- Tasting Notes
- Wine Destinations
- Wine Education
- Wine Events
- Winemaker Interviews
Dave’s surprise birthday weekend to Vancouver, B.C. started with one question—where can I find exceptional wineries no more than an hour outside of the city? The answer came from Alfred, who guided us on a private wine tasting tour through the western portion of the Fraser Valley, around Langley, British Columbia Canada. This well-curated trip featured some of the top wineries of the area and they source from the coveted Okanagan region, in addition to, producing from estate fruit. If you don’t have four days to explore the Okanagan, know there are tasting rooms and vineyards just over the border in Langley, B.C. that will expand your wine-mind.
Blackwood Lane Winery
Glass House Estate Winery
Chaberton Estate Winery & Bacchus Bistro
Township 7 Wines
Interested in a private British Columbia wine tasting tour?
Kent Waliser & Lacey Lybeck
Director of Vineyard Operations | Viticulturist & Vineyard Manager
Sagemoor Vineyeards has been growing wine grapes for 40 years and governs five iconic vineyards; Bacchus, Dionysus, Sagemoor, Gamache and Weinbau. They’ve been providing fruit to some of the most respected super-star wineries in Washington, including Abeja, Avennia, Barnard Griffin, Delille Cellars, Dusted Valley, Efeste, Fidelitas, Forgeron, Gramercy, L’Ecole No. 41, Matthews, Saviah, Sparkman, Walla Walla Vintners, and Woodward Canon, to name just a few.
Go with us on a journey to the heart of Washington’s vine country to one of the most revered and iconic vineyards in our region. We interview Kent Waliser, Director of Vineyard Operations and Lacey Lybeck, Viticulturist and Vineyard Manager of Sagemoor Vineyards about the history, challenges, and future of their operation including a bold, long-awaited venture: Sagemoor Wines. Listen in on an epic vineyard tailgate wine tasting at Bacchus, in the Columbia Valley.
Selections by Sagemoor
“Selections by Sagemoor is our way of sharing this land’s rich history and bounty with you. Each offering tells a story, each wine a stellar example of the best our vineyards produce. The story of wine is so much more than what you see, smell, and taste in the bottle.”
The BIG 13—AVA’s of Washington State
Knowing your AVA’s is more than just a geography lesson, if you discover a wine that you love and you learn which AVA the grapes were grown in, you can seek out other wines from that region that may appeal to you as well. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon from a cooler AVA or from a slope where it does not get as much sun might result in fruit that has a lower sugar content, and thus lower in alcohol, whereas a Cab grown in a hot climate may produce huge, bold flavors with higher alcohol.
Many of Washington State’s more notable vineyards reside in the eastern part of the state, where warm days and cool nights help retain the balance of acid and sugar levels in the grape which gives Washington wines their characteristic balance in flavors, so looking at Columbia Valley again, the northern latitude of the valley receives two more hours of additional daylight during the summer growing season than wine regions of California.
Washington’s “Big thirteen”, currently recognized AVAs are: Ancient Lakes, Columbia Gorge, Columbia Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Lake Chelan, Naches Heights, Puget Sound, Rattlesnake Hills, Red Mountain, Snipes Mountain, Wahluke Slope, Walla Walla, Yakima Valley.
But, there are more on the way …
The Sisters of the Vinifera Revolution formed in the alley of the Warehouse District in Woodinville, WA in the Fall of 2012 during crush time. (Over beers, not wine.) A few of the ladies were working as interns and trying to break into the business and initially formed more as a networking, information sharing and support group. Their goal is to lift up, help find opportunities, mentor and provide visibility to all women in the Washington State wine industry. Seven percent of winemakers here are women and the state and can only benefit from their presence.
Hear about their 2nd annual event organized by Belle & Bottle and the wines we added to our ever-growing collection. If you feel called to join the Sisters of the Vinifera Revolution as a winemaker or viticulturist, contact Lisa Packer at Warr-King Wines.
Check out other events and Join the Club at Belle & Bottle
Sisters of the Vinifera event wineries
Winemaker: Lisa Callan
Winemaker: Mari Womack
Winemaker: Jody Elsom | Assistant Winemaker & Cellarmaster: Rebecca Weber
Winemaker: Kasia Kim
Winemaker: Hillary Sjolund
Three of Cups
Co-Founder: Lisa Swei
Ali and Jarrod Boyle, Alexandria Nicole Cellars
It was Destiny for Ali and Jarrod Boyle. He is the winemaker of Alexandria Nicole Cellars and grower for their Destiny Ridge Vineyard. His wife, Ali, who the winery is named after, works on the business marketing side. On this episode of Decanted, this dynamic duo talk about their partnership and how their vineyards, winery and Destiny Ridge vineyard tiny houses came to be.
Destiny Ridge’s Glamperous Tiny Houses
When you visit Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Paterson, WA, stay in a cozy tiny house as seen on HGTV Tiny House Big Living. Currently, there are four houses with a total of 10 planned through 2019. Jet Black and Gravity and were constructed in competition style on HGTV Tiny House Big Living. Jet Black is 392 sq. ft, with a contemporary design and gourmet kitchen. Gravity is 384 sq. ft. shabby-chic style using re-purposed materials and reclaimed wood. The 210 sq. ft. Affinity Alberiño house is perfect for a single traveler or a couple who crave closeness. The Epiphany Viognier house is 380 sq. ft. and has two sleeping areas, a cozy loft or a petite bedroom. Epiphany would be a great choice for a small family as there’s really room for four. Kids would love to sleep in the upstairs loft as you can’t get to adult standing height there, and climbing up the steep staircase has a tree-fort kind of feeling. And if you don’t have kids, the loft has a large meditation poof to sit on as you gaze at the view of the Columbia River.
Horse Heaven Hills Trail Drive Event
The 13th Annual Horse Heaven Hills Wine Growers Trail Drive event is coming up July 21, 2018 participants are Columbia Crest, Water From Wine, CSM Canoe Ridge Estate, Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Destiny Ridge-Alexandria Nicole Cellars and Coyote Canyon Vineyard.
“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.”
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.
Lava Cap Winery, Placerville, CA
Estate mountain grown grapes that are sourced from some of the highest vineyards in California from unique volcanic soils.
Madroña Vineyards, Camino, CA
High elevation, naturally farmed vineyards that produce Rhône and Bordeaux varietals.
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.
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.
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.
2015 Native Hand Syrah | 2014 Four Birds Red Bordeaux Blend | 2014 Scotsman Syrah
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.
2014 Cabernet Franc
Barrister is located in Spokane and we still love their Cabernet Franc, as discussed in Episode 3.
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.
2016 Merlot & Cabernet Franc
This winery, owned by Nina Buty, has us pretty excited. This one is jammy and elegant.
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!
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.
Cooper Wine Company
This is a waiting list-kind-of-wine. It will be worth it. And while you are waiting, check out the other amazing wines.
Cote de Ciel
The 2014 season saw record breaking heat and created ideal conditions for this wine. Long and elegant finish, this one.
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.
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.
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon
Get your Gård on and check out the detailed tasting banter on Episode 7 Bonus.
2014 Old Goat Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
One of our favorite labels and wine of Taste WA 2018. It’s really, really good.
Jones of Washington
2016 Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc and a consistent line-up from winemaker, Victor Palencia. Solid quality at great prices.
2016 Red Rhone Blend | 2015 Heritage Red Bordeaux Blend
Great wine from a highly regarded vineyard. The Red Rhone Blend is amazing.
Martedi’s Sangiovese is one of the very best examples of this varietal in WA, if we do say so ourselves.
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
2015 Chapel Block Syrah | 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon | 2015 Rose Mystica Cabernet Franc
Solid line-up and some of our favorite branding and design.
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.
2015 “Foundation” Cabernet Franc
Solid line-up but Cab Franc was a stand out. Complex flavors, bold and smooth tannins.
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.
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!
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.
63% Viognier and 37% Roussanne
2017 Rosé Grand Klasse Reserve
68% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 3% Viognier
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
2016 Yellow Bird Vineyard Grenache
Lisa 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.
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
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.
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.
Leonard “Lenny” Redé | 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.
Formerly, he was the Marketing Manager for 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.
Lenny is currently the Wine & Spirits Buyer for New Seasons on Mercer Island, WA.
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
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.
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!
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.
Jones of Washington
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Bart Fawbush, Bartholomew Winery
On this episode of Decanted, Bart Fawbush, owner and vintner of Bartholomew Winery talks about his journey into winemaking, his move from Seattle to Kennewick, WA. Bart shares his thoughts on pricing, learning from mistakes and dedication to every aspect of wine production.
First Annual POUR Event
POUR is put on by the Seattle Urban Wineries Collective and held at the old Rainier Brewery. This is an opportunity for us urban dwellers to experience many under-the-radar wine producers in one place and at a good ticket price. We talk wine event tips and the bottles we felt stood out.
Wines we loved
2014 Cabernet Franc
Fan of Cab Franc? This one may be perfect for you.
Medium- bodied Carménère and fruit forward, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon
2014 Red Mountain Rosé
56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot | Deep salmon color with bright fruit flavors.
88% Malbec, 12% Merlot | Meaty, chewy tannins, tomato paste, dark fruit
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre (GSM) | Well rounded with a long, velvety finish.
2012 Late Harvest Viognier – Roussanne
Winery notes: dried apricot, pear, herbal tea and honeysuckle
90% Syrah, 10% Cabernet | Smooth drinking here.
Welcome to Decanted
Join us as we adventure around Washington State tasting rooms, hotels, tours and events. With almost 1000 wineries, exploring our state will keep us busy.
In this introductory episode, we briefly talk about our journey into wine and what we plan to bring to the podcast and website.
We also visit JM Cellars in Woodinville, WA which is nestled on a hill called “Bramble Bump” among a private, seven-acre arboretum. We see why it was voted “Best Tasting Room” by Seattle Magazine. We taste their now sold out, 2016 Cinsaut Rosé.
Wines we loved
2016 Cinsaut Rosé
SOLD OUT (Bummer. Next year!)
2015 Cinsaut Red
100% Cinsaut | Winery notes: light tannins, delicious raspberry flavors and great balance