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Showing posts from December, 2006

Suggested Sparklers for the New Year

What could be better than enjoying some sparkling wine while celebrating the new year? While Washington is known for red and white still wines, it is not known for sparkling wine. Bookwalter Winery once had a blush sparkling wine, about 16 years ago. But they discontinued it due to production costs. That last case of Bookwalter lasted about a year, even with good intentions of holding onto it longer. While I am not an expert on Champagne, I still have some recommendations. Because I drink what I like.

Washington: Chateau St. Michelle does produce a fine list of sparklers. My personal favorite is their NV Blanc de Noirs. This is a pink wine with small bubbles and a delicate taste. I suggest you pick from their list of seven sparklers, extra dry, brut, frizzante, etc. and find out which one you prefer. A terrific bargain, especially when priced on sale for about $10 and sometimes less.

Oregon: The first choice for Oregon has to be sparkling wine from Argyle Winery. They have five diff…

BG 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Going...

Time to score some Barnard Griffin 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon - tulip lable.

My sources tell me that this wine is getting scarce. A delicious Cabernet, the 2004 Cab Sav is dry, smooth and supple - wonderful cherry and vanilla flavors - not "sweet" as some Cabs in this price range, about $17. Wine Spectator magazine rated this wine at 89 points and the Wall Street Journal recommended it earlier this year - I think it has improved since those reviews. It is not as highly awarded as the 2004 Reserve Cabernet, about $30 - but then it does not cost as much either. Good tannins, so I think this has some potential to hold for a few years.

This is another wine on my "drink me now!" list.

Cheers!

Update: This wine won Gold Medal January 2007 at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The tasting room still has some 10 February 2007.

Grenache in Washington

Grenache is supposed to be the most widely planted red grape on the planet.

Grenache, Garnacha Tinta, is the most widely planted varietal in Spain and many countries use it to make some fabulous wines (you may be familiar with Chateauneuf-du-pape in France). So it may be no suprise, to some of you, that it is finally making an appearance in Washington. A lucky few enjoyed a 2004 Grenache from Rob Griffin this Fall. Released in October to his Wine Club, the wine sold out by November - not so much was produced. I heard that this was the first harvest from some young vines - so more Grenache may be on the way for 2007. I hope.

How was the wine? Very, very good. You can think of this wine as classic Grenache - raspberry on the palette, gentle spicy finish and very tasty. At release the wine was light and lovely, (perfect for Thanksgiving) by the end of November it had gained some body and the finish was longer and very good - what a nice change of pace from the regulars. If any of you have …

Washington Wines Discovered

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Living in Washington Wine Country Since 1986.
In 1986 I discovered that wine was being crafted in Washington State. Almost in my backyard. I had moved from the green, wet, west-side of Washington, to the southeast corner. The semi-arid desert part of the Evergreen State. Yes, there is a desert in Washington. With not much to do in town then, I began to take notice of the local wineries.

Learning to Appreciate Washington Wine
Naturally, when I first began drinking wine, I started with the sweeter wines like Riesling, which used to be labeled"Johanisberg Riesling." Some of my first wine experiences were at local wineries. I recall some fun barbecues at Preston Wines in Pasco, live Mariachi music at the Hogue Winery in Prosser and tastingBookwalter wines in a small sheet metal building next to the Pasco truck stop. Kiona Winery was still making and serving wine from the basement of their home - there were some great barrel tastings.

My first red wine "aha" moment was …

Barnard Griffin 2004 Syrah Tulip Label

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Rob Griffins first Syrah was a Columbia Valley 1998 Reserve Syrah
Since then, Rob has added a less expensive version with his "Tulip Label" Syrah, at $17. So, how does this less expensive wine compare? While the 2004 Reserve Syrah, at $30 and "Tulip Syrah" at $17, were tasting very similar earlier this year when the wines were released - they have definitely parted ways and each has achieved stunning qualities. Focusing on the less expensive Syrah, two months ago the "Tulip Syrah" had taken on some very earthy flavors - which did not appeal to my palate.

I was stunned this week when I discovered that the earthiness has almost disappeared to be replaced by delicious dark fruit flavors with a lovely finish. This wine is on my "drink me now!" list. You'll find it difficult to find a better Syrah at this price. And you'll thank me too.

If your local retailer does not carry this wine, you can still find it on the Barnard Griffin Web site.

Che…