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Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies: Weekly Wine Word Wednesdays

Date: Wed, Sep 26, 2012 Wine Tasting Wine Business

The Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies is: Vertical

A vertical of wine is often conducted at a private or public wine tasting event. They are arranged to highlight the differences of vintages, while experiencing just how unique every year can be.

A vertical tasting is done by featuring one wine varietal from the same producer from several vintages - - and be as little as two bottles of different vintages and as large as five, six, seven, and infinity ... (okay, so that is an exaggeration, but you get my point).

For example: a vertical tasting may feature one winery, such as an example of Cayuse Vineyards "Bionic Frog" Syrah - biodynamic wines from the Walla Walla Valley. We could be fortunate enough to have a vertical to include, 2006, 2007, and 2008. If you are familiar with this wine, like I said, we could be fortunate ...

When setting up for a vertical tasting they can as formal or informal as you want. Formal would mean each guest receives a glass for each vintage or informal with just one glass per guest. When presenting the wines, they can be tasted in any direction from the oldest vintage to the youngest or vice versa. If you present the wines oldest to youngest, there’s often a natural progression of tannins and body, as the younger wines would be more tannic than the older wines. Younger to older? Following a wine’s evolution as it gains bottle age, can also be fascinating.

Stay tuned next week as we will discuss the opposite: Horizontal.

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Result of a Crush

Date: Tue, Sep 25, 2012 Wine Tasting Wine Business

The result of Gale and Mike's Reynvaan Family Vineyards,in the Walla Walla Valley, have been distinctive and expressive wines. The wine from the soil of their vines have been collecting many accolades and high scores. Now begat another result from the Reynvaan family - -

Matt, Angela and Amanda
The Result of a Crush is the new Walla Walla winery that was founded by Gale and Mike's daughters, Amanda Reynvaan and Angela Reynvaan Garratt. The Reynvaan sisters wanted to produce a wine that was affordable, yet distinctive like the wines from their family's winery. Enters their brother as consulting winemaker, Matt Reynvaan. Their ultimate goal was quality, but with a bit of whimsy.

In the Reynvaan sibling's research they discovered there were a limited number of wines on the shelves that had all three components they were looking for in a wine: high-end quality, whimsical presence, and still affordable.As mother's, Amanda and Angela wanted wines they could bring with to special occasions such as bridal parties and baby showers.Their goal for Result of a Crush was for wine lovers to recognize quality, yet affordability in their playful packaging. SMOOCH!

The first release for Result of a Crush is a non-vintage red that has been produced with the majority of Syrah. Like the Reynvaan family style, the red wine is lush and wafts dark Bing cherries, red plums and rich black olives. Earthy! On the palate is bold dark juicy stone fruit such as fresh Italian plums and more cherries. Finishes with little hints of grilled caramelized smoky meats and spice.

A wine definitely to sip and savor by itself, but still gives many options to food pairings. Do I dare say it's a "crush-worthy" wine?

Looking forward to checking out the newest bottling of Result of a Crush Rosé. Sounds like the timing for release will be perfect for the Thanksgiving turkey. Best wishes to Amanda and Angela!

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Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies: Weekly Wine Word Wednesdays

Date: Wed, Sep 19, 2012 Wine Tasting Wine Business

The Weekly Walla Walla Wine Word for Dummies is: Plonk

Come on - any saged wine lover has sipped a glass of "plonk" - - in fact a glass of plonk could even be subjective, according to one's own personal taste buds.

Plonk is an unspecific and derogatory term in British/Australian English for wine that is inexpensive or judged to be of poor quality. The name is believed to have come from Australian slang, in reference to blanc (French word for "white") and the blanc wine's stereotypical examples of plonk included Blue Nun or Liebraumilch - both inexpensive sweet German wines that can be seen on the shelves at your local chain drug store.

Despite the reference to the color white, the term is not limited to white wine, as there are several red (neon purple, green, blue ...) wines that could also be categorized as "plonk."

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Beyond Walla Walla: Nigl Sekt Rosé

Date: Fri, Sep 14, 2012 Wine Tasting Wine Business

This is my first of many wine tasting and bloggingbeyond Walla Walla. "Change is good," I keep telling myself as hard as it can be at times. Tasting wines beyond Walla Walla can be, not only an advanced education for the palate, but even send us back home to the wines around us while understanding that the familiarcan indeed be a benchmark.

In my opinion I would be hard pressed to find a benchmark sekt, as this is the benchmark. First of all for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, "sekt" (pronounced "zekt") we are referring to a bubbly - a German term for quality bubbly produced in either Germany or Austria. In Austria, Sekt is often made in the méthode champenoise and like in Austria, it is good to know that in Germany the inexpensive sparkling wine made with CO2 injection must not be named Sekt.

Sekt is often produced using the native grapes of Germany and Austria, such as riesling, gruner veltliner, blaufrankisch (lemberger), zweigelt, and even pinot gris and pinot noir. Like its German counterpart, Austrian Sekt can be produced and referred to as trocken (dry) or halbtrocken (medium dry).

I was hooked with one sip of the Nigl Sekt Rosé.This bubbly is produced with Zweigelt, a widely-grown red grape variety in Austria. The winery, owned by Martin Nigl, is located in the town of Senftenberg in lower Austria's wine growing region of Kremstal. The cool climate of the Kremstal river valley assists the grapes maintain their acidity, which is essential to making a fine sparkler. If you are a long time reader, you may know that there are wines that I will often refer to as "swoon-worthy" and this wine, indeed is one of them.(note: Nigl also produces a still rosé I have not tasted - - yet.)

There is such a crisp and coolness with a sip to the palate. Strawberies! Rhubarb! Cherries! The red summer fruit pops from the glass. It is just such a pretty wine and so elegant. The bubbles makes it crisp, refreshing and almost palate cleansing as it cools the palate and the zweigelt adds its zest of spice to the finish.Pair Nigl Sekt Rosé with oysters, baked orraw. Cheese, chocolate,fruit or my favorite way - - pair it alone with a glass ...Prost!

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Amost Your Mother Episode #9: Jesus, Facebook and Wine

Date: Tue, Sep 14, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Take one Gen-Xer and one Baby Boomer ...

If you live in Walla Walla and familiar with the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, then no doubt you are familiar with Sheila Hagar. She is a popular U-B columnist and blogger of "From theStorage Room." If you keep up on the U-B's videos that arefocused throughout Walla Walla, then you may have run across Jeremy Gonzalez. He is the Online/Social Media Coordinator for the U-B, as well as keeper of his own blog, "The Jeremy Conspiracy."

These two havejoined mighty forces (Well at least Sheila is the mighty one, because after all, she is the Mom) to form a podcast named, Almost Your Mother.Their podcastbegan with a few barbed remarks, a couple of snide comments, one blogging competition and a crazy coincidence — before they knew it, a relationship was born between the two. They discuss everything from parenting, poop, piercings and baseball.

Last week I was honored to be a guest. Check it out while we talk about Jesus, Facebook and of course, wine: http://www.almostyourmother.com/2010/09/13/almost-your-mother-episode-9-jesus-facebook-and-wine/


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Old World Style: Stella Fino Winery

Date: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

The day I had made plans to visit with Marlene and Matt Steiner of Stella Fino Winery, little did I know I would also partake of tasting many imported Italian wines earlier the same week. What I discovered,after my journeyacross the Washington/Oregon border to Stella Fino, was the pleasureof tasting more "Old World" Italian-style wines. However, this time these wineswere produced withfruit from Columbia Valley and Walla Walla.

Matt Steiner "grew up" drinking Old World wines as his father was a collector of French and Italian wines. It's no wonder that from the first grape crushed at Stella Fino, their focuswouldbe creating wines from Italian varietals.It is important to Matt and Marlene that their winesnot only honorOld World Italian wines, but their wines also express a "sense of place," while maintaining New World cellar practices.

Marlene and Matt told me about their journey to Walla Walla.Talk about an old worldpioneer spirit, as well. They bought their first car, packed everything in it they owned, left their home in New York and traveled to Walla Walla, sight unseen. After Matt put some cellar and crush time in at a couple local wineries, Stella Fino Winery was created in 2005. The name comes from Matt's great-grandmother, Stella Fino, who emigrated from Italy to New York in the early 1900's.Stella Finonow has a 1,000 case production.


Stella Fino Columbia Valley Rosso - 2007:
They tell me thisblend of 63% Sangiovese and 37% Barbera has become a favorite among Stella Fino fans and after I took a sip, I could understand why.The juiciness of the Sangiovese comes through with notes of blackberries and chocolate.Sourced from Lonesome Spring Ranch in Benton City, WA and Rosebud Ranch on the Wahluke Slope.Thinkmeatballs and red gravy.

Stella FinoColumbia Valley Barbera - 2008:
100% Barbera from Lonesome Spring Ranch. A bit tart with a mouthful of berries and finishes with notes of espresso. Deep in color, but low in tannins. Theacidity in this wine is an example of why these Italian varietals go so well withacidic and spicy foods. Think a plate of salty cheese and smoky charcuterie.


Stella Fino Columbia Valley Sangiovese - 2007:
This 100% Sangio comes from two different vineyards - Candy Mountain Vineyard near West Richland by Red Mountain and Pepper Bridge Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. Both vineyards are known for producing some of the finest fruit in the state.A very aromatic wine of earth and autumn leaves with a mouthful of cherries and pomegranate. Another perfect food wine for those Italian influenced meals, but chances are you will finish the glass before the first course.

Old World Chiantihas always beenthedefault wine for tomato-based sauces and also strong cheese sauces.Sangiovese and other Italian varietals havejust the right acid level for tomatoes (which reminds me I need to putmy fresh picked tomatoes and basil in the oven for a slow roastedpasta sauce to be enjoyed later).The wines from Stella Fino are no different from the Old World wines, but they are more elegant, luscious and very easy sipping.

If you are going to make Italian-style sauces from your local garden harvest, then you need to think and drink local - go Stella Fino. Salute!


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BOOTLEG VIDEO REVEALS SHOCKING STORY BEHIND FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE’S WINERY OF THE YEAR

Date: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

When Food & Wine Magazine named Gramercy Cellars the “Best New Winery of the Year” for 2010, inquiring minds wanted to know: Who were the husband and wife team, internationally known as "Gramela," behind the hot new winery? What made them the Brangelina of the wine world? And how did this pair of ex-Manhattanites wind up in Walla Walla? Now there are answers. The secret to their success has been leaked by sources close to the couple. This exclusive video outlines their plan for global domination, reveals top secret winemaking and marketing tactics and shamelessly inflates the couples already huge egos.

Watch the video THEY don’t want you to see. And you thought Heidi and Spencer were strange...



Founded in 2005, Gramercy Cellars is the realization of owners Greg and Pam Harrington's dream to make the wines that they love in a special place: Walla Walla. The youngest American to pass the Master Sommelier Exam at the age of 26, Greg and his wife Pam, focus on great vineyards and minimalist intervention in the winemaking process to craft balanced, earthy wines, including Gramercy Cellars limited production Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo. Congratulations Gramela! It's this kind of news that keeps Walla Walla on the wine map!


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How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Date: Wed, Sep 8, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Do you remember back in school when the first essay of the new year in English Comp was themed, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation?" For me, this was the first summer I have had off in over 12 years and also one of the first where I didn't go too far from the area.

It was a summer of taking in many local events, as well as working a wine bottling line, attending wine dinners, going out wine tasting and our tri-annual family reunion. It was also a time where I made a huge decision that would impact the rest of my life.The Summer of 2010 will be marked as one of themost memorable events as 200 of my wine blogging peers arrived in Walla Walla. Finally, they all understand what I have been blogging about now for five years.

They say that "A picture is worth a thousand words." Well, here are my thousands of words.


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Whites After Labor Day: Walla Walla Wines

Date: Tue, Sep 7, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Mother use to say that you should notwear white after Labor day. Aclear sign of bad manners use to be wearing white shoes before Easter or after Labor Day.This fashion ruleseemed to start in the American South, which was always a little more formal than other regions of the United States. The rule may have been started due to practicality, as white deflects the heat making for a good color to wear during the hot summer months. But no matter the rule, when it comes to white wine it is totally appropriate to "wear it" after Labor Day.

It is trueto sayI am mostly a red wine drinker, but through the summer months I find myself reaching more for the white wines. These chilled light and crisp wines quench the thirst that a red wine cannot do. Long after the outdoor grills are stored away, you can still enjoy white wine with a large variety of foods that we typically think of eating during the cooler months, such as roast turkey, cheesy pasta dishes, fried chicken, fish or chicken stews and chowders. The crisp acids in the white wines helps to ease though and cleanse the richness of these comfort foods.

Here are some Walla Walla produced whites that I havehad the pleasure totaste in the last couple of weeks and I definitely recommend to"wear" after Labor Day:

Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay - 2007:
Assertive apple and peach aromas lead to a mouthful of dense and creamy flavors. Layered and full bodied, yet fresh with pear, citrus and mineral notes outlining its fruity character.

L'Ecole No 41 “Walla Voila” Chenin Blanc - 2009:
This fresh, tart and fruity 100% Chenin Blanc shows Asian pear, perfumed honeysuckle and orange blossom aromas with flavors of apple, apricot, and grapefruit on a crisp mineral, lightly sweet finish.

Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Magician" Gewurztraminer - 2008:
Aged in stainless steel to focus the dramatic nature of the fruit. The resulting wine offers stunning aromatics, with a huge bouquet of fresh cut green apples and pears, honeysuckle, and ripe tropical fruit.

Seven Hills Winery Oregon Pinot Gris - 2009:
The wine is lemon-straw in color with aromas of ripe pear, mint and vanillin. There's just a hint of butterscotch from the oak. The wine is dry, but has a bright, sweet fruit palate made more interesting by a hint of spearmint by mouth. The finish is clean and warming.

Three Rivers Winery Columbia Valley Riesling - 2008:
Crafted in an off-dry style, this Columbia Valley Riesling is a very versatile wine with a variety of foods.Luscious notes of pineapple, starfruit, Asian pear and honeyed apple are perfectly balanced by crisp acidity.

L'Ecole No. 41 Columbia Valley Semillon - 2008:
Typically I do not drink a lot of Semillon, butwith 11% of Sauvignon Blanc added to this crisp white brings to the palate a bright winewith rich fruit and balanced acidity. Fragrances ofcitrus blossom and lemon, with melon, pear, lychee nut and key-lime flavors on a honeysuckle mineral-rich finish.

Plumb Cellars Estate Viognier - 2009:
Just released!It opens with a strong orange blossom that develops into lush peach and eventually pineapple. As the aromas lift, they mingle with apple, apricot, hints of citrus, and honey. The rich creaminess creates a mouthfeel that frames the entire lengthy finish.


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King of Grapes on Twitter: Seven Hills Winery

Date: Mon, Sep 6, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Social media wine days have been very well received here in Walla Walla. Thewine industryin Walla Walla have come together at various wineries and local eateries to celebrate with other wine lovers around the state (and sometimes the world) the joys of wine.

Thursday, September 2 was no different as we celebrated the King of Grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon. Our Cabernet Day Tweet-up was hosted by Vicky McClellan and Julie Titusof Seven Hills Winery.

Established in 1988, Seven Hills Winery is one of Walla Walla Valley's oldest and most respected wineries. Guided by founder, winemaker and fourth generation farmer, Casey McClellan and his wife, Vicky.

Also featured for the event at Seven Hills Winery, wasthe premiere of AK's, Andrae's Kitchen, from our local Food and Wine Guy and "underground" restaurateur Andrae Bopp's new mobile kitchen.

See for yourself how we came together to celebrate the King of Grapes on Twitter.


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The Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days Aint Just For Cowboys: Charles Smith Wines

Date: Sat, Sep 4, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

The Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days has been a tradition every Labor Day weekend.There was a time when I wouldn't miss much of it, but then again times have changed. I now skip the rodeo as thoseseated next to me didn't appreciate mecheering for the calf and the bull to win. I now skip the concert as I don't have a clue who these country singers are? Country you say? I like country music, but to me country is Willie, Hank, Patsy Clineand the ol' Possum. So what's left you say? The Demo Derby! My best kept secret is that I love the Demolition Derby.

It never fails, when I leave a Demolition Derby my voice disappears from the dirt, smoke and exhaust fumes in the air. And sure enough, if you are a local thereare going to be a few favorites in the arena you are going toscream and cheer for. The participating vehicles are stripped of interior fixtures, trim, plastic, lights, and glass. They areusually repainted, often in loud, garish designs to mark names, slogans and identification. Local spray paint salesin town are solid. And you just don't have to be a cowboy to participate in the Walla Walla Fairand Frontier Days Demolition Derby, either - - winemakers race, too. Check out the Battle Wagon!

The Battle Wagon is on top of hisrace this year. Charles Smith, winemaker and racer of the Battle Wagonwas recently given some smash 'em and crash 'em scores. I am not one to promote a lot of scores, but when you see numbers like these yougotta talk and do some cheering for the racer behind the driver's seat.

2007 Charles Smith Wines “Heart" Syrah - Royal Slope Columbia Valley:
Earth, underbrush, truffle, brier, game, bacon, and blueberry aromas lead to loaded, super-rich, uncuous, full-bodied Syrah. Mouthfilling, already complex, and multi-dimension, it has exceptional length and impeccable balance. 98 Pts. Robert Parker.

2007 Charles Smith Wines “Old Bones" Syrah - Royal Slope Columbia Valley:Savory, rich, layered, and laready complex, this exceptionally lengthy mouth-filling, hedonistic Syrah. 99 Pts. Robert Parker

2007 Charles Smith Wines “Royal City" Syrah Stoneridge Vineyard - Columbia Valley: An inky purple/black in color, it deals out aromas of mineral, truffle, espresso, licorice, lavender, incense, and blueberry. Super complex, suave and debonair on the palate, this is a lengthy, concentrated, impeccably balanced, complete Syrah. 99 Pts. Robert Parker

2007 Charles Smith Wines “Skull" Syrah - Royal Slope - Columbia Valley:From the Stone Ridge Vineyard on the Royal Slope, it was aged in 20% new oak with some stems. It is a more brooding effort with aromas of earth, underbrush, truffle, Asian spices, incense, and blueberry. 98 Pts. Robert Parker


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WallaFaces Winery and Dr. Kevin Pogue: From Dirt to Delicious

Date: Tue, Aug 31, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Dr. Kevin Pogue
When I hear people moan and groan there is nothing to do in Walla Walla, I tend to roll my eyes and shake my head. You do not have to be a lover of wine to get the benefits of some of the great events in the Walla Walla Valley that are being sponsored by the local wineries. WallaFaces Winery has been very creative in implementing events for locals and wine tourists alike. In fact, the morning of August 7 was one of those days, and a blistering hot day, as they boarded us in a comfy air conditioned bus for a three-hour geology tour guided by Kevin Pogue, PhD and Chair of the Whitman College Geology Department. Dr. Pogue is also founder of Vinterra Consulting, PLLC.
Walla Walla Inns at the Vineyard


It was during the Wine Bloggers Conference 2010, I was reminded by something that many of our visiting bloggers pointed out: Walla Walla isn't just built of one terroir, but many terroirs. So let's back track a bit about the word, "terroir" and its meaning. Terroir comes from the word "terre" meaning land. It was originally a French term that was used to denote unique characteristics of geography that were apparent in wine, coffee and tea. In fact, all produce can denote those special characteristics, such as our own Walla Walla Sweet Onions. Terroir is about agriculture sites in the same region that share similar soil and weather. Loosely translated it is also known as "Sense of Place."

We can attribute the beginning of our "Sense of Place" many 15 million moons ago when the region experienced a series of lava flows. Of course, the lava would eventually cool and harden leaving us with basalt bedrock covering most of eastern Washington and south into northeastern Oregon. In later years, came the Ice Age Missoula floods from the north. This gigantic piece of ice formed a natural dam which created the glacial Lake Missoula. The water behind the glacial dam slowly gathered until the volume was sufficient to float the ice dam south and allow the huge reservoir of water to flow out. This process repeated itself many times over a three thousand year period leaving behind deposits of well-drained sand and silt which is now the basis for the soils of many of eastern Washington's premier vineyards.

When Mother Nature was all done with her drama, she left the Walla Walla Valley with four very distinct terroirs:

1. Thick Loess - Vineyards with this terroir of wind-deposited silt and sand are Spring Valley, Leonetti Upland, Leonetti Loess, Dwelley and Les Collines. They are located to the northeast of the valley or at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Loess soil provides good drainage for the vines. To this day we still see the effects of loess with every wind storm in the valley.

2. Missoula Flood Sediments - Vineyards with this terroir are Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, Ferguson Ridge and Forgotten Hills. All four of these vineyards are south of the Walla Walla Valley and are found below 1,200 ft. elevation. The soil from these floods are rich and layered with loess and minerals.

Ferguson Ridge
3. Stream Gravels - The vineyard best known with this terroir is the famous Cayuse Vineyard which is located south of Walla Walla in the Milton-Freewater, Oregon area. Walla Walla is surrounded by an alluvial fan. This fan shape of gravel, spreading onto a flatter plain, was created by the Walla Walla River. In fact Cayuse Vineyard was specifically chosen for it's resemblance to the “galets roules” (rolled cobblestones) of the southern Rhone vineyards in France. This area has often been referred to “Oregon’s Châteuneuf-du-Pape.”

Cayuse Vineyards
4. Basalt - There are no vineyards grown in solid basalt at this time. Maybe in the future? These areas are often of solid bedrock and sometimes with just a thin layer of loess and can be as high as 1,200 feet or located in steep areas where much of the sediment was removed in time by water or wind. The Woodward Canyon Vineyard is located nearly 900 feet of elevation three miles north of Walla Walla and layered with wind-blown loess over fractured basalt.

Now, when you put all of these geology profiles together with an average annual rainfall of 12.5 inches, add a long 200-day growing season with arid high temperatures and then a shift of temperatures in the evenings, thanks to the cool air from the Blue Mountains, the results are grapes that are perfectly balanced of sugars and acidity.

Located on latitude 46°, the Walla Walla Valley also straddles the line between the Burgundy and Bordeaux regions of France, and it is this high latitude that means once our autumn arrives the weather is quick to cool and our hours of daily sunshine quickly leaves our valley.

As a result of this seasonal change, the grapes are able to remain on the vine weeks later after many other regions are finishing with their harvest. Our extra hang time on the vine allows the grapes to intensify bringing us some of the best in world class wines.

The end of our tour brought us the results in a glass of the very distinct terroirs. The glasses of wine were not only wine from WallaFaces Winery, but wines of Dusted Valley Vintners and Waters Winery. Chad Johnson of Dusted Valley was there to pour his latest vintages of 2009 Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon that are still in the barrel and Jamie Brown from Waters Winery poured for us two different and very distinct 2009 Walla Walla Syrahs from the Leonetti Loess and Forgotten Hills vineyards. WallaFaces poured their 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, 2009 Riesling, as well as their 2006 Fusion red blend.

Many thanks to our hosts Rick, Debbie, Lois and Carolof WallaFaces and our speaker and tour guide, Kevin Pogue. I cannot think of a better way to learn geology on a Saturday afternoon.


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Bunchgrass Winery: Columbia Valley Syrah - 2007

Date: Mon, Aug 30, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

It was great news when we heard Bunchgrass Winery hadreturned to lifeafter the original owner, Roger Cockerline retired with the last of his 2005 vintage. Roger started his wine career in the 1980's whenhe plantedthe small vineyard onhis family's farm.The fruit was eventually sold commercially,along withRoger and three of his friends also using some of the fruit for their own home wine projects.In fact two of the friends, Gordy Venneri and Myles Anderson, would eventually start up their own winery Walla Walla Vintners.

Entering the Walla Walla wine scene in 2002 was William vonMetzger who pursued hislove of the grapeat theInstitute for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. Not only was William attending classes but alsobegan working part-time at Walla Walla Vintnerswhere hewould eventually become production winemaker.The timing couldn't have been more perfect as William was looking at his future and the possibility of starting his own winery. Gordy Venneri supported William's interest and also knew of Roger's interest of retiring. To make a long story short, William started making the wines for Bunchgrass in 2006. Walla Walla Vintners was used as their production area for the 2006 - 2008 vintages. However in 2009,crush returned once again to the BunchgrassWinery on Highway 12.

The wines of Bunchgrass Winery are limited and yet still moderately priced. If you have an opportunity to grab one - - do it. I had an opportunity to "grab" a bottle of their 2007 Syrah. In fact, it was just listed last week in the Seattle Metropolitan Magazine as one of their Top 100 WashingtonWines:

Bunchgrass Winery Syrah, Lewis Vineyard, Columbia Valley - 2007:
The Lewis Vineyards are located southeast of Prosser in the Yakima Valley AVA. Summers are hot in that region and the Lewis Vineyard has the distinction of a higher elevation.The location on a southern slope allows the cool night's air to flow away from the vineyard allowing the fruit to have an extended hang time. Longer hang time on the vine developsthe maximum ofconcentrated flavors.

The nose of this wine didn't seem to me the typical smokey and espressonotesthat I often find withlocal Syrahs.Instead the inky black liquid spoke of sweet cherries and floral notes of lilacs.Thefragrance waselegant and not so boldon the nose, butfooled me on the palate with its deep flavors ofdark brambleberries and a lingering of spicy black pepper. The tannins were noticeable, but the oak was not. I later found out itwas agedin only 20% new French oak. Only 260 cases were produced.For the quality this Syrah is pricedexcellent at $28.00.


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Super Sipper: Sean Sullivan, Seattle Met's Top 100 Washington Wines

Date: Fri, Aug 27, 2010 Wine Tasting Wine Business

Do you know Sean P. Sullivan? Sean is the author of Washington Wine Report, an independent wine blog focused on Washington State wines.I've had thefun and privilege ofwine tastingwith Sean and he is one serious sipper (and aserious spitter).Icannot keepup with him.I believeSean is one of the best wine bloggers out there.His wine notes when tasting are thoughtful, from his clipboard to his furrowed brow. Obviously, the Seattle Metropolitan magazine takes Sean serious,as well. He's article on Top 100 Washington Wines is featured in September's Seattle Metropolitan magazine.

Congratulations to Sean andof courseto the Top 100.It is pretty excitingto note thatover half ofthe wines on the listare produced in the Walla Walla Valley. For a more detailed list with points and prices, please check the Seattle Met's site:

1. Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007
2. Cayuse Vineyards God Only Knows Grenache Armada Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2006
3. Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines Washington State 2007
4. Waters Winery Syrah Forgotten Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2007
5. Owen Roe Syrah Chapel Block Red Willow Vineyard Yakima Valley 2008
6. Buty Winery Rediviva of the Stones Walla Walla Valley 2007
7. Rasa Vineyards Principia Reserve Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2007
8. Grand Reve Collaboration Series II Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain 2007
9. Gramercy Cellars Syrah Lagniappe Columbia Valley 2007
10. Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007
11. Betz Family Winery La Cote Patriarche Syrah Yakima Valley 2008
12. Rasa Vineyards QED Walla Walla Valley 2008
13. Amavi Cellars Syrah Les Collines Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2007
14. Kerloo Cellars Syrah Les Collines Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2007
15. K Vintners Syrah Phil Lane Walla Walla Valley 2007
16. Corliss Estates Syrah Columbia Valley 2005
17. Col Solare Red Wine Columbia Valley 2006
18. Leonetti Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007
19. DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Red Wine Red Mountain 2007
20. Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007
21. Cadence Winery Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain 2007
22. Buty Winery Columbia Rediviva Phinny Hill Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2006
23. L’Ecole No. 41 Apogee Red Wine Pepper Bridge Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2007
24. Sleight of Hand Cellars The Archimage Walla Walla Valley 2007
25. Andrew Will Winery Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Red Mountain 2007
26. Novelty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007
27. Efestē Jolie Bouche Syrah Yakima Valley 2007
28. K Vintners Syrah Milbrandt Wahluke Slope 2008
29. Soos Creek Wine Cellars Artist Series #7 Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007
30. Bergevin Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007
31. Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon Red Willow Vineyard 2007
32. Milbrandt Vineyards Sentinel Northridge Red Wine Wahluke Slope 2007
33. Northstar Winery Merlot Walla Walla Valley 2007
34. Saviah Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007
35. àMaurice Cellars Malbec Columbia Valley 2007
36. Fidelitas Merlot Columbia Valley 2006
37. Tranche Cellars Roussanne Viognier Columbia Valley 2007
38. JM Cellars Tre Faniciulli Columbia Valley 2007
39. Chateau Ste. Michelle Meritage Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007
40. Buty Winery Chardonnay Conner Lee Vineyard Columbia Valley 2008
41. Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve Red Wine 2006
42. Soos Creek Wine Cellars Ciel du Cheval Red Wine Red Mountain 2007
43. Trust Cellars Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2007
44. Alexandria Nicole Marsanne Destiny Ridge Vineyards Horse Heaven Hills 2009
45. Adams Bench Cabernet Sauvignon ‘the V’ 2007 Columbia Valley
46. Pomum Cellars Shya Red Wine Yakima Valley 2007
47. Rasa Vineyards Riesling The Composer Sagemoor Vineyards Columbia Valley 2008
48. L’Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007
49. Darby The Dark Side Syrah Columbia Valley 2007
50. àMaurice Cellars ‘Sparrow’ Estate Viognier Walla Walla Valley 2009
51. Va Piano Syrah Columbia Valley 2007
52. Bergevin Lane Vineyards ‘Barrel Select’ Syrah Columbia Valley 2006
53. Dumas Station Cowcatcher Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2007
54. Otis Kenyon Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2007
55. Pacific Rim Riesling Columbia Valley 2009
56. Long Shadows Pirouette Red Wine Columbia Valley 2006
57. Betz Family Winery Clos de Betz Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007
58. Dusted Valley Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007
59. Buty Winery 69% Sémillon, 26% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle Columbia Valley 2008
60. Fielding Hills Winery Cabernet Franc Riverbend Vineyard Wahluke Slope 2007
61. Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay Columbia Valley 2007
62. Mark Ryan Dead Horse Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Red Mountain 2007
63. Bunchgrass Winery Syrah Lewis Vineyard Columbia Valley 2007
64. Woodward Canyon Chardonnay Washington State 2008
65. Côte Bonneville Carriage House DuBrul Vineyard Yakima Valley 2006
66. Pepper Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007
67. Rotie Cellars Southern Blend Washington State 2008
68. Fidelitas Malbec Columbia Valley 2007
69. Doyenne ‘Signature’ Syrah Yakima Valley 2007
70. Woodward Canyon Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series #16 Washington State 2007
71. Northstar Winery Merlot Columbia Valley 2006
72. Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007
73. Spring Valley Uriah Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2007
74. Grand Reve Collaboration Series I Red Wine Ciel du Cheval Red Mountain 2006
75. Mark Ryan Lonely Heart Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2007
76. Syncline Cellars Roussanne Horse Heaven Hills 2008
77. Fidelitas Red Wine Red Mountain 2007
78. Long Shadows Poet’s Leap Riesling Columbia Valley 2008
79. DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc Columbia Valley 2008
80. Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley 2008
81. William Church Winery Viognier Columbia Valley 2009
82. Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling Columbia Valley 2008
83. Zero One Vintners The Wild Sky Cabernet Sauvignon Walla Walla Valley 2007
84. Forgeron Cellars Syrah Columbia Valley 2005 $30 90 points
85. Pacific Rim Riesling Organic Columbia Valley 2009
86. Tranche Cellars Barbera Columbia Valley 2005
87. Syncline Cellars Syrah McKinley Spring Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2008
88. Walter Dacon Syrah ‘Appanage’ Boushey Vineyards Yakima Valley 2007
89. Dunham Cellars Merlot Lewis Vineyard Columbia Valley 2006
90. Trust Cellars Riesling Columbia Valley 2009
91. Alexandria Nicole Quarry Butte Estate Grown Red Wine Destiny Ridge Vineyards Horse Heaven Hills 2008
92. Tempus Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007
93. Hestia Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006
94. Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Washington State 2005
95. Darby Grenache Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2008
96. Sleight of Hand Cellars The Spellbinder Red Wine Columbia Valley 2008
97. Waters Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006
98. Novelty Hill Malbec Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2007
99. Tsillan Cellars Syrah Estate Barrel Select Lake Chelan 2007
100. Dunham Cellars Late Harvest Riesling Lewis Estate Vineyard 2008


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