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.

Maryhill Evolves Into More Than Just a Destination Winery

February 3rd, 2015

There’s a lot to like about Maryhill Winery: a tasting room facility on the Columbia Gorge with some of the most spectacular views of any winery I’ve visited; an on-site, 4,000-seat amphitheater for outdoor concerts; and a huge portfolio of wines that’s certain to satisfy virtually any taste preference or budget.

In 2007 I wrote, “Warning: wines from Maryhill Winery are not for the faint of heart. (They’re) big and bold with complex, massive fruit flavors…”

Things have certainly changed since then. The Maryhill wines I recently tasted seemed to place much less emphasis on the high fruit and alcohol content. The result: wines that display superior balance, more character, and far better food-pairing capability.

nullIt’s probably no mystery that this evolution of Maryhill wines coincides with the hiring of Richard Batchelor as winemaker.

Originally from New Zealand, Batchelor came on board with Maryhill in 2009, and the number of awards his wines have earned since that time is staggering…including seven platinums at Wine Press Northwest magazine’s Best of the Best in the Pacific Northwest Competition last year.

Today’s recommendations include several choices nicely priced in the under-$20-a-bottle category. These wines are well distributed and easy to find in local grocers and wine shops, including Seifert & Jones Wine Merchants in Bellingham.

2012 Winemaker’s White (about $11) – This tasty blend of chardonnay, viognier, semillon, pinot gris and sauvignon blanc has just the right balance between viscous and crispness with flavors of granny smith apple, pear, and lemon tart. Prefer red blends instead? A 2012 Winemaker’s Red is also currently available for about $15.

2013 Rosé of Sangiovese (about $11) – Batchelor hits a grand slam with this pretty-in-pink, gem of a wine. Wild strawberry aromatics and flavors fill the glass from start to finish, with a closing note of red currant and beautiful, bracing acidity. Outstanding!

2013 Viognier (about $13) – Flavor profile-wise, there’s a bit of a throwback to the Maryhill of old with this full-bodied white wine. Toasted marshmallow on the nose, a mouthful of tropical fruit and baked apple flavors and a creamy texture with great mouthfeel all add up to this somewhat guilty pleasure.

2009 Zinfandel (about $18) – Spicy aromas and tastes predominate, with understated flavors of raspberry and crabapple and a faintly peppery finish. With the fruit, alcohol and acidity in check, this makes an excellent red to serve with roast beef or pork tenderloin.

2011 Sangiovese (about $18) – Lovely caramel and red cherry aromas start you off along with a hint of smokiness that carries through to the palate. Pie cherry, pomegranate and cranberry flavors are perfectly balanced with nice acidity and salmon or duck come to mind as food-pairing options.

Washington Wines: Big on Quality and Variety

January 27th, 2015

Last week I ventured outside the state to feature several international wine recommendations for you to consider. Today we return to Washington, with a number of terrific wines that are equally certain to please.

As I tasted these wines, it struck me how diverse Washington has become in the number of varietals we now produce.

The key to all of this is our climate in the eastern half of the state, where nearly all of our wine grapes are grown.

Long summer days, abundant sunshine, and cool autumn evenings that allow the grapes to maintain high acidity levels with extended hang times all play a part in why we do wines so well in this part of the world.

For today’s column, there’s no particular regional or varietal theme, just more recommendations that showcase a few of the increasingly varied choices that wine enthusiasts have when considering Washington wines.

L’Ecole No. 41 2013 Semillon (about $15) – This is one of my favorite white varietals, and although it can be difficult to find, winemaker Marty Clubb has, thankfully, been making it for as long as I can remember. The wine’s nicely reserved layer of pineapple and tropical fruit is also underscored with stone fruit, lemon chiffon and floral accents. An excellent wine at an incredibly reasonable price.

Otis Kenyon 2013 Riesling (about $18) – Up until a few years ago, this Walla Walla winery only made red wines; but they’ve expanded their current releases to include this refreshing white. Racy, vibrant flavors of lemon and lime zest are capped by a clean, bone-dry finish. It’s quite possibly the perfect wine to pair with oysters on the half-shell.

nullFoxy Roxy Wines 2008 Vixen Red (about $22) – A gorgeous Bordeaux blend of estate-grown cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and carménerè, this opulent red is brimming with cola, black cherry and blackberry fruit that melt into a plush, lengthy finish. The winery is located in the middle of nowhere between the towns of Royal City and Othello, but the wines, fortunately, can be purchased on line.

Rulo Winery 2013 Sundance Chardonnay (about $25) – Honeysuckle, sweet pea and clover aromatics lead to generous flavors of Macintosh apple and green melon. The finish is textured with a slightly crisp trailing note. Another stunning wine from Kurt and Vicki Schlicker, who continue to do a remarkable job at their Walla Walla winery.

Coach House Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $30) – Produced by Bellingham winemakers Scott Whitman and Paxton Rembert, this current release doesn’t have quite the power and depth of their 2010 cab, but it’s still a fine effort. Black plum, roasted coffee, some nice acidity and supple tannins combine in a well-balanced red that can be enjoyed now or cellared three to five years for future enjoyment.

Explore International Wines from New and Old World Sources

January 20th, 2015

The focus of my column has always been on Washington wine – and with good reason. Our state produces all the essentials a wine enthusiast could ask for: white wines ranging from crisp, vibrant riesling to full-bodied chardonnay and a wide array of red wines from velvety merlot to big, bold cabernet sauvignon.

But even if all your taste-preference bases are covered by Washington wineries, you’d be foolish not to enjoy wines from other parts of the United States and around the world.

Old World wine-producing countries of France, Spain, and Italy and New World sources such as South Africa, Australia, Chile, and Argentina offer an immense variety of styles to complement and contrast anything from Washington in your on-hand wine supply.

nullToday I’ll give you several international recommendations I’ve recently enjoyed that make great choices for wineophiles looking to venture outside the Pacific Northwest.

Borgo M 2013 Pinot Grigio (about $12) – This refreshing Italian white has a lightly floral and fruity aroma with plenty of crisp citrus flavors and a lemon-drop finish. It pairs well with manila clams in butter broth and is currently on the menu at Keenan’s at the Pier Restaurant in Bellingham.

Montes Twins 2012 Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon (about $15) – This 50/50 blend is sourced from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. It’s loaded with dark berry, plum, and black currant fruits followed by a layer of even darker bittersweet chocolate and espresso. The soft finish makes it instantly enjoyable and a pleasure to taste.

Bodegas Beronia Rioja Reserva 2008 (about $19) – This beautiful Spanish red is comprised almost entirely of tempranillo and its opening cherry flavors are accentuated with subtle clove and cinnamon spice. The lingering, complex finish suggests caramel and hazelnut with a dusting of cocoa powder. It pairs nicely with a variety of tapas from octopus to linguiça.

nullKaiken 2012 Ultra Malbec (about $24) – Another excellent Chilean malbec, this one is filled with reserved blueberry and blackberry flavors and underscored with an earthy, mineral-like quality and supple tannins. The 14.5-percent alcohol content comes off as slightly hot; a quibble quickly tempered by the dollop of vanilla bean on the finish.

Antonelli San Marco 2010 Montefalco Rosso and Arnaldo-Caprai 2012 Montefalco Rosso (between $19 to $25 each) – Montefalco is a subdivision within central Italy’s Umbria region and known for its big, heady red wines.

Both of these wines have a sangiovese base and 15-percent sagrantino. The Antonelli also blends in cabernet sauvignon and merlot and its cherry, red plum, and toasted oak profile is perfectly balanced with grippy tannins.

The Arnaldo-Caprai is finished with just a bit of merlot. It’s a touch lighter in body, with red currant and berry flavors, firm tannins and a pleasant splash of green tea on the finish.

Jones of Washington Provides Solid, Affordable Wines

January 13th, 2015

Even though it was just a few short weeks ago, Christmas, 2014 seems likes a distant memory. Well, at least it does until we receive those credit card bills in the mail to remind us of our weak-moment (but almost certainly justified), holiday spending binges.

That’s why January always seems like a fitting time to talk about wines for those trying to be a bit more cost-conscious. A winery with solid, consistently good wines that are affordably priced is a must, and Jones of Washington is one that delivers on all counts.

nullThis isn’t to suggest that Jones wines should be limited to those on a budget. On the contrary, these wines should be enjoyed year-round, with plenty of choices at both the lower and mid-range price points and overachieving quality on every level.

Here are a number of recommendations of current releases to get you started:

2013 Estate Riesling (about $12) – Refreshing pear and honeydew melon flavors lead off with a whisper of spicy, lychee fruit on the extreme finish. Winemaker Victor Palencia seems to have used a bit of a lighter touch with this riesling, and it earned the winery a coveted double platinum award from Wine Press Northwest magazine.

2013 Chardonnay (about $15) – Ambrosia-like aromatics fill the glass, followed by a mouthful of tropical pineapple, papaya and banana fruit flavors. As it warms, Golden Delicious apple and touches of peach shine through on the finish. This is a big, fruit-forward chardonnay that’s certain to put a smile on your face.

2011 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (about $15) – Delicious cherry and berry flavors, a touch of toasted oak, and slightly chewy tannins highlight this nicely balanced red wine. It’s an absolute steal at this price and perfect for everyday enjoyment or for those who want to impress without spending a bundle.

2011 Late Harvest Riesling (about $20 for the 375ml bottle) – Mouthwatering peach and gently spiced pear and apple flavors are accentuated with zesty citrus notes of lemon and tangerine. The wine’s 10-percent residual sugar content adds a lengthy, honey-like finish.

Jack’s Reserve 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $30) – For a step up in price, try this beautifully crafted cabernet. It opens with blackberry and dark cherry flavors and the layered, complex finish suggests white pepper, cocoa powder and fresh herbs. It’s bold, yet refined, with the fruit, tannins and acidity levels in perfect balance.

Other well-priced Jones of Washington wines currently available include the 2013 Pinot Gris (about $13), and the 2013 Viognier, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, and 2013 Estate Merlot (all priced at about $15 each).

Jones of Washington wines are easy to find in Whatcom County grocers and wine shops and can also be purchased on line at jonesofwashington.com.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Powered by WordPress