Celebrate National Moscato Day

National Moscato Day takes place on May 9th. Will you be celebrating the bubbly beverage? If so, here’s what you need to know to make the most of the occasion.

Moscato is light, slightly fizzy (technical wine word:  frizzante), and delightful to sip! It makes a great day drinking wine if you’re looking for an adult beverage to serve with brunch. However, at our house, we enjoy uncorking a bottle at the end of a meal to enjoy with dessert or on its own. Most bottles we purchase range in 5-7% alcohol by volume as compared to 12-14% for typical still wines. So, even if we’ve had wine with dinner, a little Moscato won’t put us over the edge.

National Moscato Day

Nerd Facts

Moscato is the Italian word for the Muscat Blanc grapes from which the wine is made. This variety is one of the oldest in the world!

Delicate honeysuckle and orange blossom aromatics are trademarks of this quaffable wine.  Thankfully, it tastes as pleasant as it smells. While sweet, it is not weighty or cloying.

Pairing Moscato

Personally, I adore almost anything lavender with Moscato, such as lavender shortbread or lavender ice cream. Likely because the lavender echoes the floral characteristic of the wine.

Tiramisu, however, is hands down the penultimate pairing.

chcocolate lady fingers coffee liqueur
Tiramisu Ingredients

So, how will you celebrate National Moscato Day? As with all social media wine holidays, be sure to use the right hashtag and share on social media. Head on over to Instagram and #LetsTalkAboutWine and #MoscatoDay!

Other Fun Wine Holidays

International Tempranillo Day
Malbec World Day – April 17
Taste Washington Wine Month – March
Washington Wine Month – August
Zinfandel Day

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Behind the Taste NW Wine Awards

Have you ever wondered about behind the scenes details at wine awards programs? On Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, the Taste NW Wine & Cider Awards took place at the historic Swedish Club in Seattle, Washington. Advanced Sommelier and Taste NW Executive Director, Christopher Chan, extended an invitation to be a member of the Tasting Panel. Extremely honored, I accepted, of course. The following is some insight gained as to what goes into a program of this scale.

Wine Competition Setup

The Taste NW Wine & Cider Awards encompass the Seattle Wine Awards, Oregon Wine Awards, and Idaho Wine Awards. Celebrating its twelfth anniversary this year, it is lauded as the premier Pacific Northwest wine and cider evaluation and awards program. Each entry is evaluated for aroma, flavor, typicity, balance, complexity, and overall impression. In the end, the top expressions earn Double Gold, Gold, Silver, and Bronze Grand Awards of Excellence.

Wine Professionals
2019 Wine Awards Tasting Panel (Image Courtesy of Seattle Wine Awards)

The Scene

Continue reading “Behind the Taste NW Wine Awards”

Taste Red Mountain Wine

Do you believe you can taste terroir? Red Mountain AVA is the smallest and warmest wine grape growing region in Washington State. Wines crafted with fruit grown here are known for their structure and concentration. Often, I sense a bit of smokiness in the wines. Whether or not you believe it’s due to the terroir, one thing is for sure – there are phenomenal wines being crafted with Red Mountain AVA grapes.

Last week the Taste Red Mountain event took place at the World Trade Center in Seattle. Read on for a few highlights from that experience.

Now you might be thinking, “There’s Nancy going on about Washington State Wine again!” However, people from all over gush about wines from Red Mountain. In fact, here’s what Texas based Kat René, Certified Specialist of Wine and author of The Corkscrew Concierge, says about her experience with the region:

Tasting wine from Red Mountain was one of those “aha” moments for me. I don’t drink a great deal of Cabernet Sauvignon and I was convinced that I would never love Syrah. Red Mountain changed that for me. I was like, “who knew?!” It does an amazing balancing act between power and elegance.

Duckhorn Wine Bottle


The Canvasback 2016 Grand Passage Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is a show stopper! For those not familiar with this brand, it is part of the Duckhorn portfolio. This bottling of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot is composed of their very best lots. Admittedly, at $84 it’s not cheap but dang, it’s worth it!

White Wine


2017 Optu White Wine ($30)
Sure, many associate Red Mountain with red wine. However, for a refreshing change of pace try the 2017 Fidélitas Optu White Wine, a Bordeaux-style white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon sourced from Klipsun Vineyard. It spends time in 50% neutral oak, 25% new oak, and 25% concrete egg, making it a textural delight on the palate. I’m suddenly craving seafood!

Red Mountain Wine

Hightower Cellars

2015 Merlot ($30)
After recently hearing a local wine buyer wax poetic about this under the radar winery, I just had to have a taste. Am I glad I did! At $30 a bottle, the Hightower Cellars Merlot is a steal of a deal for the level of quality. This juicy wine offers bright fruit on the palate wrapped up in velvety tannins. Pair this wine with Friday night and Netflix.

Sangiovese Wine Bottle

Kiona Vineyards

2016 Estate Red Mountain Sangiovese ($30)
The Kiona tasting room was the first one I visited on Red Mountain way back, so the wines – and the family behind the wines – have a special place in my heart. This Sangiovese is a delectable easy drinker with characteristics of sweet tobacco along with chocolate notes. Will somebody please bring me some pasta?

Red Mountain Syrah

Muret-Gaston Winery

2013 Syrah ($50)
I have been partial to the wines of talented owner/winemaker Kyle Johnson ever since I became familiar with them as a wine buyer for a small shop. If there’s a variety that reveals a sense of place more than any other, it has to be Syrah. The Muret-Gaston Syrah showcases the intensity of the region with its rich black fruit profile. Uncork a bottle and put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door!

Do you have a favorite Red Mountain winery? Head on over to Twitter or Instagram and #letstalkaboutwine!

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in exploring more wine from Washington, get to know some Walla Walla wines.

Many thanks to Laura Huston of Belle & Bottle for the invite to Taste Red Mountain. Her Bothell studio is a great place to seek out quality wines of Washington State and enjoy some fun wine events.

Auction of Washington Wines Spring Dinner Series

There is an exciting experience coming to Seattle for fans of Washington Wine! We’re talking about phenomenal winemaker dinners. What’s the big deal? Well, my friends, these dinners involve five of Washington’s favorite winemakers paired with five talented Seattle chefs including two James Beard Award Nominees from this year! There’s wine and food pairing, obviously. Plus, it’s all in the name of fundraising. So read on for more details about this special Dinner Series happening for one night only.

Presented by the Auction of Washington Wines, the dinner series benefits Seattle Children’s and the WSU Viticulture & Enology Program. “Spring Winemaker Dinners are a great way to connect winemakers with wine lovers”, says Jamie Peha, Executive Director. “We enjoy kicking off our event series with these one-night-only meals highlighting the best of the season in Seattle-area restaurants.” Guests have the opportunity to learn about each wine as they are poured with each course, directly from the Winemaker and Chef who created the pairing.

Dinner Series Details

These five dinners run concurrently
Thursday, April 25th, 6:30 p.m.
Seattle locations
All tickets $150 each, including wine, food, and service
More details available on the Auction of Washington Wines website.

Invite a friend, choose from one of these five memorable spring dinners, and enjoy the evening for a good cause!

Dusted Valley at Sawyer
Restaurant: Sawyer – 2019 James Beard Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant
Location: Ballard
Chef: Mitch Mayer
Winery: Chad Johnson of Dusted Valley

Kevin White Winery at FlintCreek Cattle Co.
Restaurant: FlintCreek Cattle Co.
Location: Greenwood
Chef: Eric Donnelly, 2019 James Beard “Best Chef in the Northwest” semifinalist
Winery: Kevin White “Winemaker to Watch” of Kevin White Winery

EFESTÉ at Lark
Restaurant: Lark
Location: Capitol Hill
Chef: John Sundstrom 2007 James Beard “Best Chef Northwest”
Winery: EFESTÉ

Latta Wines at Rider
Restaurant: Rider
Location: Downtown
Chef: Dan Mallahan
Winery: “Washington gamechanger” Latta Wines

Barrage Cellars at Ascend Prime Steak and Sushi
Restaurant: Ascend
Location: Bellevue
Chef: Sean Mayhew
Winery: Kevin Correll, Barrage Cellars

Are you as excited as I am about these dinners? Then head on over to my Instagram page and share your favorite winemaker/chef pairing! #letstalkaboutwine

If you’re interested in putting your own wine and food pairing skills to the test, check out my posts on Pairing Cabernet Sauvignon with Food and Pairing Cabernet Franc with Food.

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
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

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!