Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The "Tried and True" and "New and Notable" of Taste Washington 2015

Sigh… Taste Washington 2015 has come and gone, and we now spend the next year dreaming of next year’s vintage of the best of the best of Washington wine and food. While there were too many amazing events to attend all of them, I managed to try some amazing gems at the Grand Taste Saturday edition, and got my learn on at one of the Sunday Seminars! This post contains my wine highlights from the Grand Taste, an upcoming post will cover all of the amazing things I learned at the seminar.

 As has been the case in previous years, I tried to attack the Grand Taste with a simple mission: first, get to the elite wines that I rarely get to try by the bottle due to their high end price point or quickness in selling out; second, try new releases from wineries I always enjoy; and third, try new things! I have had a great time the past few years going through the wineries in the event guide before the event and selecting several that I’ve never heard of or never tried wines from and making a point to try them out. I have discovered some new favorites this way so I took this approach again this year as well.

Of the “tried and true” collection, my favorites this year included Bartholomew Winery’s new Rosés, a 2014 L’Orange Pinot Gris, and a 2014 Rosé of Carmenere. These are both excellent summer sippers and I’ll be stocking up on these excellently priced ($15/bottle) treats very soon. Syncline Wine Cellars' entire Taste Washington line-up was stellar. While they didn’t have the bubbly this year (which was a HIT for me a few years ago when we discovered it at Taste WA), they did have a 2013 Cinsault (I mean, how many people actually do this as a 100% varietal?!), a 2014 Grüner Veltliner (citrus heaven in a glass, I had another one of these across the aisle, which I’ll touch on in a bit), a 2014 Rosé, and 2013 Grenache/Carignan. Such out of the box varietals and Syncline does them beautifully. The FIGGINS Estate 2014 Estate Riesling was one of my favorites of the day, and I heard from many others it was the same for them. This wine isn't even released yet and is already sold out with only 120 cases produced. Consider yourself lucky if you come across someone with a bottle of this stuff, it had the perfect balance of sugar and velvety crispness, and is everything I want in a Riesling.

Syncline Wine Cellars Line-Up

FIGGINS Estate Riesling

For my “new and notable” wines (well, not necessarily brand new wineries, just new to me), I enjoyed the line-up from Woodinville’s Genoa Cellars, which included their 2012 Springline (Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio), the 2011 Traveler (Super-Tuscan Red Mountain blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), and the 2011 Flying Colors (Super-Tuscan Red Mountain blend of Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Another stand-out was Walla Walla’s Lagana Cellars’ 2013 Pinot Noir. Additionally, the Waitsburg Cellars 2014 ‘The Aromatics’ Cheninières Old Vine Chenin Blanc was delightful, and fun fact, Paul Gregutt (yes, the one you’re thinking of!) is the winemaker at Waitsburg, which is a collaboration with Precept Wine.
Lagana Cellars Pint Noir

Waitsburg Cellars Old Vine Chenin Blanc

Of both “tried and true” and “new and notable” favorites, my absolute stand-out for this year’s Taste Washington was the entire line-up from Savage Grace Wines. It was the first table I visited that day where I immediately like everything they poured for me. I have heard the buzz around about Savage Grace’s wines, but until this day had not been able to sample them. Their offerings at the Grand Taste included a 2014 Riesling, a 2014 Grüner Veltliner (there’s the other one I mentioned! Did you know there’s only about 12 acres of this grape planted in WA?), a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, a 2013 Chardonnay, a 2013 Pinot Noir, and a 2014 Cabernet Franc. Often times I find that wineries hit home runs on whites or they hit home runs on reds, but not both. This is one of those rare instances where a winery has hit home runs on everything they are churning out. The winery has only been around since 2011 and has already made quite the name for itself. I look forward to tracking down more of these wines and seeing what future vintages bring.

The Savage Grace Line-Up

So many wines, so little time… I was quite pleased with the winery offerings this year at Taste Washington, they definitely brought their best offerings and I was able to try some tremendous new wines. Stay tuned for my re-cap on the Sunday seminar I attended: the Cider Renaissance!

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