Overview


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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Reviewed Wineries

Fresh Sheet October 20th 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014 0 comments







Today’s Fresh Sheet – reviews of new and recent releases – includes wines from Kevin White WineryKerloo CellarsBrian Carter CellarsColumbia CrestLong Shadows project wines, Guardian CellarsMaryhill Winery and more.
Note: These are reviews for wines received and sampled prior to October 1st when my responsibilities changed for Wine Enthusiast to cover all of Washington.

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The November issue of Wine Enthusiast has an article I wrote on the The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater appellation proposal. The October issue of Alaska Airlines magazine has an article on touring west coast wine regions (Note: the link opens a .pdf). Finally, as previously noted, the October issue of Seattle Metropolitan contains this year's Top 100 Washington wines as well as a number of other articles.

Enjoy!

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from October 1st to 7th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

Decanter writes about Oregon’s ‘juggernaut’ vintage.

Business Day Live writes about Portland’s urban wineries.

The Guardian writes about Hedges.

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This year's Top 100 Washington wines from Seattle Metropolitan magazine is now available on-line. If you have not already picked up a hard copy, which is still available on newsstands, you can read the electronic version here.

The article is broken up into a series of sublists with "jump to" sections below the introduction. In addition to the Top 100, there are also articles on the top wines under $25 and under $15The Rocks region, and how to taste 700 wines in 13 days.

Enjoy!

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While 2014 has been another warm year in Washington, many grape growers in particular are quite pleased with the results.

“From a growers perspective, everything went right,” said Kent Waliser of Sagemoor Vineyards. “Consider, except for a few isolated exceptions, we had no fall freeze last year, no winter damage, no frost damage, no real disease pressure, warm steady growing weather, good fruit set, generally resulting in larger berries which has resulted in tonnages higher than estimated.” Waliser noted that this was a considerable difference from the previous four years.

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

From around the world…

Ottawa Citizen recommends the Michelle Brut.


From around the country…

ESPN talks with Drew Bledsoe of Doubleback.

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September Pic of the Vine

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 0 comments

Harvest exploded in September in just about every appellation in the state. "Red Mountain showed its fruit in glorious color," noted resident photographer Richard Duval. "While prowling Cadence's Cara Mia Vineyard on the lower portion of the mountain, I captured this seemingly endless display of Cabernet. Two days later, it was picked and heading to crush."

Click on the picture to see a larger image. See previous Pic of the Vine images here.

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The September Virtual Tasting is tonight! The wine is the J. Bookwalter Notebook NV4 Red Wine. This wine retails for $15 and is widely available. The tasting will take place tonight, Tuesday September 30th, from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

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

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

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I am currently working on an article on the state of the Washington wine landscape two-plus years after the implementation of Initiative 1183. This initiative privatized liquor sales and made a number of other changes to the state's liquor laws. I am interested in interviewing winemakers, distributors, and retailers for this article. If you are interested in sharing your thoughts on what the effects of this initiative have been on your business, please contact me at wawinereport@gmail.com.

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

From around the world…

Jamaica The Gleaner writes about Washington wine.

The Toronto Sun writes about Charles & Charles.


From around the country…

Wine Spectator writes about Drew Bledsoe’s Doubleback. They also write about Charles Smith planting his flag in Seattle and Derek Jeter carrying around Oregon Pinot Noir.

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I had the pleasure recently to talk with Andy Perdue at Great Northwest Wine about my new assignment at Wine Enthusiast and other matters. You can read the story and listen to the podcast here.

Enjoy!

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The Northwest Chardonnay Renaissance

Thursday, September 25, 2014 0 comments

There is no question that Chardonnay is in the midst of a renaissance in the Northwest. As I wrote last year, you can’t call it a comeback because Chardonnay never really left. Despite the Anything But Chardonnay movement of years past and a swing in styles from butter bombs to sleek stainless steel offerings and everything in between, Chardonnay has consistently been the most consumed wine variety in the U.S. (by far). Increasingly, however, numerous Northwest vintners are showing a renewed commitment to creating high quality offerings.

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The September Virtual Tasting wine is the J. Bookwalter Notebook NV4 Red Wine. This wine retails for $15 and is widely available. The tasting will take place on Tuesday September 30th from 7-8pm Pacific.

What you need to do to participate is:

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

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

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Talking about the 2014 growing season in Washington, winemaker Josh Maloney of Milbrandt Vineyards summed it up by quoting the movie Biloxi Blues: “Man it's hot. It's like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot.”

 Indeed, 2014 has been another warm growing season in Washington. Most markers from budbreak through veraison have been approximately one to two weeks ahead of historical averages due to the warmth of the year. “Things started early and never slowed down, pretty much across the board,” Maloney said.

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The October issue of Seattle Metropolitan magazine is coming out this week and contains this year’s Top 100 Washington wines list. This is the fifth year that I’ve had the pleasure to write this article for the magazine.

This year’s list was drawn from over 700 submissions, meaning that making the list was the most competitive it's ever been. Wines were tasted in varietal sets and scored using a 100-point system (read the complete methodology in the issue). These ratings were subsequently used to create the list (similar to last year, we did not publish these scores to avoid any conflicts with my work for Wine Enthusiast). The wines were then organized into various sublists. These lists are as follows:

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

From around the world…

The Globe and Mail writes about American wineries you should visit.


From around the country…

At Wine Spectator, Harvey Steiman writes about Milbrandt. He also writes an extended article about Charles Smith (both may require a subscription).

The Napa Valley Register writes about Walla Walla.

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I am pleased to announce that, as of October 1st, my tasting responsibilities for Wine Enthusiast will expand to include reviewing wines for all of Washington as well as the Oregon sides of the Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Valley.

This will obviously significantly impact what is posted in this space. My plan is as follows:

Existing submissions: All Washington wines already submitted to Washington Wine Report including wines sent in up to the end of September will be reviewed in this space. My goal is to post these reviews as quickly as possible to clear out the existing backlog as I transition to reviewing all Washington wines for Wine Enthusiast.

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Washington Wine Report is dedicated to the wines and wineries of the Pacific Northwest. Samples received from other regions may or may not be reviewed at the discretion of the editor.

All wines are reviewed by Sean P. Sullivan. Read about how wines are rated and reviewed here. For information on how to submit wines, please contact Sean at wawinereport@gmail.com.

Editor's Note: As of October 2014, I am reviewing all Washington wines, as well as wines from the Oregon sides of the Walla Walla Valley and Columbia Valley, at Wine Enthusiast magazine. This means that I will no longer be formally reviewing Washington wines in this space. Rather, I will be posting either impressionistic notes on wines without a formal review attached or posting previously published scores from Wine Enthusiast. I will continue to review Oregon wines and wines from other areas here. See a breakdown of the areas that I will be covering for Washington Wine Report and for Wine Enthusiast in the table below.

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“2012 is a watershed vintage for us,” said Steve Griessel, co-owner of Betz Family Winery, about the winery’s latest releases. “We wanted to take quality to the next level.”

To do so, the Betz team took a new approach in evaluating its wines. In previous years, each barrel received an evaluative score that was used to assess quality. Starting with the 2012 vintage, Griessel, winemaker Bob Betz, and assistant winemaker Tyson Schiffner also subsequently rank ordered each barrel. Both numbers were subsequently used as quality cutoffs.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from September 1st to 7th. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

National Post writes about the International Pinot Noir Celebration.


From around the country…

The Washington Post writes about crowdsourced wines.

Forbes gives five destinations for wine lovers.

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Buckle your seat belts! An extended round-up of stories on Northwest wine from August 8th to 31st. Read previous round-ups here.

From around the world…

Courier Islander (British Columbia) writes about Washington wine.

The Toronto Star says to head to Washington and Oregon for top notch sips.

Hamilton Spectator (Ontario) writes about the Elk Cove Pinot Gris.

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August Pic of the Vine

Sunday, August 31, 2014 0 comments

From the French term that means "the onset of ripening," véraison is the critical point in the growing season when wine grapes change color. While véraison is a signal to vineyard managers and winemakers that harvest is nigh, for resident photographer Richard Duval, it means one thing: color.

“Véraison is the checkered flag of the vineyard cycle,” Duval said. “It means the vines are digging in with all energy now churning toward ripening. The grape clusters explode with hues from silky greens to deep purple and that opens the palette for endless photo compositions.”

Duval captured this example at RockWall Cellars in Omak, Washington. Click on the picture to see a larger image.

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A round-up of stories on Northwest wine from August 1st to August 7th.  Read previous round-ups here.

From around the country...

Wine Enthusiast writes that NFL stars talk Washington State wine (article by yours truly).

St Louis Today writes about five unusual places to stay, including a wine barrel in Walla Walla.


From around the blogosphere...

The Wine Economist writes about the Walla Walla Valley’s next step: the SeVein project.

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In the September issue of Wine EnthusiastI interview former NFL quarterbacks Damon Huard and Dan Marino about their Washington wine project - Passing Time. Read the interview on-line here.

See a list of other print publications, most with links, here.

Enjoy!

NB: The print version of this interview erroneously referred to the winery as being located in Walla Walla. This has been corrected in the on-line version.

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Fresh Sheet August 7th 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014 0 comments



Today’s Fresh Sheet – reviews of new and recent releases – includes wines from Andrew WillTulpen CellarsLong ShadowsBoomtown by Dusted ValleyAuclair WineryL’Ecole No 41Chateau Ste. MichelleColumbia CrestDomaine PouillonStottle WineryButy, and Cadaretta.

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