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

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Go Down Moses - Dry Falls Winery

We last left Moses on Mount Sinai posing for an Andy Warhol print. Thanks to modern technology, Moses recently arrived at his namesake right smack in the middle of Washington state, Moses Lake. Moses went down to the lake, and saw that it was good, but then he thought,"No Wine!" And so he said, "Let there be wine!" And, yea, verily, before our very eyes there appeared a winery. And Moses chose a family to shepherd the vines and make the wine and verily there were three generations. And the DeHart family was filled with love and joy and they named their winery after Moses' little known, but greatest feat (even greater than the parting of the Red Sea): stopping the Missoula Flood and creating Dry Falls. And they named the winery Dry Falls Winery. And Gene, another wanderer in the desert, happened upon the De Hart encampment, and in the true spirit of desert hospitality was offered something to drink, and surely it was a deep rich red wine that cried out for lamb. And so Gene sacrificed a lamb and it was great with the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills.

Right now, mostly whites are available, but there are two Tempranillo reds with many more reds to come. My one sample of the De Hart art - the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Heaven Hills was an"amateur" wine sample with no label, made, I believe, before the winery was bonded. Big, at 14.5% alcohol, it presents with lots of black fruit flavors followed by the tang of acid at the end. Not as velvety as the 2004 Anglim Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, nor as elegant as the 2004 Fall Line Horse Heaven Hills Red, it tastes like a wine from the Southwest of France which is exactly what the winemaker says he was shooting for. Why he is trying to make wine in that style when, French winemakers are trying to make fruitier wines more agreeable to the global palate is not clear, but then winemakers are an eccentric bunch and frequently see other vineyards as greener. Among the whites available are a Semillon, White Riesling, "Old Vine Traditional" Chardonnay, Chardonnay " Old Vines Late Harvest", and "Old Vines Sweet" Chardonnay.

I predict that very soon other families will encamp near Moses Lake and that soon there will be a new "Go Down", "Dry Falls" or "Moses Lake" AVA. One of Washington's newest wineries, Dry Falls is definitely a winery to watch. BTW, would I ever write such a post about the Prophet Mohammed? Never!

Rush To The Crush pARTy in Tucson

Don't get crushed by the rush to the Tucson Crush Wine Festival, Friday, April 4th to Saturday, April 5th, at 6:00 p.m. both nights. This will be the first annual Wine Auction to raise funds for the Tucson Art Museum and the largest outdoor wine festival in Arizona. The venue is an amazing outdoor plaza and the temperatures promise to be in the 70s and 80s, perhaps cooling down to the 60s. Tired of the cold, wet, dark of the North? Fly to Tucson for sun , wine, art, and a great break. If you are from Seattle (auction capital of the world), for instance, you could pay for your airfare with the difference between a Poncho Auction ticket at $600 and a Crush Classic Fine Art And Rare Wine Auction Dinner at the bargain price of $200. People have already flown in from all over the country and around the world for the first of the special Pre-Crush Seminars: The Importance of Shape by Maximillian Riedel. For only $150 per person, you got a great experience plus a set of Riedel Vitis wine glasses.

Don't miss the pARTy! Friday's pARTy will include a silent auction - original art by regional artists, wine, art classes, restaurant gift certificates, jewelry, and many other items. The whole spectrum of auction items and prices will be represented, so that any of us peasants can find something affordable. The price is $60 in advance or $75 at the door. The Crush Classic will be a full blown gala dinner - black tie optional. With black tie optional, I'm not sure whether you could wear your Paul Bond custom-made "Las Vegas" alligator cowboy boots, but at $5000 a throw, you could probably get away with it. More likely, you would be the life of the party! Maybe next year, I'll get me some boots made with wine glasses on the sides. Then I'll be able to join Garrison Keillor's cowboy sidekicks Rusty and Dusty for a gourmet dinner. The Classic will feature a wine paired gourmet dinner, "quick-draw" plein-air paintings, rare wine and cigar bar, and, of course, a live auction of fine art and rare wine including Bordeaux, followed by music and dancing. All this, ladies and gentlemen, for only $200.

The Museum is in historic downtown Tucson close to major hotels at 140 N. Main Avenue. Check out the website at: www. Call 520-624- 2333, ext.111 for tickets. Sounds like it's going to be a gem of a show!

Friday, March 21, 2008

U.C, Davis Wrings Last Chemical From The Grape

U.C. Davis must have wrung the last chemical from the grape, because it seem to be looking for virgin territory. According to Laura Kastenbaum, AP writer, Davis is opening an olive oil center right next to the Enology and Viticulture building. My olive oil center is the Olive Pit in Corning, California. It is one of my favorite stops on the trip from Seattle to San Francisco. The Olive Pit is a fun place almost like a Disney theme park for foodies. There are dozens and dozens of varieties of olives - some for munching, some for Martinis, some from exotic places like Morocco. The dried cured black olives from Morocco are an all time bargain. There are other goodies such as nuts and dried fruit, pickled veggies such as Okra and Green Beans and an olive oil tasting bar. Ah, there's the rub. Not enough California olive oil, says Davis. They want to foster increased production of olive oil in California. More power to them, but let's hope that they don't encourage the production of an oily liquid , so chemically manipulated, that it is only suitable for bio-diesel.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Heavenly Wine From 2004 Fall Line Horse Heaven Hills

OMG, Tim, what a heavenly wine you have wrought in the 2004 Horse Heaven Hills Red at your Fall Line winery. These Destiny Ridge grapes were destined for greatness in your hands. Full of grace, balance and exquisite flavor. This is the most delicious wine I have had in years - Human Heaven Hills. We tasted it in a class I taught on Washington State wines. We tasted fourteen wines including 2004 Fall Line Horse Heaven Hills, 2004 Fall Line Red Mountain, 2004 Cadence Ciel Du Cheval, 2004 Cadence Klipsun. 2004 Cadence Tapteil and 2002 Pepper Bridge Walla Walla Merlot all of which were excellent. Awesome wine! If you have any left save a bottle for me. It seems to be at it's peak right now. Thanks, Gene

Monday, March 17, 2008

Will Tibetan Wine Free Tibet?

Over half the countries in the world produce wine. A while back I wrote about Thai wine. Tonight I had some Pinot Grigio from Roumania with my Corned Beef and Cabbage. Wine is ubiquitous, but what's it got to do with freedom. Well, first there is the freedom to drink wine, then there is the freeing of the tongue and mind that can come with drinking wine, finally, horror of horrors, wine can be enslaving for some people. Anyway, it's a good excuse to write about an old passion of mine - Tibet.

Tibetans have been drinking Chang or Qiang for many years. Made from barley, it is a central part of Tibetan culture to say nothing of providing central heating for the body in a, ahem, cold climate. Barley wine is a major beverage made from barley grown on the highlands. Barley wine is light yellow, mild and sweet and sour. It is low in alcohol and varies in taste depending on the brewing method and duration of fermentation. Sounds more like beer to me or mead. Look what Mead did for Beowulf.

Barley wine is an integral part of Tibetan culture and thus a potential antidote to " cultural genocide." Barley wine is a common gift and a requirement at any Tibetan Wedding. Barley wine is used to welcome guests and symbolizes connection to sky, earth and Buddha. Based in Lhasa, Tibet ZangYuan Brewing Company was founded in 2000 and produces a variety of barley wines ( ).

Someone on the net described the current protests as the Tibetan Intifada. In fact, Tibetans have become the new Jews of Asia (The Jew in the Lotus - Rodger Kamenetz). Let us hope they will not have to wait two thousand years to regain their homeland. I once heard the Dalai Lama speak at a health conference. When he came to the Tibetan word for compassion he consulted his interpreter and chose the term "good - heart." The Tibetans surely could use some good heartedness right now. Will wine free Tibet? Wine freed the Persian poet and mystic Rumi. Perhaps it will help free Tibet. Oh, BTW, Happy Saint Patrick's Day. Green wine, anyone?
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