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

clindamycin 300 mg capsules side effects tamoxifen side effects high risk plendil 100 mg 1mg finasteride omeprazole 20 mg capsules treatment cheap kamagra uk next day delivery online pharmacy canada oxycodone micardis telmisartan 40 mg oxazepam dosage secnidazole tablets 1g augmentin online bestellen pentrexyl mexico healthcare provider order setraline without prescription generic price advair diskus online where to buy genuine cytotec in manila buy canada no prescription for erythromycin generic levitra problem deltasone overnight delivery buy vaginal viagra kelebihan levitra 20 mg can you get viagra at cvs prednisone dose pack relafen 500 mg side effects buy zofran capsules where can i buy zofran online asacol 400 mg mesalamine leconfield house curzon street cinema tulasi tablets uses canadian drugs without prescription condyline 5 tint cheap buy zyvox rx generic cialis hard actos warnings risk diclofenac alcohol how long sildenafil purchase on line mesalamine generic price florinef side effects cymbalta online mexico buy dovobet finpecia reviews cipla rx pharmacy online cialis generic usa suppliers of tulasi in us nexium 10 mg sachet retin a cream wo script canada cialis 20mg online viagra review buy 100mg viagra online disgrasil orlistat precious metal prices vitamix recipes for weight loss mens health viagra online ou trouver xenical pas cher does walgreens accept goodrx coupons orlistat prescription strength buy amoxicillin without px exelon nuclear employment cipla pvt ltd mumbai what two medications are in vytorin femara side effects letrozole clavamox for cats uti wellbutrin 300 online doxycycline 100mg capsules dose for dogs viagra hungary coumadin side effects propecia canada cheap prednisone watson 20 mg losartan side effects medication vet-vipps online pharmacy buy vardenafil online buy doxycycline 500 cialis deal albendazole without transcript alben venlafaxine hcl er 75mg side effectsverapamil doxycycl hyc 100mg antibiotic generic propecia canada lopid 600 mg isoptin sr 240 mg codeine best online pharmacy tech schools erythromycin 300 mg clindamycin 150mg capsules carbimazole tablets 5mg wellbutrin generic 150 mg cialis jelly without script clonazepam without script lantus solostar insulin pen where can i buy vermox over the counter generic viagra on line order legal buy zestoretic online canada online pharmiacies cialis 50 mg pills terramycin for dogs dosage where can i get vpxl ramipril side effects metoclopramide generic reglan allopurinol side effects weight gain vardenafil hcl levitra online men prix du viagra 100 en pharmacie cardura xl 4 mg side effects purchase roxithromycin pills top rated generic viagra pharmacy order viagra super active canada where to buy cialis in hong kong cialis 100mg online astromenda search reglan lawsuit settlement amounts toradol dosage viagra side effects dangers buying sildenafil citrate online erythromycin 500mg price rumalaya forte wellbutrin dose for smoking cessation overnight pharmacy 4u order flagyl antibiotic side effects on dogs cual precio levitra mexico slimex capsules 10mg metformin and alcohol cialis professional 20 mg buy canada no prescription for micardis cipro uti online cheap online viagra pills best alternative to viagra zyvoxid 600mg caffeine tadalafil cialis 5mg how many mg of clomid to take for pct wellbutrin for anxiety disorders tretinoin cream 0.05 cost how do i get viagra without seeing a doctor how long does depakote take to work for migraines mobic 7.5 mg for headaches colospan what is its usage quem usa citalopram doxycycline order online ordering carbozyne clonidine side effects in children with adhd cgv pharmacy lexapro 5 mg escitalopram adipex weight loss stories glyprin 100mg morphine cialis soft overnight eurax scabies treatment buy lotensin 40 mg tablet online benicar hct 40 25 mg price strattera cap 40 mg kamagra comprar online buy prozac online uk lisinopril 30 mg price online meds for uti lasix medication diuretics bactroban cream mupirocin calcium cream 2 uses north american pharmecy kamagra plus 20mg aristocort triamcinolone cream safe nizagara site viagra 100 mg canada acai purchase online skelaxin side effects in elderly pharmacy rx one cialis coreg 12.5 mg tablet how long does it take to get crestor out of your system anastrozole 1 mg for men viagra price in south africa nolvadex clomid pct dosage pregnant pictures of jennifer lopez nizoral a d shampoo motrin 1b dosage cipla india pharmaceutical nitrazepam dosage calculations clomid buy on line uk lialda side effects mesalamine suppositories 05mg propecia best price for hyzaar levitra generic 40 mg. types of levitra buying cialis 5mg online viagra overnite mobicox 7 5mg percocet buy actavis promethazine with codeine generic viagra help citalopram 10mg side effects cheap viagra 48hr ordering torsemide here in canada cialis daily online supreme suppliers viagra celebrex 50 mg capsules 1000 mg zithromax himcolin cream cheese sertraline hydrochloride tablets sildenafil cialis cialis generic europe order generic snovitra super power tamsulosin hcl 0.4 mg lopressor medication dose kosovarja numri me i ride nosipren medication identification zovirax cream 5 mg sensitive skin+after accutane best brand birth control pills pcos cialis 50mg information how much does viagra cost per pill pris cialis 5 mg kamagra buy online target pharmacy express scripts pyridium order on web buy doxycycline fedex buy singulair with no rx discounted xenical online walmart buy cialis allpills complaints about companiesalphagan what is suhagra 100mg prednisone buy online wellbutrin generic form strattera 10 mg atomoxetine viagra 150 mg canada elimite 5 cream 60gm online viagra sale purchasing propecia xenical 120 mg wikipedia cialis 5mg overdose effet cialis 10 mg 50 mg prednisone siatica nexium epocrates online cialis 20 mg. tablets penis pics prednisona para perros lanoxin medication use antibiotics for bronchitis and ear infection abilify maintena terramicina unguento oftalmico garamicina australia cheapest viagra 100 75 mg of zoloft ortho tri cyclen generic names is abilify available over the counter generic uk paypal mentax viagra australia online aciclovir discount drugs generic revista kosovarja clomid 150 mg concentration generic cialis canada customs best site get diabecon canadian drugs suhagra ambien cr price viagra online type dutas barato acheter viagra original en ligne buy zovirax us viagra kopen citalopram and viagra effexor and weight loss medication where can i get vpxl ciales puerto rico restaurantes atosil drops of jupiter where to order cialis pills my prinivil coupons avalide drugs omeprazole 20 mg capsule what is it for cialis 5 mg acquisto online pharmacy buy accutane 40 mg prednisone taper viagra online dove order sominex tablets generic cialis information clomid online ireland generic drug for sarafem mirapex er side effects micardis medication telmisartan online viagra aurochem prednisolone for cats doseprednisona canadian flomax etodolac dogs side effects amiloride hcl hydrochlorothiazide acheter pas cher lotensin euroclinix uk map legal designer drugs for sale synthroid o. 1 mg does generic propecia work diclofenac medication class 250 mg metformin pcos cheap free viagra doxycycline 50 mg chloroquine resistant malaria prophylaxis exelon stock price drop brand cialis canadian pharmacy tamsulosin side effects aciclovir tablets can you take alcohol maxolon medication cyproheptadine hcl for cats relafen shopping where to buy proventil online uk what drug category is chloromycetin minoxidil 2 amoxil dosage for adults nizoral cream 2 treatment 100mg clomid tablets online pvp cialis 5 mg restonite zolpidem side lasix tabletas 40 mg kamagra 5 mg flonase side effects children sumycin syrup of ipecac propecia walgreens is superdrugsaver legit cialis 5mg generico colchicine with no prescription betnovate gm for pimples finax cereal cheapest drug pharmacy local hydrochlorathazide without prescription cialis south africa online are there any over the counter pills for yeast infection low cost overnight strattera tylenol dosage for infants after dpt vaccine metformin and pregnancy side effects vpxl shop how to buy cialis wholesale cialis 40 mg alli weight loss uk buy online buy lady era next day generic viagra cialis canada levitra shop uk levitra vs viagra vs cialis cost of hyzaar without insurance metformin hcl1000mg buy luvox online reviews generic elavil for sale on line sibutramine user reviews maximum daily dosage of propranolol viagra generique 100mg viagra vipps pharmacy what is lisinopril taken for reviews global pharmacy canada inc viagra 100 mg duracion avodart side effects medication acheter cialis ligne quebec best price on generic viagra tc tetracycline fish side effects of paroxetine hcl 20 mg is the generic for plavix safe ginseng kianpi pil weight gain oxazepam dosage cymbalta side effects in women clomid 100mg effects propecia when generic buy strattera online usa pharmacy overseasrxdrugs coupon tadalafil generic best price buyers of cialis jelly canada can i buy viagra in qatar celebrex 200 mg prospect vibramycin uses buy cozaar next day rimadyl for dogs dosage mercury drug price list of medicines femara infertility and birth defects mexican pharmacies in tojuana lexapro 5 mg meclizine cost without insurance when to take viagra for fun prednisone 20mg earache doxycycline 100mg bronchitis albuterol sulfate side effects shaking acquista levitra 5 mg pharmacy technician salary in florida canada pharmacy 24 viagra on ebay plavix 75 mg daily can get acai berry over counter pravastatin 40 mg side effects buy orlistat 120mg online india amoxicillin or zithromax for sinus infection cheap genuine tretinoin 0,05 online orderpharma topix forum hydroxyzine for dogs where can i buy qsymia buy cialis cialas medameds complaints against lawyers blycolin groepsaankoop indomethacin side effects in pregnancy is diflucan generic where to buy propranolol online domperidone dosage and breastfeeding buy viagra coventry duloxetine hydrochloride generic price buy flagyl online no prescription lipitor online no prescription caffeine pills walgreens buspar side effects weight loss lloyds pharmacy discounts codes where can i order lithium septra ds 800 160 sifrol 0.18 mg average mg zoloft flomaxtra xl tablets overnight pharmacy betnovate sildegra 100mg diphenhydramine euroclinix opinieland accutane lawsuit settlements 2014 wellbutrin 300 mg cost levitra 10mg generique mometasone furoate ointment usp .1 buy neurontin online no prescription usa retin a cream 0.05 20g tadalafil 5mg india can you get pregnant on aldactone proviron impotence estrogen compound difference between xenical and lesofat philippines cvs cialis 20mg price cheap erection pills order pills for chlamydia where can i get epivir-hbv pills glucophage 850mg can i take augmentin for strep throat vermox rezeptfrei deutschland xanax dosage information for mri scan diflucan 150 mg posologia levitra go generic dosage 200 mg celebrex cialis generico 10mg como comprar evista differin buy paypal where to buy generic lasix buy cialis cheaply medoflucon fluconazole for dogs quickest cleocin better pill zentel drug worms get wellbutrin online lipitor generic 20 mg viagra side effects long term zolpidem side effects long term viagra paiement paypal best place buy antivert oracef 250mg is how many grams dapoxetine price uk viagra vendas online what are valacyclovir tablets american academy of pediatrics aspirin buy cialis dublin zyban information dose levitra without prescription sildenafil citrate 50mg effects online pharmacy without script cipro 4 generic meclizine 12.5 mg for vertigo reviews azithromycin z pack doses price cialis 10mg billig probalan online kaufen augmentin 12h 400 mg levitra orders germany 1000 mg zithromax lipothin injections for arthritis lagatrim tablets for kids accutane pharacy online lexapro 0.25 mg ritalin dosage for adults doxitab 100mg morphine free canadian family tree metformin amazon co uk cipro bay 500mg buy thyroxine indian viagra sales cialis 5 mg online generic name for bayer aspirin prospect cialis 20 mg ranigast lektire cost of generic wellbutrin at walmart pil perancang postinor isoptin verapamil online pharmacy how can i get zofran metronidazole for dogs side effects oxybutynin 5mg remeron antidepressant dosages betapace cost canadian prandin medication side effects cheapest kamagra 50mg zantac side effects medication use atrovent coupon online aspirin 100mg cheep bactrim ds online no prescription 2600 morphine and ambien sleeping pills dapoxetine tablets 60 mg v max herbal cialis en ligne allemagne yasmine bleeth 2015 pictures genuine cialis from canada cheap pills to get high where can i buy prednisolone in the uk uk buy femara without prescription 2.5mg lisinopril cheap kamagra europe augmentin duo 625 mg triamterene drug schedule clonidine medication uses viagra 100mg knoll no perscription drug websites actos allpills net buy strattera pills in the india real viagra online without prescription abilify medication drug buy telfast online uk medoflucon 50 shades