April 20th, 2014

nullIf you’re new to the site, welcome!

You’ll find plenty of recommendations from Washington and Pacific Northwest wineries, wine-related events I’ll be attending or moderating, upcoming wine class details and other useful information.

If you’re a return visitor, be sure to check out the Category titled Bellingham Herald Articles for weekly updates on wines, wineries, and related topics that I think you’ll find to be noteworthy.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. Linger, browse and enjoy the site!

Dan the Wine Guy

Dan Is On The Air!

April 19th, 2014

nullBe sure to follow my new radio spot, “Washington Wine of the Week” every Thursday between 5:30 and 5:45 pm on KGMI 790AM in Bellingham.

I’ll be giving my slant and insightful comments on Washington wines and wineries along with a special recommendation each week. Keep informed and tune in!

You can also now follow Dan on Twitter (with the occasional tweet) at @Dan_Radil.

Bellingham Herald Articles

April 19th, 2014

nullPosts on this web site under the category “Bellingham Herald Articles” were originally printed in the Bellingham Herald…the source for Whatcom County, Washington news.

For the latest updates in local, regional and national news, visit their web site at www.bellinghamherald.com

Taste Washington: A Showcase for the State’s Wines (Along With a Caveat)

April 15th, 2014

On March 29, I had the opportunity to attend Taste Washington in Seattle.

Co-sponsored by the Washington Wine Commission and Visit Seattle, the two-day Grand Tasting event featured over 200 Washington wineries, 65 Seattle-area restaurants and 50 exhibitors. It was estimated that more than 200,000 wine pours were made from the 800-plus wines at the event.

All I can say is that these people really know how to throw a great party.

This isn’t to say that everything was picture-perfect. I’ve got a few gripes to air, so let me get these off my chest this week and then I’ll get back to the good stuff.

nullFor the first time in recent memory, I came across more than a few wines, particularly from the 2011 vintage that fell into the “perfectly average” category. If you follow me on a regular basis, you already know I’ve given you fair warning about this testy, cooler than normal vintage, which took its toll on some Washington vineyards.

My experience is that good winemakers have the ability to coax flavors and character from challenging vintage grapes. Marginal winemakers do not. Be very, very careful when purchasing your 2011 wines, especially the reds. Taste first if you can or follow the lead of critics and recommendations. If not, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment by paying for something that’s generally lackluster and underdeveloped.

Which leads me to my second complaint: high prices.

I was shocked by the number of wines at the tasting that were priced over $50, with a fair number even in the sky-high $75 to $100-a-bottle price range.

Yes, I understand that Taste Washington is an opportunity for wineries to pull out their “big guns” and try to impress people. I’m just not certain how more and more wineries, especially those with little or no winemaking pedigree, feel justified in charging, say, $70 or $80 for a bottle of wine. Have consumers simply become blasé about these prices?

That said, I’d like to commend pioneering wineries such as Kiona Vineyards, Chinook Wines, Milbrandt Vineyards, and Pontin del Roza, who offered plenty of solid choices in the $15 to $25-a-bottle price range.

I also found a number of excellent wines in this same price category from relative newcomers such as AntoLin Cellars, Airfield Estates, Treveri Cellars, Palencia Winery, Tempus Cellars, and Waitsburg Cellars.

The bottom line: Washington has an incredible array of wines and wineries to choose from. Shop wisely and by all means splurge when you can, but let’s also remember that higher-priced wines need to be held to a higher standard.

Next week: some of my favorite wines from this year’s Taste Washington.

Pontin del Roza Celebrates 30 Years

April 9th, 2014

Pontin Del Roza Winery is celebrating thirty years in the Washington State wine industry. What began as winemaker Scott Pontin’s high school FFA project has culminated into a 30 year legacy of estate winemaking.

Pontin Del Roza translates roughly in Italian to mean “Pontin family farm on the Roza”. The winery uses the grapes grown only from “the Roza”, an area of south-facing slopes in north Prosser. The Pontin family is no stranger to farming. Beginning several centuries ago in northern Italy, a wine-growing tradition was established by the Pontin Family. A pioneering spirit brought some of the family, including Scott’s grandfather Angelo, to the Yakima Valley nearly 70 years ago. Since expanding in the 1950’s, Nesto, Delores, Scott and the Pontin family have been farming in the Prosser area for over 50 years.

nullIn 2012, a new facility including tasting room, case storage, warehouse and offices totalling 5,000 square feet was built next to the family farm on Hinzerling Road north of Prosser. In 2013, a beautiful new outdoor space was added, complete with bocce ball court, barbecue, and expansive room for private parties and corporate events. Last year, Pontin Del Roza also introduced their Privilege Wine Club which allows members exclusive releases, special offers and private party invitations.

Pontin Del Roza produces several wines, both whites and reds. The 2009 Angelo Pontin Sangiovese was recently touted as Outstanding during an Italian reds competition for its aromas of cherry, chocolate and oak. The 2010 Angelo Pontin Dolcetto was recently featured in the April issue of Tasting Room Magazine as a Spring wine pick. The wine is a tribute to winemaker Scott Pontin’s grandfather who immigrated to Yakima Valley and planted terraced vineyards as his family had done for centuries in Italy.

Spring Barrel weekend in Prosser is April 25-27th, all wine enthusiasts are welcome at Pontin Del Roza and no passport is required. Please join us in celebrating this kick-off to the spring and summer season at the winery.The Pontin Del Roza tasting room is open daily from 10-5 at 35502 N. Hinzerling Road in Prosser, WA.

For more information on the winery, to purchase wine or schedule a private event please visit http://www.pontindelroza.com.

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