I attended this year’s Taste Washington Grand Taste on Sunday, which was a change from years past when we went for the Saturday tasting. I will say, the lack of crowds on Sunday made it quite the enjoyable experience! It was nice to have the ability to stop and chat with winemakers and actually taste through several wines without feeling rushed to step out of the way for the next person in line. It’s always a challenge to learn a lot about what you’re tasting at busy events like this, but I had a great time this year with the lesser Sunday crowd! As I have in the past few years, I made my focus trying wines from wineries I either had never heard of, or just had not had a chance to try yet. Boy oh boy did this work out in my favor as I found several great Washington wines that I can’t wait to try more of! I always walk into the Grand Taste with my go-to stops mapped out, so that I can make sure to hit the ones I have identified in advance. I took that approach once again this year, and managed to make it to many of the wineries and restaurants I had mapped out!
One of my favorite stops was at the new Pearl and Stone WineCo. (twitter: @pearlandstone), a winery based in North Bend that was launched in 2013. They started with their 2014 Unemployment Beach Rosé and just released their second vintage with their 2015 wine. The 2015 vintage is a 100% Cabernet Franc Rosé from Two Blondes Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. Their inaugural red wine is their 2013 Wandering, a Bordeaux style blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The grapes in this also hail from Two Blondes in the Yakima Valley AVA! This is drinking amazing right now! We also had the chance to try a taste of their new 2014 Wandering which will release later this summer. They are open for tastings at their North Bend tasting room on Saturdays from 12-4pm and I look forward to stopping in soon to try the wines again (and perhaps get a chance to take some home!).
|Pearl and Stone Wine Co.|
Another fun new winery I came across was Anew Winery, a Ste Michelle Wine Estates winery from Paterson, WA. They were pouring their three wines at Taste Washington, a 2014 Columbia Valley Pinot Grigio, a 2014 Columbia Valley Riesling, and a 2014 Columbia Valley Rosé, which is a blend of 83% Syrah and 17% Sangiovese. The wines were all reminiscent of summer in a glass and made me long for sunny days (good thing we are getting some!). My friend who was tasting with me commented that the wine bottles and labels were “so cute!” which is SO fitting considering I had just gotten done chatting with the winery rep pouring them for us about how the wines were created to appeal to a target demographic (guess who?). I can say that they are on point, as we happen to fit right into that demographic and we enjoyed the wines.
More favorites from the event included the Seven Hills Winery (twitter: @7hillswinery, instagram: 7hillswinery) 2015 Columbia Valley Dry Rosé, the entire line-up from Savage Grace Wines (twitter: @savagegracewine) (a favorite once again; you may remember my praise for them last year), and the 2015 Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Browne Family Vineyards (instagram: brownefamilyvineyards) of Walla Walla.
|Seven Hills Rose|
|Savage Grace Wines|
|Savage Grace Wines|
At the end of the day we concluded that our upcoming trip to Red Mountain for some tasting would include a few specific stops and that we needed to plan a Walla Walla trip ASAP! Once again, Taste Washington provided the opportunity to try both new wines and those that you don’t often get a chance to enjoy (the Betz line-up was also fantastic and my chat with Bob Betz himself was delightful). I love this event every year for that very reason. You don’t attend Taste Washington to try every wine in the room or just sample wines from wineries you know. You attend it to have the opportunity to try new things and find new favorites! It was another fantastic event from the Washington State Wine Commission and Visit Seattle!