Washington wines on the world stage: a seminar looking at Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon

This was an interesting tasting that attempted to put Washington State’s wines in context by blind tasting them with some stiff international competition. We tasted double blind, although in each flight the first wine was sighted, and from Washington State.

Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars led the tasting. He was an MS (master sommelier) in the [...]

In Seattle: Le Pichet and Bar Melusine

There are few compelling reasons to be rich. But one of them is so that you have enough budget to eat out all the time. While I was in Seattle for the Riesling Rendezvous conference, I ate at two rather different places. I recommend them both.

The first was Le Pichet. It’s a small French cafe [...]

Dinner at Grain Store with the Hedges dudes, and 'Score Revolution'

I had dinner last week with Boo Walker and Christophe Hedges, of Hedges in Washington State. I visited Hedges, the custodians of Red Mountain, this summer and it was a great experience. Their slightly quirky approach and lovely, almost European-styled wines, were a breath of fresh air amid quite a lot of sweetly fruited, rather [...]

Washington State wine adventure, day 6

Travelling companions Richard Hemming and Treve Ring

The last day of a really interesting trip. The subtle temptation when you are touring wine country is to be nice and like every wine you taste. People love praise, and dishing it out makes you feel good. Besides, even the people who make spoofy wines are often [...]

Washington State wine adventure, day 5

Day 5. By this stage, our small group of four had begun to develop quite a bond. And there had been no arguments or cross words. Just a lot of banter. In fact, my travelling companions had amassed enough material to take me down, if ever they were to choose to share indiscreetly. But there [...]

Washington State wine adventure, day 4

Day 4 of this Washington State wine adventure was full of incident and fun. This is really proving to be an interesting trip, with lots of contrasts. We began at Pacific Rim, with winemaker Steven Sealock (above, tasting tanks with Richard and Treve). The story? Way back when, Randall Grahm did some graduate work in [...]

Washington State wine adventures, day 3

Day three of this trip began with Butch Milbrandt. A fourth generation farmer, Butch and his brother Jerry began farming together in 1969, and seeing the success of wine grapes in eastern Washington, they decided to take the plunge into grape growing in 1997. Now they have 2500 hectares, and they sell to 30 different [...]

Washington State wine adventures, day 2

The vehicle the four of us are driving around Washington State is big enough to fit a hot tub in the back. It’s really, really big, and all the doors and the boot (trunk) have electronic buttons to open them. This level of complexity is daunting, and at the moment someone has pressed the wrong [...]

Washington State wine, day 1

So, the first full day of my adventures on the Washington Wine route has ended. I’m travelling with a jolly band – Richard Hemming, Treve Ring and Kate Sweet, and we have a full itinerary that should allow us to get a real feel for this region. We began in the city, and nearby Woodinville, [...]

Charles Smith The Honourable Riesling

I admit it: I hadn’t really heard the Charles Smith story until I read about him on the blog of a Canadian friend, Nicole, even though I’d run into a couple of the wines (one stocked by Virgin Wines, and one by Wholefoods). How could I have missed him? What a back story! He seems [...]