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Episode 9 BONUS | There’s gold in the El Dorado Hills

“Gold Country” El Dorado AVA, California

There’s gold in the El Dorado Hills! Dave describes his wine tasting journey beyond Washington to California’s “Gold Country”, the El Dorado AVA sub-appellation where he explored the robust winemaking community in his old childhood stomping grounds. This AVA is high in the Sierra Nevada Foothills of Northern California, where many wineries are utilizing mountain-grown grapes in volcanic soil.

Check out these four notable wineries!

Nello Olivo Winery, Placerville, CA

California style Italian varietals since 2001—crafted by “The Grapefather.”

Website

Boeger Winery, Placerville, CA

In 1972, Boeger was the first post-Prohibition winery in the El Dorado AVA and they describe themselves as making wine with”underdog” varietals.

Website

Lava Cap WineryPlacerville, CA

Estate mountain grown grapes that are sourced from some of the highest vineyards in California from unique volcanic soils.

Website

Madroña Vineyards, Camino, CA

High elevation, naturally farmed vineyards that produce Rhône and Bordeaux varietals.

Website

 

Episode 8 | The legacy of master winemaker, Chris Upchurch

Chris Upchurch

Chris Upchurch, Executive Winemaker at DeLille Cellars & Upchurch Vineyards

In Washington state, the names Chris Upchurch and DeLille Cellars rarely need an introduction. Chris is a wine-making legend and if you are new to his wines, you are in for a premium tasting experience. In this episode, he shares the stories about his part in founding the distinguished DeLille Cellars, his family’s sustainable vineyard and Upchurch label and his thoughts about the history and future of Washington’s wine industry.

Visit DeLille Cellars
Visit Upchurch Vineyard
Visit Maison DeLille Wine Lounge

Taste Washington 2018

Taste WA is the most EPIC wine event in the state and we only had time to attend the two-day Grand Tasting—VIP, of course. How did we survive with 230 wineries in attendance? Focus! Our mission was to taste wines and get to know wineries we were not as familiar with … and eat all the food. We highlight our favorites so check out the list below to explore these Washington beauties yourself.

 

Wines we loved at Taste WA 2018

Alexandria Nicole Cellars

2015 Jet Black Syrah
We hope Washington State gets its butt in gear and allows more wine on tap because this one was ON TAP. We also enjoy the bottled version.
Visit Alexandria Nicole Cellars

Ambassador Wines of Washington

2104 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon  |  2014 Estate Syrah
Both are from Red Mountain and the Syrah is (winery notes): Blackberry, cranberry, dried blueberry, Christmas spice, and a bit of worn leather and fresh vanilla. Just a touch of smoke, game and a slight touch of maple. A lot of rich fruit on the palate, which pairs nicely with a smoky, sweet spice. Full bodied with a perfectly structured finish.
Visit Ambassador Wines of Washington

Archeus

2015 Native Hand Syrah  |  2014 Four Birds Red Bordeaux Blend  |  2014 Scotsman Syrah
Visit Archeus

Barons Winery

2016 Sauvignon Blanc  |  2102 Cabernet Sauvignon  |  2013 Petit Barone Red Bordeaux Blend
The Sauvignon Blanc and Cab Sauv are both 90 pt wines. The Petit Barone is a great wine for the cost and we talk about it in Episode 4.
Visit Barons Winery

Barrister Winery

2014 Cabernet Franc
Barrister is located in Spokane and we still love their Cabernet Franc, as discussed in Episode 3.
Visit Barrister Winery

Basel Cellars

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
This is one of the first vintages from Basel Cellars’ new winemaker, Dirk Brink. We are digging his style so look out for more coming this Fall.
Visit Basel Cellars

Buty Winery

2016 Merlot & Cabernet Franc
This winery, owned by Nina Buty, has us pretty excited. This one is jammy and elegant.
Visit Buty Winery

Cadence

2014 Bel Canto Red Bordeaux Blend
50% Cabernet Franc 38% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot
Drink now or cellar for up to 15 years. We still have the first vintage in the cellar!
Visit Cadence

Cave B Estate Winery

2014 Caveman Red
This was the wine that first got Dave excited about Washington wine, so it was a pleasure to try the new vintage and realize that they’re still making a sub-twenty dollar wine that is this satisfying.
Visit Cave B Estate Winery

Cooper Wine Company

2015 Carménére
This is a waiting list-kind-of-wine. It will be worth it. And while you are waiting, check out the other amazing wines.
Visit Cooper Wine Company

Cote de Ciel

2014 Sangiovese
The 2014 season saw record breaking heat and created ideal conditions for this wine. Long and elegant finish, this one.
Visit Cote de Ciel

Elephant Seven Winery

2017 Blue Mountain Vineyard Viognier  |  2016 Grenache  |   2014 Yellow Bird Sarah
We love these guys who get their inspiration from the Elephant 6 Music Collective. Check out the detailed tasting banter on Episode 6 Bonus.
Visit Elephant Seven

Elsom Cellars

2011 Logan Malbec  |  2011 Isabella Red Blend 
The Logan Malbec is incredible and that the NEWEST release is a 2011. Good things come to those who wait.
Visit Elsom Cellars

Gård Vintners

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Get your Gård on and check out the detailed tasting banter on Episode 7 Bonus.
Visit Gard Vintners

JB Neufeld

2014 Old Goat Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
One of our favorite labels and wine of Taste WA 2018. It’s really, really good.
Visit JB Neufeld

Jones of Washington

2016 Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc and a consistent line-up from winemaker, Victor Palencia. Solid quality at great prices.
Visit Jones of Washington

Kiona Vineyards

2016 Red Rhone Blend  |  2015 Heritage Red Bordeaux Blend
Great wine from a highly regarded vineyard. The Red Rhone Blend is amazing.
Visit Kiona Vineyards

Martedi Winery

2014 Sangiovese
Martedi’s Sangiovese is one of the very best examples of this varietal in WA, if we do say so ourselves.
Visit Martedi Wines

MERF Wines

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon
MERF wines have good distribution at chain wine and spirits stores, grocery outlets and restaurants. We’ve enjoyed the Chardonnay as well!
Visit MERF Wines

Owen Roe

2015 Chapel Block Syrah  |  2015 Cabernet Sauvignon  |  2015 Rose Mystica Cabernet Franc
Solid line-up and some of our favorite branding and design.
Visit Owen Roe

Palencia Wine Company

2017 Monarcha Winery Pinot Noir  |   2013 El Viñador Cabernet Sauvignon
Strong line-up Mr Palencia! The El Viñador is bold with black cherry and chocolate and beautiful tannins.
Visit Palencia Wine Company

Structure Cellars

2015 “Foundation” Cabernet Franc
Solid line-up but Cab Franc was a stand out. Complex flavors, bold and smooth tannins.
Visit Structure Cellars

Upchurch Vineyard

2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Stand out wine of the Taste WA 2018. (93-95 points) Wines are member’s only so if you don’t currently have a membership or looking to add another, this would be an incredible one to choose.
Visit Upchurch Vineyard

Upsidedown Wine

2017 Rose of Nebbiolo  |  2014 Estate Red Rhone Blend  |  2015 Estate Red Bordeaux Blend
We’re really excited about Upsidedown as one of the wineries to watch for 2018. Buy their wine and giveback on every bottle sold!
Visit Upsidedown Wine

Episode 7 BONUS | Tasting Notes with Gård Vintners

Gård Vintners

Winemaker: Aryn Morell

Estate Lawrence Vineyards: Royal Slope—The Royal Slope is a relatively young farming area located in eastern Washington almost halfway between Seattle and Spokane in the Columbia Valley AVA, just northeast of the Wahluke Slope AVA and southeast of the Ancient Lakes of Washington AVA.

Gård Vintners was created in 2006 and run by co-owners Josh Lawrence on the orchard side and Lisa Lawrence on the sales and marketing side. They are joined by winemaker Aryn Morell took over the winemaking at Matthews Estate in Woodinville, and along with Gard, also makes wine for Tenor, Mullan Road, and his own label, Alleromb. Oh, and Aryn’s worked for 14+ other wineries, so there’s a ton of expertise going into Gård wines.

We feature a wonderful representation of an estate white, rosé and red.

2016 Freyia

63% Viognier and 37% Roussanne

2017 Rosé Grand Klasse Reserve

100% Grenache

2014 Vaucluse

68% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 3% Viognier

Website

 

Episode 6 BONUS | Tasting Notes with Elephant Seven

Elephant Seven, Walla Walla, WA

Winemaker: Josh West

The winemaker was inspired by the Elephant 6 collective, who were a group of independent musicians dedicated to an individual and personal approach. This really resonated with Dave since he listened to several of those bands, and was astonished to have “guessed correctly” at this connection when we met them at the Taste Washington event in Seattle, WA.

We talk about two Rhone style wines and their no nonsense (and no shenanigans) approach.

2017 Blue Mountain Vineyard Viognier

Blue Mountain

2016 Yellow Bird Vineyard Grenache

Blue Mountain

Website

 

Episode 5 | Lisa Packer delivers a powerful, feminine approach to Warr-King Wines

Lisa Packer of Warr-King WinesLisa Packer, Warr-King Wines

On this episode, we interview the Double Gold award winning owner and winemaker, Lisa Packer of Warr-King Wines. She discusses the power behind her wines’ namesake, her winemaking style and business philosophy.

We recommend a visit to Warr-King in Woodinville, WA. You’ll realize immediately after stepping through the doors at Warr-King, that this is not your average tasting room. There’s a warmth and coziness that is partially due to a focus on artfulness; colorful, whimsical paintings adorn the walls, the barrel cabinets behind the tasting bar and the surprisingly mysterious, dark ceiling. On our first trip, and a recent follow-up, the tables were almost always full. This is not unheard of, but may be an indication that word has gotten out—Lisa Packard makes great wines.

Website

Northwest Women Stars of Food & Wine

Held at the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle, WA, this highly anticipated event showcased trendsetting women chefs, winemakers and sommeliers of the Northwest. Sandi delivers the event 411 and dishes about a few of her favorite winemakers.

 

Wines we loved

Warr-King Wines

2017 Marie Noelle Rosé
Winery notes: This dry Rosé is light in color with aromas of strawberries, rose petals and a hint of lavender. Nice acid, great texture with an elegant mineral finish.

2014 Syrah
Awarded Double Gold Winner by San Francisco Chronicle Wine Awards 2018.
Winery notes: This wine has an old-world elegance; blackberry, olive and rosemary on the palate, with a peppery finish. Subtle with a lingering and memorable finish. The perfect wine to pair with all your BBQ favorites!

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winery notes: This is our first ever Red Mountain Cabernet and it is stellar. Nice acidity with prominent tannins. Black cherry and cocoa powder on the nose, bursts of blackberry and baking spices on the palate. The finish is bold, yet elegant and complex.

Episode 4 | Navigate wine shopping with expert, Leonard “Lenny” Redé

Leonard “Lenny” Redé, Esquin Wine Merchants | NW Wine Academy

Lenny imparts a refreshing perspective to those who may be new to shopping at a well-curated wine shop and the advantages to having your own wine specialist.

He is the Marketing Manager at Esquin Wine and Spirits, Seattle’s oldest and largest independent wine shop. He is well regarded in the wine industry for his knowledge of wine history and gastronomy. An instructor in the Wine Technology Program at South Seattle (NW Wine Academy), he wrote the curriculum for the Associate of Arts Degree in Food and Wine Pairing Sommelier Studies. A classically trained chef and pastry chef he garnered international attention at his award winning restaurant Sapphire kitchen and bar. He was nominated for educator of the year when he was a Chef Instructor at the world renowned Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. A restaurateur, wine steward, chef and educator with over 30 years of industry experience Chef Redé has an unique blend of culinary and wine expertise. He loves to share his passion for all things gastronomic and he’ll gladly help you navigate the world of wine and is always quick with a wine pairing or recipe.

Website

Under $20 Bottle Shopping Challenge

In this episode, explore self-guided wine buying vs. seeking the advice of an expert at a curated wine shop, like Esquin. We give practical advice to those that may not have everyday access to quality, local wine buying resources or need to quickly pick a bottle up. Dave and I talk about a challenge we set up for ourselves—to find quality wines under $20 at common stores in our area like Walmart, Rite Aid, Safeway, Grocery Outlet Bargain Market and even an unlikely source, the Shell gas station.

 

Wines we loved—$20 and under

Barons Winery

2012 Petit Barone
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon | Winery notes: Quite inviting and utterly delicious. The nose suggests fresh black cherries, sweet forest scents and a stroll through a far-off spice bazaar. The first taste is lithe and elegant, with a precision of berry flavors and complex earthy notes, the tannins are round and supported by integrated acidity. Lush, but never heavy, it has a smoothness and sophistication that belies its price and a finish that is long and sweet/savory at the end.
Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Kevin White Winery

2016 Red Wine
45% Syrah, 32% Grenache, 23% Mourvedre | Winery notes: This wine jumps out as a lively blend of Bing cherry, plum, and blueberry aromas with floral and spice elements throughout. On the palate, these flavors are wrapped around a medium body with soft tannins leading toward a lovely finish. A very enjoyable wine to drink now. Pair this wine with food any night of the week!
Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Gifford Hirlinger

2014 Stateline Red
53% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 8% Tempranillo and 2% Petit Verdot | Winery notes: The 2013 Stateline Red from Gifford Hirlinger is a bit of a “kitchen sink” blend, containing Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Tempranillo, and a little bit of Petit Verdot. This wine is all about the fruit, with clean and well-ripened cherry, raspberry, and a touch of cassis. The mouth follows with red fruits, notes of ripe plum, and baking spices rounding it all out. The tannins are young and firm, and the acidity keeps it fresh and clean.
Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Jones of Washington

2012 Merlot
Winery notes: This Merlot opens up with bright aromas of ripe blackberry and dark cherry with nuances of baking spices and cigar box. On the palate, it is well balanced with integrated tannins, acidity and flavor. This wine evolves from dark plum, bright cherry and rich raspberry upfront to a touch of earthy tones and toasty mocha. Finishing with hints of nutmeg and clove and sweet, velvety tannins.
Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

MERF

2015 Chardonnay
Winery notes: From David “Merf” Merfeld winemaker for Northstar comes this new project. This inaugural Chardonnay shows a lot of promise of great things to come. No wilting flower this wine is rich, smooth and balanced, with flavors of fresh tropical fruits, honey, ripe citrus and vanilla. The wine finishes with smooth oak notes with a crisp, complex finish. A lot of wine for the money!
Website | Esquin Wine and Spirits

Nathan Gray

2016 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winery notes: Made by II Vintners and Covington Cellars winemaker, Morgan Lee, this wine has aromas of black cherries and other dark fruits. Rich and full, with a chocolaty velvet smoothness on the palate. This Cabernet is best enjoyed with grilled meats BBQ and a big juicy steak.
Esquin Wine and Spirits

Canoe Ridge

2014 The Explorer Red Blend

49% Syrah, 27% Cabernet Franc, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon | Winery notes: This fruit forward blend offers notes of cassis, blackberry, plum, and a kiss of cedar on the long, lingering finish.
Website

Chateau Ste Michelle

2016 Dry Riesling
Winery notes: The Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling is a dry, refreshing style of Riesling with beautiful fruit flavors, crisp acidity and an elegant finish. It offers inviting sweet citrus aromas and flavors. This is an incredibly versatile food wine and my favorite with oysters.
Website

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