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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jacob's Coat

So far Jacob's coat seems to have only one color - red. We met Jacob Toft at his day job in the tasting room at L'Aventure. As is so often the case, tasting room workers are fascinating to talk to. The tasting room provides a day job, a resting place, a second act in retirement. Jacob was extremely knowledgeable about L'Aventure and the Paso Robles scene and recommended the restaurant Artisan for dinner. There I sat at the bar and chatted with the couple next to me who were from the coastal village of Cambria. These guys obviously loved wine and had ordered a Treana Chardonnay. Like so many Northern Californians, they could talk about anything - wine , food, politics, business. They offered a taste of the Treana and I offered a taste of my flight of three reds. I chose the Red Rhone Flight because I spied 2004 Jacob Toft "Mary Jane's Cuvee" Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache. Ah, Jacob's hidden motive.

The Toft S/M/G was accompanied by 2004 Halter Ranch Syrah and Edward Sellers 2005 G/M/S "Vertigo". Wow! What a flight? The Halter Syrah was pure Syrah with a classic nose, good black fruit and an ever so slightly tangy finish - creamy texture and cherry vanilla flavors. The Sellers G/M/S had a toasty nose. It was big and fruity with somewhat harsh tannins in the finish. The Toft S/M/G was deep, huge and rich . Very much in the style of his mentor Stephan Asseo. This was a special wine from a talented winemaker. You can still get on his mailing list by going to Jacob's website: Oh, yes, I almost forgot, food was served on this amazing flight. The Artisans came up with a spectacular medley of scallops, served over asparagus risotto. Bravo!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rebel With A Cause!

Finally arriving at L'Aventure winery after the adventure of travelling a long dirt road into the deepest darkest calcareous hills west of Paso Robles, I knew I had hit pay dirt. Not only did I meet Tom Rice who's got the dirt on everybody in Paso, but I got to hear owner and winemaker Stephan Asseo talk dirt with Tom. Stephan has siliceous dirt and calcareous dirt at Stephan Vineyards. This hybridity really seemed to turn Tom on. Stephan who escaped France because of the rigidity of the French Appellation system, seemed really excited by the opportunities before him. France would not allow him to blend Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. France is steeped in tradition that inhibits innovation and experimentation. No beta versions for them. You better get it right the first time and stick to the rules.

Stephan's cause celebre is "where Bordeaux meets the Rhone". Bordeaux meets the Rhone in Paso Robles, the halfway point - halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, halfway between Seattle and Tucson, halfway between the Gironde and the Rhone. Stephan's passion is evident in his choice of terroir and in his winemaking skills. His wines are big, substantial and chewy without being jammy or fruitbombs. L'Aventure may well be the best winery in Paso Robles. The wines are definitely to my taste. No teeny weeny meager, thin, nasty, mean wines, these! Even the one white, a Roussanne/Viognier blend is big bodied, fruity and voluptuous. The reds are full of fruit, but structured with soft tannins and acid backbone. Mostly made to age, they are fabulous to drink right now. Stephan is clearly a star in the American firmament, but it hasn't gone to his head. He encourages all of his staff to make their own wines which brings us to Jacob Toft.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Salacious Dirt!

No, I'm not talking about Spitzer's whore. I meant Siliceous soil. I mean after three trips to Paso Robles, I'm just beginning to get the inside scoop on this blowout region. Yesterday, at L'Aventure, I met Stephan Asseo, Jacob Toft, and Tom Rice. More about Stephan and Jacob later. Tom and his partner Tracy G. Cervellone self-published "Paso Robles: An American Terroir." This is the ultimate insider's guide to Paso Robles wines and vines. Tom is not only a soil scientist, but a great writer. You can always ignore the siliceous side and go for the salacious, but you will learn an awful lot from this book. As Frenchman Stephan says, it is "no bullsheet." With no publisher and no editor to satisfy Tom was able to write what he wanted about whatever he wanted to write about - geology, soil science, history, people, wineries, terroir - kind of like a long blog on paper. Tom writes about many Paso wineries, but with so many new wineries cropping up, it's impossible to cover them all. I'm on about number 20 out of 180, 200, 250.... Get the real dirt from this insider gem by e-mailing Tom at: Tune in during the next few weeks for more of the real dirt on Paso Robles and Santa Barbara.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wine Notes

2005 St. Clair Reserve Merlot - Arizona is not the only state in the Southwest that produces wine. In fact, New Mexico's St. Clair Winery dates back to 1984. To me this is the ultimate chocolate wine. Not really big (only 13% alcohol), it nevertheless fills your mouth - kind of like chocolate mud pie with hint of raspberries and other black fruit. The mouthfeel seems to come from lots of soft tannin. The back label says lamb, cheese, roasts or venison. I say, Hersey's Milk Chocolate.

2005 Callaghan "Junior" - This brick red Merlot/Cab/Syrah combo is fairly transparent, but it has a nice nose of cigar box. Tastes of raspberry hard candy and fruit, but has a somewhat hard finish.

2004 Adelaida "Version" - This version of a Rhone beauty - Mourvedre, Syrah, Grenache, Counoise, Cinsualt - has lost a lot of weight since I tasted it at the winery, but that really hasn't improved its figure. It was full and curvaceous at the winery, but it may have become anorexic. Now it is easy, but too light and slim for my taste.

2004 Baer "Ursa" - While no bear of a wine, this beautiful Bordeaux Style Blend with a fairly light ruby color has a classic bouquet of blackcurrant and cedar. Raspberries, vanilla and coffee flavors make you want to drink more.

1998 L'Ecole No 41 Columbia Valley Merlot - Another ten year survivor, mellow and tasty in an old sort of way. Good fruit, balanced, mellow, but a little wrinkled and dusty.

2005 Opolo Mountain Zinfandel - Excellent big, full-bodied Zin from Paso Robles at 16.1% alcohol. Somehow I always unfairly compare every Zin the Grandpere vineyard in the Sierra foothills. This one was not bad!

2005 Ken Wright "Canary Hill" Pinot Noir - Good fruit, but too bright for me. A little too much acid in the finish for my taste.

2004 Turley Hayne Zinfandel - Big and complex, but not as great as its reputation. If this wine had not been made by a wine Goddess, expectations would not be so high, and you would love it.

2004 DeLille "Grand Ciel" Cabernet Sauvignon - Very European! Lots of fruit and lots of tannin. This Red Mountain biggie is DeLille's bid for a new Washington State "cult" wine. Reminiscent of the famous Bordeaux, Chateau Latour in a very good, but not great year. It has the size, depth and character of Latour and only the slightly hard tannins stop it from greatness at the moment. The real question is how will it age?

1996 Chateau Guiraud - Sauternes from this famous Chateau should be fabulous, but in fact it is prematurely bronzed in color and oxidized in taste. Tastes like a not so great 30 year old that has seen better days. Costco's buyer blew it on this one, even with the relatively inexpensive price for "great" Sauternes of only thirty buck

1988 Chateau Rieussec - Now this is what it's all about. A classic example of what aged great Sauternes should be - not too sweet, with beautiful floral notes.

1988 Chateau de Rayne Vigneau - Lighter than its two more famous cousins, this twenty year old is exquisitely elegant and refined. Had the famous Czeck writer Milan Kundera tasted this, he might have written "The Incredible Lightness of Being." Ineffable, paradisical!

Friday, May 09, 2008


Today I will use my four words of Russian. Nostrovia! Cheers! Many cities in the U.S. now have shops where you can buy Russian food and wine. Seattle and San Francisco have several, even Tucson has a "European" market where you can get Russian goods. My favorite is the shop on Irving and, is it 15th, in the Sunset in San Francisco. This shop has an entire wall of Russian charcuterie, a freezer full of Pelmeny and Pirogi, a freezer tray full of smoked fish, shelves of canned goods from Latvia, Bulgaria and other places. The fourth wall is a deli counter with pickles, stuffed cabbage, pickled tongue, anything your heart desires. Behind the register is a wall of wine and liquor mostly Vodka. In my naive American way, I asked the owner for potato Vodka. Immediately everyone in line was telling me in a friendly way that I was crazy and that I should get "Standard" Vodka - very good, very smooth, the best, but made from wheat. This vodka has 60% market share in Russia and is sold in many countries around the world. BTW, the company that sells Standard also sells life insurance, so if you drink yourself to death you are covered. Standard is the best Vodka I've had. With Stoli, Grey Goose, Absolute, or Ketal One, you are paying for a massive marketing campaign. Standard is way better and Bevmo even had a two for one sale, thus, $10 a bottle ( regular price - $20). Standard, dah, Stoli, nyet! This goes great with smoked fish and salmon roe caviar.

I brought some smoked sausage with me from San Francisco and bought some Kishka at the "European" store at 4500 Speedway in Tucson. I, also, bought my first bottle of Russian wine from Georgia - 2001 Mukuzani made from the Saperavi grape. Georgia has been producing wine for thousands of years ,although recently there have been some questionable practices. Some Georgian have reached record old age, maybe there is something special in the wine. It has been said that it was Stalin's favorite wine, though I doubt he could possibly have killed as many bottles of it as he killed people. The wine is a kind of purplish claret color with spicy fruit, mushrooms and a hint of cedar in the nose. It is soft, round, light to medium bodied, with big soft fruit, a hint of mocha and a slightly tangy finish. It went great with the Kishka and salami. Very good wine. Dasvedania!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Northwest Treasure From The Sea

You think Northwest wines are special, wait 'til you taste Northwest oysters. The Toveys passed along a piece on the East Coast Shellfish Grower's Association's First Annual Invitational Oyster Challenge. Totten Bay oysters from Charles Taylor won. After downing dozens of these beauties at Taste Washington, I could have told you so. I told the gentleman who sat next to us at Taste, the restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum, how great they were. My friend Hermine and I noticed that this casually dressed guy was getting the royal treatment from my old friend Shannon, the new wine manager at Taste, so we struck up a conversation. It turns out that Taste has to keep him happy since he supplies all their oysters from the Taylor Oyster Company. Totten Oysters are Quilcenes raised in Totten Bay. Tottens and Quicenes are my faves, with the exception, of course, of Kumomotos and little teeny weeny Olympias. IMO, Washington state has the best oysters around. Even better than Belons from France.

What to drink with oysters? Dry, crisp whites! Classically, Sauvignon and Semillon based French whites such as Muscadet, Entre-Deux Mers, Bordeaux Blanc and Graves. Check out Albarino from Rias Xais in the northern Spanish province of Galatia. I particularly like Laxas Albarino.

Taylor Shellfish Farms holds an annual Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition to find west coast wines that match well with Oysters. The 2008 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition " Oyster Award" Winners were:

2006 Amity Pinot Blanc

2006 Ch. Ste. Michelle Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Clayhouse Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Clos Du Bois Sauvignon Blan

2006 Covey Run Fume Blanc

2006 Dry Creek Fume Blanc

2006 Girard Sauvignon Blanc

2007 Kathryn Kennedy Sauvignon Blanc

2006 Robledo Suavignon Blanc

2006 Simi Sauvignon Blanc

2007 Van Duzer Pinot Gris

2007 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris

A dozen winners for a dozen oysters. In the 2007 competition, 2005 Brassfield Sauvignon Blanc and 2005 King Estate Pinot Gris were, also, among the winners. I might add that "Luna" Pinot Gris and Santa Margherita Pinot Gris are also good "oyster wines", but the Santa Margherita is outrageously overpriced in the $20 plus range. Less expensive dry Italian whites such as Vernaccia di San Gimignano and Orvieto are also excellent oyster wines. Soave works, too. This is one of those rare instances where European wines are less expensive and better tasting than American wines.

What makes an oyster wine. Here are some comments from the wine judges:

White, white, white.
Dry as a bone, clean as a whistle.
Crisp, clean.

This reminds me. Another great source of oyster wines - New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc such as Whitehaven.

Good backbone of acid.
Avoid big, buttery, oaky Chardonnay.
Same temperature as the oyster.
Airy freshness.
Lean, austere.
Let's the oyster be an oyster.
Crisp, flinty.
Doesn't get in the way of the next oyster.

These descriptions reminded me of a whole other group of French wines - Chablis. Avoid the really expensive Grand Crus. For oysters, stick with Petite Chablis, Chablis or Premier Cru. The cheaper the better because it will be drier, crisper, and tart. If you are going to drink Chardonnay with oysters these tart, dry versions of Chablis are perfect.

Brisk and clean.
Not too fancy, no complications.
I like it cold.
Get away from vanilla and butter.
Don't like any residual sugar.
Light, fresh.
Citric or mineral undercurrent.
Clean , slicing finish.
Acid and chalk.
Dry, steely, chilled to a crisp.
Crisp, delicate but firm.
Sharp, fierce acidity.

Another Eurowine comes to mind - Moschofilero from Greece.

Searingly dry.
Makes you want to eat more oysters.
Dry, crisp, clean finishing.

Wow, my tongue and throat are seared, pickled, and cold. Perfect prep for the next oyster. You understand, of course, that we are talking here about raw oysters - the perfect aphrodisiac. No Oysters Rockefeller here. Oysters are an acquired taste. It is an easy acquisition, if they are freshly opened and not "milky." The rule of "R" months is generally a pretty good guide but not always accurate for all micro-climates. The next "R" month will be September. That's a long time to wait. Ask your waiter about "milkiness." If you gather oysters yourself during the Washington summer, beware of Red Tide - call the hotline.

Champagne also works with oysters, although it is a shame to waste good oysters on Champagne and good Champagne on oysters. In any event, make sure the Champagne is very dry and very cold. If you are one of those weirdos who don't like wine, raw oysters are great with ice cold Vodka or Gin and totally dry Martinis. Very light, very cold beer, such as Corona, works, too. Cheers! Thanks Bob, Kathy and Robin for passing this on to me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wine Notes

2006 Fetzer Chardonnay - Fairly light, dry, easy with a slightly citrus finish. Fetzer has been making reliable wines for decades. Great for summer drinking or with fish and seafood at a reasonable price (about $6 at supermarkets)

2006 Panilonco Reserve Merlot/Malbec - My friend Tom brought me this Four Buck Chuck from Chile! Great fruit flavors in a light style. Perfect picnic wine (about $4 at Trade.

2006 Panilonico Reserve 2006 - Carmenere for Four Bucks? Yep! Another Trader Joe's find. Carmenere has become the hallmark wine of Chile. Here is another light styled fruity picnic wine. Lighter than the Merlot/ Malbec.

2006 Alexander & Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon - A different Tom gave me this Alexander Valley Cab. It is the genuine article. A full-blooded North Coast California Cab with loads of upfront fruit, medium body and good balance. An amazing value for around $7 at Trader Joe's.

2005 Escudo Rojo - This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc was made by Baron Phillipe De Rothschild in Maipo, Chile. This medium bodied beauty, totally HWP with great fruit, is another great value at about $10 at Costco.

2004 - Candado De Haza - This Tempranillo made by Alejandro Fernandez Pesquera de Duero is very serious wine full of gravidad. Made to age! I clearly committed infanticide here. This Ribera Del Duero red has a big, rich purplish color followed by lots of raspberry, cassis and truffle flavors, but it is definitely not jammy or in-your-face. Subdued like a great Bordeaux or a Spanish aristocrat, but not overwhelmed by the obvious tannins. This is truly one for cellar. It would be fun to see what this is like in ten years. I predict it will be at it's peak in 2024, but it is quite drinkable right know with steak, roasts and stew. Another phenomenal bargain at $15 from Costco.

2001 Chateau D'Escurac - This purplish red Medoc wine from Bordeaux is medium bodied with black fruit and some tannin and acid. A bit austere, it has good fruit and is reasonably priced for Bordeaux at about $15. Definitely a food wine.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Three Degrees of Separation?

Is this Facebook or LinkedIn or what? Or is it just the real thing? Bethia pinged Jennie who poked Mark who befriended Gene and they are all on Diane's friends list. I met Mark when I was selling Washingon State wines in the Bay Area, that is, when I was bringing coals to Newcastle. At that time, Mark Wysling was the winemaker at Yakima Cellars and he made some amazing wines - a Late Harvest Viognier and Red Willow Sangiovese. The Viognier was gorgeous and tasted like a fine Sauternes. The 2002 Red Willow Sangiovese was the most elegant, refined, American Sangio I've tasted, better than most of the Super Tuscans I've tasted. Subsequently Mark went to work at Kana Winery. Now Mark is starting his own winery called Parejas, Spanish for partners. Parejas was just recently bonded and is now one of the newest wineries in the state.

On Friday, the four of us set off on the back roads of Arizona toward the mile high wine country near Elgin. We drove up and back past a fairly obvious winery sign trying to find Sonoita Vineyards. Maybe we were yakking too much. Founded by pioneer, Gordon Dutt. Sonoita produced some award winning wines back in the 1980s that were even served at the White House and made wine "Enthusiasts" happy. Now the emphasis is on the money makers - wines for the "Overwhelmed" - pleasant, easy wines to sip on the patio with a fair amount of sugar, say, at least 1.5% - among others the French Columbard, Angel's Wings and Arizona Sunset. Several of the so-called premium wines had off tastes and odors which Mark immediately diagnosed as Brett and VA, or volatile acidity. In, fact, many of the wines we tasted that day had similar problems. This is unusal these days as the fix is a simple matter of sanitation. We decided to skip Arizona Winery and the Village of Elgin as their wines are very similar in style.

Our next stop was at the new Kief Joshua winery which actually looks almost like a Napa Valley winery, certainly no mom and pop operation, although Kief Mannings parents are heavily involved in the winery. It was a pleasure to talk wine with young Kief who trained in Australia.
His wines were well made, but from sourced grapes as his vines are still too young to make wine. In fact, we only found one winery that made estate grown wine. We liked Kief's Cabernet Franc best and had it with our picnic of cold lamb, hummus, tortillas, olives, etc., It was great with the lamb. BTW, Mark's 2001 RWV Reserve Sangio was great with the lamb the night before. This Sangio tasted like a really good Chianti with lots of fruit and the hallmark tangy finish of a Chianti. After lunch we had fun "playing" with Kief's 140lb. Bloodhound named Dizzy Gillespie. This is a winery to watch! Ranho Rosso wines were made exclusively from their estate grown grapes and exhibited very good undrlying fruit, but, again, we detected problems with Brett and VA. Finally in the town of Sonoita we checked out Dos Cabezas winery. The only wine we really liked at Dos Cabezas was the 2005 "La Montana" Petit Sirah/Merlot which they were closing out. Again, we found a few problems. We were looking forward to to visiting with Kent Callaghan as the highlight of he trip, but alas, he was in Paso Robles and the winery was closed. Kent makes world class wines fom estate grown grapes, so we know it can be done.

My old friend from the pioneering days of the Northwest wine industry, Dick Erath, has moved to Arizona to escape the dreay clouds of the Northwest and since selling his winery to Ste. Michelle started planting vineyards to the east, near Willcox, Arizona. It seems a number of Arizona's two dozen odd wineries, could use some consultation from Dick

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Six Kinds Of Wine Drinkers

Which kind of wine drinker are you? Or are you a hybrid? Tina Caputo recently wrote a piece in Wines & Vines about a study by Constellation Wines suggesting that there are six kinds of wine drinkers. It seems they discovered that 23% of wine drinkers are overwhelmed by wine. Duh, I could have told them that! Almost all of my neighbors and many of my students in wine classes are overwhelmed by the choices at the supermarket, by wine terminology, by wine names, by foreign wine names, by a lack of information and by the absence of someone to help them. Most people know when they like a wine but they don't have the language to describe it, so they are afraid they won't be able to communicate and will look and feel foolish. That's why I once called the wine blogger community solipsistic since we sometimes seem to write only for our own wine enthusiastic selves, forgetting that most people are overwhelmed, intimidated and mystified by wine. That's why I try to cover the whole range of wine from Two Buck Chuck to Chateau Petrus, from Safeway to the most sophisticated wine shops.

The study identified six kinds of drinkers:

1) Overwhelmed - 23% of consumers are overwhelmed by the sheer number of wines on the shelf. Needing advice, there often isn't any. This consumer tends to buy wine in a supermarket and is too intimidated to go into a wine shop where they are afraid they will have to pay too much and look foolish, even though they actually might get some good advice. Just tell the salesperson how much you want to spend, whether you like red or white, sweet or dry and what you are buying the wine for.

2) Satisfied Sippers - 14% of consumers don't know that much about wine, but they know what they like and typically buy the same brand. These are happy drinkers who buy large quantities of their favorite brand and drink wine every day.

3) Traditionalists - 16% of consumers enjoy wine from established wineries. They feel that wine makes an occasion more formal. They like to entertain at home. They, too, stick to the same brands.

4) Savvy Shoppers - 15% of consumers love to shop for the best buys. They look for the best deals, and love specials and discounts. Value is paramount for these wine drinkers. These consumers want a $7 bottle and a $5 glass pour.

5) Image Seekers -20% of consumers view wine as a status symbol. Like to be the first to try a new wine. Image seekers who have the millions have it easy since all they have to do is subscribe to Robert Parker and the Wine Spectator and buy only "100 point" wines. Wine by the numbers, buzz, exclusive mailing lists, "cult" wines. At any level this is really a game of logos, labels, status and prestige. Millennials and males tend to occupy this space. Designer jeans, designer wines!

6) Enthusiasts - 12% of consumers consider themselves knowledgeable about wine. These are the wine geeks. They tend to live in cosmopolitan centers and affluent suburbs, love to entertain at home, read wine publications and are also influenced by wine ratings.

So what's the deal? In my experience, Enthusiasts and Image Seekers are fine with wine. They shop online, in wine shops, order direct from the winery, belong to wine clubs and mailing lists and by and large are not mystified or intimidated by wine. For the most part, Traditionalists and Satisfied Sippers are happy campers. Savvy Shoppers love the chase. The rest of us are Overwhelmed. As Jose Fernandez, CEO of Constellation, says, "The fact that most who work in the wine industry are Enthusiasts may account for the industry's failure to understand Overwhelmed consumers."

So what is the solution? Is there a "wine culture" in the U.S.? Something definitely shifted in the 1980s. All of a sudden, you could get "Aribica " coffee, French cheese, Croissants and other European delights in many places across the U.S. There was a paradigm shift. Calvinism was out, and hedonism was in. The American wine industry took off, and much more international wine became available in the U.S. Wine drinking was no longer effete, decadent and sinful. More recently, wine has become an accepted part of our daily routine. The fourth wave of wine naming arrived (by place, by grape, "Meritage" by marketers, "fun" and "cool" by winemakers). Finally wine is becoming fun and enjoyable instead of intimidating and mysterious. Not only are there six kinds of wine drinkers ( how many kinds of teetotalers are there?), people of every age are drinking wine. The young are totally into wine because, OMG, it is totally awesome. Yet, so many still feel totally overwhelmed. The answer? Quick and easy wine education. You don't have to have tasted wine from the 600 wineries in Washington , 6000 wineries in California or the 600,000 wines around the world to know what you like and enjoy wine. I teach people enough in a two hour wine class so that they are confident, can describe what they like and are freed from the "I don't know anything about wine" syndrome. Instead of expecting themselves to learn some official cant about wine, "cassis" and all that, they come up with really fresh ways of describing their experience of wine - "dirt", "flowers", "mellow, but not shallow." Instead of a formalistic, ritualistic recital of what you should taste, think of wine as a person and describe that person's physique, personality, etc. Instead of all that romanticized marketing hype on the back label, how about some straightforward facts about 1) when to drink it, 2) how sweet it is on a scale from 1-10, and 3) what to eat with it.

What kind of drinker am I? I am a total hybrid. I find the supermarket shelf overwhelming, overwhelmingly bad for the most part, although, fortunately for me, I can usually find the gems among the faux. I can be satisfied with a few old standbys and I frequently feel that a meal is enhanced and more formal with a serious wine on the table. Like most of us, I love a bargain and a sale, and love to sniff around all kinds of sources of vino. Once in a while I get carried away by prestige and status and like to show off, and, as you all know, I am a totally enthusiastic wine geek.

What kind of drinker are you?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Woodinville Bests

For whatever reason this year the wines just didn't seem quite as exciting as last year with a few exceptions, of course. More and more Woodinville wineries were pouring barrel samples. The barrel samples were exciting! It seemed like half the pours at Washington Wine Company, for example, were barrel samples. The gang of three - Chris Gorman, Mark Ryan, and Chris Sparkman - started a trend in wine naming and many wannabes in the hood are trying to make up cool names, too. This year, I particularly liked Mark Ryan's 2006 The Dissident and Chris Sparkman's 2006 Wilderness Red blend which reminded me of blueberries.

Best Wine Names - The Dissident, Reckoning, Recession Red, Forbidden Red

Best Wine - Darby La Deuce

Best Winemaker - Erica Blue

Best New Winemaker - Michael LeMieux

Best Value - Alexandria Nicole Quarry Butte

Best New Winery - XSV

Best Winery - Adam's Bench

Best Puget Sound Chardonnay - Hollywood Hills

Best Sweet White - Northwest Totem

Best Chardonnay - Volterra

Best White Blend - Oriana

Best Rhone Style White Blend - Darby

Best Red Blend - Pomum

Best Cab - Januik

Best Syrah - XSV
More blogs about seattle wine blog.