Washington Red Wine Blends Podcast

Its a time of the year when my thoughts are dominated by white wine and rosé. Particularly since it’s going to be 90 degrees and humid in Brooklyn…again. But that doesn’t mean I can’t take time out of my sweltering day to speak about Washington red wine blends.

The Benches vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. This is one of the wine regions discussed on the podcast. Photo: Washington State Wine

On the latest episode of the What We’re Tasting podcast, I speak with my pal Sean Sullivan. He’s The Thuse’s contributing editor for Washington State. (He also covers Idaho.) So if you’re ready to get geeky about Washington wine, this is your episode.

We take a look at three wines that bring up numerous questions regarding #WAwine:

  • Why are some wines that could be labeled as single-grape wines sold as blends?
  • Is it Bordeaux. Rhône, or “Washington-style” blends that reign supreme?
  • When is a Oregon wine a Washington wine?
  • How are the regions of Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, and Walla Walla Valley distinct?
  • Does adding 2% of a grape to a wine really make a difference?
  • Is it possible to sneak in a mention of a sparkling Grüner Veltliner?

And much more!

Have a listen:

Washington Red Wine Blends Take Center Stage

Are you looking to do some more reading regarding Washington wine?

Revisit a Cabernet Sauvignon “battle” between Washington, California, and Bordeaux. (It was a blind tasting and my winning bottle was a big surprise.)

Holy cow has rosé from Washington become so much better. I’m especially enamored of versions made from Cabernet Franc. Discover one of the best out there.

The post Washington Red Wine Blends Podcast appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Do You Know Petit Verdot?

Primarily used as a component in Bordeaux-style blends, Petit Verdot could use a champion or three. I found a trio of winemakers who take this grape beyond the blend, making it the star of the show.

My first article for SevenFifty Daily takes a look at Petit Verdot through three winemakers:

I not only explore the difficulty of making wine from this thick-skinned, tannic grape, but also consider how the heck you sell it.

Take a look:

The Challenges and Rewards of Making Petit Verdot

Vineyard image courtesy Virginia Wine.

The post Do You Know Petit Verdot? appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Seven Hills Winery Rosé Makes Cabernet Franc The Star

I am a huge fan of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. Many bottles are in my Hall of Fame, including one that’s probably in my Top Ten reds, ever. It’s a rising star on another continent, in a different guise, and what might seem a surprising state. Yes, Washington. Enter the Seven Hills Winery Rosé.

Recently I was invited to lunch with Casey McClellan. He holds the dual titles of winemaker and founder at Seven Hills Winery. We started with a white and progressed on to a flight of reds, but I have to admit I was most excited about the rosé.

2017 Seven Hills Winery Rosé

Mostly Cab Franc, with a touch of Petit Verdot and Malbec, this rosé has the flavors I adore in Cabernet Franc. Specifically, herbal notes, a little bit of olive, a certain savory quality. This wine has a distinct Cabernet “Franc-ness” that sometimes can be muted in a rosé, or certainly not as prominent as in a red wine.

(If you want to compare Cabernet Franc rosés from Washington, Sleight of Hand Cellars and Trust Cellars also make them. Look for the 2017s.)

During that lunch at Union Square Cafe, a serendipitous food and wine pairing happened. The (pictured) salad of cara cara oranges, fennel, pine nuts, and ricotta salata was not just stunning to look at and to eat. It was also about as ideal of a match you can get with a wine.

Seven Hills Winery Rosé Makes Cabernet Franc The Star

I also enjoyed the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, which has a dollop of Sémillon for richness and roundness. It’s also, interestingly enough, partially aged in oak barrels with acacia wood tops and bottoms. The 2016 Walla Walla Valley and the 2014 Seven Hills Vineyard were a Merlot duo worthy of praise. The combination of Seven Hills, McClellan, and Washington is a hallmark for this grape. Finally, we took a quick trip to Red Mountain to enjoy the robust 2014 Ciel du Cheval.

The post Seven Hills Winery Rosé Makes Cabernet Franc The Star appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Considering Music and the Winery Tasting Room Experience

Do you find the tasting room experience a bit staid? Full of laminated PDFs and the drone-like reciting of a wine’s purported qualities by robotic employees. Yeah, I’ve been there. (Though, thankfully it’s the exception not the norm.)

One way to bring a little sizzle to the setting? Music. It sets a mood and a tone. Perphas, “This is very solemn and serious and you must demonstrate proper sniffing and swirling protocol.” OR, “Hey, let’s relax and have some fun.” I prefer the latter. (Duh.)

So who better to discuss the matter than Trey Busch, co-owner and winemaker at Walla Walla’s Sleight of Hand Cellars?

Why?

Well, first of all the winery is named after a Pearl Jam song. (Busch may be the world’s foremost fan of the band and I’m not joking.) Second, when you visit the SofH tasting room (either in Walla Walla or Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood), you’re gonna see a lot of vinyl. As in records.

#sleeveface is alive and well at @sofhcellars! #eltonjohn @sleevefacer

A post shared by Sleight of Hand Cellars (@sofhcellars) on

On the Wine Enthusiast podcast, I talk with Busch about the role music plays in the tasting room and, well, his life. Everything from 80’s German heavy metal to Sade is discussed. Ok, and we do talk some wine, particularly about rosé in Washington state and how Cabernet Franc is a star grape for pink juice. Have a listen:

How Music Makes the Tasting Room Experience Memorable

Photo of records via the website for Sleight of Hand Cellars.

The post Considering Music and the Winery Tasting Room Experience appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Taste Washington: Dates for 2018 Announced

 

Dates Announced for 2018 Taste Washington Festival, Kicking Off Washington State Wine Month

Seattle’s premier wine and food festival, Taste Washington returns March 22-25, 2018

SEATTLE (August 1) – Coming off its biggest year ever, Taste Washington will be back for another four-day festival March 22-25, 2018. The announcement comes as we raise a glass to Washington State Wine Month, a month-long celebration featuring wine promotions and special offers at participating retailers, hotels, restaurants and tasting rooms across the state.

This past March, the 20th anniversary celebration drew more than 7,000 attendees – a festival record. The Grand Tasting poured over 675 wines, served bites from 65 restaurants – honoring Capital Grille as 2017 Best Bite award – and shucked 9,600 oysters! Planning for 2018 has begun and will include popular events including the Grand Tasting, educational seminars led by industry leaders, the Red and White Party, Taste Washington on the Farm, and the New Vintage. Tickets to the 21st annual Taste Washington will go on sale December 1, 2017 at www.tastewashington.org.

Taste Washington is produced by Visit Seattle in partnership with Washington State Wine. Follow us onTwitterInstagram and Facebook and visit www.tastewashington.org. for ongoing updates.

Throughout the month of August, follow the Washington State Wine Month live Tagboard site atwww.WAWineMonth.com, to track the hashtag #WAWineMonth for offers and special promotions. Help us celebrate the renowned wine of Washington State and the partners who make it such a dynamic, exciting industry.

About Taste Washington:

Taste Washington is the largest single-region wine and food event in the United States, featuring more than 225 Washington State wineries and more than 65 Pacific Northwest restaurants. The 21st annual event will be held on March 22-25, 2018 at various locations in Seattle. The 2018 Taste Washington welcoming sponsor is Alaska Mileage Plan. The Washington State Wine Commission launched Taste Washington in 1998 and the festival is now produced by Visit Seattle. For more information, visit www.tastewashington.org.

About Visit Seattle:

Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. For more information, visit www.visitseattle.org.

About Washington State Wine:

Washington State Wine represents every licensed winery and wine grape grower in Washington State. Guided by an appointed board, WSW provides a marketing platform to raise positive awareness of the Washington State wine industry and generate greater demand for its wines. Funded almost entirely by the industry through assessments based on grape and wine sales, WSW is a state government agency, established by the legislature in 1987. To learn more, visit www.washingtonwine.org.

###

FC Club Featured in Seattle Magazine!

We are honored to have our name in the latest issue of Seattle Magazine! Our FC Club was named one of Seattle Magazine’s favorite local subscriptions. Check out the full feature here! 

 

Champagne Jean Baillette-Prudhomme is Visiting the PNW!

 

We are thrilled and honored to announce that our producer, Laureen Baillette and Madam Baillette of Champagne Jean Baillette-Prudhomme will be visiting the Northwest in April! They are traveling all the way from Trois-Puits, France to join Bryan on a Northwest adventure of vineyard tours, seminars, tastings, and of course, a visit to Fat Cork.

We are very excited to show the Baillettes our warehouse (where we have proudly imported their Champagne from day 1!) and all that the Northwest wine industry has to offer.

Save the date for one (or all!) of our events with Laureen Baillette.

MEET LAUREEN BAILLETTE! 

Monday, April 11th, 12-1pm
Champagne Seminar with Laureen Baillette | Fat Cork | Seattle, WA
Public Event | $20/Club, $30/PublicTickets here! 
Join us over your lunch hour to learn the history of Champagne Jean Baillette-Prudhomme from the vigneronne herself! Laureen will explain her unique approach to Champagne production, tell the incredible history of their family, and describe each of her fine cuvées in great detail. Tasting Champagne on a Monday afternoon is a beautiful way to start the week and live life! Small bites will be provided. We’re limiting this intimate seminar to 30 seats, so purchase your ticket soon!

Monday, April 11th, 6pm
Champagne Dinner with Laureen Baillette | Location to be Announced | Seattle, WA
Public Event | RSVP to Erica@FatCork.com
We are honored to work with local chef extraordinaire, Ethan Stowell, to create an evening of incredible food, delicious Champagne and great conversation with our French guests! The menu, location, and price are still in the works, but please RSVP to Erica@FatCork.com as soon as possible if you’re interested as this dinner will certainly sell out quickly. 

Wednesday, April 13th, 4:30-6pm
Tasting with Laureen Baillette | ROCO Winery | Newberg, OR
FC Club Members and their Guests Only | RSVP to Erica@FatCork.com
Mr. Rollin Soles is an icon for high-quality, Méthod Champenoise sparkling wine made in America. He and his wife, Corby, have been supporters of Fat Cork since the beginning and they were the first people we contacted when Laureen said she was coming to town. Getting Laureen and Rollin together to talk and taste Champagne will be a great time and quite educational! Space is limited, RSVP to Erica@FatCork.com.

Thursday, April 14th, 8:30am-5:30pm
2016 Sparkling Wine Symposium | Ponzi Vineyards | Sherwood, OR
Wine Industry Members | Tickets here!
Attention wine makers all around the U.S.A., we are honored to have so many of you as Fat Cork customers! If you’re already making sparkling wine or are interested in doing so, this event is for you. Laureen Baillette will be featured on a panel alongside sparkling wine experts from Oregon and California to lead an all day workshop about everything sparkling. This is an opportunity to ask the experts all of your geeky questions, taste base wines, and learn the details that go into making great sparkling wine. Click here for tickets.