Barbera

December 18th, 2005

nullCascade Cliffs 2003 (about $17): One thing I like about this winery is that they’re not afraid to use types of grapes that youwon’t usually find in the mainstream. For whites, they’ve previously produced a delicious wine using the Symphony grape and for this red wine recommendation, the Barbera.

This is a great little red wine displaying some dark currant, dried raisin and cranberry flavors with medium body and acidity. Keep your eye on this winery from the Columbia Gorge…I’m expecting good things from them.

Honey Moon Winery: Mead and More

December 12th, 2005

Located under Pepper Sister restaurant, Honey Moon Winery opened in Bellingham earlier this ear with the primary focus on Mead, a honey-based wine. I was pleased to learn that they also produce some pretty good grape-based wines that you might be interested in checking out.

All of their varietals are from Yakima Valley vineyards and include Merlot, Syrah and Late Harvest Viognier. The 2003 Merlot is only available by the glass ($5 per pour) and features some dense, chewy, dark fruit flavors and medium tannins that pair well with a medium aged cheese.

The 2003 Syrah is available by the glass ($5) or bottle ($13). Highlighted by plummy, dark berry and currant flavors, it concludes with a soft finish and touch of spices. A fine first effort.

The 2004 Late Harvest Viognier (about $17 a bottle) will be available for sale sometime during December. In an advance tasting I noted that it displayed a fragrant aroma of honeysuckle followed by orange blossom and citrus flavors. This is a lighter style late harvest wine – not as heavy or syrupy as some – with a nutty, almond-like finish.

The tasting room is warmly appointed with copper top tables and brick walls displaying local artwork. It has a wonderful, homey feel that entices you to linger over a beverage and a nibble. In addition to wine, the menu also features hard apple cider, mead cider, light appetizers and desserts. More information: 734-0728.

Goose Ridge + Charlie Hoppes = A Winning Combination

December 5th, 2005

Established in 1999, Goose Ridge is one of a growing list of family owned Washington wineries that produces small quantities of handcrafted, high quality wines that deserve your attention.

Undoubtedly, one of the reasons for this newer winery’s success is its winemaker, Charlie Hoppes. If you haven’t yet heard of Hoppes, it’s probably only a matter of time before you’ll come across his name. That’s because in addition to Goose Ridge, he’s also the winemaker for Zefina, Six Prong, and Canon del Sol wineries as well as his own label, Fidelitas. With all these labels to his credit, Hoppes has earned a reputation for being one of the State’s premier winemakers.

nullI recently sampled his 2003 Goose Ridge Chardonnay (about $14) at a dinner held at Bellingham’s Bistecca Restaurant. This is such an elegantly complex wine, packed with layers of lush pear flavors and complemented with touches of vanilla and spice. Ten months of aging in small, French oak barrels add a lovely, toasty quality to the wine without interfering with the other flavors and making it taste overoaked. Pair it with a variety of poultry, pork or seafood entrees.

Because of their limited production, Goose Ridge wines are generally not carried in the Bellingham area. However, if you ask for them by name at your local grocer, the wine department should be able to order them for delivery within a few days. You may also be able to order them through Compass Wines in Anacortes. More information: (509) 628-3880 or www.gooseridge.com.

Wine Class at BTC

December 3rd, 2005

2:00 to 4:30 pm – Taste Washington Wines. Learn about the different growing regions in the State of Washington as well as information on wineries, tours, festivals and tasting room etiquette. Click on the Wine Classes Page for more information.

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