Toast to the Northwest

By Kori ~ May 14th, 2008.

20080514_spirit.jpgThis event, held last weekend at the Dempsey Indoor on the University of Washington campus, brought together two of my favorite things, Huskies and wine. As a graduate of the University of Washington, I am a tried and true Husky fan. In fact one of my favorite pastimes is attending UW sporting events with my family. So an event that features wine and supports the Huskies is right up my alley. In its third year, Toast to the Northwest featured about 40 wineries or wine companies (distributors, importers, etc), food vendors, and even a few breweries that are all located in the Pacific Northwest. The proceeds from this event benefit the University of Washington’s Husky Marching Band. As you might expect, there was also fabulous live music.

20080514_brassband.jpgAs with any event like this, it is impossible to taste all of the wines offered. So Colby and I chose to visit the booths for wineries whose wines we had not previously tasted or had not tasted in a long time. We made a few discoveries and look forward to picking up some bottles and adding them to our blind-tasting lineup to see how they stack up against some of our proven favorites.

20080514_chandlerreach.jpgOur most exciting discovery of the day was Chandler Reach Vineyards. I had not previously tasted (nor even heard of) their wines. We tasted the two red wines they were offering, the 2005 Corella (72% Sangiovese, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Syrah) and the 2005 Monte Regalo (63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Syrah), and loved them both. Chandler Reach is located in Benton City, Washington, along the Yakima River. Inspired to start his own winery during a trip to Italy, owner Len Parris set his sights on “bringing Tuscany to Washington.” Founded in 1997, Chandler Reach’s winemaking focus is on Italian-style wines and their tasting room resembles a Tuscan villa.

In order to keep these notes from being unwieldy as we tasted 20 different wines, I have broken down the list into Quality rating categories. Under each Quality heading, the wine name will be listed along with appellation/region, price and QPR rating. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2005 Chandler Reach Corella, Yakima Valley, $16.35, QPR: 5
2005 Chandler Reach Monte Regalo, Yakima Valley, $20, QPR: 5

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2005 Patit Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $29, QPR: 5
2005 Saint Laurent Estate Syrah, Wahluke Slope, $22, QPR: 4
2006 Alamos Seleccione Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, $14, QPR: 4

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2007 Tilia Malbec-Syrah, Mendoza, Argentina, $9.50, QPR: 5
2003 Kiona Cabernet-Merlot, Washington State, $11.99, QPR: 5
2005 Sawtooth Viognier, Idaho, $8.49, QPR: 4
2005 Waterbrook Melange, Columbia Valley, $15, QPR: 4
2005 Zerba Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $30, QPR: 4
2006 Maryhill Viognier, Columbia Valley, $14.99, QPR: 3
2005 Glen Fiona Walla Walla Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $19.99, QPR: 3
2002 Kiona Red Mountain Estate Cabernet, Red Mountain, $35, QPR: 3

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2004 Sawtooth Syrah, Idaho, $12.99, QPR: NR
2006 Waterbrook Reserve Syrah, Columbia Valley, $22, QPR: NR
2005 Zerba Columbia Valley Syrah, Columbia Valley, $28, QPR: NR
2002 Glen Fiona Cabernet, Columbia Valley, $29.99, QPR: NR
2002 Terra Blanca Block 8 Syrah, Red Mountain, $40, QPR: NR

Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
NV Kestrel Lady in Red, Columbia Valley, $15, QPR: NR
2002 Terra Blanca Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $35, QPR: NR

Filed under: American Wine, Argentine Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Idaho Wine, Malbec, Merlot, Oregon Wine, Red Wine, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Jan Healy | November 19th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I must tell you that my daughter gifted me a bottle of Chandler Reach’s Monte Regalo and it was outstanding. I served it with blue cheese and apples slices before dinner. I’m searching to find more.

  2. Kori | November 20th, 2008 at 2:24 pm


    Thanks for commenting. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the Monte Regalo. Good luck finding more. FYI, I recently saw it at Costco for a very good price.