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, August 22, 2011

One Of The Best Kept Wine Secrets In America

OK, OK, so the sky isn't falling. Or maybe it's better to just enjoy your wine and not worry about the world One way to forget the world crisis is a visit to the source of some of the best bottles in the U.S, dare I say in the world? Buried in  a Seattle suburb, half an hour from downtown you can find some of the best wine in the U.S. Napa move over. There are well over 100 excellent wineries and tasting rooms in Woodinville, Washington. So many wineries from east of the,Cascades, where the grapes grow, have dicided to "bring the mountain to Mohammed", so to speak, o,r as Willy Sutton supposedly said, go where the money is. Dusted Valley and Isenhower are just two Walla Walla wineries  that have recentlyset up shop in Woodinville.

So many great wines, so little time. Yesterday we took our friends, Alan & Judy, on a brief tour of some of our faves. Alas, we didn't get to Novelty Hill, Januik, Brian Carter or Adam's Bench to name a few, but we did manage to stop in at Hestia's new digs where Shannon et al were busily hammering away in their new winery. Shannon was kind enough to take some time out from construction to taste us on his two flagship wines. The 2008 Syrah was spectacular and full flavored. The2008 Cab more linear. Judy couldn't resist the Syrah.

Pondera just across the allet was open for business so we mosied over there. We first tasted Pondera wines at one of David Le Cl;aire's Discoveries and Debuts a few years ago and even then they really stood out. All the wine were good, but the 2008 Cuvee and 2008 Sericus really stood out for us The Cuvee so flavorful, so balancd, so appealing, for only twenty bucks and the Sericus, more serious, bigger, full flavored. To heck with school, to heck with Davis, the heck with Boing, these guys know what they are doing. And the artistry entends beyond winemaking, to painting. Judy couldn't resist a fabulous print of a wild horse for only twenty bucks.

South a few miles to DeLille's new tasting room. DeLille is one of those wineries that is not only totally reliable, but spectacular at the same time. After a little chat with Jay Soloff, we tasted through three of their Rhone style wines and three of their Bordeaux style wines.  Of the wines poured, our favorites this time around were the 2008 Harrison Hill and the 2010 Doyenne Rousanne. The 2008 Harrison Hill comes from one of the oldest vineyards in  Washington. The Cabernet Sauvignon was softened up and balanced out by 25% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot - supple, silky and pure. Yum! The 2008 Rousanne was mindblowingly magnificent. Probably the best Rousanne I 've ever had. Truly spectacular - a virtual mountain water fall flowing down my gullet with all the flavor of the stones in a Cascade stream -Wow!

So now the secret is out! Where else can you find so many great wineries concentrated in just a a few square miles? Well there is one other place - the South Park area just south of Seattle. There you can taste amazing wines from the likes of Cadence, Fall Line, Note Bene, Falling Rain, Smasne and others.

Don't want to spend a bundle on a wine vacation? Seattle wineries and tasting rooms are still the best kept secret treasure in the wine world.Save on airfare and spend on wine.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tales From My Father By Charlie

Oh, hell, so it's not about wine, it's about the economy, stupid! So I met Charlie in the hot tub. He's got arthritic aches and pains like so many retired people. Somehow it didn't take very long to get from physical pains to psychological, emotional, and fiscal pains.. Like most of us, his 401k is down 20%. It didn't take much to get us into a joint rant. Let's see, where to start? Neither one of us belongs to a party - not Democrat, Republican, Independent or Tea Party.  Charlie is angry! About Wall Street, about Washington, about political dysfunction, about the fact that low (no) interest rates devastate retirees, about Congress people who have fat health plans and retirements that we don't have, about waste, about deficit spending and the debt which in the long run lead to the downfall of empires, about the fact that, after retiring from a major drug company, he may have to go back to work, about the dilemma that spending cuts destroy jobs. What the hell happened? What happened to his father's prudence.

Complexity is too much for the human brain, even though consequences are multi-determined to borrow a phrase from Freud. Although there is no single cause, we tend to look for a simple explanation and a simple solution. So if we want to play the blame game, we could finger Greenspan, Barney Frank, greedy mortgage brokers, sub-prime mortgages, Fannie & Freddie, the big banks, CDOs and SIVs, greedy speculators, Washington and Wall Street. Anyway here we are in this mess "Round Two.". Governments bailed out the banks, will the banks bail out the governments?

So here we are, and Charlie is angry. Do you think he is the only one? Do you think the Tea Partiers are the only ones? What did his Dad have to say? Here are the laws of the father. Here are the ten commandments

  • Don't borrow
  • Don't get into debt
  • Never a lender nor a borrower be
  • Don't overspend
  • Pay off your debts every month
  • Work hard
  • Be innovative
  • Take care of yourself, your family, your community
  • Cut back
  • Get a job
There's the rub! How can you get a job when everybody is cutting back? Corporations have discovered that they can have the biggest profits ever by simply not hiring (and firing). Look at Bank of America, where Ken Lewis fired 35,000 of his most competent employees and bought disaster areas such as Countrywide and Merril Lynch retaining the least expensive  and most incompetent employees, only to take home one of those "$165 million bonuses" found only on Wall Street and in the executive suites of big banks. Most of us have been cutting back - Cash is King. And now the government is cutting back. We were on a spending spree encouraged by economists such as Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. Atlas shrugged and the world collapsed.  " I see a flaw" - you're kidding me!!!

Since WWII, thery've called it demand pull. A house for every American and three SUV's in every garage. Greenspan thought it was fine to take out a  second  "home equity loan" when Charlie's father was saying, if you must borrow to buy a house to live in, pay it off asap.  What happened to integrity, waht happened to civility, what happened to bipartisanship, what happened to our country, what happened to the world. Turn over any rock  and you find money. Turn over any financial transaction and you find greed. "Greed is good?" Up to a point! Aren't rapacious capitalism and extreme  socialism ( i.e., communism) two sides of the same coin?

Doe Charlie drink wine? I never asked him, but I wouldn't be surprised. In fact, I'll bet he he's drinking more and paying less just like in 2008-2009. Over 50 restaurants closed in Tucson in the fall of 2008. How many wineries will close this time around. Cheers!

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