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, November 30, 2010

Holiday Gifts - II Dry Creek Valley

If you are so lucky as to live in the San Francisco Bay area, in less than two hours you can get to Healdsberg, jumping off point for the Dry Creek Valley, home to some of Sonoma 's best Zinfandel. This would make a fine day trip and a great opportunity to pick up some some outstanding Holiday gifts. Alternatively you can fly into Santa Rosa on Alaska Airlines and check a case of wine for free!

Here are three wineries where you can't lose - Mazzocco, Quivera, and Gustafson. Mazzocco offers Zins from more than half a dozen different vineyards at about $30, each one a little different from the others and all excellent. This is a great opportunity to get a sense of terroir. A selection of  Zins from each of six vineyards would make a sensational gift for your wine loving friend or family member and, of course, they will have to invite you to the comparison tasting.

At Quivira there was not a bad one in the bunch. They all got a "swallow", like one star. Of the '07 Zinfandel, '08 Grenache, '07 Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre, '07 Syrah Hommage a Ampuis, and '07 Mourvedre, we liked the Zin the best. It is the quintessential Zin, full of fruit, but not forward and in you face and very drinakable now, even though it has enough soft tannins to age a few years. At $20, it could be your gift for every adult on your list.

Far above Lake Sonoma is almost unmarked Gustafson winery, home to many remarkable wines. The 2008 Estate Mountain Cuvee Zinfandel is a smooth, easy, friendly wine at only $18. The 2006 Mountain Cuvee is the big brother to the '08 but still smooth and balanced. The 2007 Estate Petite Sirah is an amazingly rich "Two Swallow" wine full of spice and dark fruit. The 2007 Estate Zinfandel was our favorite with its big briary flavors and backbone of soft tannin. Delicious now, it will definitely improve with several years of ageing.

Okay, so you don't like Zin, then go to Michel Schlumberger where you will sit down to an elegant tasting of the whole range of varietals. We particularly liked some of the Cabs and thought the fabulously cherry flavored 2007 Mobius Malbec was a steal at $22. Unfortunately, only 25 cases were made.

Lucky you, you get to travel one of the wine roads less traveled and come up with great gifts that will wow your friends at reasonable prices for you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Gifts - I Oregon

If you start now you can order some of the most interesting and delicious wine gifts online. If you wait, you can still get good stuff at your local wine shop, Trader Joe's, Costco, etc, but these are exceptional.. Here are some specific recommendations of some of the best wines I've tasted this year. Some are hard to get, some are expensive, but they are all worth the effort. Some are easier to order and relatively inexpensive, too. Sometimes you can order over the phone or go to the winery directly, but, however you order these wines, do it soon. Just think with a case or two of fabulous wine at good prices your can take care of all your Holiday shopping - no crowds, no Black Friday! In most cases, you can go to the winery website for ordering information.These gift ideas are in no particular order - just a stream of consciousness like a stream of wine flowing into your glass.

Here are the Gene Stein Recommendations from Oregon:

  • 2006 Anthony Dell Pinot Noir - under $20
  • 2008 Crowley Pinot Noir - about $20
  • 2007 Stevenson-Barrie Pinot Noirs - $30
  • 2008 Libra Pinot Noirs -$20-$35
  • 2007 Dominio Pinot Noir - $28
  • NV 1789 Pinot Noir - about $35
  • 2007 Panther Creek Winemaker's Cuvee ($25), Verde Vineyards ($25), Freedom Hill ($35), Shea ($35)
  • 2007 Montebruno Pinot Noir - $33
  • 2007 Lazy River Pinot Noir - $33
  • 2007 Wahle Pinot Noir - $45
  • 2007 Brittan Pinot Noir $45
  • 2008 Ken Wright Pimot Noir - Canary Hill & Carter Vineyard -  about $60
  • 2008 Ayoub Pinot Noir - $65-$85?
  • 2007 Retour Pinot Noir - $65?
  • 2009 De Ponte "Melon" -about $20
  • 2008 Westrey Chardonnay - about $20
  • 2009 Bethel Heights Unoaked Chardonnay - $18
  • 2009 Dominio IV Viognier - $22
  • 2009 St Innocent "Vitae Springs" Pinot Gris - $20
  • 2009 Lazy River Pinot Gris

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Wine

This is really not that complicated. Essentially you can serve any wine you like. However, lighter, whiter, fruitier, even slightly sweeter (semi-dry?) wines go best with Turkey. Among reds, Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais-Villages, and light Pinot Noirs will work better than, say, a big Syrah or Mourvedre. Whites are easier. Any white works - Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, but fruitier wines work best. Avoid really dry whites like Muscadet. Interestingly, though, Isabelle Dutartre, at De Ponte Cellars in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley, makes an amazing American version from the Melon grape (the main grape in Muscadet) that just might be the perfect match with Turkey! Want to try something new? How about Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier - the three white Rhone Rangers? Riesling and Gewurztraminer are old standbys that are great with Turkey. The all-time classic is Chenin Blanc especially wines from the Loire Valley of France such as Vouvray, Jasnieres, Savannieres. Sparkling Vouvray is festive and relatively inexpensive. Champagne and other sparklers go with everything and are a really good match with Turkey.

Seattle Wine Blog In Top Ten

Despite the infrequency of posts on this blog, we are ranked in the Top Ten Wine Blogs by Enobytes using Google's rigorous technology. Quality over quantity, folks!

Here are the top ten out of the top one hundred:

1) Vinography
2) Wine Library TV
3) Dr. Vino
4) The Pour
5) Fermentation
6) Sharon's Wine Blog
7) Winecast
8) Seattle Wine Blog
9) The Oregon Wine Blog
10) REthink Wine

Good company, eh?
More blogs about seattle wine blog.