As Taste Washington Wine Month moves forward, and talking to a winemaker and an email-focused retailer, we move on to a local wine shop that features Washington wines. We talked a little about Picnic, the Phinney Ridge food and wine shop, last month - this time we chatted with Picnic co-owner Jenny Klock about Washington wine and her thoughts as a wine retailer.
In the fall of 2008, the husband and wife team of Anson and Jenny Klock started Picnic. Since then, Picnic has hosted numerous wine tastings and featured provisions from local purveyors. Looking for Ballard Bee Honey? They've got it. San Juan Island Sea Salt? Check. Their shop features all sorts of local stuff and their Washington wine bottles focus on the smaller producers you wouldn't find at your grocery store. We spoke with Jenny about Washington wine and what wineries she's been interested in.
What Washington wine have you enjoyed drinking lately?
We love the RULO Walla Walla Valley Chardonnay for the reasons we enjoy white Burgundy. Kurt and Vicki Schlicker have really emulated a style that offers affordable elegance. And we're big fans of Memaloose over on the Columbia River Gorge. They have a true understanding of how wines from the Loire are structured as reflected in their Idiot's Grace Estate Cabernet Franc. Lastly, fairly new to the shop, the wines from Avennia have great acidity and are otherwise essentially well balanced.
What's your best seller from Washington?
You sell best what you love, so RULO for sure, of course all of the Scarborough wines are fantastic, and people are drawn to their distinctive labels as much as their personality.
What goes into your decision-making when carrying some of the wines in your shop?
We feature wines and producers who begin with the best fruit and farming techniques so there's minimal manipulation required in the winemaking process. We seek out wines with character, that tell a story of terroir, and that pair well with food, so lower in alcohol with delicate tannins.
What varietals do you think Washington does really well?
We like Washington Cabernet Franc for a single varietal, but the blends are where it's at for us, both Rhone and Bordeaux style.
We're almost on the verge of rosé wine season; what are some Washington producers you'd suggest people stock up on?
We are purists, especially when it comes to rosé, and naturally gravitate towards the pale hues and traditional Provencal Cépage of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Cinsault. Year to year, Syncline rocks it and everyone we know looks forward to its release. Maison Blue, Tranche Cellars, and Kerloo are smaller producers achieving success with this traditional southern French style.
When someone asks for your elevator pitch on Washington wine, what would you say?
We don't have a pitch per se on Washington wine, but rather have personal connections to the wines, winemakers, and their vineyards and love to share this story with folks. Our patrons love to feel connected to the wine they drink and understandably, it makes for a more meaningful experience. This is another reason our winemaker tasting events at the shop have been so successful over the years and continue to attract new faces each week.