July 23rd, 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

July 23rd, 2015

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 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.

And 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 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.

Bellingham Herald Articles

May 30th, 2015

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

Yakima Offers Top-Tier Wines with Inaugural “Secret Crush” Event

February 7th, 2015

Yakima, WA — (Jan. 2015) What could be more romantic than a Valentine date night featuring your special someone, 40 top rated wines from the Valley, delicious bites to pair with the wine AND a weekend tour of Red Wines and Chocolate? This year you can complement your Red Wine & Chocolate event weekend with an evening of Yakima Valley’s highest rated wines. The inaugural Secret Crush event will be held Friday, February 13, from 6:00 – 9:00pm at the 4th Street Theatre in Yakima.

Yakima Valley’s Secret Crush is a new, exclusive tasting event held at Yakima’s 4th Street Theatre featuring top tier selections of Yakima Valley wines. Enjoy more than 40 different wines, all 90 plus rated or gold medal winners. Guest chef Roger Hazzard from Bon Vinos Bistro will be on-hand to serve up delicious bites. Discover the flavor profiles of Yakima Valley grapes with an interactive tasting lead by local growers Jonathan Sauer, Todd Newhouse, David O’Reilly and Wade Wolfe. Friday, February 13th, from 6-9pm at the 4th Street Theatre-the perfect kick off for Red Wine & Chocolate weekend. For tickets and a peek at the wine list visit wineyakimavalley.org.

There are two ticket options available for Secret Crush and Yakima Valley’s Red Wine & Chocolate weekend.
$75 – Friday, April 13, Yakima Valley Secret Crush evening only
$95 – This VIP package includes a Yakima Valley Secret Crush ticket and a three-day Premier Pass to Yakima Valley’s Red Wine & Chocolate weekend February 14 – 16, 2015.

Participating wineries are: Airfield Estates, Cote Bonneville, Gilbert Cellars, Hightower Cellars, Kana Winery, Kestrel Vintners, Lookout Point Winery, Naches Heights, Owen Roe Winery, Reflection Vineyard, Treveri Cellars, Two Mountain Winery, Thurston Wolfe Winery, Portteus Winery, Wineglass Cellars. Grower participants include DuBrul Vineyard, Elephant Mountain Vineyard, Upland Vineyard, Red Willow Vineyard.

Red Wine & Chocolate Weekend: As part of this annual Yakima Valley festival, wineries from Yakima, Zillah, Prosser and Red Mountain will be offering a weekend of divine decadence with the Premier Pass, the only way to experience the depth of the Yakima Valley during Red Wine & Chocolate weekend.

Premier Pass holders receive access to exclusive pairings, library tastings and tours not available to the public. Purchase your Premier Pass and Secret Crush ticket at www.wineyakimavalley.org, If you want to make a weekend out of it, you can purchase your Secret Crush and Red Wine & Chocolate event pass as package deal for just $95.

This is the perfect time to come experience the bold, intense wines that characterize this premier wine region and meet the Yakima Valley’s most talented vintners during one memorable weekend of red wine and chocolate indulgence.

In Memorium: Eric Dunham

October 30th, 2014

Eric Dunham, owner and winemaker of Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla, died tragically in Cannon Beach, Oregon on October 23 at the age of 44.

After working at notable Washington wineries including Hogue Cellars and L’Ecole No. 41, Eric founded Dunham Cellars with his father, Mike, in the mid-1990’s.

At the time, it was just the ninth winery in Walla Walla and one of the first to open a tasting room near the Walla Walla airport.

nullTo say that the Dunhams were pioneers in the Walla Walla Valley is an understatement. Today, over 20 wineries have tasting rooms at the airport and somewhere near 150 are located in and around the area.

Eric’s accomplishments were many. He is best known for his red wines and others have cited him for his energetic spirit and constant support and promotion of the state’s wine industry.

Dunham Cellars’ production was around 40,000 cases, an astoundingly high number considering the winery’s ability to maintain consistency and quality throughout the years.

My contacts with Eric in the past were limited to wine festivals and wine-related events, but one experience stands out.

nullMany years ago, Eric came to Bellingham to pour his wines at a dinner at the Hotel Bellwether. Somewhere during a post-dinner conversation, the topic of pet ownership came up and, not knowing what was in store, he asked if my partner and I would like to come with him to check on something.

He took us to his hotel room, and there, huddled on the floor in a blanket was his beloved border collie, Port.

Port was no ordinary dog. As a puppy, the dog had lost a leg in a fight with a pit bull. Eric rescued the dog, nurtured it, and gave it a home. He made sure the dog was with him, even if it was just for a one-night trip to Bellingham. He offered the dog compassion and hope.

That dog later became the inspiration for Dunham Cellars’ Three Legged Red…the flagship red wine blend for the winery and one which countless Washington wine drinkers have come to know and love.

Now in its 2012 vintage, the Three Legged Red is still available today and even though Port has since passed away the label for the wine continues to bear his photograph.

With Eric now gone as well, there is a void in the Washington wine industry that will be difficult to fill and not soon forgotten. However unpredictable the future may be, one thing is for certain…Eric Dunham’s mark upon Washington’s wines is indelible.

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