Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Upcoming Event: 20something - The New Vintage - Fremont Studios - Seattle, WA
Did you know that 25% of people that drink wine 3+ times per week are between the ages of 21 and 30? Do you realize how much this group of “millennials” is expected to grow within the next five years? The Washington Wine Commission (@WineCommission) does, and celebrate this growing wine market with their annual 20something – The New Vintage (@20somethingwine) wine event. 20something, now in its 5th year, came about when winemakers on the Wine Commission board expressed a desire to have an event catered towards the younger demographic, the 21 – 30ish range. They wanted to make sure this group of young wine drinkers “drinks Washington first” (as opposed to our competition from the Golden State). Madeline Dow, new to the Wine Commission at the time, proposed the idea of 20something as an “approachable” event, and one that had a “fun and lively atmosphere”. In contrast to other major wine events where each winery is featured at their own table, this event has the winemakers walking around in the crowd offering tastings. This approach allows attendees to interact with the winemakers and chat in a more informal setting. This year’s event, held once again at the trendy Fremont Studios, features 75 Washington wineries and more than 15 local chefs offering up tasty bites. As in the past, 20something partners with KEXP DJ Darek Mazzone, who spins tunes to set the mood of the party. Other fun additions to 20something this year include a “Geek Lounge” for those interested in learning a little more about wine at the event. This lounge will include a Riedel (@RiedelUSA) table, where tasters can compare wines in different types of glassware. Doug McCrea of McCrea Cellars will also be offering a Rhone blending area, where attendees have the chance to try their hand at some blending. Also in this area is the “Mer-love” bar, where the young Seattle sommelier team will be on hand to showcase one of the classic grapes that is often neglected: Merlot. This educational area is a great tool for the millennials, many of whom consider themselves wine drinkers, but not necessarily very educated in varietals, blends, or vintages (as most would say about wine: it’s either “red or white”). Another great feature of 20something is that they encourage winemakers to bring their under $30 bottles. This is a fantastic way to market to this demographic that generally doesn’t spend $50+ on bottles like older generations might. A final partnership that 20something brought on this year was a fabulous host. Join the amazing Seattle Wine Gal Barbara Evans (@SeattleWineGal) on the red carpet and for some pretty fantastic prize giveaways throughout the evening!
The Washington Wine Commission hosted a small preview tweetup event for several social media people from Seattle at the newest Tom Douglas (@TomDouglasCo) hotspot, Seatown Seabar & Rotisserie (@SeatownROTO). The restaurant graciously welcomed the group into their cozy little restaurant, located just across from Pike Place Market on Western Avenue. Several of the 20something wineries had donated wine for us to preview, and Seatown created a delicious menu of appetizers for us to enjoy during our tasting. Our amazing server made sure we always had food on the table in front of us, and Tommy (nephew of Tom Douglas and also an amazing chef), came out from the kitchen to explain several of the courses prepared throughout the evening. We had 18 wines on hand to preview, and they were all out on the table so we could enjoy them family style, keeping with the casual style that 20something has. Also in attendance at our preview were two of the 20something wineries: Laurelhurst Cellars (@LaurelhurstWine) from Seattle’s SODO neighborhood, and Ott & Murphy Wines of Whidbey Island. Winemakers Greg Smallwood (who I learned is a WSU alum, GO COUGS!) and Dave Halbgewachs were on hand from Laurelhurst, providing a detailed bio of the winery and winemakers. Did you know that Laurelhurst got their name because that’s the neighborhood where they started their winery in a garage? I love learning those types of fun facts about wineries. Eric Murphy was in attendance from Ott & Murphy, and had tasting notes on hand for the two wines he poured for us at the preview. All the winemakers in attendance were such a pleasure to be around and I look forward to seeing them again at 20something on 11/20!
And now for the wines (and some food too!). As I mentioned, we tasted through 18 different wines at the preview, including whites, single varietal reds and red blends. One of the things I really enjoyed about this preview event was that I had never tried any of the wines on the table. This made for a great adventure of trying new things (which I LOVE to do). Several of the wines stood out, I’ll split them up by whites and reds below:
Dusted Valley Vintners (@DustedValley) stood out in both the white and the red category, with my favorite white of the evening being their 2009 Pinot Gris, a Columbia Valley wine and very decently priced at $13 a bottle.
Ott & Murphy's 2009 Viognier was also quite good. This Columbia Valley wine was bottled in May and released this past July. It’s 76% viognier, 18% roussanne and 6% chardonnay. Sweet, but enjoyable.
Dusted Valley Vintners (@DustedValley) showed well again with their 2007 Stained Tooth Syrah. This Columbia Valley wine is just $25 and seemed to be a big hit with many at the table. I think this bottle was finished up first as people kept going back to it for one more taste! A must try at 20something this year!
Another standout for me was the Laurelhurst Cellars (@LaurelhurstWine) 2008 Merlot. “Merlot you say? But Taryn, you don’t even like Merlot that much!” True statement. Merlot has never been my go-to wine when I’m browsing my wine rack or choosing my tastings at a winery. Let me tell you a little something about this Merlot: it rocks. Great nose and a fantastic finish. This wine will be part of the “mer-love” bar I mentioned previously. Definitely go check this out!
Three Rivers Winery (@3riverswinery) is one that I had not heard of prior to this event. Well I know them now. Their 2008 Rivers Red is a blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Malbec, 13% Merlot, 11% Tempranillo, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 6% Petit Verdot. This amazing blend is just $14 a bottle! I’m a huge Tempranillo fan, and it was great to see this added into this otherwise common blend. I really enjoyed this multi-grape blend, complex but not overly so.
Ott & Murphy stood out again with the 2008 Double Bluff Red Rhone Blend from the Columbia Valley. Excellent flavors, very yummy along with our tasty snacks from Seatown.
I was able to snap a few shots of our delicious appetizers before we all dove into them headfirst (well, maybe fork first). The food at Seatown is wonderful, I look forward to visiting again for a full dinner!
“Pam’s Rainbow Plate” – fresh vegetable and fruit compositions: sweet potato soup; dill, shallot, marinated beets; chanterelle, sunchoke, thyme; pear and chrysanthemum salad; roasted fennel, oil cured olive, tarragon
Northwest Free Range Chicken, dripping potatoes, rapini – Great to learn about this dish from Tommy. It’s their “winner winner chicken dinner”! It’s a 3 day process to make this delicious chicken! A must try when you dine at Seatown.
Chocolate deliciousness on a plate (not sure what they call it, but that’s what I’m calling it!). Big thanks to Greg and Dave of Laurelhurst Cellars for adding in some dessert for the tweeters!
20something is coming up on Saturday 11/20/10 from 6pm to 10pm. As of the night of the preview (11/8), only a few hundred tickets remained to this fantastic event. It WILL sell out this week so get your tickets now by clicking here. It’s just $50 for one ticket or two for $90. Come out and mingle with other “millennials”, sip some fantastic wines, listen to some great tunes and learn something in the process. Not in the 21-30 range but still feel like a 20something at heart? You better be there too. This event is not strictly for “20 somethings” only. It’s for all wine lovers who want to enjoy a trendy and different kind of wine event. It’s going to be a blast. I’ll see you there!