Six Ways to Celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month

Washington State Wine is flying the #WAwine flag this March for Taste Washington Wine Month. What better excuse to proudly taste Washington Wine? More than 500 wineries, restaurants, hotels and retailers are jumping on board with special events and promotions all month long. Here is my short list of curated events to help lay the groundwork for a month of revelry.

Women + Wine Event at the Riveter Capitol Hill

Thursday, March 14
6-8:30 pm
Some of the state’s top women in wine are showcasing their wines and businesses at this event. With stellar wineries such as Callan Cellars and Brook & Bull being represented, I for one am looking forward to this inspiring networking event produced by Belle & Bottle!

Damsel Cellars Mystery Case Offer

You likely know I’m a big supporter of Winemaker, Mari Womack if you follow my Instagram feed. I am also a fan of her marketing savvy, offering a mystery case of wine as a Washington Wine Month promotion. For $250 (minimum 25% savings guaranteed), each box features at least 2 special Library wines, plus a mix of current wines and wine club offerings. How fun is that?

Taste Washington New Vintage

Friday, March 29
7-10pm
According to the web site, “The New Vintage is an unforgettable experience that delivers stories in the form of food and wine.” Formerly targeting the next generation of wine drinkers, this event appears to have grown up a bit. Seattle star chefs Edouardo Jordan (JuneBaby), Ethan Stowell (Ethan Stowell Restaurants) and Rachel Yang (Joule) will be offering up bites to eat. Not only that, they have invited chef friends from around the country to join them. One of those chefs is Vivian Howard of the PBS show, A Chef’s Life. The series was a lesson in Southern ingredients and elevated cooking that had me glued to each episode. Apologies in advance if I have a fan girl moment over her!

Taste Washington Seminars

Saturday, March 30 & Sunday, March 31
10:30am – 12:00pm

Wine Glasses

One of my favorite wine geek events of Taste Washington has always been the seminars. This year’s topics include “Through the Grapevine: Lessons Learned from A Lifetime in Washington Wine” moderated by beloved Washington Wine Guru and Master of Wine, Bob Betz. Panelists include Ted Baseler formerly of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellar, Rick Small of Woodward Canyon, and Betsey Wittick, Bainbridge Vineyards.

Taste Washington Grand Tasting

Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31
1:30pm-6pm VIP | 2:30pm-6pm General Admission

Over 235 Wineries Pour at the Taste Washington Grand Tasting

Of course, if you love Washington Wine and want to experience as much as you can the Grand Tasting is not to be missed! Pro tip: sip and spit.

Avennia Wine Dinner at Cortina

Sunday, March 24
6-9pm

Dinner Menu Wine Glass

We kicked off Washington Wine Month at a fantastic winemaker dinner at mkt., an Ethan Stowell Restaurant. Chef Jessica Rudell elevated both the wine and the food with dishes such as Eggplant Ravioli paired perfectly with the Avennia Gravura Bordeaux Style Blend. If you missed out be sure to make reservations for the wine dinner at Cortina, one of newest additions to Ethan Stowell Restaurants.

Alternatively, if you want to celebrate Washington Wine at home, pick up some selections from your local winery or wine shop. Try my picks for some Walla Walla wines to get to know!

If you’re in Seattle and want to do more exploring, head to my six stops for wine lovers.

Whatever you do, be sure to share your favorite experiences on social media using the hashtag guide to Washington Wine Month. Let’s talk about #WAwine!

Walla Walla Wines to Get to Know

Every year, the Walla Walla Wine event comes to Seattle. Think of it as a wine road show, where 50 wineries from the acclaimed region show up and pour their latest vintages. In fact, it’s kind of a big deal considering it’s about a 5 hour drive from Walla Walla to Seattle. Not to mention, there are a lot of exciting wines coming out of the region. Here are just a few highlights of this year’s tasting at McCaw Hall, as time is limited at these events.

Wine Tasting

Participating wineries include esteemed pioneers Woodward Canyon and L’Ecole Winery. Wines from these producers are consistently top quality. For this reason, I always want to taste their current releases. Then, there’s my obsession with ALL the wines from The Walls. However, with so many options on hand, I make it a point at this event to explore uncharted territory.

Red Wine Bottle

Consequently, wines such as the Figgins Estate Red are a priority. With limited production, this Washington wine is available first and foremost to those on their mailing list. So, do you blame me for wanting a taste? The 2015 bottling is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot built to go the distance. Plus, the 2015 vintage was a warm year. Take all that into account, and it’s no surprise that this wine currently has some grip. Beyond the tannic structure, cherry flavors linger on a velvety, long finish. Think of this as the Dwayne Johnson of wine with a range starting as big and muscular going to polished and smooth. Just give it some time to see how it evolves. Like Dwayne, it’s likely to make you weak in the knees!

New(ish) and Exciting

New-to-me Elephant Seven has been creating some buzz on social media, compelling me to have a sip. I sample the 2017 Cosmic Reflection, a dynamic blend of 61% XL Vineyard Mourvèdre, 39% Yellow Bird Vineyard Syrah aged in neutral oak. I pick up some spicy pepper notes and lively acidity. A visit to their newly opened tasting room in downtown Walla Walla is now on my list for our next visit to the region.

Chardonnay Wine Bottles

Of course, no Walla Walla tasting is complete without a sip (or two) of Lagana Cellars. I can always count on them to offer a refreshing palate cleanser such as their Breezy Slope Pinot Noir Rosé. The Eritage Vineyard Chardonnay, is not to be missed either. Modeled after Chablis, this sleek wine only sees stainless steel. I also have to give a shout out for the fact that these guys are rocking it on social media, so give them a follow!

Carménère

Curious about Washington Carménère, I taste all I can find. My discovery of the day is that the Walla Walla grown Carménère crafted by Balboa Winery and Watermill Winery expresses spicy white pepper notes of rotundone. These wines conjure up images of warm, exotic destinations with bold, flavorful cuisines. By contrast, the bottling by Tertulia Cellars crafted with Carménère sourced from Phinny Hill in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA expresses the classic bell pepper pyrazine notes that the grape is known for. What a difference the source makes. So, pick your bottle based on your personal preference to spice things up or veg out!

The wines of Walla Walla are not to be missed. If you didn’t taste them in Seattle, there are plenty of other opportunities coming up. Make a point to get to know them!

Walla Walla Wine Events

March 11, 2019: Walla Walla Wines @ Portland
April 14-15, 2019: Reveal Walla Walla Valley
May 3-5, 2019: Spring Release Weekend
May 7, 2019: Annual Membership Meeting
June 13-15, 2019: Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine – The World of Cabernet Sauvignon
Nov. 1-3, 2019: Fall Release Weekend
Dec. 6-8, 2019: Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend

Cabernet Classic Grand Tasting Returns

If you love Cabernet, be sure to get tickets to this year’s Cabernet Classic! After all, tasting through some of the best Cabernets Washington has to offer makes for an exciting evening. Over 30 of the state’s premier wineries will be pouring. Truly, this is one of the events I had the most fun at last year.

Start the evening off at this swanky event by pulling up to Bellevue’s Porsche dealership and being greeted by Butler Valet Service. Walk the red carpet full of anticipation as over 50 impressive Cabernets – Sauvignon, Franc, and blends – await among the racy cars in the show room. Then in between sips, savor bites from The Central and Pearl Bellevue.

Washington State red wine

The Côte Bonneville Bordeaux style blends crafted by star winemaker Kerry Shiels are a regular highlight of this upscale tasting. The estate wines from this boutique family winery showcase how well Washington wine can age.

Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

J. Bookwalter also returns to the Cabernet Classic this year. This Richland based winery landed on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2018, so don’t miss a chance to give their wines a try!

9th Annual Cabernet Classic Event Information

Saturday, March 2nd
6:00-9:00pm
Porsche Bellevue
Advance tickets: $75 / $100 VIP

Pro Tip: VIP Reception is 1 hour early entry to avoid the lines along with a private magnum tasting and premier swag bags.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Get your tickets to the king of wine events today.

Walla Walla Wine Comes to Seattle

If you live in Seattle and dream of visiting Walla Walla to go wine tasting, you are in luck. You don’t even need to leave the city. Fifty Walla Walla wineries are coming to McCaw Hall to pour their latest vintages!

This is a great chance for consumers to sample wines crafted from the unique growing sites of the Walla Walla Valley AVA and surrounding areas. Sure, those attending the event will miss out on vistas of the idyllic Blue Mountains and tasting among the vineyards. However, tasting events such as this are a great springboard to plan an itinerary for a Walla Walla trip! Or, at least to identify wines to seek out at local wine shops and restaurants.

Winery tasting station

Experience Walla Walla Winemaking Diversity

Although Walla Walla is associated primarily with big red wines, there are also lovely white wines and rosés being made. For Chardonnay, turn to long time consistent producers such as Woodward Canyon. Or, if a refreshing Riesling or rosé is more to your taste , check out newcomers Lagana Cellars.

If you haven’t yet tasted the wines being crafted by Ali Mayfield at The Walls, run don’t walk to their table! The winner in two categories at last year’s 13th Annual Seattle Magazine Wine Awards, The Walls is a winery to watch.

Also garnering attention recently is winemaker Ashley Trout, named one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 40 Under 40. She makes outstanding wines under the Brook and Bull label as well as for her Vital Wines project which benefits a non-profit health care clinic. That’s right, a winemaker who not only has talent, but gives back to the community. Give the woman a round of applause and go taste her wine at this event!

Walla Walla Wine Event Details

Tickets to the event organized by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance include light appetizers in addition to wine samplings.

Monday, February 25, 2019
General Admission: 5:30-8:00pm
Tickets: $50

Location:
McCaw Hall
321 Mercer Street
Seattle, WA 98109

Must be at least 21 years of age to attend.

So, with all that Walla Walla wine about to get poured in Seattle get tickets to this great event now! Then during the tasting head over to social media and give a shout out for your favorite sips. #LetsTalkAboutWine