My Experience at the Great Northwest Wine Competition


I’ve tasted a lot of wine during my journey as a wine business owner and wine blogger, but being a wine judge for the inaugural Great Northwest Wine Competition was an immersion in wine like I’ve never experienced. I was part of a panel of 4 judges and tasted over 200 wines in a 30 hour period. In total our group of 16 judges tasted and evaluated  over 850 wines to determine the Greatest Northwest Wines.


Nectar Wine Blog Top 10 Wines of 2011

It’s that time of year again for the highly anticipated ‘best of wine’ lists from around the web. At least, I anticipate them. I love reading what people enjoyed throughout the year. Regionally, we each have different wines available to us and over time we align ourselves with the palates and preferences of people we read and friends we interact with. In 2010 I had the privilege of tasting over 500 different wines and reviewing 168 on this blog. 2011 was a bit more challenging from the writing standpoint but I still managed to taste over 300 wines and review […]


God Only Knows Believe the Hype

God only knows I’ve wanted to. God only knows I’ve tried. Once given the opportunity all I can say is God Only Knows lives up to the hype. In short, the Cayuse Vineyards 2008 God Only Knows Grenache is possibly the best wine I’ve had in 2011. Sitting on 55 acres of stony riverbed soil on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla AVA is the legacy of French winemaker Christophe Baron. Planted in 1997, Cayuse Vineyards was Washington’s first biodynamic farmed vineyard and creator of some of the most sought after wines in the U.S. According to the story, […]


Benessere Vineyards Prospers with Tuscan Varieties

Every once in a while I receive wines that surprise the heck out of me. They are sometimes at low price points that provide a consistent and approachable tasting experience, some are amazingly vibrant and full representations of the grape varietal, and other times there are small wineries who send samples that truly impress me across the board. This shipment of Benessere wines from Napa, California fits into that last category. The winery sent two of each wine which gave me the opportunity to share with Ben Hilzinger, my main wine slinger at Nectar, as well as with a few […]


The Best Merlot in the World? Bolen Family Estates

From time to time we come across a wine that sticks in our mind and becomes the benchmark by which we judge the others. For me, these include the Belle Glos Pinot Noir, Seghesio Zinfandel, Barrister Rough Justice (affordable blend) and the Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc. Recently I received a bottle of Bolen Family Estates 2007 Merlot. This wine has made a strong case for being the benchmark merlot in my memory banks. Eric Bolen makes one wine, 1000 cases, of single vineyard Oak Knoll Merlot. Bolen partners with esteemed winemaker Tom Rinaldi of Duck Horn fame to craft a […]


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