Wow, These Are Some Killer Washington Wines

I went to a “Meet the Makers” Visit Seattle event at Filson’s flagship NYC store in Union Square  and soaked in the idyllic and nostalgic Pacific Northwest vibe. One of the highlights, of course, was the selection of Washington State wines available to sample. And I have to say, I was fairly gobsmacked by many intriguing and delicious bottles.

Here are some highlights.

6 Washington State Wines to Covet and Drink

Orr Wines Old Vine Chenin Blanc (2016)

Save the Washington Chenin! There’s very little left, and a lot of it is old-vine goodness. Kudos to winemakers like Erica Orr, creating Loire-esque wines with the grape.

Wow, These Are Some Killer Washington Wines

Two Vintners O.G. (2017)

Morgan Lee must have been the first person to make an orange wine in Washington State. If you know who beat him to it, LMK. This is the 6th (!) vintage of this wine. Oh, O.G.=Orange Gewurztraminer. The color comes from the grape skins spending extra-special time with the juice. This is killer!

Wow, These Are Some Killer Washington Wines

Smockshop Band Pinot Noir (2016)

Whoa, a stunner! (The label and the wine.) This winery is new to me, part of cult-y Hiyu Wine Farm. This Pinot comes from a single vineyard in the Columbia Gorge AVA. There is simply no more exciting region for wine in Washington State than the Gorge.

Wow, These Are Some Killer Washington Wines

Savage Grace Côt (2016)

I’ve been a fan of Michael Savage’s wines for a while now. They have an appealing light touch. Nowhere is this more apparent than in this Malbec. He calls it Côt as a nod to how the grape is referred to (and the style of the wine) in the Loire Valley: elegant, not jammy.

Wow, These Are Some Killer Washington Wines

Gramercy Cellars Forgotten Hills Syrah (2015)

Greg Harrington is firing on all cylinders and nowhere is this more apparent than his Syrah. It’s a very gulpable, old-world influenced bottling. A great synthesis of grape, site, and winemaker.

Wow, These Are Some Killer Washington Wines

Reynvaan Family Vineyards Syrah Stonessence (2015)

In contrast with the Gramercy Cellars, the Reynvaan is a meaty, smoky, gamey affair. The first whiff you take  places the fruit from the extremely distinct “Rocks” area of Walla Wallla Valley. (Which is actually in Oregon, but that’s another story.)

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Also thanks to these folks representing the city and state:

The reps from the Space Needle providing an update on the, well, major updates there. Chihuly Garden and Glass for the tiny, precious piece of glass I have purposed for salt-keeping. Hama Hama for the amazing oysters. Chef Jeff from No Anchor for the creative veg and salmon bites. Boo and Christophe from Hedges Family Estate, an always entertaining duo. (Check out their biodynamic Cabernet in magnums.)

Finally, Washington State Wine for all the eye-opening bottles.

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Corks of the Forks: A Look at the “Other” Local Grapes

A couple months ago, I devoted my column space to what has become the de facto “signature variety” for Long Island wine country: merlot. There are approximately 700 acres of merlot planted on Long Island — roughly 30 percent of the total vineyard acreage — and there are reasons for that. It grows and ripens dependably and consistently, even in all but the most horrid of vintages. That’s important here and why it’s the backbone of the industry.  But the East End isn’t like many parts of Europe where regulations dictate what grapes can be grown where. Long Island growers…

Long Island Wine Press: Paumanok’s chenin blanc was an ‘interesting accident’

Paumanok Vineyards’ chenin blanc is one of the great mysteries of the North Fork wine world. Why? Because despite all the success the Massoud family — which owns the Aquebogue vineyard —  has had with it, they remain the only Long Island winery to grow or make it. By all accounts, it’s not tricky to work with — at least no more so than any other grape in our sometimes challenging maritime climate. It ripens and performs consistently in the vineyard and doesn’t unique or special treatment or protocols. Paumanok’s winemakers — first Charles Massoud and now his son Kareem —…

New York Cork Club: November 2015 Selections

The November 2015 wines for the New York Cork Club will be shipping out to our members soon — so it’s time to give you peek at the picks. Harvest 2015 has mostly wound down across the state with many winemakers pressing off the last of their reds over the next couple of weeks. I’m looking ahead — to Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday and it is that holiday that inspired this month’s wine picks. Both are great picks for a diverse, turkey-focused dinner and they will both be served at the dinner I’ll be hosting with my family. Paumanok Vineyard 2014…

Weekly New York Wine News — August 31, 2015

Photo courtesy of Cayuga Ridge Winery What’s old is new again, the Finger Lakes leave their mark on bloggers, baseball and bookies, tannin vanishing acts, and an upstate beverage summit… NEWS New York Times – 8/18/2015 Paumanok in Long Island and Bloomer Creek in the Finger Lakes ( with help from Pascaline Lepeltier ) play their parts in a plan to revive American appreciation for Chenin Blanc. Star Tribune – 8/26/2015 Bill Ward reminisces about his recent trip to the Finger Lakes, and what Minnesota vintners might learn there. New York Upstate – 8/27/2015 Video review of the New York Yankees…

A California Chenin Blanc That’s a Rare Creature

A California Chenin Blanc That’s a Rare Creature

I really dig these Forlorn Hope wines from California. All the ones I’ve had have been satisfyingly weird thrill-seekers. The latest I consumed (with pleasure) is no exception.

2012 Forlorn Hope Story

This is a California Chenin Blanc from a vineyard called…wait for it…Story. It’s located in Amador County, which is way east of Napa and practically in Yosemite. This Forlorn Hope wine could also be from outer space. (Unconfirmed.)

A scant twenty five (!) cases were made so this is most definitely Another (Very) Rare Creature from Winemaker Matthew Rorick. It’s got (well, HAD as the bottle’s in the recycling bin) a lovely golden color. And some texture that makes it almost savory. Like consuming a wine that manifests itself in a guise beyond known liquid forms. (Hmm…maybe it is extraterrestrial?)

The Story is really good with roasted walnuts you break out of the shell. The visceral experience of working the nutcracker (ahem) seems apropos for a wine that works on you. Also, as this Chenin warms up nutty notes emerge. It’s a circular loop between food and wine reminiscent of the mysterious ways of Saturn’s rings.

WINE COSMOS, Y’ALL!

THE END

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