nullGreetings Wine Lovers! If things look a bit different, it’s because after 10 years I felt it was time for the web site to get a little “face lift.” The renovation work is still in progress, but for the most part, what you see is close to the finished product. I hope you enjoy it!

As always, you’ll find plenty of recommendations from Washington and Pacific Northwest wineries, wine-related events I’ll be attending or¬†moderating, details on my past and upcoming wine classes, and other useful information.

Feel free to email me at dan@danthewineguy.com if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. Linger, browse and enjoy!

Dan the Wine Guy

Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival Coming August 6

Saturday, Augustnull 6, 2016  РAs part of Bellingham Wine Week, wine enthusiasts will have reason to celebrate with a public tasting at the inaugural Bellingham Northwest Wine Festival, hosted by the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel (at left).

The event will feature up to 35 wineries from the Pacific Northwest and promises to be an unforgettable evening of good food, good wine, and a chance to meet and chat with a number of winemakers.

Two tiers of tickets are available: a $75 VIP option, with admission from 6:00 to 10:00 pm, a private tasting lounge with rotating pours, appetizers, a take-home swag bag, and a souvenir wine glass; and a $55 option, which allows you three hours of tasting and noshing from 7:00 to 10:00 pm as well as a souvenir wine glass.

Wines will be available for purchase at an on-site retail store, and medal-winning wines from an earlier judged competition will also be available for tasting.

All proceeds from the event benefit Brigadoon Service Dogs, a Bellingham-based non-profit organization.

Complete event information and ticket purchases can be found at

Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Summer, 2016

For the Week of July 17, 2016: Randolph Cellars 2013 Syrah – This varietally perfect Syrah hits all the right notes from start to finish. Smoky aromatics carry over to the palate along with rich, dark fruit, a flourish of spice and a touch of bacon fat on a toasty finish. A stunning effort from father-and-son winemakers Randy and Alexander Randolph, who are off to an impressive start at their Snohomish winery.

nullFor the week of July 10, 2016: Robert Ramsay Cellars 2015 Mason’s White – Winemaker Bob Harris’s wines are always spot on, and this just-released white is another prime example of the quality of wines you’ll find at his Woodinville tasting room. Made entirely from Roussanne, it features complex aromas and flavors of butterscotch, baked apple, hazelnut and caramel, along with a weighty, full-bodied finish that are characteristic of this Rhone varietal.

For the Week of July 3, 2016: Masquerade Wine Co. Non-Vintage Sparkling Lemberger – This underused red varietal finds a place in an unlikely place: as a sparkling wine. Yeasty brioche aromatics and tasty black cherry flavors predominate, with a lingering finish of cherry that’s fruity without being sweet. Winemaker Bill Kimmerly shows a deft touch in crafting this incredibly delicious, must-try wine that’s available only at the Bellingham tasting room.

For the Week of June 26, 2016: Tempus Cellars 2013 Riesling – Evergreen Vineyards, located in Central Washington’s Ancient Lakes AVA, has quickly become one of the state’s premiere growing regions for Riesling. This current release from Walla Walla winemaker Joe Forest, is a prime example of the quality of grapes coming from this area. Imagine biting into a fresh white peach, with all the wonderful fruit backed by crisp, laser-sharp acidity and steely minerality, and that’s what you’ll find with this wine. Refreshing, clean, and flavorful, it’s an absolute pleasure to taste.

For the Week of June 19, 2016: Gifford-Hirlinger Winery 2013 Stateline Red – Located in Walla Walla and less than a stone’s throw from the Oregon border, Gifford-Hirlinger has been a favorite of mine since its inception. Winemaker Mike Berghan somehow manages to put together this five-varietal blend, all sourced from Walla Walla fruit, and get it out the door for only $18 a bottle. Nice red plum and berry flavors, a bit of peppery spice, good acidity, decent tannins…in short, a well-balanced wine that you’ll be hard-pressed to match in quality from this area at this price point.

Dan is on the Air!

Be sure to follow my radio spot, “Washington Wine of the Week” every Thursday at approximately 4:20 pm on KGMI 790AM in Bellingham.

During that time, I’ll be chatting with Tracy Ellis and Peter Wagner, the hosts of KGMI’s “Your Afternoon Show.”

I’ll feature a recommendation of a select Washington wine each week and also give you my slant and insightful comments on wine-related topics that include Washington wines and wineries. Keep informed and tune in!

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

Washington Wine of the Week – Selections for Spring, 2016

nullFor the week of June 12, 2016: Forgeron Cellars 2012 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon – This completely over-the-top Cabernet from winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla will put you in state of red wine bliss. Open a bottle, and you’ll feel like you’re walking through a field of wild blackberries. This fruit carries over to the palate, along with flavors of black plum and currant, spicy cinnamon accents and a finish that simply will not stop. Nearly half the grapes were sourced from Walla Walla AVA vineyards, and a bit of Petit Verdot was blended in. Exceptional!

For the week of June 5, 2016: Bergevin Lane Winery “Linen” Wines – Bergevin Lane has been a presence on the Walla Walla wine scene for many years and their Linen series of wines provide wine enthusiasts with solid, dependable choices at incredibly reasonable prices. Current releases include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Carmenere, Merlot, and Rose…all priced at about $12 to $14 a bottle.

For the week of May 29, 2016: Lost River Winery 2014 Pinot Gris – Pinot Gris has been a rising star among Washington white wines and it now trails only Riesling and Chardonnay in terms of production. This selection from winemaker John Morgan is a prime example of why this wine has become so popular. Tropical fruit, pear and citrus flavors predominate, and although it’s made with a bit of residual sugar you won’t taste the sweetness because of the wine’s brisk acidity. The end result is a refreshing Pinot Gris with a bit of heft, big mouthfeel, and excellent food-pairing potential.

For the week of May 22, 2016: Nachenulls Heights Vineyard Non-Vintage Riesling – The Naches Heights Appellation boasts some of the highest elevation vineyards in the State, and this winery is located on a scenic plateau northwest of Yakima. Winemaker Phil Cline has done a nice job with this wine…packing it with tropical pineapple, Granny Smith apple, and crisp peach flavors along with a bright flourish of lime zest to balance out the trace of sweetness. This is classic, flavorful Washington Riesling and certain to be a crowd-pleaser.

For the week of May 15, 2016: Masquerade Wine Company Non-Vintage Moscato – Located in Bellingham, Masquerade is one of only a handful of Washington wineries that produce sparkling wine. This one is a sensory delight, with lovely floral aromas of gardenia and honeysuckle, big flavors of spiced pear and lychee and an off-dry finish with just a shade under 2% residual sugar. The wine’s gentle sweetness will provide a nice contrast to 2-star or higher Asian cuisine or it can be enjoyed chilled as a perfect spring or summertime sipper.

For the week of May 8, 2016: Tucannon Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – If you prefer your Cabernets “drink ready” with a minimum of cellaring time, this gorgeous Cab from the Red Mountain winery is a perfect fit. Incredible aromas of beeswax, vanilla wafer, and meadow grasses lead off, with delicious red cherry flavors on the palate and a finish of toasted hazelnut. It’s a bit lighter in body than most Washington Cabernets, and a refreshing alternative for those who prefer a red that’s a bit less “heavy-handed.”

For the week of May 1, 2016: Jones of Washington 2015 Rose of Syrah – Fruity, but not sweet, this absolutely amazing Rose is one of the best Roses – and one of the best wines, period – that I’ve tasted this year. Strawberry, raspberry, watermelon, and honeydew flavors hit you with mouth-watering precision and are backed by steely acidity and Ancient Lakes’ signature minerality. The icing on the cake is the $14 price tag, which means you should be buying this wine by the case and drinking it regularly.

nullFor the week of April 24, 2016: Maryhill Winery 2012 Marvell GSM – Let’s raise a glass to Maryhill Winery with its stunning tasting room location, wonderful, cordial owners Craig and Vicky Luethold, and award-winning winemaker Richard Batchelor. This latest version of Marvell – a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre – is a grand slam with big, bold aromas and flavors of chocolate cherry that end with a flourish of cracked black pepper and sturdy tannins. Bring on anything beef to serve with this amazing red wine.

For the week of April 17, 2016: Memaloose 2011 Mistral Ranch – The Columbia Gorge Appellation has to be one of the most diverse wine regions in Washington. Over 45 varietals are grown here, and this wine from Memaloose showcases two of them: Syrah and Grenache. It’s an easy-to-drink red wine; medium in body with dark fruits to start before finishing with leaner flavors of red currant and red cherry. Try it with a duck, pork or roast beef entree.

For the week of April 10, 2016: GLM Wine Co. 2013 The Denier – Tom Davis and Tracey DeGraff run a great operation at their winery in Blaine. Seemingly reluctant to produce a mainstream wine, they’ve struck the right chord with this 80/20 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, sourced from Pasco’s Burgess Vineyards. There’s a nice plummy quality to this wine, with a distinctive yet subtle finish of blackberry and blueberry. Medium to full-bodied with good texture, it’s drinking beautifully now…and additional cellaring promises to make it even better.

nullFor the week of April 3, 2016: William Church Winery 2013 Malbec – Rod and Leslie Balsley of Woodinville have a number of killer red wines currently available (to go with an equal stunning Viognier for those who prefer white wine). This Gamache Vineyards Malbec is a prime example, with lovely floral aromas, generous spiced berry flavors, and a lenghty, velvety finish. There’s an elegant quality to this wine that suggests a prime rib pairing, although I also wouldn’t hesitate to try it with anything off the barbeque including lamb burgers or a big, juicy steak.

For the Week of March 27, 2016: Portteus Winery 2014 Rattlesnake Red – Paul Portteus started his winery long before the Rattlesnake Hills region where his vineyards are located earned AVA status. This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sangiovese is a well-priced red that showcases a few of these varietals. The Cab provides some nice body and tannic structure, the Zin contributes a mouthful of spicy raspberry flavors, and the Sangio offers a bit of bright acidity to balance out the package. With a dollop of vanilla on the finish, this is an easy-to-drink red with plenty of broad-ranging appeal.

For the week of March 20, 2016: Palencia Wine Company 2014 Albarino – Victor Palencia continues to amaze us with this incredible effort with one of the State’s newer varietals. This refreshing, complex white wine is a sensory delight, with aromas and flavors of apple and spiced pear, backed by bracing acidity and finished with notes of lime zest, allspice and beautiful minerality. Further evidence of Palencia’s winemaking prowess: his 2015 Albarino, which took best of show honors at this year’s Cascadia Wine Competition and has just been released to the public.

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