Don Sebastiani Delicious

Don Sebastiani & Sons Pinot Noir has always graced our wine collection, so we were delighted to find out about how this California winery has expanded its portfolio to 14 brands with Big Smooth wines — a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon and … Continue reading

Sauvignon Blanc for Summer

We love Sauvignon Blanc in the summer months, so we decided to take a deeper look at this warm-weather wine. Sauvignon Blanc is both an old-world and new-world wine, grown and produced in Washington state, California, British Columbia, France, New Zealand … Continue reading

Warm-Weather Whites

With the warm spring days easing into summer heat, an array of white wines have caught our fancy lately. These are all super summer sippers to pair with your patio or deck — or perhaps when serving fish, crab, scallops, oysters, … Continue reading

DeLille Cellars Crushes It with 2014 Four Flags Cab Sauvignon

The 2014 DeLille Cellars Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon follows up the impressive 2013 vintage, and showcases the depth and structure resulting from Red Mountain grapes. Since its first vintage in 2010, executive winemaker Chris Upchurch has crafted a beautiful wine that becomes more and more powerful with each year. This 2014 beauty exhibits the classic structure of Cabernet Sauvignon from four Red Mountain vineyards. According to DeLille Cellars: “Grand Ciel (42%) brings elegance and purity of fruit while Upchurch (31%) demonstrates rich, savory, and mouthwatering character. Ciel du Cheval (19%) contributes structure, black fruits and minerality balanced by the commanding, ripe flavors from Klipsun (8%).” The 2014 Four Flags is inky in color, full-bodied, balanced, intense, and savory, featuring aromas of cassis, spices and minerality, followed by layered flavors of dark fruits, licorice, spice and a touch of flint. At $68 and a 93-95 barrel rating from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, this lucious Cabernet ...

Rosé Release and More from Lauren Ashton Cellars

There’s a reason we talk a lot about Lauren Ashton Cellars — Kit Singh makes great wine. It’s that simple. His recent rosé release is solid proof, and two June releases — 2013 Cuvée Arlette and 2016 Cuvée Meline — seal the deal. 2016 Lauren Ashton Rosé ($21)
Just released on April 22, this is a perfect rosé for spring and summer. The blend of Grenache (52%), Counoise (28%) and Mourvedre (20%) features berry notes and some citrus and spices. This wine is bright, lively and fruity, yet dry. Pair it with salads, pasta and rice dishes, seafood, shellfish and cheesy dishes. Or simply drink it without food, pairing it with your patio or deck on a warm afternoon or evening. A portion of proceeds during the Rosé release weekend will be donated to Susan G. Komen Puget Sound. “We have a belief in this community and a passion for giving back,” said Singh. “We are able to provide our wine and ...

Snoqualmie Wines for Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day, a great time to open a bottle of value wine from Snoqualmie Vineyards. According to the winery, they have the largest certified organic vineyard in Washington state. “Whether it’s in our vineyard, the winery or in our packaging, Snoqualmie wines are made using sustainable and organic practices and are designed to showcase the best winemaking techniques and vineyard selections.”
  • Vineyard – Weather stations and soil moisture-measuring probes monitor water use and eliminate wasted water.
  • Winery – A recycling program includes paper, glass, cork and aluminum waste that reduces solid waste by more than 8%. Eco-friendly energy options in the winery have reduced electricity usage by 30% in the last five years.
  • Packaging – ECO glass bottles are among the lightest in the industry, printed materials are on 100% post-consumer waste material stock, and corks and labels are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
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Columbia Crest Wines: Good Juice, Great Value

We’ve been fans of Columbia Crest Winery for at least a decade — the winery produces good, easy-drinking wines at bargain prices. We’ve purchased cases over the years, and we were delighted to receive samples of their recent releases. Columbia Crest 2014 Grand Estates Merlot Columbia Valley ($12)
Merlot (87%) is blended with small amounts of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon; all fruit was sourced from Horse Heaven Hills for texture and body, and from the Wahluke Slope for aromatics and complexity. This is a rich Merlot with a balance of fruit and earthiness, punctuated by notes of dark cherries and chocolate. Pair this with blue cheese, dark chocolate, pork, grilled salmon or beef. Columbia Crest 2014 Grand Estates Red Blend Columbia Valley ($12)
This vintage’s blend combines Merlot (55%), Cabernet Franc (36%), Petit Verdot (8%) and a splash of other red varieties. The result is layers of dark berry flavors, with more layers of ...

Wind Rose Cellars

Wind Rose Cellars is a boutique winery in Sequim, Washington, owned by husband-and-wife team, David Volmut and Jennifer States. Their focus is to make top-quality, food-driven wine from Italian varieties grown here — including Barbera, Primitivo, Pinot Grigio, Orange Muscat and the rare-in-Washington Dolcetto and Nebbiolo. We recently sampled two bottles of their latest releases. Wind Rose 2013 Primitivo ($25)
Sourced from Stonetree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, this is an expressive Primitivo that has both structure and depth. It is blended with a small amount of Barbera to bring some acidity to the wine for aging and finish. The nose is pretty, with notes of strawberry, lilacs and herbs, moving on to flavors of tart cherries, strawberries and blackberries, with hints of cocoa in the finish. Pair it with grilled meats, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna or other tomato-based dishes. It came as no surprise that this tasty wine took home a bronze at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine ...

Another Successful Taste Washington

Congratulations to the Washington State Wine Commission and Visit Seattle for another successful Taste Washington March 23-26, capping off Washington state Wine Month. Thousands of people participated in the annual celebration of the excellent juice made in this state — at the Grand Tasting, educational seminars, lunches on local farms, and at restaurants, wineries, hotels and retailers that offered special deals and promotions throughout the month. But we hope that people did more than taste the fine wine of Washington. We hope they appreciated it, and the hard work by people in our state’s wine industry – from farmers to vineyard managers to those in the production facilities, winemakers, distributors, marketing specialists, tasting room staff and more. In particular, we applaud the workers in the vineyard who toil over the grapes and the terroir, the winemakers who balance creativity and science in every barrel and bottle, and their families who support this ...

On Sale Now – Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Summer Concert Series

CSM concertSummer must be around the corner because tickets are now on sale for the Chateau Ste. Michelle 2017 Summer Concert Series. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the oldest winery in the state, so its concert lineup, paired with award-winning wine and beautiful surroundings, is even more special. Think about it: a lazy summer day or evening, kicking back on the manicured lawns of Chateau Ste. Michelle with a peacock or two sauntering by, as you sip on a refreshing summer wine, nibble on tasty munchies from your picnic basket and listen to some amazing music. Ah, summer! Whether you prefer white, rosé or red wine during the summer, this concert calendar is something to cheer about. Twenty-seven concerts span the range of pop, jazz, rock and blues in the winery’s picturesque outdoor amphitheatre with seating for 4,300. The series kicks off on June 1 with a concert by Elvis Costello & The Imposters and ...

Wonderful Wine Weekend Getaway at Semiahmoo

Whether you live in nearby British Columbia or in the Seattle area, mark your calendars for April 28-30 — a wonderful weekend for wine lovers. Just six miles from the B.C. border, the second annual Northwest Wine Encounter at Semiahmoo Resort features a great getaway to experience wine, and meet some of the most talented winemakers and viticulturists from Washington state, British Columbia and Oregon: We have tasted wines from all of the attending wineries and vineyards, and we also attended last year’s inaugural Northwest Wine Encounter — ...

Seasonal Wines from $18-$40

It’s that time of year when the calendar calls it spring but the cold nights make it seem like it is still winter. This means it’s a perfect time for winter reds that also drink well during spring weather. Thanks to Kobrand, we received samples of wines that fit both seasons. You might not have heard of all of them, but don’t let that stop you. These are good wines! BARDA By Bodega Charca 2015 ($29.99)
BARDA is a beautiful, balanced, smooth and 100% certified organic Pinot Noir from Argentina. This medium-bodied wine features red fruits, vanilla and spice. It’s also very food-friendly, which means you can try it with pasta, roast beef or salmon. Agricola Punica Montessu Isola dei Nuraghi 2014 ($30.99)
This Italian beauty is primarily made from Carignano, a Spanish variety found in Sardinia, and blended with 10% each of Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich, silky, and intense depth with flavors ...

Don’t Miss Taste Washington’s 20th Anniversary Celebration

Run, don’t walk, to get your tickets to Taste Washington, which we call “the Super Bowl of Wine Events” because it is the country’s largest single-region wine and food extravaganza. You don’t want to miss this explosion of tastes, fun and education on March 23-26 in Seattle.

This year, Taste Washington celebrates its 20th anniversary with almost 300 wineries, more than 70 restaurants and top national chefs. In honor of this milestone, the 2017 expanded lineup offers four days packed with diverse activities.

And for the first time ever, you can purchase The Connoisseur Festival Pass for four days of VIP access to signature events, with these extra benefits: jump the line at all major events, reserved seating at Alaska Mileage Plan Chef’s Stage and a gift bag with a bottle of Washington state wine, an autographed Cook + Cork Cookbook, a one-year subscription to Seattle Met magazine and a trio of El Gaucho spices.

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Border Wine Storage

If you are in the Vancouver area and want to find storage space for the wine you purchase in the U.S. — or if you are in Whatcom county and need more storage room for your wine collection — look no further. Border Wine Storage is now open in Ferndale, WA, and is offering “grand opening prices” worth checking out. Throughout 2017, you can store eight cases of wine for $21/month in a temperature-controlled, secure locker, just a 15-minute drive from the B.C./Washington border and a 10-minute drive from the Bellingham airport. Sixteen cases cost $32/month for storage. Other sizes and rates are also available. “The sixteen-case locker is our most popular size but you can easily trade up or down as your wine storage needs change,” says Chimo Boehm, co-owner of Border Wine Storage. “This allows B.C. wine enthusiasts to order and store wine purchased in the U.S., opening up the ...

Washington State Crushes Wine Grape Harvest Record

The state’s record for its wine grape harvest was crushed in 2016, according to a report released by the Washington State Wine Commission. The commission’s Annual Grape Production Report showed 2016 had the biggest wine grape harvest in the state’s history: the 2016 harvest totaled 270,000 tons, a 22-percent increase over 2015 and easily surpassing the previous record harvest of 227,000 tons in 2014. The largest growth came from Cabernet Sauvignon, with a 23,700-ton increase. This also meant that Cab Sauv was the top-producing variety grown in the state — 71,100 tons or 26% of the total. Merlot was ranked second, at 48,400 tons or 18% of the total. Syrah came in third of the reds, at 21,300 tons, followed by Cab Franc at 4,300. Malbec rounded off the top five reds at 2,700. Overall, red varieties accounted for 58% of the total production, compared to 51% in 2015. Chardonnay was the top ...

Your Car + Their Driver When Wine Tasting in the Seattle Area

There’s a new, safe way to visit the numerous winery tasting rooms in the Seattle area — now you can order Main Street Drivers to be the designated driver of your car. In other words, the company’s “your car + our driver” concept means a professional chauffeur drives your vehicle. It’s less expensive than renting a car or a limo service. And whether you are with your spouse, family or a group of friends, everyone can enjoy the day wine tasting without having to worry about safe driving afterward. Think about it – customized transportation at taxi prices to take you around Seattle Urban Wineries and Woodinville Wine Country — popular wine destinations in the Seattle area. This is particularly helpful if you want to participate in Spring Release Weekend or other winery events, have a fun night on the town, during special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, or even in the busy summer tourism season (so you ...

Data Science to Easily Pair Wine and Cheese? Yes!

How many times have you wondered which cheeses pair well with your favorite wines? Or perhaps you’ve debated which wines complement your favorite cheeses. You might have conducted online searches or looked at books for advice. Ultimately you probably found the answers, but how long did it take? Now, thanks to data science and a Canadian professor, you can find results in an instant. University of Toronto professor Gary Bader specializes in biological network analysis; he and a team of computer scientists and molecular geneticists developed a free interactive website, Wine and Cheese Map, to suggest pairings for about 100 red and white wines, and about 270 cheeses. “You just quickly look at a picture and see patterns that would be very difficult to find if you were looking through data spreadsheets one row at a time,” Bader told the BBC. The website process is very simple. To find which wines pair best with your favorite cheese, just type the name of the cheese in ...

Lauren Ashton Scores Again

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 4.17.09 PM The motto of Lauren Ashton Cellars — “True Washington Character” — has been noticeable in every sip we have tasted of Kit Singh’s elegant wines in the last five years. This continues to be the case in his two recent releases, which we were fortunate enough to sample last week, courtesy of the winery: 2013 Proprietor’s Cuvée and 2013 Cuvée Estelle. As with any new release, the wines are still young; but both are very approachable with decanting. They also have great aging potential. Lauren Ashton Cellars 2013 Proprietor’s Cuvée ($65)
This is an elegant, complex and impressive Cab-based Bordeaux-style blend — 70.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.8% Merlot, 13.3% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec — showing structure and balance immediately, followed by plush tannins after opening up. Luscious dark-fruit flavors follow a nose of violets, black cherries and plums. Pair this wine with beef, pork, lamb or any rich meat dishes. Kit wowed fans with the 2009 and ...

It’s Back! The Northwest Wine Encounter at Semiahmoo

The second annual Northwest Wine Encounter at Semiahmoo Resort will be held April 28-30, when some of the northwest’s most talented winemakers and viticulturists will be holding seminars, tastings and attending a gala dinner: We have had the pleasure of meeting Mike Sauer, Chris Upchurch and Walter Gehringer in the past, and have tasted wines from all of the attending wineries and vineyards. We also attended last year’s inaugural Northwest Wine Encounter — so we can personally attest to the experiences awaiting you this year at Semiahmoo ...

Happy 50th Anniversary to Chateau Ste. Michelle

This year marks an historical milestone for Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Washington wine industry — it’s the 50th anniversary of the oldest winery in the state, so let the celebrations begin! Ste. Michelle’s anniversary activities include a commemorative Cabernet bottling, library wine releases, a special anniversary Summer Concert Series, the opening of a newly expanded visitor center and other events to honor the state’s founding winery. According to the winery, “Chateau Ste. Michelle has become the number two premium domestic wine brand sold in the U.S. (Nielsen-Dollars), with wines available in all 50 states and more than 100 countries.” “It is truly remarkable what Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Washington wine industry have accomplished in a relatively short period of time through a pioneering spirit, collaboration and hard work,” said Ted Baseler, President and CEO of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates. “With significant new vineyard plantings, industry investment in ...