Taste Washington 2010 Preview



By Kori ~ February 23rd, 2010.

Washington State ranks second nationally in wine production, has over 650 wineries, and is home to the Wine Spectator Wine of the Year for 2009. And as I’ve said numerous times before, Washington wines are perfectly positioned to thrive in our current economy. Washington State is producing outstanding wines that consistently deliver great bang for your buck.

If you love Washington wine, want to learn more about Washington wine, or are just looking for a fun event to attend, the upcoming Taste Washington in Seattle is just the event for you. Hosted by the Washington Wine Commission, Taste Washington is the ultimate carnival for wine and food lovers. Of the 650+ wineries in the state, over 200 of them are expected to be on hand pouring their wines at the Grand Tasting on Sunday, March 28th, at the Qwest Field Event Center. In addition, approximately 75 of the best Seattle-area restaurants will be serving small bites. And to round out the carnival-like atmosphere, there will also be fun and games, cooking demonstrations, author talks, and much, much more. The Grand Tasting begins with a two-hour VIP tasting from 2-4pm, followed by three hours of general admission from 4-7pm.

If a smaller, more intimate gathering is more your speed or you want to further your knowledge of wine and Washington wine in particular, Education Day on Saturday, March 27th, might be of interest to you. Held at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, seven seminars will be offered on a variety of topics. These seminars afford attendees the opportunity to taste, discuss, meet, and learn from some of the biggest names in the Washington wine industry as well as a few notable guests from outside of Washington State.

Last year’s “Common Ground” seminars were such a hit that they are offering another one this year which will focus on Boushey Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. A few other seminars that sound very interesting are “The Legend of Quilceda Creek” (a look at Washington’s premier winery), “The Value Challenge” (compare $10-$20 Washington wines with those from around the world at the same price), and “Which One’s Washington?!” (a blind tasting challenge).

Recently, I attended the Taste Washington TweetUp hosted by the Washington Wine Commission at El Gaucho that featured 13 wines which were a preview of what will be poured at the Grand Tasting (see my notes below). The total cost to buy a bottle of each of these wines would set you back $528, but you can purchase a ticket to Taste Washington for $75 and taste these wines as well as many more.

We’ll be there both days and hope that those of you who live in the greater Seattle area will plan to attend as well. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Taste Washington website.

Here are the wines I tasted during the Taste Washington TweetUp, listed in the order we tasted them, with my Twitter-style notes as well as Quality and QPR ratings:

2008 DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc (Columbia Valley, Washington): 62% Sauvignon Blanc, 38% Semillon. Pineapple, lemon, very crisp.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $34

2008 Woodward Canyon Winery Chardonnay (Washington State): Crisp, clean, fresh. Some oak but not overdone. Food-friendly.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $44

2008 àMaurice Cellars Viognier (Columbia Valley, Washington): Another excellent wine from Anna Schafer. Floral, very crisp, long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $25

2008 Long Shadows Vintners Poet’s Leap Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Light, fresh, citrus aromas and flavors. Lots of peach.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $20

2007 Barrage Cellars “Outcast” Cabernet Franc (Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley, Washington): 100% Boushey Vineyard. Dark fruits, vegetal notes. A little heat.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $35

2007 Cadence Winery Bel Canto (Cara Mia Vineyard, Red Mountain, Washington): 62% Cabernet Franc, 31% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot. Dark fruits. Very well-balanced. Should get even better with age.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $55

2002 Col Solare (Columbia Valley, Washington): 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Syrah. Extremely smooth. Drinking beautifully.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $75 [Sold Out]

2007 Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Wasington): Black and red fruits, smoke, toast. Smooth.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $30

2006 Pepper Bridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): Smooth, soft tannins. Dark fruits, a bit bitter on the back end.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $55

2007 Betz Family Winery Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Washington): 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot. Will be released in March. Young but gorgeous.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $60

2006 Beresan Winery Malbec (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): Malbec is Seattle Magazine’s emerging varietal for 2009. Blue and black fruits, spice, pepper.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $29

2007 Dusted Valley Vintners Stained Tooth Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Syrah co-fermented with Viognier and some Grenache and Counoise blended in as well. Luscious black fruits, fruit-driven, pepper.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $26

2007 Waters Winery Forgotten Hills Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): Barnyard funk and game. Lots of layers. Definitely a food wine.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $40

To try these wines for yourself, make plans to attend Taste Washington next month.


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Malbec, Red Wine, Riesling, Shiraz/Syrah, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Brian White | February 23rd, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Hey Kori!

    Great post! Can’t wait to get up to Seattle in about a month! I am bringing 5 others this year from Houston up there! Thank goodness for those flight benefits because of my job! Looking forward to another fun Taste Washington!!!!!

  2. WineMiser | February 23rd, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Nice Post.

    Thinking about coming up for that.

    Love Seattle, hate I-5!

    I see you banged the DeLile Blanc,

    Too expensive for a white wine?

    Especially when you can get Eroica for low $20′s ?

    Cheers!

    The Wine Miser -

    Right now drinking an OLD vine Priorat that picked up $10.

    YES!!!!!

  3. Paige | February 24th, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks for the great post! This is going to be my first Taste Washington experience. Any advice for a newbie? How many wineries should I realistically try to taste? What wineries should be on my “must try” list? What’s my best strategy? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Brian White | February 25th, 2010 at 4:05 am

    Well here is my plan from years past!

    Write down a list of the wines you really want to try (especially if they are highly allocated or sought after). Taste is generally organized in alphabetical order by winery so you can knock that list out pretty easily.

    Make sure you eat while you are there and don’t be afraid to taste and then spit. The motto is it’s hip to spit!

    Drink LOTS of water!

    Most important of all is HAVE FUN!!!!!!

  5. Kori | February 25th, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Brian,
    So glad to hear that you’re coming up for Taste Washington again…and bringing friends. Hope we run into you again there. And thanks for sharing your tips for making the most of the event.

    WineMiser,
    I hope you’ll brave I-5 and come up for Taste Washington. It’s a great event! The DeLille Chaleur Blanc is a good wine but doesn’t stack up well price-wise against its peers at the same quality level.

    Paige,
    You are wise to plan a strategy ahead of time. Taste Washington is a huge event and can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. Brian offered two of the best tips for newbies (and veterans alike): Spit and drink lots of water. I suggest that you visit the Taste WA website to preview the list of participating wineries: http://www.tastewashington.org/seattle/wineries/. And if memory serves, check the website closer to the event for a preview of the program that should give you a map of where the winery booths will be located. I would prioritize the wineries you’d like to visit. Start with the 10 you don’t want to miss, then mark the next 10 you’d like to visit if you have time and so on. It gets really crowded during the general admission hours, so you might not get to as many as you’d like. But if you visit 10 winery booths and try all three wines they are serving, that’s 30 wines right off the bat. Then depending on time, crowds, etc. you can try more if you’d like. As for which wineries should be on your “must try” list, I’d encourage you to take a look at our “go-to” list of Washington wineries for 2009: http://winepeeps.com/2009/11/20/wine-peeps-leading-the-coverage-of-washington-state-wines-continued/. Have fun!

    Cheers!

  6. Plaza Winery | March 8th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Two and a half weeks left! We are looking forward to the event and will be there with some of our new releases! Would love to see you swing by our booth!

    Plaza Winery
    Winer Makers Loft
    Prosser WA

  7. Paige | March 9th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for all the advice! It’s so hard to pick a handful of wineries when there are so many wonderful ones to choose from… but I think I have my go-to list. Looking forward to it!

  8. Kori | March 12th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Plaza Winery,
    We are looking forward to it too! See you there.

    Paige,
    You are most welcome. Have a wonderful time at Taste Washington!

    Cheers!

Leave a Comment