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, April 27, 2009

Woodinville Passport

This year we did Passport in a day. To do this, we had to skip some good ol'boys, some old new wineries and lots of good friends. Brian Carter was mobbed as were Red Sky and Edmonds. DeLille, Betz and Gorman were closed. We tasted Sparkman and Efeste at Taste Washington Phoenix. We tasted Ponum and Pondera at Taste Washington Seattle. So we sandwiched everything else between two truly outstanding new wineries. We started early at Adam's Bench and finished late at Hestia. In between we checked out wineries with great wines, great wine names, and great marketing.

We also got greater clarity about some complicated relationships among winery names and product lines. Smasne, for example, also produces Alma Terra, Gard and Farmer Boy wines. Alexandria Nicole has a second line called Altered States Of Wine. Their unoaked Girl Next Door Chardonnay was quite good. The John Pattersons, father and son, seem to be shifting their winery name from Washington Wine Company to Patterson Cellars. They had cool music ( lots of people dancing), cool names like Big F'n Syrah and Recession Red. The Syrah was F'n Amazing and so is the price. In addition to Recession Red they are offering a "stimulus package". They have yet to offer "Crash", "Crisis", "Flaw", "Bailout", "Bonus", "Made-Off", "Greenspan Grenache", "Geithner's Unpaid Tax ", or "Bernacke Bordeaux Blend", but they are off to a good start.

Guardian Cellars offered their 2006 Syrah with pleasing soft cherry flavors. Darby English offered Chaos and Purple Haze. I was particularly fond of the Purple Haze. I sorely missed the Deuce Viognier/ Chard which will be released in a couple of months. Steve Snyder is having trouble with his plantings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but made fine light, tart, Roussanne from Horse Heaven Hills grapes. XSV wines were better this year. The 2003 Chardonnay seemed overoaked, but very French. the '03 Syrah from Horse Heaven Hills was unusually spicy and interesting. the '03 Cab was balanced, soft with good fruit.

The only new winery for me was Barrage a cross between barn and garage. Kevin Correll started making wine in a garage, thus earning his "Diplome Garagiste." He also has a certificate from U.C. Davis. In keeping with the style set by the gang in the hood, Kevin has a barrage of quirky, explosive names such as Nuclear Blonde, Trifecta, Secret Weapon and Alias. The wines are excellent with lots of character. Kevin figures with so many excellent winemakers around, he needs to do something a little bit different.

Adam's Bench, last year's next new thing, is still going strong thanks to the winemaking skills of owners Tim and Erica Blue. You had better get on their list before they are discovered. It is no myth that the 2007 Myth is an excellent wine. The barrel sample of this 50/50 Cab Franc & Merlot that we tasted was loaded with fruit, but had a slightly hot finish that should go away with bottling and a little age. I preferred the 2007 Reckoning, a blend of 48% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, in other words, a Bordeaux style blend. Beautiful black berry fruit. The 2006, being a year older is rounder and softer. Love them both! The 2006 Reserve Cab, aka, "The V", is another beautifully balanced Bordeaux style blend predominantly Cab Sauv(75%) with 23% Merlot and 2% Cab Franc blended in, more in the style of a left bank Paulliac. There also are a 2007 100% Red Willow Cab and an '07 "V" still in barrel. The '07 "V" has an incredible pedigree with fruit from Stillwater Vineyard and Discovery Vineyard. Discovery provides fruit to some of the best wineries in the state - Quilceda Creek and Andrew Will. Did you miss the Leonetti and Quilceda mailing lists? Here's an opportunity to get great wine at reasonable prices. You would pay twice as much for comparable Napa wine and moreyhan three times as much for Bordeaux.

We closed our session with an after hours visit to Hestia Cellars. Hestia is the Greek Goddess of home and hearth, but, trust me, there is nothing homely about winemaker Shannon Jones's wines. Shannon has acheived that magical trick of creating a wine both smooth and seemless, but big and full. Most of his wines are marked by deep purple colors followed by big rich fruit. Perhaps the winery should have been named after Hermes, the trickster, rather than placid Hestia. In any event this is definitely a "go to" winery, My faves are the Cab and the Syrah which would have getten scores of 91 and 93, if I were into scores

The boys and girls in the hood are doing a fine job. The whole hood is just F'n amazing. And so close to Seattle. Just think, you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by just driving a few miles to Woodinville, instead of the Napa Valley. Then you can use your savings to buy wine instead :)


  • At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Gregory Copploe said…

    Wineries Have Partnered up with Local Artists to Bring you an Evening of Wine Tasting and Art Viewing

    (SEATTLE) June 11, 2009 – Alicia Hansen announced Wednesday that Woodinville will host an evening of art and wine tasting on July 16, 2009 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. “Wine and art go hand in hand, and we are excited to support our local wineries and local artists and host what will be a yearly event in Woodinville”. It’s such a mellifluous mix, art and wine, and we expect a huge turnout”.
    This year we have several wineries participating in this event, and we are proud that they will be giving back to the community by hosting a local artist in their winery. The participating wineries are: Des Voigne Cellars, Alexandria Nicole, Anton Ville, Chatter Creek, Covington Cellars, Cowan Vineyards, Edmonds Winery, Gordon Brothers, Page Cellars, Patterson Cellars, Red Sky Winery and William Church Winery. “William Church Winery is proud to host an artist this year. This exposure is great for both the artist and the winery, so it’s a win win for all”, touted Leslie Balsley owner of William Church Winery.
    Two featured artists, Gretchen Michaels and Gregory Copploe are part of this year’s festivities. Ms. Michaels has partnered up with Red Sky Winery and Mr. Copploe has partnered up with William Church Winery. Gretchen Michaels’ actual paintings are done in "reverse" as she paints on the back side of an acrylic panel. Unlike painting on canvas where the first painted layers get covered with each additional layer of paint, you see her first layers, then less of each additional layer. When the artwork is mounted using her custom built frames, you are looking at the paint through the acrylic panel. Many layers of paint create the final effect. Gregory Copploe’s unique oil style has been compared to Amedeo Modigliani, as he captures the delicate and passionate soul of the woman, her nose elongated, her lips pouting, and her eyes soulful and wanting. His style evolved from painting faces in the clouds, to creating thick oils in spatula, and eventually painting portraits of classical women in a Modiglianic style. Greg and Gretchen both believe that “showing your art in this setting where wine and art are paired together is a winning and sensual combination”.
    Come and taste at twelve of the wineries in the Woodinville Warehouse District for only $20 (cash only). Each winery will feature two wines along with art from a local host artist. Tickets can be purchased at the Woodinville Park North ticket tent (located at 19501 144th Avenue NE just across from Building A at the entrance to the park), Chatter Creek (18658 142nd Ave. NE and Covington Cellars (18580 142nd Ave. NE
    For more info go to


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