

Hyatt Vineyards - Well, you'll never get this at the Hilton, but so what. The wines are good values at about $10/bottle. The 06 Chard is light and easy. The Riesling is relatively sweet, but appealing.*

That's it! More than a baker's dozen if you unbundle the Grape Group. Tune in for three more dozen vignettes.

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