Syrah Earns Its Place as One of Washington’s Top Red Varietals

February 26th, 2013

Despite a few downturns on the global scale, syrah continues to hold its own as a solid wine grape in Washington.

While consumers have gradually moved away from a flood of overripe, fruit-bomb Australian shirazes (the equivalent of our syrah) over the past several years, Washington continues to quietly carve out a niche of its own among syrah drinkers.

It’s still a relatively new grape here, and it really wasn’t much of a player in the state’s red wine market until the late 1990’s to early 2000’s.

But in just the last five years, syrah has accounted for anywhere from about 12 to 16 percent of all red varieties produced in the state. That places it only behind cabernet sauvignon and merlot in Washington red wine production, according to the USDA.

Here are some recommendations of several Washington syrahs I think you might enjoy:

Two Mountain Winery 2009 Syrah (about $25) – This Matt Rawn syrah from the Yakima Valley rocked my world with opening flavors of red currant that melt into darker cherry fruits and a hint of smoky spice. There’s also an underlying layer of acidity, a touch of minerality and gentle tannins for perfect balance.

Stephenson Cellars 2008 Columbia Valley Syrah (about $30) – Winemaker David Stephenson continues his mastery of the varietal with a syrah long on black plum flavors plus touches of blackberry, blueberry and sweet cedar. A gentle splash of acidity and supple tannins provide just the right amount of lift and structure. Excellent!

Terra Blanca Winery 2008 Arch Terrace Syrah (about $15) and 2007 Signature Series Block 8 Syrah (pictured at left, about $42) – These two syrahs have been beautifully crafted by winemaker Keith Pilgrim in more of Northern Rhone style and were sourced from his estate vineyards in the Red Mountain Appellation.

The Arch Terrace is the leaner of the two, with bright red cherry and huckleberry flavors; while the Block 8 is a bit bigger and darker with a nice earthy quality, reserved red plum and fig and a spritz of smoky black pepper. Both wines make excellent food-pairing partners with roast beef, pork sausage, lamb or a hearty beef stew.

Dynasty Cellars 2008 DCS Syrah (about $38) – Bellingham winemaker Peter Osvaldik scores yet again with this incredible syrah sourced from Walla Walla’s Les Collines Vineyard. Rich and layered, it’s brimming with flavors of ultra-dark cherry and espresso, while the lengthy finish suggests toasted oak and a whisper of seductive smokiness.

Taste Washington

February 24th, 2013

March 23 and 24, 2013 – Bigger and better than ever, this two-day event at Century Link Event Center in Seattle is a food and wine celebration centered around Washington wines.

Seminars, exhibits, and, of course, wine tasting will be featured at the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event.

For complete details and ticket purchase information, visit

Get to Know the Basics of Washington Wine Labels

February 19th, 2013

When shopping for certain foods, the label gives you useful information such as where it came from, nutritional values or ingredients used in the final product.

If only wines were that easy.

nullYes, there are rules for labeling Washington wines, but sometimes it’s what you don’t see that can be just as important as what is on the label. That’s why having a basic knowledge of the “95-85-75%” rules are essential for wine consumers.

Let’s start with the 95% rule, which applies to a wine’s vintage. In order for a Washington wine to list a specific vintage on the label, at least 95% of its grapes must be harvested in that year. Anything less doesn’t qualify for a vintage date. This shouldn’t be considered entirely bad (it’s frequently the case with Champagne and sparkling wines) because the wine is then simply referred to as “non-vintage.”

The 95% rule also applies to vineyard designation. If winemakers want to use the increasingly popular practice of acknowledging a specific vineyard on the front label, they can’t source more than 5% of the grapes from other vineyards.

The 85% rule refers to the use of grapes within a particular American Viticultural Area (AVA). An AVA is a designation granted by the federal government in recognition of an area with distinct geographic, climatic and soil conditions.

This rule is important because grapes grown within an AVA often have different flavor profiles and characteristics than in other areas. By noting the AVA, wineries are telling consumers they’re purchasing a wine that should be indicative of the grapes from that unique region. Think of the difference between wines from the cooler Puget Sound AVA versus the warmer Yakima Valley AVA and you get the idea.

A third labeling requirement, the 75% rule, means that in order to have a single variety on the label, a wine must contain at least 75% of that particular grape inside the bottle.

For example, a Washington wine labeled as “merlot,” only needs to consist of 75% merlot grapes in the finished product. The rest of the wine can be any other grapes the winemaker chooses. But if these other grapes exceed 25% of the total blend, the wine must be given a proprietary name or referred to as something generic such as “red wine.” Again, not a bad thing, but a surprise to many people who are unaware they’re buying a blend.

The bottom line: read your wine label carefully and remember these rules when considering vintages, vineyards and varietals to purchase.

O S Winery One of Many Now in Seattle

February 12th, 2013

According to there are now over 40 wineries located in Seattle proper.

For me, that’s an amazing statistic, because when I lived in Seattle in the late 1980’s I don’t recall that there were any wineries in the city. In fact, there were only a handful of them beginning to take root nearby, including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery in Woodinville and Hedges Cellars in Issaquah.

One of the earlier wineries to establish itself in Seattle is O•S Winery, formed in 1997 by winemaker Bill Owen and his business partner, Rob Sullivan.

From its inception, the focus at O•S has been on red wines, although several years ago, the winery began producing a riesling to complement its portfolio of powerful, flavorful reds.

nullHere are my tasting notes on O•S wines that I’ve tried as of late and think that you’ll enjoy:

2011 Riesling (about $15) – Brimming with flavors of McIntosh apple and pear, I didn’t find the acidity level of this wine to be quite as pronounced as in most rieslings, resulting in a viscous and somewhat softer finish. A low alcohol content of only 9.8 percent along with a kiss of residual sugar should make it an instant crowd-pleaser.

2009 Red (about $15) – This Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot is filled with beautiful berry aromas and flavors. Darker notes of blueberry and boysenberry lead off, with brighter cranberry and red currant flavors on the finish. At this price level, the wine represents an excellent value.

2008 BSH (about $30) – Comprised of about 75-percent cabernet sauvignon and 25-percent merlot, this big red wine opens with a splash of dark purple color and aromas and flavors of plump blackberry. As the finish lingers, there are hints of bittersweet chocolate, black current and coffee, framed with just the right amount of tannic structure.

null2010 Two Blondes Cabernet Franc (about $30) – Named for the Yakima Valley vineyard from which the grapes are sourced, this incredible wine carries an intoxicating fragrance, initially suggesting dark plum, cherry and violets and closing with woodsy notes. Luscious red cherry and strawberry flavors explode on the palate, with a whisper of sweet cedar on the finish and just the slightest lift from gentle tannins lingering in the background. Outstanding!

O•S Winery wines are well distributed at grocers and wine shops in the Whatcom County area. For additional wines and winery information:

February Filled With Wine-Related Events

February 5th, 2013

February might seem like a bit of an off month for wine-related events. But in spite of the plethora of festivals and special events one usually finds in spring, summer and autumn, there are plenty of things happening this winter during February, as well.

For some, wine tasting in February means pairing up a glass of red wine with a delectable chocolate or two. You’ll have ample opportunity for this and more at the Yakima Valley Red Wine and Chocolate event on February 16 and 17.

nullThis is one of the largest and oldest tastings of its kind in Washington, with over 40 participating wineries from Yakima to the Red Mountain area. Purchase a $30 Premier Pass in advance and you’ll receive access to exclusive pairings, library tastings, and tours not available to the public. For a list of wineries and additional ticket information:

If you’d prefer to stay closer to home, I know of a couple of similar events scheduled at Whatcom County wineries.

Dakota Creek Winery will host a Valentine’s Day Celebration on February 14 from 1 to 5 pm and Vartanyan Estate Winery is planning a Valentine’s Wine and Chocolate event on February 8 through 10 and 15 through 17 from 1 to 5 pm daily. The Vartanyan event will feature truffles made by Bellingham’s Chocolate Necessities.

Thinking about going out for a nice dinner with wines during February? I’ll be moderating two such events this month that might be just what you’re looking for.

February 9 brings a Washington Wine Dinner at North Bellingham Golf Course’s Nine Restaurant. An exquisite, five-course dinner will feature wines and winery representatives from Treveri Cellars, Robert Karl Winery, Barrister Winery, Terra Blanca Winery, and Dynasty Cellars. Reservations are required. Call 398-8300, extension 2.

On February 26 I’ll host a Zinfandel Wine Dinner at Bellingham Technical College. Each of the dinner’s five courses will be paired with a specially selected zinfandel and I’ll also give you an in-depth look at this versatile red wine. To register:

Finally, if your wine tastes tend to have more of a global preference, be sure to consider the Vancouver International Wine Festival.

This year’s week-long extravaganza of tastings, lunches, dinners and seminars begins on February 25 and features 175 wineries from 15 countries.

I’ve attended many events from this Festival over the past 10-plus years and found it to be unparalleled in volume and variety. Book a hotel room and plan for an easy, wine-related getaway. Complete details:

Powered by WordPress

kamagra order online cephalexin for dogs side effects singulair allergy medication side effects harga fluconazole tablet what is the difference in sotalol and sotalol af finasteride online ciprobay 500 side effects diclofenaco dosis maxima 24hr canadian pharmacy precios levitra 10 mg clomid 100mg philippines zovirax 500mg tablet propecia 1 mg generic 100 periactin otc 40 mg cialis safe finax cereal hong kong cialis online keflex 500 mg precio mexico cialis uk 40mg cytotec side effects abortion doxycycline tablets for sale feldene legal us cytotec venta online usa erythromycin tc 200 mg buy 100 ml viagra order 40 mg fursomide online kegunaan meloxicam apotik online cialis buying ciplactin online epharmacy online shoes plendil 5 mg felodipine kosovarja forum viagra online deutsch cialis red phenergan 25mg zyd cystone online forum antibiotic treatment for e coli uti cholesterol guidelines for women augmentin 400 mg pediatrico best online pill site classification blopress generic viagra options comprar viagra 50 mg discount viagra lowest prices buying ciplactin online zestril generic name claravis accutane drug can i get a blood clot while on coumadin puppies for sale in illinois ray h viagra acquistare cialis generico prevacid coupon prevacid coupons printable austin doctors topamax weight loss topamax dosage for weight loss viagra and high blood pressure tablets wellbutrin generics name online doxycycline 50mg generic synthroid canada utilisatrice de cialis femme paroxetine generic for buy over the counter zyprexa online airol cream albuterol sulfate inhalation aerosol for sale bactrim and alcoholic beverages grifulvin v daily use reviews betnovate c skin cream for pimple marks does seroquel make you tired the next day maximum frusemide dose per day 2 20mg cialis einem order viagra selfserverx mupirocin uses in dogs qsymia no prescription online citrato de sildenafila prec,o can metformin be taken when mensurating lisinopril 20 mg wirkstoff amerimedrx complaints definition naproxen vs ibuprofen for back pain hexal lisinopril 10 mg cialis 2.5 mg online 6 levitra 5mg tabs cheap clomiphene buy propecia yahoo does amoxicillin work for staph minoxidil topical solution for women 5 minoxidil otc avodart buy periactin generic cheapest viagra sublingual to buy haldol 1 mg tabletten viagra alternative gnc lialda coupon 2013 naproxen sodium side effects viagra price per pill walgreens 6 abilify weight gain drug cheap pharmacy prices beconase nasal spray nostril is ok to take 2 20 milligram of cialis nuvigil side effects depression eulexin pill shop discount code dosage amoxil 500 mg 5 mg predisome canada otc metformin sifrol parkinson eltroxin tablets 50mcg 800 mg chineese viagra cara kerja cytotec 2 50 mg zoloft viramune copay card alesse birth control information effectiveness cialis non generic online dapoxetine buy online ireland buy citalopram hydrobromide is it illegal to order generic speman clopidogrel side effects in dogs free coupon for combivent over counter micardis prilosec 40 mg otc price cheap doxycycline australia norvasc amlodipine besylate pharmacy viagra echeck accepted motrin dosage for children by age precose medication acarbose qsymia coupons for walgreens european pharmacists and medics group etodolac dogs side effects nolvadex side effects in men estradiol tablets vs estradiol patches escitalopram side effects medication antiviral acyclovir side effects ornidazole treatment for compare prices l-tryptophan hallas farm clomipene citrate cheap pharmacy prices viagra generic rating viagra cheap 150 viagra patent generic proscar hair loss propecia 50mg viagra last xenical orlistat buy online uk is viagra an over the counter drug in canada generic priligy reviews accutane results patients free coupon for dilantin where to buy priligy online uk medicine lasix 500 mg 2.5 mg cialis reviews buy viagra uk online cialis wikipedia 50 or 100mg clomid sildalis for sale american express cialis 5 mg somministrazione lisinopril online pharmacy is a prescription needed for caverta benazepril hctz 10 12.5 side effectsbenfotiaminbestherbal clomid buy generic coumadin blood thinner readings propecia 5 or 1mg pharmacies america generic viagra amex minocin 100mg uses proscar 5mg without prescription zoloft dosages and side effects tramadol hcl 50 mg tablet picture zaditor delivery uk qualitest lisinopril 10mg amerimedrx complaints definition elimite no prescription wellbutrin mood disorders sala fontana prices cialis walmart viagra apotheke preis 25 mg viagra cheap wellbutrin 300 online buy cialis in pakistan flomaxtra xl 400 homelite pentrexyl 500 mg dosis yagara order canada 100mg viagra online 10 does cialis 5mg work viagra macedonia buy original eldepryl online generic voveran sr usa pharmacy suhagra cheap pinamox uses for coconut best cialis online order diclofenac potassium cataflam buy cipla cialis valtrex 500 mg prix doxycycline hyclate side effects 100mg allegra d 12 hour coupons buy zofran capsules prednisone for pets free or low cost levitra professional online cialis alli diet supplement alli c alesse overnight pharmacy fedex adalat patient reviews what is roxithromycin for buying bactrim ds subutex side effects zovirax cream ointment atacand medication side effects brahmi online pharmacy uk order strattera online 60 mgs dapoxtine with levitra onlaintv ntv7 where purchase inderal cheap abortion pill what is lexapro escitalopram oxalate amphetamine salts 20mg coupon order acticin medication by mail generic viagra sold in united states betnovate cream generic name mercury pharmacy philippines luvox generic side effects propranolol buy meclizine 25mg medication motion sickness cytotec en santa cruz levitra overnight without prescription vitamix reviews qvc ortho tri cyclen cheap australia pharmacy side effects of doxycycline hyclate for dogs verapamil 240 mg er capsules propecia online amex dikloron ampullae lamisil from usa sildenafil pfizer danazol buy uk trental 400mg pharmacies that carry domperidone esomeprazole 20 mg celebrex 200 mg prices januvia online belgium florinef medication where to buy buyinc cialis mexico can i get cymbalta buy 1 mg fanisteride dilantin without rx tablet nexium 40 mg phone in order for ashwagandha augmentin generico sandoz buy cialis no prescription in the usa lamictal side effects rash pictures nitrazepam dosage of benadryl pacific care vanuatu irbesartan hydrochlorothiazide 300/25mg online buying viagra pattaya terramicina unguento oftalmico garamicina picture of generic valtrex glasgow viagra buy can you order florinef order female viagra lowest price buy alli 120 count online individually zithromax 1g buy bula lexapro 20mg find viagra online what is danazol used for zoloft 100 mg opinie levitra prescription coupon can order prinivil online medication for anxiety and depression herbal generic cialis malaysia xenical online forum two 100mg. viagra cheap cialis 800mg enalapril side effects in cats is atlantic drugs legit doxycycline monohydrate canadian health are mall levitra online ordering buy finpecia india sumycin tetracycline stained generic soft cialis doxycycline 200 mg what does the name abana mean dyazide side effects long term atomoxetine hydrochloride patch chlamydia medication online cheap celebrex 200mg order xenical medicine kamatra sumatra tsunamikeflex indapamide side effects lozol medicine furosemide lasix 20 mg 20 mg cialis price nolvadex side effects in men apertium wikia requip starter pack instructions canesoral price chopper online prescription viagra order clonidine buy tranexamic acid no prescription usa triamterene 37.5 mg side effects the best erection pills reviews prescription aldactone levitra 20 mg use zovirax online order trimetabol dosage for benadryl sample canadian viagra glucophage 500 mg daily doxepin for sleep reviews no prescription z pack metformin 500 mg order allpills complaints of a dutiful daughter 689 buy liquid antibiotics online extenze male enhancement side effects atosil drops of jupiter fosamax generic retin a without a prescription erection pill samples buy metformin without prescription keftab on line no script doxycycline cheap price chewable female viagra buy generic clomid order buspar zithromax online drugstore zovirax 50 mg price zoloft 100 mg ocd buspirone hcl 15mg what is it for para que se usa el medicamento lopid arthritis in the knee cap get aygestin toronto buy haldol paypal buy arjuna no prescription buy citalopram online in the uk valtrex 500mg hinta generic elavil for sale on line hct hotel chalet de tradition medrol online store eriacta 100mg 20 mg doxycycline hyclate lisinopril buy europe viagra indiano zoloft autoimmune disorders inderalici 40 secnidazole tablets side effects micardis hct coupons how much nolvadex for gynecomastia methotrexate dose in psoriasis cheap doxycycline 50mg levoxyl recall 2008 finax tablets on sale clomid fast delivery prinivil side effects lisinopril mail order levitra 20mg paroxetine generic for euthyrox 50 mcg dosis propranolol 40 mg online pharmasists thailand generic tetracycline uk paypal buy zithromax packet alli buy flomax side effects tamsulosin side effects what does doxycycline hyclate pills look like amoxil antibiotic amoxil pill identification pictures clotrimazole and betamethasone dipropionate cream usp 1 /0.05 (base) terramycin for dogs ears safe site for viagra europe generic viagra bkk suhagra 100mg canada ornidazole injection sites nizagara ingredients in meth levitra 10 mg teilbar kamagra ireland super active sale cheap levitra online pill store oxybutynin chloride 5 mg tablet zithromax 500mg adalah alphagan eye drops zofran billig kaufen tadalafil tabs aus malaysia canada med store cb1 weight gain pill reviews celebrex 200 mg capsulas cheap zofran online sinequan no prescription compare prices purchase colchicine in us frumil fortegames uti antibiotics for sale newhealthyman reviews losartan potassium 100 mg price comparison lithium price per pound ofloxacin buy from canada how to take anafranil lipitor trusted online drug stores in canada propecia finasteride same terramycin eye ointment for dogs pheromones definition buy citalopram cheap lasix overnight delivery cialis 2.5mg reviews femcare cost in canada secnidazole tablets 1g precose medication for weight loss ethionamide order in the us where to buy diflucan over the counter fluconazole online viagra online cvs viagra sans ordonnance pharmacie pill cutter for viagra over the counter femara viagra without a doctor prescription from canada say what does fertomid 50 mg do sertraline side effects astelin nasal spray flagyl buy no prescription baristanet montclair nj/tom obeirne combitic global caplet levitra 5 mg prospecto how to get propecia cheaper cytotec 200mg ivg salzarex thyroxine t4 buspar 100 mg discount celebrex buy wellbutrin 150mg singapore zenegra with no rx cialis professional pills buy online isoptin verapamil hydrochloride cialis indian pharmacy buy hong kong cheapest claritin online how much does lopressor cost without insurance buy minocycline 200 buy cheap cialis on line cialis 20 mg best price allegra printing waltham ma viagra 25 oder 50 mg try viagra ships 2 to 3 days u s nizagara no rx cheap kamagra uk next day delivery generic viagra and cialis robaxin buy mexico kamagra ireland uroxatral medication coupons altace ramipril capsules 5mg phentermine 37.5 side effects amoxicillin for sinus infection during pregnancy lopid 600 mg triglycerides captopril dosage information cheap propecia 5mg online amoxil 500 mg sinusitis medicstar reviews on apidexin viagra buy discount diabecon ingredients for lasagna zoloft and lorazepam together ivermectin for cats buy online drug with paypal cialis women eulexin and pcos hair insulin glargine generic name acivir pills pharmacies buying anipryl without a prescription phenergan 5mg dosage captopril 25mg information seller viagra how much does lotrisone cream cost vidalta 10mg oxycontin buying nizagara on line dianabol stack with sustanon generic of zithromax procalisx reviews for fifty levitra controindicazioni cheap bupropion uk lamisil side effects liver damage oracea patient savings card januvia side effects where to buy cytotec online uk glucovance 2.5 500 side effects tadacip buy mexico coversyl plus hd side effects buy ampicillin with e check does amoxicillin work for staph how long does it take mobic to start working aristocort cream ointment gelarthritis cialis 2.5 mg reviews buy hong kong cheapest claritin online best zyvox prices generic xenical price letrozole gynecomastia dosage dosage of zithromax for strep throat colchicine treatment prinivil prices usa cialis for sale glendale ca 15 mg lexapro anxiety cozaar medication assistance metformin 500 mg ingredients accutane australia viagra 25 mg 2 comprimidos buying cialis soft for dogs vulnerable amex clindamycin for dogs treatment buy tamoxifen withought prescription precio sildenafil en ginebra cheap ed trial packs order glyset online diflucan 150 mg bula lexapro liver disorder buy micronase patch lamictal for depression only shoping plavix in india zithromax antibiotic 500 mg cheap pharmacy asacol diverticulitis reviews zovirax medication for children cost of accutane treatment