Taste Washington 2011 Preview



By Kori ~ March 7th, 2011.

Washington State ranks second nationally in wine production with over 700 wineries and 40,000 vineyard acres. 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 and the perfect way to cap off Washington Wine Month. Of the 700+ wineries in the state, over 220 of them are expected to be on hand pouring their wines at the Grand Tasting on Sunday, March 27th, at the Qwest Field Event Center. There will also be a vineyard area in which you can taste wines that several different wineries have produced from a single source. 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, a live jazz band, 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. It is a huge event and can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. You will be wise to plan a strategy ahead of time. Be sure to refer back to my post from last year with tips for making the most of Taste Washington.

If a smaller, more intimate gathering is more your speed or you want to further your knowledge of wine and Washington wine in particular, The Seminars on Saturday, March 26th, might be of interest to you. Held at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center, eight 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.

The “Common Ground” seminars the past two years were such a hit that they are offering another one this year which will focus on Seven Hills Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. A couple of other seminars that sound very interesting are “A Sort of Homecoming: Food and Wine Pairing with Michael Mina” (help Chef Mina decide which Washington wines go best with his world-class dishes) and “In Search Of: Washington’s Singular Style” (explore whether Washington has or needs a singular style of wine which can’t be made anywhere else).

Recently, I attended the Taste Washington TweetUp hosted by the Washington Wine Commission at Soul Wine, Pike & Western’s new wine shop at South Lake Union, which featured wines that will be poured at the Grand Tasting (see my notes below). The total cost to buy a bottle of each of the ten wines I tasted would set you back $316, 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 I tasted them, with my Twitter-style notes as well as Quality and QPR ratings:

2007 Northstar Winery Merlot (Columbia Valley, Washington): Nice black fruit, very smooth.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $40

2007 Fall Line Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Yakima Valley, Washington): Fruit sourced from Artz and Boushey Vineyards. Great fruit, big, bold, yet smooth tannins.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $25

2007 Fall Line Winery Artz Vineyard Red Wine (Red Mountain, Washington): 39% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot, and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Black fruits, vegetal notes, long finish, a little rough on the back end.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $25

2008 Dusted Valley Vintners Stained Tooth Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Appropriately named, dark fruit, hint of leather and spice.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $24

2005 Tranche Slice of Pape (Columbia Valley, Washington): A blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault. Very Rhone-like as you might expect. Good fruit and earthy notes.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $35

2008 Gramercy Cellars Lagniappe Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Fruit-forward, herbal notes, classic Syrah.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $40

2008 Chinook Cabernet Franc (Yakima Valley, Washington): Nice fruit. Some vegetal, earthy, and barnyard notes as well.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $22

2009 Maison Bleue Winery Jaja Red (Yakima Valley, Washington): 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah. Gorgeous nose, red and black fruits, licorice, leather.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $20

2009 Maison Bleue La Montagnette Grenache (Upland Vineyard, Snipes Mountain, Washington): Gorgeous, extremely food-friendly, good complexity, black fruits, plum, smoked meat, very smooth.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested retail price: $35

2009 Maison Bleue Graviere GSM (Upland Vineyard, Snipes Mountain, Washington): 25% Grenache, 50% Syrah, and 25% Mourvedre. Another winner from Jon Martinez. Black fruits, nutmeg, spice, licorice, very smooth.
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 later this month.


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Grenache, Merlot, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Brian White | March 7th, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Always a fun event! Very sad we can’t make it up this year! Already looking forward to next year!

  2. Kori | March 7th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Brian,
    I was hoping we’d be seeing you there. You will be missed. Cheers!

  3. Brian White | March 7th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Yeah we are bummed we could not make it. We are in the early stages of building anew house where I am acting as the general contractor. So time to run to Seattle is sadly lacking…..at least I will have a nice wine room when the project is done!

    Looking forward to your posts about the actual event. Looked on the website and as always they have some good folks coming and great wine!

    Cheers to you 4!

  4. Stevie | March 7th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    This sounds like an amazing event. I wish that we hadn’t already made plans to go to the Paso Robles Zinfandel festival earlier this month. Perhaps next year.

  5. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy | March 7th, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Too bad cannot attend the event but appreciate the great list you published very much. Enjoy “Taste Washington.”

  6. Kori | March 8th, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Brian,
    Congrats on the new house! Hope to see you at Taste Washington next year.

    Stevie,
    I’m sure you will have a great time in Paso too. But I do encourage you to make plans to attend Taste Washington next year. It is a great event!

    CoffeeGuy,
    Glad you found the list helpful. Hope you are able to attend Taste Washington in the future.

    Cheers!

Leave a Comment