November 16th, 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

Bellingham Herald Articles

November 15th, 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

Dan Is On The Air!

November 15th, 2014

Be sure to follow my radio spot, “Washington Wine of the Week” every Thursday at approximately 5:45 pm on KGMI 790AM in Bellingham.

nullDuring that time, I’ll be chatting with Tracy Ellis, the host of PM Bellingham.

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

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

McKinley Springs: Great Vineyard, Great Wines

November 11th, 2014

Designating the vineyard source for a wine – a practice that was once virtually unheard of – has become an increasingly important part of the wine label.

As Washington wine production has increased, so has the knowledge and sophistication level of the wine consumer. Not content to know only what they’re drinking, they want access to other information such as production notes, varietal composition, barrel aging and vineyard designation.

nullKnowing where the grapes are grown can be extremely important because, simply stated, each vineyard produces wines with unique characteristics, aromas and flavor profiles.

McKinley Springs is a vineyard you’re likely to see on the label of several other Washington wineries. Their current portfolio of 22 clients includes wineries such as Columbia Crest and Chateau Ste. Michelle and 14 of these clients now produce wines that provide consumers with the vineyard designation on the label.

With over 2,000 planted acres, McKinley Spring Vineyards represents about five percent of all the state’s plantings. The first vineyard was planted in 1980 and 22 varieties of grapes are now grown there. Another 600 acres of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah will be added over the next three years, according to Vineyard Manager Rob Andrews.

The vineyard also produces 18-percent of the wine grapes grown within the Horse Heaven Hills Appellation where it is located. This includes wines bottled under their own estate label, McKinley Springs Winery, which turns out around 6,000 cases of wine annually.

Here are my tasting notes on three McKinley Springs Winery wines I recently enjoyed:

2011 Viognier (about $16) – Peach and vanilla cream flavors hit the palate, with a big, round quality to begin. On the finish, more of a crisp, edgy texture comes through, with touches of lemon zest. This wine paired perfectly with an entrée of roasted fingerling potatoes and poached salmon.

2010 Malbec (about $24) – Wonderfully complex and evolving aromas of ultra-dark plum, toasted almond, caramel, and sage lead off. Reserved wild blackberry flavors predominate, nicely balanced with gentle acidity and mineral notes on a soft finish. The wine was aged 18 months in 20-percent new French oak barrels.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $24) – The 2010 vintage, which some predicted would be an off year for Washington, is turning out some gorgeous wines, and this true-to-the-varietal cabernet is a perfect example. Caramel and baking spice on the nose, bright notes of red currant, and underlying layers of Ligurian cherry and boysenberry highlight this excellent wine. The finish hints at toasted oak with perfectly integrated tannins.

For more information on the McKinley Springs Vineyard and Winery, including ordering wines, go to mckinleysprings.com.

Bergevin Lane: Dependable, Honored, Reasonably Priced Wines

November 4th, 2014

If you’ve yet to try wines from Bergevin Lane Vineyards here’s the capsulized version of what to expect: solid, dependable choices, good variety, and extremely reasonable prices.

Back that up with a boatload of accolades, awards and 90+ ratings and you could hardly ask for more from a Walla Walla winery.

Annette Bergevin and Amber Lane (hence the name, Bergevin Lane) partnered with Gary Bergevin to form the winery in 2002 – practically the Stone Age for the scores of Walla Walla wineries established in just the last five years.

Annette is a seventh generation Walla Walla native whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since nearly the winery’s inception. Without a doubt, she’s one of the nicest people in the industry and, along with her team headed by winemaker Dave Harvey, produces some truly memorable wines.

Here are my tasting notes on a handful of some of their current releases:

null2013 Linen Sauvignon Blanc (about $11) – “Linen” is a second label for Bergevin Lane and in this case, as the name suggests, perfectly describes this crisp, clean white wine. Explosive, mouthwatering stone fruit flavors of white peach and nectarine fill the glass, with trailing notes of lemongrass and minerality on a laser-sharp finish. An outstanding effort and worthy of a case purchase.

2011 Linen Red Wine (about $13) – Another insanely underpriced wine perfect for everyday enjoyment, this combination of 57-percent merlot and 43-percent syrah displays red cherry, red currant and subtle blueberry flavors. The finish shows a gentle splash of acidity, supple tannins and hints of toasted walnut.

2012 Calico Red (about $17) – Just released, this gorgeous, easy-to-drink red is a syrah-based blend that includes cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec and petit verdot. Burnt caramel and crushed herbs on the nose, generous cherry, plum and blackberry flavors on the palate, and a whisper of white pepper and dark cocoa on a plush finish add up to what is certain to be an instant classic.

2012 She-Devil Chardonnay (about $22) – With a touch of roussanne and viognier blended in, this stunning, non-oaked chardonnay is wonderfully viscous in the glass and on the palate. Bartlett pear, pineapple, and baked apple flavors lead off before melting into a crisp finish with a flourish of Fuji apple and tangy citrus.

2011 She-Devil Syrah (about $24) – Aromatics and flavors of black plum, berries, and anise are showcased in this outstanding, true-to-the varietal Washington syrah sourced primarily from the Wahluke Slope Appellation. It’s super-dark, super-sultry and capped with seductive bittersweet chocolate and espresso undertones.

Bergevin Lane Vineyards wines are well distributed in the Whatcom County area, including Seifert and Jones Wine Merchants in Bellingham. A visit to the tasting room when in Walla Walla is a must. More information: bergevinlane.com.

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