The Washington Wine Commission knows how to throw a party! When you get 100 wineries, 300 wines and 400 people in a room for almost four hours, things can become a little fuzzy…not to mention a little warm and a lot crowded. The combination of Spokane’s premier hotel, The Davenport, Washington’s premier wineries, and local culinary treats result in a blend to rival any event in the area.
DrinkNectar was a proud Patron Sponsor of the 2010 Taste Washington Event. This included sole sponsorship of the Tweet Wall and exclusive interviews with various wineries and wine trade people. I ain’t going to lie, it was pretty cool to have my logo on 500 programs and my information in the swag bags, but manning the tweet wall and interviews really cut into my drinking time. It was quite a challenge to make it to all the amazing wineries, not to mention connecting with people that I’ve come to know through Twitter and Facebook. I even missed the Crème Brule that Clinkerdagger Restaurant was serving. Taste Washington, please come back soon, I miss you already.
The Facility: It goes without saying that the Davenport Hotel is a phenomenal host. The restored historic building is a fantastic and elegant back drop for tasting wine (see video and pictures).
The Wine: Locating and hosting interviews consumed about 2 ½ of the 3 ½ hour event for me. I also try to locate wineries that I have yet to visit or have yet to taste. While I wasn’t able to taste as much wine as I would have liked, I did meet some fantastic people and came across four very terrific stand out wines that I can highly recommend.
- 2007 Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon ($49): This 99% Cab and 1% Petit Verdot is big and bold while retaining a beautiful elegance. It is easy to drink now, but showed obvious potential for 15+ years of cellaring. 4+ out of 5
- 2005 Terra Blanca Arch Terrace Merlot ($20): Red Mountain fruit makes me swoon. The rich fruit flavors that come from Red Mountain are dark and full bodied. This is not your thin medium bodied Merlot. Amazing character and balanced finish with characteristic Red Mountain spice and minerality. 4 out of 5
- 2008 Longshadow Poet’s Leap Riesling ($20): Fantastically crisp and tropical with melons, mangos and citrus flavors. A small hint of sweetness is counter balanced with a beautiful acidity. Far superior to many products that are twice the price. 4+ out of 5
- 2007 Bernard Griffin Petit Verdot ($35): A rich and exotic explosion of flavor and aroma. Candied chocolate oranges with vanilla and spice. A very full bodied wine that is surprisingly elegant on the front and mid palates with a strong well structured finish. Drink now for an amazing food and wine pairing delight, or be patient and watch this wine come alive in the cellar. 4 out of 5
The Food: Of the 21 restaurants (the others were coffee places) serving I was only able to snag food from 5 of them. After collaborative review with some friends who were able to indulge on my behalf, there were some delectable stand outs.
- Picazo 717: Chef Frank Magana outdid himself again with Chorizo Stuffed Prawns and a divine gorgonzola filled truffle (see the pictures). Frank is two for two at Taste Washington events. Someday (soon) I’ll have the pleasure of dining at his restaurant in Prosser, WA
- Agave Latin Bistro: I had the luxury of proximity with these guys, they were located right next to the tweet wall. Chef Ian Wingate demonstrates his creativity with Wild Boar Tacos and a traditional Mexican Flan.
The People: The best part of any event like this is meeting fantastic people. I was finally able to put faces to the names that I tweet with. It was great to meet Erica Waliser of the Washington Wine Commission, Shari Brumbach from Woodward Canyon and so many more. I’ve included the link to one really special interview below with Muriel Kenyon from Otis Kenyon Winery. She shares some extremely special news and I was honored to be able to share it with those that watched live and now you. Other interviews were:
- Jean Ashby the Director of the Cascade Valley Wine Country alliance
- Ann Anderson of Walter Dacon Wines
- Kristie Lodmell of Lodmell Cellars
- Frank Magana of Picazo 717 Restaurant
- Cheryl Hodgins from Skylite Cellars
(If the interview with Muriel Kenyon does not load, click the frame to be taken directly to the Washington Wine Commission UStream Channel)
The event was well organized and provided a good overview of what Washington State has to offer. While I love the intimacy and romance that the Davenport has to offer, the space is getting limited and with larger crowds this year, they may have outgrown the venue. It could be worth considering moving the event to the convention center to allow for a more open feel with all the wineries in one room. Regardless, I’ll definitely be back next year and I may have to hire an assistant who will fetch me wine while I tend to the interviews!