Always Drink Responsibly

26 March 2013

Review of Taste Washington 2013

Local Libation's Top Picks 

Eaglemount Boot Brawl Dry Hopped Cider
Finnriver, Spirited Apple Wine (fortified with apple brandy)
Tieton Cider Works, Apricot
Tieton Cider Works, Frost

Balboa, Syrah (2010)
Camaraderie Cellars, Temperanillo (2009)
Col Solare, Red Wine (2007) (one of a few decanted wines on site)
For a Song, Syrah (2009)
Gramercy Cellars, Syrah (2010)
Maison Bleue, Syrah (2010) & Viognier (2011)
NxNW, Dessert Riesling (2011)
Ramseyer,Vintage Five (2009)

Our game plan was to taste based on region and it was altered slightly as we went along, following some recommendations given to us. We kept it simple and based our favorites on 1- the wines that made us go "wow" and not want to spit, and 2- what tasted most drinkable now, not needing much aging in the bottle. Granted, one can only taste so many wines in any given day, so by no means are we trying to short change the other brilliant wines that we had to pass by. I was impressed with the well thought out organization and layout of the event. It never felt too congested despite all of the patrons and the program made things easy to find.

And our Favorite Tasting Experience Goes To...
Ramseyer Vineyards.Why did we find Ramseyer so enjoyable? Because not only was the wine delicious, so was the conversation. Behind the table was just one man and one vintage of wine to pour. Chatting with John was humbly refreshing, and he was not pretentious by any means. He explained that wine making for him is a family tradition instilled in him from his father. His wife and kids are a part of the process, and they produce wine more for the enjoyment gained from doing it rather than a profit seeking venture. Talking to him made me nostalgic of Old World traditions in bygone days; places where wine making is passed down through generations and it's more about quality over quantity produced. And don't underestimate up and coming small scale winemakers like John who produce only one vintage a year- the accolades speak for themselves. Ramseyer Vintage Five earned 93 points in Wine Spectator, Oct 2012.

Ramseyer's wine is a red blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Savignon, Merlot and Malbec in different percentages depending on the vintage, made from grapes grown in their own Vineyards in Zillah, WA. They began in 2005 and their wines are simply named Vintage One, Vintage Two, etc...Their annual release party is in May in Zillah at their Vineyards and purchasing the wine is available through mail order only. Looking forward to May!
Read the Ramseyer story here.

My favorite feature was by far the seminars. I think they are a great value for the money and a tremendous way to gain both knowledge and comparative tasting experience simultaneously. The seminars offer a comfortable environment for participants of all levels to learn something new, try something new, and ask questions of the producers and experts. I have already reviewed the Riedel seminar (3-23-13 post), and I am going to give a full in depth review of the Cider Revolution seminar as it deserves its own dedicated post.

Cider Revolution Placement at the Viking Chef's Stage

I highly underestimated how significant a role Seattle restaurants would play in the event. The food was delectable, inviting and worthy of an entire day's attention all to itself. With over 60 of Seattle's tastiest restaurants the food impressed me as much as the wine. The samples lived up to their respective restaurant qualities.

Cheese Table in the VIP Lounge

I was happy to see cider but would also like to see mead at Taste Washington in years to come. I think there should be more dessert wines as well and hopefully we will see more Late Harvests and Ice Wines in the future. The event program should offer different ways of listing the wineries, not just alphabetically. It would be nice to plan your tasting by region or varietal and flip to a section that showed you a list of all the wineries from Walla Walla, Yakima, etc... so you could plan your route by region easier. Also a listing of pours by varietal, say if you wanted to carefully choose a specific varietal to taste across different regions/wineries.

Already looking forward to next year! Until then, on to Passport to Woodinville in April!

The Local Libation