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Showing posts from June, 2008

Barnard Griffin Zinfandel 2005 Hells Gate Canyon Vineyard

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Yes Virginia, there is Zinfandel in Washington. Washington is not known for producing Zinfandel wine. Zinfandel is a difficult varietal to cultivate in Washington - it requires more time on the vine and a slightly cooler climate to mature properly (SE Washington is just too hot for Zin). Fortunately, there is at least one grower cultivating the grape with great success in Washington. Dan Gunkel is a grower in the Columbia River Gorge valley. The Columbia River Gorge is in South Central Washington, bordering the Columbia River and it is the sweet spot in the state for Zinfandel. Dan Gunkel and his family produce some of the finest fruit available - and he's a nice guy too.

Rob Griffin and Dan Gunkel have an amiable relationship - the fruit of this friendship includes Rob Griffins award winning Zinfandel wine. I had the pleasure of enjoying a bottle of Barnard Griffin Zinfandel 2005 vintage this weekend.

The first thing I noticed about this wine was the bright, clear garnet color. Afte…

Nellie's Garden Dry Rose

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Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Nellie's Garden Dry Rosé
Warmer weather has come to represent Rosé Wine season. Gone are the pale, sickly sweet pink American wines of the past. The modern Washington Rosé is dry and succulent, pairing oh so well with summer foods and friends hanging out on the patio next to the grill.

It may be difficult to find, but Chateau Ste. Michelle does bottle a wonderful dry Rosé. It has been a few years since I last found a bottle without going to their Patterson winery/tasting room, but I recently found a bottle locally. Note that this is a 2006 vintage, while a 2007 vintage would be more appropriate, the 2006 did not disappoint.

The first thing you notice about this wine is the color. While not quite blood red, it is a wonderful clear and bright red color, or deep pink rose. This is a DRY wine, quite tart, very clean finish, with a distinct cranberry flavor. I enjoyed the wine with a pineapple, lettuce salad, dusted with freshly grated Parmesan with grilled por…

A Change of Pace

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We've had cooler than usual weather in Washington state this season. It should feel like summer, but it still feels like early Spring. My son had his final baseball game today (a chilly game yesterday in the wind and rain). And surpise, suprise, I've been enjoying Spanish wines for a change of pace. As much as I love Washington wine, it is fun and healthy to explore wines from around the world. You can blame my cousin José for tuning me into Spanish wines in April.

Which Spanish wines have I been enjoying? Tempranillo wines from Spain. Tempranillo is THE indiginous varietal from Spain. Tempranillo is grown in many places in Spain, from southern Spain, the Penedes, Ribera del Duero to Rioja. It does very well when grown in high-altitude vineyards. And it enjoys a wide range of flavor and styles - which is what toots my horn. Tempranillo is also known as, Cencibal, Tinto de Madrid, Tinta de Pais, Tinta de Toro, Tinto Fino and Ull de Llebre.

My most memorable Tempranillo experience…