24 Jan 2010
Spokane is a destination for wine. 18 wineries call Spokane home. Whether you are a local who is exploring the region one sip at a time, or you’re visiting for conventions, golf, travel, skiing or more, you need to take a moment and get a sip of Spokane. Explore the majestic views and award winning wines at Arbor Crest. See pioneer Mike Conway of Latah Creek. Spend the afternoon in Greenbluff picking fruit and sipping wine. Relax with a sip overlooking Liberty Lake at Liberty Lake Wine Cellars. Go urban with amazing boutique wineries like Ovebluff, Barili, Vintage Hill, Robert Karl, Whitestone, Nodland Cellars and Grande Ronde. Take a trip through time in historic facilities at Barrister, Caterina, Lone Canary, and Knipprath. Finally, celebrate life in the foothills of Mt Spokane at Mountain Dome.
If you’re a local or visiting Spokane, stay current on local wine events, tasting room happenings and reviews on this page!
Here is a downloadable PDF (Courtesy of Spokane Wineries Web Site)
|1. Arbor Crest – Arbor Crest is Spokane’s largest and most iconic winery. The Arbor Crest historic Cliff House looms high on a hilltop overlooking the Spokane Valley. Arbor Crest is Spokane’s most widely distributed wine.
**First Friday Participant**
|2. Barili Cellars – One of Spokane’s newest wineries located at 608 W. 2nd Ave
**First Friday Participant**
|3. Barrister Winery – Barrister is located in a 25,000 sq ft 100 year old building in downtown Spokane at 1213 W Railroad Ave. Started by two lawyer friends as a hobby, Barrister now produces nearly 3000 cases of quality red wine!
**First Friday Participant**
|4. Caterina Winery – Historic Broadmore Dairy building with winemaker Don Townshend. Located conveniently at 905 N. Washington
**First Friday Participant**
|5. Grande Ronde – Quality wines (four 90+ point wines) located near the Davenport Hotel at 905 W. 2nd Ave
**First Friday Participant**
|6. Knipprath Cellars – Located in a historic schoolhouse and producing unique WA Wine (Pinot Noir, Port and more) at 5634 E Commerce Ave.
|7. Latah Creek – Spokane’s oldest winery with a broad selection of white, sweet white and quality red wines. Visit them at 13030 E Indiana in the Spokane Valley
|8. Liberty Lake Wine Cellars – One of Spokane’s newest wineries located on beautiful Liberty Lake. Stop by their tasting room at 1018 S. Garry Rd in Liberty Lake
|Mike Scott (in the video) is the original founder of Lone Canary. He has moved on from this position and the winery is now owned by Don Townshend.||9. Lone Canary – The little yellow canary continues to fly in a new location and under new ownership. Lone Canary shares tasting room space at 905 N Washington along with Caterina Winery.
**First Friday Participant**
|10. Mountain Dome – Spokane’s only sparkling wine producer! They are located in North East Spokane at 16315 E Temple Rd.
|11. Nodland Cellars – Spokane’s smallest boutique winery. One white and one red produced annually. Visit Nodland in the Valley at 11616 E Montgomery.
|12. Overbluff Cellars - Overbluff Cellars began in 2006 when winemakers John Caudill and Gerald Gibson partnered to create world class Cabernet Sauvignons, feeling successful in this endeavor the mission continues with exciting new wines including Syrah, Merlot, Viognier, and Semillion.
|13. Robert Karl Cellars – Boutique and hand crafted wines that are annually receiving high marks at wine shows and in wine magazines. Stop by and say, “Hi” to Rebecca and Joe at 115 W. Pacific.
|14. Townshend Cellars – The 10 mile drive North is well worth it!
|Not on Map: Trezzi Farm. Trezzi Farm is a vineyard and a restaurant. Stop by their tasting room and stay for dinner 17700 N. Dunn Rd in Green Bluff
|15. Vintage Hill Cellars – One of Spokane’s newest wineries in the heart of downtown Spokane. Vintage Hill is located at 319 W. 2nd Ave
**First Friday Participant**
|16. Whitestone Winery – Wilbur WA vineyard and vintner with new tasting room in downtown Spokane at 111 S. Cedar.
**First Friday Participant**
22 Jan 2010
You’ve got to love a winery who unashamedly names their Cabernet Penetration, Missionary and Hucking Good! Browsing their selection is not for the faint of heart and their back label will either make you blush or stir you up like a pre-teen school boy in a brisk breeze.
While some stuffy wine folk may turn their nose up at the provocative label, it’s the quality in the bottle that should be judged.
Naked Winery, and their sassy sister Orgasmic Wine Company, are dually based in WA (Wishram) and OR (Hood River) and operate tasting rooms in Hood River and Yakima. Grapes are procured from vineyards in the Willamette, Illinois, Apple Gate, and Columbia Valley regions of Oregon and Washington. Their 21 offering range from $18 – $80 (Tease Riesling to Oh Nebbiolo).
If you are in the mood to “Sip Into Something Naked” stop by either of their tasting rooms for a naked tasting, visit their web site at www.nakedwinery.com and follow them on Twitter @nakedwinery. Naked Wine make great gifts but be careful who you give them to, Gay Rose to a co-worker may be cause for sexual harassment and Foreplay Chardonnay on a date may get you slapped.
2005 Naked Merlot – $20
- The Stuff: Columbia Valley 90% Merlot 10% Cab Franc; 12 months in American and French Oak; 1500 cases
- The Swirl: Nice aged brownish plum color. Beautiful streaky legs from the 14.8% alcohol, mostly opaque
- The Sniff: Very aromatic with scents of raspberry, mild leather, and pepper. The arousal of the nose had me anticipating the explosion in the mouth
- The Sip: Mild initial flavor that opens up into a balanced attack of fruit and spice. The back end is firm with a medium tannic structure – “firm back-end” as the label says.
- The Score: At $20 I can score this a 3+ and is a solid purchase that will not disappoint if given as a gift. This is not your typical novelty wine with a sassy name and no substance.
2007 Naked Pinot Gris – $18
- The Stuff: 100% Pinot Gris; aged 100% Stainless Steel for six months; cold fermentation
- The Swirl: Mild yellow gold straw color with a nice crispness and clarity
- The Sniff: Very erotic crispy pear / apple and a subtle butter toast, the bright citric alcohol rounded out the nose
- The Sip: This is a fruit salad in a glass. Beautifully fruit flavors but not overwhelming. The finish is incredibly long lasting as the buttery flavor and acidity wash across the back of the mouth.
- The Score: At $18, I score this wine a 4. This is one of the better Pinot Gris’ that I’ve enjoyed. Not one dimensional, not too acidic, not too steely. Too much of this and I could end up ‘naked.’
*Both wines were provided as industry samples with the intent to review.
21 Jan 2010
The Twitterverse (universe of Twitter) can seem like an intimidating place to those that are just joining in. After you begin to follow a few people and the tweets begin flying, it can be a challenge to join in the stream. Below are real world examples of tweets that I consider “successful” tweets. Follow these tweeter examples and watch your followers grow.
*These are real tweets from actual bloggers and businesses I follow. These tweets were captured on January 20, 2010 (the #tweetfail are examples of tweets I’ve seen that are not successful.)
1. The Intriguing Tweet
Tweets should have character and sometimes a hint of intrigue. With all the tweets flying by, your 140 characters need to make someone want to stop and click the link. A good trick is to pull a quote from your post, comment or customer.
#tweetfail: Visit our site to learn more about the new product www.blahblahblah.com
2. The Wise Sage Tweet
TishWine Accord to Wine Market Council, in general: Millennials are ahead of previous generations in terms of wine interest and activity.
Tweets that provide information to your followers are very beneficial. This shows that you know about your topic and that you are a source to be trusted. The wild sage stays current on trends and is up to date on the latest news.
#tweetfail: This NYT article on social networking is awesome (no link)
3. The Insight into Life Tweet
WeDomestic The best part of the margaritas? They numb the hurt Jillian leaves behind. In my arms. And my thighs. And…
You are more that a tweeting marketing machine. Provide people with insight into your real life. Avoid the boring and mundane put a clever spin on your activities; be transparent with humor or mistakes.
#tweetfail: I can’t believe the inane stuff that spews from my co-workers mouth…what a moron.
4. The Connector Tweet
Guys like Matt are great. They love to connect their friends who have similar interests. Think beyond your marketing plan and see if you can connect your friends who have not met yet. They’ll thank you!
#tweetfail: I just don’t get @suchandsuch – he is so over the top, how can anyone like his blog
5. The Observation Tweet
The observer actually pays attention to and cares about the stream of information flying past them. This observation tweet shows that you are more than a marketing machine and that you care about your followers or customers.
#tweetfail: Hey check out this amazing event we’re having over here is fantastic city USA. You’ll love it http//facebooklink (The problem here is linking to Facebook and never checking twitter responses. I’ve replied to tweets like this and never received a response. Total #fail)
6. The Referral Tweet
This tweet contains referrals of fellow tweeters and a business. This is a perfect example of using twitter to network with others and recommend local business who are using twitter. More of this viral marketing will help businesses see the ROI of social networking.
#tweetfail: Loving the swank vibe at Purple Café with Yahar. Missing you Taryn. Thanks, Heavy Restaurant. (no @ reply means no connection)
7. The Conversation Tweet
On the surface this tweet may not seem like much, but if you track it between people, you’ll find conversation between friends. Reach out to your followers, ask questions, develop connections; you’ll be happy you did.
8. The Polite Tweet
When someone @ mentions you or RT (share’s) one of your tweets, it is important to thank them or reply back to them. This builds and deepens the relationship between you and your followers and customers.
#tweetfail: Not thanking or responding to people who reach out to you. Nothing can turn customers and blog readers more than failing to thank them or ignoring their questions. Would you ignore someone who was right in front of you asking a question? Why would you ignore a tweet question?
9. The Product Use Tweet
This is a cool use of Twitter. Kiona pays attention to feeds and/or searches for mentions of their product and replies to the tweeter. This type of customer service shows care and greater level of interest than the typical business. It’s the little things that set the great apart from the good.
#tweetfail: Letting product mentions (especially references to problems) go without response
10. The Sharing Tweet
When you see information come by that you like (doesn’t always have to be the same topic), share it with your friends by retweeting it (RT). Doing this helps to virally spread the great information to others. You can hand a newspaper article to one person, but a single tweet can go around the world. Two tips: 1) Take care when re-tweeting. Try your best to add something to the tweet. If you have to append it, don’t change the original intent of the message. Give credit where credit is due. 2) If the information is on a blog you read, make a comment on the blog before retweeting.
#tweetfail: Never sharing, removing the source name and changing the tweet’s intention
19 Jan 2010
The scenario – You’ve just scored a date with a super hot friend of your co-worker. When you pick her up she is wearing a clingy red low-cut dress. The kind of dress that shows her curves and makes you hope it’s a little breezy. As the evening progresses, all the signs point to success. She laughs at all your jokes, she flings her hair back flirtatiously, and touches your shoulder periodically when she’s talking. You arrive at the restaurant and score the table overlooking the river. The waiter comes over hands you your menu and hands YOU the wine menu. As you open it up, a cold sweat comes over you and your cheeks get flush. What does it all mean? How do you choose?
The Dude’s Guide to Wine helps demystify and educate the average Joe about wine.
- In Part One we explained three reasons all guys should know a little about wine – Rated PG
- In Part Two we explored the basics of grapes and their general characteristics – Rated PG-13
- In Part Three we talked about the experience of wine tasting (swirl, smell, sip, savor) – Rated R
Why is there so much anxiety when ordering wine or buying from a store? I think it can be distilled down into one thing; Fear of Failure. We’re afraid of ordering the wrong wine with the food. We’re afraid of paying too much for a bad tasting wine. We’re afraid of looking bad. The dude is comfortable with ordering beer. You’ll always find the same basic beer in every restaurant. A margarita is basically the same wherever you go. Wine, however can cause even the Chuck Norris type dudes to develop Erkle like demeanor.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Directions
The best sex happens when guys aren’t afraid to ask their ladies for a little direction. The same thing is true with the wine experience. Asking directions can lead you to the ‘G Spot’ or pleasure center of food and wine pairings! Some basic tips:
- Ask the wait staff if the restaurant offers small wine flight samples – This is a small two ounce pour of three different wines to help determine a good selection. This is also a great sharing experience between you and your date.
- Ask the diva in the red dress (your date) if she has any particular favorites. If she prefers sweet white Rieslings and you order a big meaty Cabernet Sauvignon, the mood could be ruined. If she really has no preference, she’ll defer back to your manly decision making skills.
- Wait to make your final wine decision until you’ve made your dinner selection. While many opinions exists about proper food / wine pairings, there is some science to the right experience.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff for a recommendation. This shows care, concern and passion. Your lady won’t be keen to your lack of wine understanding, she’ll be impressed at your discernment to defer to a knowledgeable resource.
- While ordering a bottle is preferable; because as the nectar flows the conversation grows, don’t be afraid to order two different glasses that pair best with each of your meals.
If you choose to go it alone, refer to Part 2 of this series for a basic explanation of grapes and food pairings. The generalizations are RED WINE for big hearty meats and pastas and WHITE WINE for lighter chicken, white sauce, and spice.
The more you experience wine, the more comfortable you will feel at making the decisions. Great wine pairings will come with ease and the lady will be pleased. Similar to sex, you start with a basic knowledge of anatomy and what goes where. The more you experience it, the better moves you make and the passion comes with ease and the lady is pleased.
Tips for Navigating the Store
The scenario: Your successful moves on date one have led to the all important “night in” dinner date. This is the date that is at either one of your residence that migrates from dinner to the couch with potential for second and third base. As a side note, hosting dinner and making it from scratch will score you big points. Also, don’t be too quick to slide into home. Showing restraint shows self-control, builds trust, and grows anticipation for the final scene. For this date you are without the help of the wait staff and must rely on your cunning abilities to navigate the wine store, local winery, or local grocer (I strongly encourage you to BUY LOCAL for good service and informative advice).
- Decide what’s for dinner and follow the same basic principles when ordering at a restaurant
- Determine your budget. While there are a lot of good $10 and under wines out there, nothings says, “let’s get drunk and screw” like a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. Shoot for something between $20-30 and your chances are better that it will be a good wine and if she knows anything about wine, she’ll be a little impressed.
Personally, I would avoid going all out for something more than $25 on a date like this. 1) You don’t want to set the bar too high for future wine purchases. Starting high may set an expectation that your wallet cannot afford. 2) You haven’t yet sealed the deal. At this point you’re still feeling things out (so to speak).
- Ask the wine steward or shop attendant. Similar to the restaurant, tell them your dinner and your budget and they can be a wealth of information.
- If there isn’t a wine steward available, the store should be grouped by grape varietal. Head to one that fits the general pairings mentioned above and in post 2 and choose one that fits your budget.
- If you’re ambitious you can choose a label that fits the mood of the relationship. Chances are, as you look, you’ll see labels that are sexy and flirty, fun and witty, artistic, and fancy.
Don’t let the size of the selection bother you. As the girls say, it’s not the size that matters, it’s the quality. One final tip, if you think things are going to go well, buy two bottles. As the night progresses, you would hate to find yourself without more wine!
There you have it, four posts to help the average dude venture into the wine world. Would you like to see more? There have been some preliminary conversations about turning this series into a book. What other things should the average guy know about wine? Are you a beer drinking dude? Comment here, let me know.
17 Jan 2010
This weekend I left the bleak grey confines of Spokane, WA for the land of eternal sun, Phoenix. While my itinerary consisted mostly of pounding my 37 year old body into the pavement for the PF Changs Rock-n-Roll Marathon, I also enjoyed visiting with my sister, her husband and my mom and dad.
In addition to the body torture, new twitter friend, Tim Hilcove @wklywinejournal organized a wine / adult beverage tweetup. The first stop was FnB Restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale. This fantastic part of town is thriving with activity; restaurants, bars, wine bars, art galleries, and live music. This is an adult playground! While FnB wasn’t a “wine bar,” I was thrilled to see a great selection of Arizona wine. During the tweetup, we met some fantastic people (featured below).
FnB was very accommodating with our group of 12. Due to lighting conditions, food aromas, and my memory, I’m unable to provide a full NectarView of each wine, but below is what I drank and what I thought!
2008 Pillsbury “Casa Blanca” Pinot Gris, Cochise County $20
- The wine had an interesting minerality on the nose. The Pinot Gris’ that I’m used to usually have a very crisp apple, pear, and pineapple aroma. This was a very good wine that seems to be made in the traditional Italian wine making style. The sip provided some nice effervescence and reminded me of Champagne (w/o the bubbles). I would definitely buy it (if I could ever find it in our area).
2006 Dos Cabezas “Toscano” Red Blend, Conchise County $22
- This wine was lighter shade with similar colorings and translucence as a Pinot Noir (jewel like). Toscano is a Sangiovese, Cab, Syrah, Petit Sirah blend. The flavors were sour cherry with a dry tartness and mild acidity. This wine wasn’t in my wheelhouse, but it did seem well made with nice character.
2007 Pillsbury “Roan Red” Syrah, Conchise County $24
- The color presented fairly dark plum with mildly clear edges. Once again, this wine seemed to be made in the traditional Rhone style. Taste was fruity grape and blackberry and had a descent tannic structure and a nice long finish (see Tim’s description in the video).
The most enjoyable and biggest surprise for me was the Casa Blanca
After wrapping up dinner, one of our tweeters (@juxtapalate) recommended we head to Kazimierz World Wine Bar. This place needs to be seen to be believed. There are no establishment name signs on the building, the entrance is in the rear and the only sign, above the entrance door, says “The Truth is Inside.” The inside is reminiscent of what I would envision an old French cellar would look like (cobblestone, wood, barrels). Hot jazz was playing and the place was alive with beautiful people (current blogger not withstanding). The hostess brought a wine menu which included a nice selection of flights. @Juxtapalate asked the waitress for the “wine bible.” The Kazimierz Wine Bible contained 2600 wines by the bottle. WOW! I think I need to spend more than just a three day weekend here. A cellar was dug out under the building to hold all the wine. After analyzing the flights, I chose something that would make fellow wine blogger @vinegeek proud, Mourvedre. Sadly, my reviews were tainted by the smell of garlic as we sat right outside the kitchen.
2006 San Isidro Monastrell, Cepas del Zorro; Spain $11
- This was a big earthy chewy wine. It was aroma challenged. I wasn’t too pleased with this wine because it was mostly tart and tannic with hints of leather but no lace.
2007 Castano Monastrell Organic, Spain; $8
- This wine also didn’t produce much effort on the nose. The first two offering were definitely giving me a picture of Spanish Mourvedre but I wasn’t totally into what they were painting. I did pick up some red cherry jam but the wine was simple with a short finish.
2006 Cline Mourvedre, Ancient Vines, Contra Costa; $12
- I’ve had several positive experiences with the Cline brand and this one was no exception. This wine was much smoother and had a nice strawberry tart taste with a hint of smoky oak. Discovering that the wine is only $12 means that this is one I would pick up to share with friends.
Earlier I mentioned that we enjoyed our tweetup with several local foodies and winos. It was such a pleasure to meet these guys and they are definitely worthy of a follow on twitter.
@CChaseEnt – Colleen runs @AZGrapeEscapes and has the joy of organizing wine tours to the nearby Phoenix area vineyards and wineries.
@JuxtaPalate – Ty is a great connector. His blog is witty and fun as he explore the Phoenix food and drink scene. He also runs a PR firm for local restaurants.
@JustinEats – Justin writes a fantastic food blog with insightful reviews of local restaurants.
@wklywinejournal – Tim was gracious enough to organize the tweetup. His wine blog has been on my reader list for months. Tim’s passion is promoting the AZ scene. Go Tim!
Several others came and went throughout the night but I did not get to converse with them all; @CiaoMari Niki Buchanan (food writer for www.azcentral.com) and @foodieslikeus
Life is meant to be enjoyed with friends and I’m already looking forward to my next trip to sunny Phoenix in April. Kazimierz will probably be the first stop on the way from the airport! DRINK.HAPPY