Welcome!

October 26th, 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!

Cheers!
Dan the Wine Guy

Bellingham Herald Articles

October 25th, 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!

October 25th, 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.

Brad and Ruth Riordan Make Robison Ranch Cellars a Pleasure to Visit

October 21st, 2014

Good wines certainly make visiting a winery worthwhile. And connecting with warm, friendly people along the way who welcome you in and treat you like family? For me, that’s the icing on the cake.

nullA recent visit to Robison Ranch Cellars in Walla Walla left me with just that impression. As a pair of retirees from the San Francisco Bay Area, Brad Riordan and his wife Ruth launched their winery in 2008 after Brad elevated his winemaking skills from hobby status by completing Walla Walla Community College’s Enology and Viticulture program.

The Riordans partnered with the wheat-farming Robison family to establish the winery at a ranch the Robison’s have been operating since 1918.

The tasting and barrel rooms are housed in an expansive metal building that Brad refers to as “the old shallot shed,” and wines are poured at a tasting bar that was once owned by the now defunct Yellow Hawk Winery. Outdoor patio seating amidst containers brimming with flowers is also available.

If this all sounds like a folksy, bucolic and serene setting in which to enjoy a glass of wine, it most definitely is.

The Riordan’s grapes are primarily sourced from Walla Walla Valley’s Dwelley Vineyard and Airport Ranch Vineyard near Yakima. Their annual production of about 800 cases appropriately places this gem of a winery squarely in the mom and pop/boutique category.

Here are my tasting notes on a few current releases:

null2013 Viognier (about $19) – Gentle aromas and flavors of Bosc pear, stone fruits and green apple dominate this stunning white wine. The off-dry finish gives it a slightly lingering finish. Easily one of the best Washington viogniers I’ve tasted from this vintage.

2012 Eye of the Pheasant Pinot Gris (about $19) – Fermentation on the skins for 24 hours gives this refreshingly different wine a pale salmon hue. It opens with a splash of ruby red grapefruit before developing more of an herbaceous quality with lemongrass accents and a pleasant, light touch of celery seed on the extreme finish.

Non-Vintage Dinner Bell Red (about $19) – Spanning three vintages, this tasty, four-varietal blend is a lighter body-style red that’s perfect for everyday enjoyment. Delicious red cherry and berry flavors fill the glass on the way to a soft, velvety finish.

2009 Cuvée (about $27) – This cabernet sauvignon-based red, along with equal parts merlot and syrah, can easily be paired with anything beef. Black cherry, currant, and blackberry flavors are backed up with sturdy tannins that suggest ample aeration or additional cellaring.

Robison Ranch Cellars is just a five minute drive north of downtown Walla Walla and currently open Saturdays from 11 am to 4 pm or by appointment. For more information and to order wines: (509) 301-3480 or robisonranchcellars.com.

Good Wine Tastes Even Better With the Proper Food Pairing

October 14th, 2014

As we move into the fall and winter months, wine-themed dinners become increasingly popular.

And why not? The weather has already begun to cool down, the rainy season (groan) is just around the corner, and indoor activities will soon be the norm.

I just wrapped up a wine dinner series at Bellingham Technical College that featured a number of top-notch Washington wines. These wines showcase the variety and depth of premium wines produced in the state and confirm what many of you already know: a good wine tastes even better when paired with the proper food.

Here is a summary of the highly recommended wines that were served:

nullTreveri Cellars Non-Vintage Sparkling Pinot Gris (about $15) – Winemaker Juergen Grieb does it again with this flavorful, extremely well-priced sparkler that makes an excellent aperitif. It explodes with Golden Delicious apple and Bartlett pear flavors that are perfectly balanced by a lemon-drop finish.

Rulo Winery Walla Walla Valley 2012 Chardonnay (about $25) – Kurt and Vicki Schlicker prove that good people make great wines with this stunning effort. Hazelnut, butterscotch, baked apple and toasted vanilla aromas and flavors melt into a mile-long finish with a hint of mandarin orange. Purchase their wines on line or take a U-Haul to the tasting room in Walla Walla and stock up.

Terra Blanca Winery Signature Series 2008 Merlot (about $40) – Keith Pilgrim provides another amazing interpretation of Red Mountain fruit with this estate-sourced merlot. Dried herbs, minerals and a whisper of smoke on the nose are followed by understated plum and black cherry flavors and a twist of black pepper. Try it with anything beef or a pork tenderloin.

Forgeron Cellars 2011 GSM (about $33) – This beautifully balanced blend from Walla Walla winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla hits all the right notes and pairs perfectly with leg of lamb. The flavor profile includes bright red plum from the grenache and intense dark fruits from the syrah. A splash of mourvèdre provides spicy accents on the finish along with perfectly integrated tannins.

Thurston Wolfe Non-Vintage Tawny Port (about $16 for 375 ml) – Dr. Wade Wolfe creates a masterpiece with this zinfandel port that spent eight years in the barrel. It’s brimming with complex layers of candied walnuts, toasted coconut, caramel, fig, and rum raisin that linger long after the first sip.

If you’re thinking about attending a wine dinner, consider reserving a space at North Bellingham Golf Course’s Nine Restaurant on October 18 at 6 pm. I’ll be moderating an exquisite five-course dinner that will feature Annette Bergevin from Walla Walla’s Bergevin Lane Vineyards.

Wines slated to be served include sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, two red wine blends and syrah. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (360) 398-8300, extension 2.

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