Over the past few weeks of March, Seattle Refined has opened the curtain to Washington wine. With March being noted as 'Washington Wine Month', the events and excitement for Washington wine is in full swing. Nowhere was that more evident than CenturyLink Event Center this past weekend, as the venue hosted the showcase event for Washington wine; Taste Washington.
As I prepared for this year's Taste, I looked back on past game plans on how best to attack the event and checked with Seattle-area wine people on what wineries to have on my radar. After spending time looking over this year's program guide, I went into this Saturday's tasting with my notebook, my taste buds, and my random thoughts.
- There are a lot of people lined up for the VIP tasting. Makes sense, as it's a good way to get a leg up on the other tasters. Because several wineries pour out quickly.
- There are a few wineries making Albarino in Washington and they were pouring at Taste. Vinateria Idilico's 2013 Albarino had a vibrant gold color and the flavor notes that make this Spanish varietal match so well with seafood.
- Another great white wine was the 2014 Picpoul from Greg Harrington's Gramercy Cellars. It's a funky white wine varietal normally found in the southern Rhone and Languedoc regions of France, knowing that Harrington is already putting out a quality wine from it bodes well for its future.
- More and more wineries were pouring Rosé at Taste Washington and they were perfect to start imbibing with. Standout rosés from this year's Taste: Lauren Ashton, Tranche, K Vintners, Gramercy Cellars, and Sleight of Hand.
- The Oyster Table is always popular. But I don't understand why some people drink red wines with oysters. Which is gross. Sometimes the combination of two good things becomes one big gross thing.
- The fashion choices range from dressed to kill to dressed to wait for your flight at the airport. (This is not a compliment)
- The music was good. Firmly in the adult contemporary category that is a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
- Was that Kyle MacLachlan? It was. He is a part of a Washington wine project that makes a damn fine wine after all. Welcome back home, Agent Cooper.
- Somme des Partie's wines came recommended and they did not disappoint. This is David Rudnick's first vintage and his three wines at Taste were a delight. I'll be sure to keep my eye on his wines.
- Savage Grace was a revelation. The suite of wines they were pouring at Taste was excellent. Bonus points for their tasting room in Woodinville.
- Kevin White continually puts out quality reds and the 2012 En Hommage was no exception. Dark, brooding, and luxurious.
- Charles Smith's wines are always intriguing. The 2012 SIXTO Chardonnay project he's working on with Brennon Leighton was quite nice. Made from old vine Chardonnay grapes, it'll be interesting to see what else they come up with for Chardonnay with their SIXTO project.
- Amongst Washington wine nerds, the wine from Canvasback has been met with much anticipation. Canvasback is the Washington wine project from Napa Valley's Duckhorn label and the Canvasback 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was drinking very well.
- The lines at Betz Family Winery were massive. Deservedly so. And they ran out of wine shortly into the tasting.
- Marco Canora of New York's Hearth and Terroir was in town as a guest chef and his talk was about bone broth. I'm a fan of his work and his latest cookbook about healthy eating is already in my rotation.
- àMaurice is killing it. The wines from Anna Schafer's winery are some of my favorites every year.
- There is a new cooking appliance called Cinder and they were grilling steaks and grilled cheese sandwiches on these fancy devices. I milled around their station for a minute because the smell of butter toasting the bread was intoxicating.
- The heritage pork meatballs from RN74 were delicious. Fatty, porky, and lush richness to go with the wines from the nearby Upchurch and Va Piano.
- On the subject of RN74, I ran into their wine guy, Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen, and he said to keep an eye out for their next Guest Chef dinner. It should be a good one.
- On the subject of Jeff Lindsay-Thorsen, his wines from W.T. Vintners were drinking quite well. He makes delicious wine.
- As the evening progressed, the vibe of the scene started to feel a tad more like a singles scene.
- On a positive note, I haven't seen anyone fall down yet.
This is a great event for wine drinkers. Yeah, it's a bit crowded (but moving it to two-days helped with crowds), but there isn't a better event to taste Washington wine. And it only scratches the surface out of all of the wineries that call our state home.