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Wine Tasting at the Washington State Wine Awards


Originally known as the Washington Wine Restaurant Awards, since 2003, this award program, is now known as the Washington State Wine Awards. My previous post, I listed the award winners along with personal thoughts and photos. All of the award winners were acknowledged for how well they promote Washington Wine.

Photos: McCaw Hall at Seattle Center.

This years event was held on Monday, January 14th at Seattle Centers, picturesque McCaw Hall, home of the Pacific Northwest Ballet and the Seattle Opera.

Kyle Johnson, Purple Star (left) and Javier Alfonso, Pomum Cellars (right)

I was pleased at how well Washington wine was represented at this ceremony. I am continually impressed by the people who have the passion for making wine in Washington. It's not only the wonderful, delicious juice in the bottle that maintains my excitement for Washington wine, it's the people pouring that lovely juice and the stories they share. I am not asking to be entertained, I do look for passion, sincerity and fellowship. Which I found many times over on Monday.

Steve Warner, CEO, Washington State Wine Commission
with winemaker George Kirkish.

While not a wine tasting event, per se, an abundance of wine was available to sample at this venue. Following are some of my favorite wines tasted on Monday. The wines I enjoyed are listed in alphabetical order by winery name. Once I walked around the tables of wineries, checking the names and labels, I realized that my intent was to talk to the wineries I did not know. I was surprised at the number of new to me wineries - and very pleased at the quality too. Apologies to my winery friends I did not have a chance to visit. It was a large, dynamic crowd.

Favorite wines tasted at the Washington State Wine Awards:

Challenger Ridge Vineyard and Cellars.
Challenger Ridge Vineyard and Cellars,
Concrete, Washington
NV Eagle Festival Red Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley
2009 Mystic Red, Washington State
(this winery is new to me, winemaker is Robert Smasne)

Charles Smith Wines.
Charles Smith Wines,
Walla Walla, Washington
2009 The Hidden Syrah, Wahluke Slope
2009 Merlot, Washington State
(great presentation, wine and conversation)

Corey Braunel, Dusted Valley/Boomtown.
Dusted Valley/Boomtown,
Walla Walla, Washington
2011 Boomtown Pinot Gris, Washington State
2010 Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley
(both very good wines, surprised how well I liked the Pinot Gris)

Force Majeure Vineyards.
Force Majeure Vineyards,
Kirkland, Washington
2010 Collaboration VI Mourvedre, Red Mountain
2011 Viognier, Red Mountain
2010 Collaboration V Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
(all three of these wines were stunning)

Long Shadows Vintners,
Walla Walla, Washington
2008 Chester-Kidder Red Blend, Columbia Valley
(all their wines are fantastic, I only indulged in the Chester-Kidder)

Northstar wines.
Walla Walla, Washington
2008 Stella Maris Red Blend, Columbia Valley
2008 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley
(both of these wines are drinking very well)

Palouse Winery.
Palouse Winery,
Vashon, Washington
2008 Eclipse Red, Yakima Valley
2009 Aah Syrah, Yakima Valley
2010 Black Pearl Petite Sirah, Yakima Valley
(this winery is new to me, very good wines and first impression)

Pomum Cellars.
Pomum Cellars,
Woodinville, Washington
2009 Syrah, Columbia Valley
2008 Shya Red Bourdeaux Blend, Yakima Valley
(this winery is new to me, winemaker is from Spain, strong first impression)

Powers Winery.
Powers Winery,
Kennewick, Washington
2009 Malbec, Columbia Valley
(this Malbec is made for game bird, fruity, spicy, recommended)

Native Sun by Purple Star Wines.
Purple Star Wines,
Richland, Washington
2009 Native Sun Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain
2009 Native Sun Petite Verdot, Red Mountain
(local winery, producing stunning, premium, limited production red wine on the side)

Ramseyer Vineyards.
Ramseyer Vineyards,
Zillah, Washington
2009 Vintage Five Red Bordeaux Blend, Yakima Valley
(this winery is new to me, very limited production and availability, good showing)

Sparkman Cellars.
Sparkman Cellars,
Woodinville, Washington
2010 Stella Mae Red Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley
2010 Ruby Leigh Red Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley
2010 Wilderness Red Blend, Columbia Valley
(this winery is new to me, very good wines)

Swiftwater Cellars.
Swiftwater Cellars,
Roslyn, Washington
2011 No. 9 Riesling, Columbia Valley
2008 Proprietary Red Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley
(this winery is new to me, very good first impression)

Vin du Lac Winery,
Lake Chelan, Washington
2009 Barrel Select Cabernet Franc
(this Cabernet Franc is drinking well, drink now if you have some, recommended)

For more information on the Washington State Wine Awards and Washington Wine, visit


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