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Washington Wine Report is an independent publication focused on bringing Northwest wine to you and bringing you to Northwest wine. Our goal is:
  • To help you select Pacific Northwest wines at a variety of price levels
  • To keep you up-to-date about the Northwest’s wineries, vineyards, and individuals
  • To help you plan trips to wine country
  • To connect you to the larger wine community

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Today, as we end 2013, we take a look back at the year that was in Washington wine.

2013 was a year of some tectonic changes in Washington. Perhaps the most significant of these was the arrival of two Napa Valley wineries in the state, Duckhorn and Cakebread. Both will be launching Washington-based brands, called Canvasback and Mullan Road respectively. Notably, Duckhorn also recently purchased a 20-acre vineyard on Red Mountain, indicating that they are here to stay. The influx of California wineries – something that had already begun last year with the arrival of Gallo and Trinchero – only looks to continue in the coming years.

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As we get ready to wind down the year, today we take a look at a baker's dozen of the most read articles in this space in 2013.

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The December Virtual Tasting is tonight! The wine is the Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine NV. This wine retails for $14 and is fairly widely available. The tasting will take place from 7-8pm Pacific tonight, December 30th.

What you need to do to participate is:

1. Buy this month’s wine from a local retailer or from the winery.

2. Tweet your comments about the wine on Twitter between 7 and 8pm Pacific on the specified date using the hashtag #treveri For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

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Fresh Sheet December 29th 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013 0 comments





Today’s Fresh Sheet – new and recent releases – includes wines from the Willamette Valley from Archery SummitSineannErathStoller Family EstateSpindrift CellarsLumos Wine Co.Hawks View CellarsDuck Pond Cellars, and Panther Creek Cellars.

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Here at Washington Wine Report we like to drink sparkling wines year round and encourage you to do the same. As I am fond of saying, you wouldn’t just drink Cabernet Sauvignon on one day a year, would you? Why should sparkling wines be any different? These wines aren’t just wines for special occasions, they are wines for every occasion. Moreover, there are sparkling wines out there priced to fit most every budget. So if you are not already, make your resolution in 2014 to drink more sparkling wine. It should be one resolution that’s easy to keep!

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A Holiday Five Wines Under $15

Thursday, December 26, 2013 0 comments

In holiday times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.

Last month I wrote about Domaine Ste. Michelle rebranding itself to Michelle and spiffing up its packaging. Today we take a look at the new label design from Treveri Cellars.

Treveri Cellars - one of the (very) few sparkling wine dedicated projects in Washington - made a big splash when it started out a few years back with its wide assortment of sparkling wines (read a previous post about the winery here). The latest releases show a much improved label design that is more indicative of the quality that is in the bottle.

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No better holiday wish to the readers of Washington Wine Report than the “grapelights” of Bellevue Botanical Garden d'Lights, brought to you courtesy of our contributing photographer Richard Duval. Merry Christmas to all and may all your wines be bright!

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from December 15th to 21st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes about Duckhorn’s Canvasback winery on Red Mountain.

Shanken News Daily writes about Deutsch and Precept partnering on a restaurant focused Washington wine brand. They also write about Duckhorn purchasing a vineyard on Red Mountain and small retailers seeking redress again pricing pressure by big chains.

Greenville Online writes about the Tamarack DuBrul Vineyard Reserve.

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Fresh Sheet December 20th 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013 0 comments





Today’s Fresh Sheet – reviews of new and recent releases – includes wines from Savage GraceCadenceWalla Walla Vintners, Kiona VineyardsCloudlift CellarsNorthstar, and Stottle Winery.

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The Winter issue of Washington Tasting Room Magazine contains an article I wrote titled, "Trends & Predictions: The Year in Wine." See a list of newsstand locations here. Subscribe to the magazine here. Additionally, the December issues of Wine Enthusiast contain a series of wine reviews for my coverage areas.

Enjoy!

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from December 8th to December 14th.  Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country…

The San Francisco Weekly writes about a possible San Francisco connection to the Esquin wine robbery.

Wine Enthusiast gives its ultimate guide to sparkling wine, leading with Michelle Brut.

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Oregon Riesling on the Rise

Monday, December 16, 2013 3 comments

Washington has long laid claim to Northwest Riesling. The grape is frequently the state’s most produced variety and Chateau Ste. Michelle is the world’s largest Riesling producer.

Things are different to the south where all of Oregon’s wine offerings stand in the shadow of its signature grape, Pinot Noir. Lately, however, a number of producers in Oregon have shown an increased interest in Riesling with several showing particularly impressive results.

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A Yakima Valley Icon

Friday, December 13, 2013 3 comments

The following article was written by Ryan Messer. Read previous articles by Messer here

Iconic. It is the first word that comes to mind when I think of DuBrul Vineyard. Some vineyards produce a single high quality variety, but few can succeed with multiple. However, wines made from the six grape varietals grown by DuBrul have received awards or distinction from nearly every outlet possible, from local to regional to national.

Located in the heart of the Yakima Valley appellation, DuBrul Vineyards is the work and passion of Dr. Hugh Shiels, an orthopedic surgeon by trade, and his wife, Kathy. The Shiels owned a home in rural Sunnyside, Washington, where they grew concord grapes and asparagus they had planted in 1977. They enjoyed drinking wine and eventually developed a passion for it. Taking the farming knowledge they had, they decided to explore the idea of growing their own wine grapes to make wine as good as they were drinking, or perhaps even better.

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2012 marked a return to warmer times in Washington. After two successive cool vintages – which made for some thrilling white wines, especially in 2010 – 2012 tracked close to historical averages in terms of temperature.

One of the notable aspects of the vintage was a 100-day spell with no measurable precipitation from July through mid-October. While large amounts of rainfall are never particularly common in eastern Washington, where most areas receive less than ten inches of precipitation annually, this was unusual and certainly contributed to the resulting wines, white and red.

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The December Virtual Tasting wine is the Treveri Cellars Brut Blanc de Blanc Sparkling Wine NV. This wine retails for $14 and is fairly widely available. The tasting will take place on Monday December 30th from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

1. Buy this month’s wine from a local retailer or from the winery.

2. Tweet your comments about the wine on Twitter between 7 and 8pm Pacific on the specified date using the hashtag #treveri For those on Twitter, follow me @wawinereport.

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from December 1st to 7th 2013. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

The Vancouver Sun writes about the Canucks owner buying Washington vineyards.


From around the country…

Wines & Vines writes that Napa wineries are still scouting Red Mountain.

USA Today writes that Walla Walla is a wine Mecca.

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This report from the Walla Walla Valley includes wines from Corliss EstatesTranche CellarsTamarack CellarsDunham Cellars, and Spring Valley Vineyard. Read Part I here and Part II here.

Corliss Estates

Part of the joy of the wines from Corliss Estates is that they look back in time. While many wineries are moving on to their 2011 red wines soon or have already done so, Corliss is on its 2008 and 2009 vintages due to extended barrel aging. Especially considering how radically different the 2010 and 2011 vintages were for Washington, it makes for quite a sharp contrast when out tasting.

2008 was a high quality vintage here but one where many of the wines were a bit more aromatically reticent and high toned upon release. A full five years after harvest, that continues to be the case. Not to worry, the Corliss wines show the stuffing to age in the cellar for a long time to come and, like their cousins from the vintage, these wines deliver once they open up.

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This report from the Walla Walla Valley includes wines from Reynvaan Family Vineyards, Gramercy CellarsWoodward CanyonRasa Vineyards, and Seven Hills Winery. Read Part I here.

Reynvaan Family Vineyards

Reynvaan Family Vineyards' ascension into the upper echelon of Northwest wineries has been remarkably swift (read previous posts about the winery here). It seems hard to imagine that the winery’s first wines were released a mere four years ago. Since that time, Reynvaan has gone on to not only produce consistently stunning wines; they are also producing wines that are as good as any being made in Washington.

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The Wines of Chris Figgins

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 2 comments

The Figgins family has already cemented its place in Washington wine history. The family’s story is well known. In 1977, Gary and Nancy Figgins founded Leonetti Cellar, the first bonded winery in the Walla Walla Valley. More than thirty-five years later, a thriving wine industry with over 100 wineries has sprung up across the valley. During this time, Leonetti has played a pivotal role not just in establishing the valley as a premier wine region but also in establishing Washington’s reputation for quality.

Still, as much as the Figgins family has accomplished in the last 35 years, Figgins Family Wine Estates president and director of winemaking Chris Figgins – Gary and Nancy’s son - is looking to accomplish much more.

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Chardonnay is a grape of many contradictions. On the one hand, it is by far (by far) America’s most consumed variety. On the other, it is often one of its most scorned with a loud and vocal ABC – Anything But Chardonnay – movement some years back. Unoaked and 'Naked' Chardonnays sprung up in opposition to the big, oaky styles that California produced in abundance. Liking Chardonnay seemed like something one needed to say secretly.

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A round-up of stories on Washington wine from November 22nd to 30th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

The Province writes about the Aquilinis purchasing land at Red Mountain’s land auction.

The Vancouver Sun writes about the Aquilinis’ purchase of Red Mountain vineyard land.

Decanter writes about the Red Mountain vineyard auction.

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