Flying Trout and Gifford Hirlinger: Two Smaller Walla Walla Wineries Worth Noting

August 31st, 2008

Washington State is home to a growing number of winemaking facilities that define themselves as boutique wineries. These wineries are generally characterized by limited production, handcrafted attention to detail, and personalized service that you might not find at a large scale operation.

One of the best parts of my job is seeking out boutique wineries, and I came across a couple of them during a visit to Walla Walla earlier this year.

nullFlying Trout Wines has nothing to do with aerial fish, but rather a reference to winemaker Ashley Trout. I met with Trout at her startup tasting room in downtown Walla Walla and it was the type of informal visit that I really enjoy – conversation about her industry exploits, a stroll through the facility, and, of course, sampling good wine.

She currently offers a cabernet-based blend called Deep River Red (about $28). The 2004 vintage was outstanding and the 2005 promises to be a huge wine as well with excellent cellaring potential. Trout credits Chuck Reininger of Reininger Winery with providing advice and insight and it’s clearly apparent in this promising young winemaker.

At Gifford Hirlinger Winery, winemaker Mike Berghan was also a congenial and knowledgeable host. His winemaking facility and 10 acres of family-owned vineyards, located just south of Walla Walla, are literally on the Washington/Oregon border.

The upscale tasting room and contemporary label design are indicators that Beghan has done his marketing homework. But this would all be for naught if he didn’t have some good wines to put in the bottle; a test he easily passes with some first-class juice.

Current releases include the 2005 vintages of his Cabernet (about $28), Merlot (about $26) and Stateline Red blend (about $22). They’re all excellent wines, but the cabernet is a personal favorite. It’s a beautiful, lush wine that’s nicely balanced with good structure, acidity and dark berry fruit flavors.

For distribution and ordering information about these two boutique wineries visit and

Boutique Wineries Finding Their Niche in Washington State

August 24th, 2008

The term “boutique winery” gets tossed around a lot these days, and it’s nice, almost fashionable designation that smaller, startup wineries like to use. The irony behind this is that most state wine commissions have no hard and fast rules as to what defines a boutique winery, so no one can really say what should or shouldn’t fall into this category.

nullBased my experience, I’ve come up with my own guidelines for what I consider to be a boutique winery. They include the following:
 Total production is relatively small – usually fewer than 1,000 cases a year.
 Vineyard ownership, if any, is just a few acres. Grapes used in making the wines are nearly always purchased from outside vineyards.
 The winemaker and owner are one in the same, with lots of support from spouses, parents, and other family members.
 The wines are self-distributed, making them a bit difficult to find in smaller markets like the greater Bellingham area. (Note, however, that nearly all wineries have a web site where wines can be ordered online for home delivery.)
 In the friendly competition of winemaking, the boutique winery’s best promotional tool is frequently a recommendation from another winery.
 When you call the number listed for the winery, chances are it’s the cell phone of the winemaker, who will often enthusiastically meet with you on short notice.

Washington has scores of wineries that include themselves in the boutique category and many of them are turning out some really nice wines. They have to, because their numbers continue to explode, which makes finding a niche among the State’s 500+ wineries a bit of a daunting task.

Since many of these wineries have been around for five years or less, developing consistency from vintage to vintage can be an early challenge; even for the state’s talented pool of new winemakers. But as time passes, they gain experience, make adjustments and improve quality, assuring a home for boutique wineries – regardless of definition – in the future marketplace.

Next week I’ll feature a couple of boutique wineries from Walla Walla.

Horse Heaven Hills Appellation Features Big, Flavorful Wines

August 17th, 2008

Like all other wine producing states, Washington’s grape growing regions are categorized into federally designated areas called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) or appellations. What is an appellation? Quite simply, it’s an area with unique climatic, soil, and physical features that distinguish it from surrounding areas.

The Horse Heaven Hills AVA is one of Washington’s newer appellations, having been established in 2005. The 570,000 acre region is located in the south central part of the state along the Columbia River and is currently home to seven wineries.

If you like bold wines that generally display big, fruit flavors and a slightly higher than normal alcohol content, then Horse Heaven Hills has plenty to offer. Here are a few recommendations you might want to consider:

nullColumbia Crest 2006 Horse Heaven Hills H3 Chardonnay (about $14) – If you’re not a fan of unoaked, lighter style chardonnays then this wine is a must-try. It has a beautiful aroma of tropical fruits, some nice toasted coconut and vanilla flavors and a finish that suggests butterscotch.

Zefina 2005 Zinfandel (about $20) – Who says you need to go to California for a decent zin? This is another huge wine, with loads of spice, berries and black pepper, followed by a touch of crème brûlée. Note the hefty 15.2 percent alcohol content before you pour yourself a glass of this sinfully tasty red wine.

Alexandria Nicole 2005 Estate Quarry Butte (about $20) – With a base consisting primarily of cabernet and merlot, this red wine blend features dark cherry and berry flavors and a bit of oak on the finish. It’s big, yet plush, and well priced for a wine of this caliber.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2006 Late Harvest Chenin Blanc (about $30 for 375 milliliters) – I usually steer clear of the Ste. Michelle bandwagon, but this one is difficult to ignore. It’s cram-packed with spiced pear aromas, lechee nut, rhubarb, and melon flavors and an over-the-top 19 percent residual sugar content.

Summer is the Perfect Time to Reacquaint Yourself With a Versatile Rose

August 10th, 2008

Rosé has to be near the top of the list of ideal summertime wines. Unfortunately, many of us (me included) don’t drink a lot of rosé outside the summer season, while some wine drinkers won’t even touch it at all. Perhaps it’s because of the bad connotation some feel that rosé still carries from the 60’s and 70’s, courtesy of a few mainstream “gems” such as Matteus and Lancers.

But rosé has come a long, long way over the past few decades and its incredible range of styles makes it a versatile wine that can’t be ignored. And don’t assume that rosé’s pink color equates with sweet wine. You may be surprised to find that there are plenty of rosés made in a drier style, giving them broader appeal and making them much easier to pair with food.

nullA few recommendations to consider include the Chateau Bellevue La Foret 2007 Rosé (pictured at left, about $11), a delightful wine from Southwestern France made mostly from the negrette grape. It’s full of strawberry, melon and cherry Jolly Rancher flavors, good acidity and a faintly off-dry finish. This is a nice rosé to pair with mild, creamy cheeses.

From Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills Appellation, try the Canyon’s Edge Winery 2005 Rosé of Syrah (about $11). This wine has a beautiful, dark garnet color that nearly disqualifies it from rosé status. Unique and refreshing, it almost drinks like a crisp, light port without the sweetness.

My new favorite rosé-style wine is the Thurston Wolfe 2006 Rosato (about $10). This blend of lemberger and zinfandel grapes from the Prosser, Washington winery is absolutely outstanding. Lovely aromas of berry, honeysuckle, and rose petals lead to lush, strawberry flavors, nice acidity, and a touch of burnt cream on the off-dry finish.

Mount Baker Vineyards Has a Plethora of New Releases

August 3rd, 2008

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news: Mount Baker Vineyards has a ton of new releases, and I’m pleased to say that they’re all really nice wines that deserve a try.

nullThe bad news is that there are so many new wines, I don’t have enough space to cover all of them here, but let me give you some of the highlights:

2007 Rosetta Blanc (about $13) – This fantastic blend of pinot gris, viognier, chasselas dore and gewürztraminer absolutely blew me away. Light in body, with luscious Bartlett pear flavors and a trace of residual sugar make it a great summer wine. Less than 200 cases were produced, so buy now.

2007 Roussanne (about $20) – Another knockout of a white wine, highlighted by a touch of herbaceousness that complements the understated flavors of baked apple and oak. A small amount of chardonnay was blended in, adding length and depth to the finish.

2005 Tempranillo (about $16) – I thought this was a fun little red wine; slightly grenache-like with plenty of bang for the buck. Earthy and slightly smoky for starters followed by bright, pie cherry flavors on the finish. Bring on the cheese ravioli!

2005 Malbec (about $20) – Made in a much different style than the winery’s prior vintages, this malbec has less emphasis on the fruit. Even so, it’s a beautiful wine, with a huge nose of fresh berries and subtle hints of blackberry and cedar on the palate.

null2004 Barrel Select Syrah (about $16) and 2004 Reserve Syrah (about $24) – The well-priced barrel select has plenty of dark fruit flavors and a touch of spice, while the nicely balanced reserve has nice acidity, plump red cherry flavors and a soft finish.

Mount Baker Vineyards wines are extremely well distributed in grocery stores and wine shops throughout the greater Bellingham area.

Winery information is also available on the much anticipated, now up-and-running web site at

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress

levitra original online farmaci generici viagra buy clomid 25 mg propecia online vendita viagra cost generic bactrim forte 800 mg nolvadex buy proviron to buy clomid lisinopril smg mastercard cialis orders purchase augmentin online zoloft tablete 50 mg buy amoxil 250mg cialis generic china cialis 12 mg buy hebal viagra buying cialis curacao cheap metformin buy cipro drug generic cialis alternatives generic valtrex costco propecia 1mg order cheap fast viagra generic kamagra online generic dapoxetine cialis compresse 5 mg antybiotyk augmentin 875 mg prednisone 5 mg bronchitis buy xenical 120 mg buy levitra edu billig cialis online acyclovir zovirax 200 mg securetabsonline cialis 20mg 60 mg prednisone breastfeeding find viagra online viagra sales online nolvadex 20 mg cycle viagra 50mg бrak cytotec pfizer 200 mg take 200 mg viagra 10 mg brand cialis generic levitra 40mg guaranteed cialis online cipro 30 mg online viagra kauf zoloft 100mg pill cialis 100 mg 10 tablett viagra qtas mg kamagra 100mg paypal levitra 20 mg directions buying viagra lanzarote amoxil 250mg buy erythromycin lotion mytab generics viagra levitra 20 mg hinta generic nolvadex pct online viagra singapore farmacia online levitra wellbutrin anxiety disorder zithromax 1 mg 2 packets male order cialis clomid 50mg dose generic propecia cipla cialis 20 mg fiyat generic name prednisone 30 mg prednisone daily prednisone 5mg benefits augmentin online ireland viagra flavored 100mg cialis online canadese generic cialis look cialis 2,5 mg generika lisinopril hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg harga nexium 40 mg 40 mg of cialis cipla clomid 100mg viagra 6800 mg cialis 40 mg difference cialis c50 mg clomid 150 mg pregnant prednisone injection8 mg viagra generic fgr 100 purchase viagra 100 mg lexapro withdrawal 30mg propecia 1 mg 28 tablets cialis 25 mg argentina zithromax powder order costo levitra 5 mg buying celebrex dapoxetine 100mg generic prednisone cost viagra 25mg enough clomid round 3 50mg generic viagra forums 2011 viagra 50mg reviews nexium 10 mg bijsluiter generic viagra arriv augmentin bustine 125 mg generic synthroid brands metformin lich 1000mg kamagra 100mg info real viagra 100mg cialis 5 mg riabilitazione cheap xenical tablets lexapro 10 mg directions comprar kamagra online nexium 40 mg esomeprazole cialis generic buy levitra 10mg tablets half 50mg viagra generic wellbutrin sr 150 generic valtrex cheap propecia online shopping generic levitra issues 80 mg propranolol effects generic viagra bali cialis 20 o 10 mg generic cialis mfgs celebrex online store viagra 50 mg erfahrungsberichte lexapro generic 40 mg cialis 20 mg prospect viagra online help augmentin vien 625mg 20 mg bayer levitra lasix generic names glucophage 1000 mg kullanimi bactrim f 400mg strattera 40 mg recreational viagra buy oonline generic viagra ciple viagra online de propecia 1 mg online cialis order australia kamagra 50mg kaufen nexium 500mg augmentin 857 mg nexium esomeprazol 40 mg doxycycline 50 mg capsules posologie zoloft 50 mg propecia online buy viagra generico dosis buy nolvadex dianabol augmentin 500 mg compresse levitra 100 mg vardenafil buy viagra cyprus viagra 25mg 50mg cialis usa buy 600mg zithromax buy lisinopril generic order celebrex online kamagra tablet 50 mg generic 50mg cialis buy viagra yahoo cialis 20mg pris cheap prednisone online generic levitra buy ordering metformin online levitra upotreba 10 mg 10 mg of phenergan viagra magnus 50 mg diflucan 150 mg cijena zovirax buy usa diflucan 100mg pret wellbutrin generic 300 mg generic indian viagra price cialis 80 mg diflucan 150 mg opinie levitra tablets online brand viagra cheap prijs xenical 120 mg viagra 100 mg kaufen nexium online best viagra 100mg safe walmart levitra 20 mg clomid 150 mgs zithromax dosering 250mg viagra 100 mg 8 tabletten kosten cialis 10 mg glucophage 850 mg kullananlar cialis soft buy viagra 100 mg romania celebrex 200mg tabletten viagra paypal bbuy efeito viagra generico bula viagra generico pret viagra 100mg 25mg zoloft depression valtrex generic otc metformin 1000 mg teva beipackzettel levitra 20mg kamagra jelly 50 mg cialis money order generic 80 mg lasix celebrex 200 mg tab lexapro 15 mg bula wellbutrin 150mg zithromax 500 mg indicaciones lisinopril dehydration 2.5mg strattera 10 mg generic lisinopril 5 mg overdose lisinopril vs generic lisinopril 40 mg effects 36 hour cialis 20 mg zoloft cost generic viagra online singapore real viagra cheap 40 mg lisinopril dosage buy cialis latvia metformin xr 1000 mg lasix 40mg thuoc price viagra 20mg 6generic propecia effective zoloft generic problems erythromycin succ 400mg costo viagra 25 mg prednisone 9 days 60 mg xenical online 120mg 1000 mg er metformin buy bactrim generic bactrim f 800 160 mg clomid generic prescription propecia 4mg augmentin 62mg prednisone 5mg dogs propecia 5mg generic clomid 50 mg doctissimo generic zoloft coupon phenergan po 25 mg cialis 800mg overdose buying kamagra australia zoloft at 150 mg retirada genericos viagra india nexium 40 mg cialis 5mg warszawa levitra generic 20 mg wellbutrin 2 150 mg viagra 50 mg virkning cialis usp 25 mg teva doxycycline 100mg 20 or 40 mg cialis generic nolvadex bodybuilding cialis 5mgm prices phenergan 25mg tabs xenical 120 mg pantip augmentin syrup 457mg doxycycline 100mg overnight doxycycline 100mg antibiotics preco cialis 20mg black cialis 200 mg diflucan 100 mg generic lasix 25 mg 30 cpr bought doxycycline online celebrex 200 mg pret buy kamagra manchester prednisone online sale aquisto viagra generico cialis 5mg journalier strattera 36mg pfizer zoloft 100mg strattera vs generic cialis online lloyds prednisone pill mg mexico buy viagra generic synthroid dosages generic valtrex color cialis online articles generic levitra good buying viagra switzerland buy tadalafil dapoxetine buy doxycycline onlinemalaysia prized viagra online lasix 20 mg tab cialis 10mg fta4 doxycycline 100mg effects viagra 100 mg kullanimi buy usa viagra generic viagra brasil effetti cialis 10 mg cialis 5mg ara buy kamagra effervescent levitra 20mg cpr 8 take 2 10mg cialis prednisone 20mg tabs taking cialis 20 mg celebrex 200 mg generico zithromax 50mg feline generic name zoloft buy tetracycline hydrochloride prohormones clomid 50 mg cialis 20 mg effervescent strattera 40 mg medication erythromycin 5oomg levitra 10 mg online nolvadex 25mg testosterone xenical 120 mg dose doxycycline 100mg doziranje paypal viagra buy buy 40mg cialis levitra 100mg price buy valtrex walgreens buy viagra doha nolvadex 20mg uk celebrex 200 mg composition metformin 500 mg preis generic lisinopril purchase levitra review 20mg 2.5mg cialis without buy zithromax capsules strattera 60 mg fiyat lexapro overdose 40mg synthroid cytomel online lisinopril 5mg packungsbeilage cheap viagra 150 mgs buying metformin online nexium 7 colombia online cialis 20mg directions generic viagra spray prospecto augmentin 875 mg celebrex 100 mg caps kamagra 100mg fake telmisartan 40 mg hydrochlorothiazide viagra order generic nolvadex 20mg buy green kamagra 100mg levitra uk order cheap cialis nz buy nolvadex gyno generic zoloft fatigue is hydrochlorothiazide generic generic 50mg cialis lexapro 5mg reviews kamagra online flashback augmentin 312 mg 5ml clomid 25 mg twins cialis generic warning cialis 5mg lilly hydrochlorothiazide 25 mg cmax doxycycline 600 mg cost viagra wirkung 100mg prednisone 20 mg price 2250 mg metformin er levitra generic order bactrim compresse 160 mg phenergan 25 mgs zales viagra 100mg review propecia 1mg erythromycin 250 mg tablets 80mg prednisone dogs viagra buy soho augmentin 875 mg tab levitra online orders generic zoloft images propranolol tabletas 490 mg cialis 25 mg preis zoloft dysthymic disorder online black cialis levitra 40 mg professional buy prednisone 2.5mg cvs generic propecia buying merk propecia about 5mg cialis strattera 25 mg kullananlar cialis 20mg doage augmentin 400 mg chewables medicaments cialis 20 mg lexapro bipolar disorder nexium pills 40 mg bactrim mg uti generic wellbutrin xl order propecia propecia buy viagra brisbane levitra online malaysia buy nolvadex europe generic otc viagra viagra online rating cialis buy quebec prednisone 20 mg withdrawal cheap viagra 50p viagra online stations buspar 120 mg buy clomid uk nexium 40 mg prospect buspar 10mg cost lexapro 20mg zovirax 400 mg tablet cheap viagra buy zovirax 200mg cena lexapro generic date viagra australia 100mg buy zoloft 100mg 250 mg zithromax paypal 100mg clomid bloating doxycycline buy india cheap 500 mg lasix diflucan 200 mg compresse viagra direct buy augmentin uk buy 60 mg of lexapro lexapro generic schedule cialis 20mg online 10 mg brand levitra doxycycline mono generic viagra online siparis buy propecia 90 lasix 40 mg ulotka cipra generic viagra get lexapro cheap online women viagra buying viagra ebay priligy kaufen online flagyl er online bula propranolol 10mg generic doxycycline 100mg levitra 20 mg reviews cialis pills 5mg nolvadex 20 mg pct viagra generic yet cialis generic kopen doxycycline availability mg 500 buy cipro tablet metformin online kaufen switching synthroid generic cialis 5 mg 28 tbl celebrex 200 mg coupon tadalafil 20mg kamagra cialis 30 mg dosing levitra 5mg bestellen prednisone ratiopharm 5 mg buy celebrex 200 mg cialis bayer 20 mg kamagra buy line cialis 5mg medication generic viagra pro strattera 18mg ndc 800mg viagra uk cheap viagra com kegunaan nexium 40mg pedir viagra online costo cialis generico kamagra apotheke online doxycycline 100 mg nedir buy viagra safe clomid 50 mg 10 tablets 3mg cialis buy xenical mumbai kamagra one 100mg lexapro 10 mg bijsluiter shopping online viagra 1 000 mg zithromax chlamydia cialis 20mg x 8 buy online nolvadex 604 8000 mg herbal viagra generic viagra vs. prednisone steroids 10mg generico del lasix generic levitra 32 viagra 100mg indien propecia going generic iui clomid 25mg lexapro 5 mg identification walgreens 100 mg viagra cheap flagyl er generic levitra indian cheapest viagra order cialis 40 mg doses augmentin 400 mg 5ml viagra 110 mg viagra hk buy generic viagra prices co lisinopril 20 mg philippine generic cialis cheap valtrex online generic viagra jakarta cheap foreign viagra buy 12.5 mg lasix much generic wellbutrin doxycycline 50 mg cost cialis dosage 40mg online chemist phenergan pricing lisinopril 20mg cialis 5 10 20 mg cheap cialis pharmacy buy diflucan wholesale viagra generic wikipedia 1200 mg zithromax chlamydia levitra 10mg works teva generic lexapro lisinopril 5 mg purpose 150mg viagra online wellbutrin 150 mg prezzo existe viagra generico metformin 1000 mg day buying doxycycline 100mg buy cialis chennai augmentin 500 mg tb cialis 36 hr mg cipro 500 mg espanol ordering kamagra lisinopril 40 mg tabl