Top Tips for Wine Festivals

We recently drank our way through Woodinville Passport 2008, in the ever-burgeoning Woodinville wine region just outside of Seattle, Washington. Here, we experienced wine tasting in warehouse office parks – and never was a more true and honest passion for wine represented without all the fancy mahogany tasting bars, and retail swag you find in other wineries. With a little help from some Woodinville winemakers, I share with you my top tips for how to attack a wine tasting festival.

Riesling: Washington’s Great White Wine

I’ve always loved Riesling in its myriad forms. Ranging from dry to very sweet, this most versatile grape is a classic. Usually low in alcohol, with moderate to high acid, and tones of green apple, citrus, apricot, white flowers and minerals, this wine goes with just about anything but red meat. My introduction to Riesling came at a B&B in the south of England.

Viognier for Spring

I realized that I was in a red wine rut a few years ago and made a practice to try unfamiliar white wines at tastings. I quickly discovered Viognier, a medium bodied white wine, perfumed with apricots, peaches and white flowers. This stuff is amazing - delicate, yet heady; I can sit for hours just enjoying the aroma. The taste is a revelation – the silky smooth texture hits first, then the fruit and flowers explode. It’s quite wonderful.

Cabernet Sauvignon – Old Vines in Washington State

Zillah, Washington State, 1994. I was completely disoriented. It was hot. I was standing in a dry, semi – desert terrain, but looking west, I saw glacier capped Mt. Rainier. The roads weren’t paved, the wineries badly marked. Tasting rooms consisted of folding tables in the corners of barrel rooms, or in the family rec room with 1970’s shag carpeting. Often, I had to ring an outdoor bell to bring someone in from the fields to pour tastes.

Washington Wines and Wineries: Paul Gregutt Talks Pacific Northwest Wine

Washington Wines and Wineries Author Paul Gregutt It is hard to believe a person exists who has thought more deeply and comprehensively about Washington wine than wine writer Paul Gregutt . Based in Seattle, Gregutt wine writings appear in a slew of Washington publications including the Seattle Times, Yakima Herald-Republic, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, Pacific Northwest Magazine, and the Spokane Spokesman-Review . He is also a Contributing Editor and the Northwest wine reviewer for Wine Enthusiast magazine. His new book, Washington Wines & Wineries – The Essential Guide , is the authoritative guide to Washington wine. I recently caught up with Paul to discuss the book and his views on Washington wines.

Charming Ice Wines: Cold Never Tasted So Good

December, what do we do with you? So full of merriment, yet so manic. Emotions bubble to the surface like corks, dredging up memories of past joys, pains, laughter and tears just in time for you to tie a nice bow around them all and start anew in January. And what better tumultuous time of year to give yourself a kick in the pants and try something new, like ice wine? Contrary to what you might think, ice wine is not a Cabernet Sauvignon-flavored popsicle (although, that’s a great idea….)

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winemaker Bob Bertheau Talks Washington Wine

Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the largest and most revered wineries in America. Located in Washington's Columbia Valley, Chateau Ste. Michelle is often -and mistakenly- overlooked by oenophiles searching for fine American wine. It isn't often that one gets to "talk shop" with the winemaker from a winery of the caliber of Chateau Ste. Michelle -they tend to be awfully busy people after all- but had the good fortune of being able to do just that. What follows is our chat with Chateau Ste. Michelle Winemaker Bob Bertheau.