August 30th, 2015

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, 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

Washington Wine of the Week

August 24th, 2015

For the week of August 24, 2015: Nefarious Cellars 2014 Consequence – Dean and Heather Neff do a terrific job with Chelan AVA wines and this blend of Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, and Marsanne is a perfect example. Baked pear aromas and flavors fill the glass, with a zingy finish of citrus/key lime that’s tempered by slightly peachy accents. It’s delicious when served lightly chilled and should pair well with lighter seafood dishes.

For the week of August 17, 2015: Hyatt Vineyards 2013 Riesling – From one of the State’s long-standing wineries in Zillah, Hyatt offers another solid white wine at a budget-friendly $10 price. This is classic, old school Washington Riesling, with a bit of tropical fruit, a bit of citrus and some crisp Fuji apple on the finish to balance the 4.5% residual sugar content. It’s a natural wine to serve as a contrast with the spicy elements of take-out Chinese or Thai food.

nullFor the week of August 10, 2015: Thurston Wolfe 2012 Howling Wolfe Zinfandel – There’s not enough descriptors to cover this excellent Wade Wolfe (at left) wine, easily the benchmark by which all Washington Zins (at the highly affordable $20-a-bottle price point) should be measured. Rum raisin on the nose, slightly peppery for openers and then some gorgeous black cherry flavors with a finish that hints at chocolate/caramel. Enjoy now or within the next two to three years.

For the week of August 3, 2015: Tamarack Cellars 2014 Rose of Mourvedre – This long-standing Walla Walla winery gives us a tasty rose sourced from the Wahluke Slope. The Mourvedre grapes used in this wine are so dark, they don’t even require any skin contact after pressing…the juice is simply pumped off and fermented in stainless steel. Strawberry/rhubard aromas start you off with ruby red grapefruit and granny smith apple flavors on the palate and a crisp, vibrant finish.

For the week of July 27, 2015: Milbrandt Vineyards “The Estates” 2012 Malbec – Looking for a quiet, reserved red wine? You’ve come to the wrong place with this Malbec from the Prosser-based winery! Big, juicy blackberry aromas and flavors are backed with an semi-smooth finish that belies the eye-popping 15.5% alcohol content. A prime candidate for anything beef, especially when it comes off the grill.

For the week of July 20, 2015: L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Semillon – Why this varietal isn’t more popular is beyond me. This Washington Semillon has plenty to offer: gentle honeysuckle and clover aromatics, soft pear and peach flavors and finish of lemon crème. Walla Walla winemaker Marty Clubb has been producing this wine for many years with great success and this vintage is no exception. Well-priced to boot, this wine should be on your must-try list.

nullFor the week of July 13, 2015: Whidbey Island Winery 2013 Siegerrebe – Western Washington pioneer winemaker Greg Osenbach has the vineyard and the experience to craft this cool-climate grape into a beautiful wine. Pear, litchee, and fragrant spices fill the glass and a touch of residual sugar is impeccably balanced with bracing acidity. The 2014 vintage is also scheduled for release in July of 2015.

For the week of July 6, 2015: Arbor Crest Non-Vintage Cliff House White – An amazing blend of 75% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Chardonnay, this ultra-impressive white wine is loaded with stone fruit aromas of peach, nectarine, and apricot that carry over to the initial taste. As the wine progress, the Sauv Blanc really kicks in, with a herbaceous, citrus flavor profile and crisp finishing notes. At only around $10 a bottle, skillful winemaker Kristina van Loben Sels deserves a hearty round of applause for serving up a stellar wine that won’t break the bank.

For the week of June 29, 2015: Palencia Wine Company 2014 Albarino – This newer Washington varietal is gaining momentum and Victor Palencia gives us reason to want this wine even more. It’s wonderfully complex, with ambrosia and stone fruit aromatics and flavors of spiced apple, pear and citrus on the palate. The finish is bone dry, with a nice slate-like/minerality quality that suggests a pairing with fresh shellfish.

For the week of June 22, 2015: Barnard Griffin 2014 Rose of Sangiovese – Another smashing success from Richland winemaker Rob Griffin, this rose is a subtle explosion of strawberry, red currant, and watermelon fruit flavors. Bracing acidity tops things off and makes this an ideal sipping wine for the summer when served well chilled.

For the week of June 15, 2015: Seven Hills Winery 2012 Merlot (Seven Hills Vineyard) – This is a big, powerful Merlot, with slightly smoky aromatics, understated dark fruit flavors, and still with enough finesse from Walla Walla winemaker Casey McClellan to make this readily enjoyable…as well as a candidate for the cellar for years to come.

For the week of June 8, 2015: J Wrigley Vineyards 2013 MAC Cuvee Pinot Noir – John and Jody Wrigley have produced a stellar Pinot Noir from three vineyards in Oregon’s McMinnville AVA. This wine has all the classic Pinot characteristics; slightly earthy aromatics, bright red cherry flavors and great acidity. There’s also a plush, almost elegant finishing note to this wine that will allow it to pair perfectly with salmon, duck or roast poultry.

For the week of June 1, 2015: Dynasty Cellars 2012 Malbec – Sourced from Walla Walla’s Les Collines Vineyard, this Malbec opens with beautiful berry aromatics followed by generous blueberry and blackberry flavors on the palate. With surprisingly good acidity at its core, this red wine promises only to get better with additional aging. A fine effort from Bellingham winemaker Peter Osvaldik.

Dan is on the Air!

August 9th, 2015

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

nullDuring that time, I’ll be chatting with Tracy Ellis and Peter Wagner, the hosts of PM Bellingham.

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.

Yakima Valley Among Many With Record Early Harvests

August 8th, 2015

Barbara Glover from Wine Yakima Valley reports the following on the 2015 wine grape harvest:

“Washington’s first wine grape harvest of the season began in the Yakima Valley on August 7, 18 days earlier than 2014, which was an early harvest year. 2015 is believed to be the earliest wine grape harvest in Washington State history. The warm season has winemakers throughout the state watching and planning their next move.

Yakima Valley’s David O’Reilly of Owen Roe winery is contemplating his next move. He plans on harvesting chardonnay and sauvignon blanc this week. “We will be harvesting chardonnay from DuBrul vineyard just north of Sunnyside and chardonnay and sauvignon blanc from Outlook vineyard on the western side of the Yakima Valley AVA” says O’Reilly.

Treveri Cellars kicked off 2015 with their first load of Chardonnay from Hilltop Vineyard in Zillah on August 7, 2015. “Sparkling wine producers typically pick earlier than still wine producers to keep the alcohol lower as sparkling wine made in the traditional method undergoes secondary fermentation,” according to owner/winemaker Juergen Grieb. “This year is the earliest start to harvest ever for Treveri”.

Todd Newhouse, owner of Upland Vineyard on Snipes Mountain in the center of the Yakima Valley AVA will begin harvesting sauvignon blanc on Wednesday, approximately two and a half weeks earlier than 2014.”

Cocktail Tasting & Food Pairing

July 20th, 2015

nullAugust 8, 2015 1:00 to 3:00 pm – I know, I know, this doesn’t have anything to do with wine. But I will be attending this event at Keenan’s at the Pier in Bellingham that will feature 5(!) of their house-made cocktails.

I’ll also be chatting with guests and talking about my upcoming series of wine tasting events at Bellingham restaurants: “Sips of the Season” sponsored by Bellingham Alive Magazine.

Click on the link below for ticket information on what is certain to be a great cocktail party!

Cocktails at Keenans

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