28 May 2010
Why whine about the weather when there is so much great wine in Spokane? Now that you’ve recovered from Spring Barrel tasting in Walla Walla, Yakima, Spokane and Lake Chelan, it is time to get out and enjoy the local wine scene. Did you know that Spokane is welcoming a brand new winery this weekend? Check out the details below. If you’re a wine lover, and I know you are, check out the “On the Radar” section for the amazing wino week for June 1-6!
Having an event and don’t see it on the list? Email me email@example.com
Take a tour of the local wineries. Most are open. Visit this link for hours, reviews, wine recommendations and more.
Spokane Tasting Room Tour: http://drinknectar.com/2010/01/24/spokane-wine-tour/
Final Weekend of Lone Canary at their Scott Street location: Lone Canary is moving in with Caterina Winery. Get 25% off all wine and gift shop merchandise (30% off for club members) Open Friday through Sunday, Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Arbor Crest Memorial Day Weekend Sale: Get 30% off of six bottles or more of red wine through Monday!
Friday, May 28
Music at Whitestone Winery: Enjoy the wonderful music of Colleen Rice and the wine of Whitestone from 6-9pm at 111 S. Cedar. No cover
Vino Wine Shop: Airfield Estates of Walla Walla 3:00-5:30pm
Davenport Hotel: Live music from 8pm – midnight
Left Bank Wine Bar: Live music every Friday starting at 8pm, no cover
Rocket Market: 7pm Tour of Italy (Barbera, Brunello, Borolo) Reservations requested, $15 343-2253
Saturday, May 29
Overbluff Cellars: Spokane welcomes its newest winery with Overbluff Cellars grand opening. Join them with live music from Sammy Eubanks from 1-7pm at their tasting room at 620 S. Washington. For a preview, check out the DrinkNectar interview with co-owner John Caudill.
Vino Wine Shop: Sale Wines Part 2 – 2:00-4:30pm
Rocket Market: Saturday drop in tasting with Airfield Estates winery 3-6pm; Stay for live music at 7pm from Blue Ribbon Tea Company
Sunday, May 30
Get out to a winery! – Always a handful of Spokane wineries open. Enjoy!
Arbor Crest (River Park Square Tasting Room) – Enjoy the art of Carrie Vielle “Language of a Body; Instinct over Intellect”
On the Radar
Big wine week the first week in June. Stay tuned for how you can win tickets to Taste Washington on June 6.
- June 2 – Support the fight against Cystic Fibrosis with every sip at The Melting Pot. Two packages to choose from include wine tasting and two or four courses; 5-9 p.m., Call 509.999.2195; cost is $25 or $50
- June 3 – #WAWine Taste and Tweet event. Join in your PJ’s at home or from one of the 100 locations hosting an event. All you need it Washington Wine and a computer! Follow the link for details! This is the world’s largest simultaneous tasting of Washington wine. Celebrate with us!
- June 4 – First Friday in Downtown Spokane
- June 4 – Stem and Stein event benefiting the programs of the Spokane Aids Network; Northern Quest Casino; $45 at the door. http://www.san-nw.org/events/stem_and_stein.asp
- June 5 – The Pour (benfiting Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital) at Arbor Crest. This is a great wine tasting and auction. Tickets $150 http://www.thepour.info/
- June 6 – Taste Washington at the Davenport. The year’s signature wine event with 100 wineries and local food. Tickets are $75; visit ww.tastewashington.org for details. On sale starting May 1 at Vino, Arbor Crest (RP Square), Williams Seafood, and Latah Creek Winery
- June 6 – 2010 Summer Concert Series begins at Arbor Crest
- June 18-20: Spokane Symphony Best Fest – A fantastic three night event featuring the best of Spokane Symphony, wine, beer and ice cream. Tickets are available for each night and for the full three day event. www.spokanesymphony.org
25 May 2010
Spokane’s Barrister Winery has released four new wines for 2010. These new releases are a showcase for why Barrister is getting worldwide attention for their consistency of quality, character, structure, and flavor. When co-owner and co-winemaker Greg Lipsker asked if I was interested in previewing the new releases, I had to calm myself before answering with a resounding YES! Greg and Mike are responsible for some of my favorite wines. Their Rough Justice blend was my January wine of the month.
Barrister is located in an historic 100 year old building in Spokane’s downtown core (Railroad Ave, west of Jefferson). The 25,000 square foot facility houses production, a large single stack barrel room, storage, and an expansive tasting room and event facility. Barrister offers a unique space to host your wedding, reception, corporate event, or special family dinner. Barrister is also the best stop on the First Friday Art Walk in Spokane. Check out my previous video tour of the facility and interview with Greg.
The key to Barrister wines is good fruit, patience and attention to specifics. The wines reviewed below are from some of Washington’s most prestigious vineyards, Sagemoor, Weinbau, Dwelly, Kiona and Koinonia. As you’ll note in the video, Greg and Mike take a vintage by vintage approach to their wine making, adjusting blends and barrel routines as appropriate to showcase the fruit. Their attention to detail shows in the finished product.
2009 Barrister Winery Riesling
- The Stuff: 100% Riesling from Koinonia Vineyards, 0% residual sugar, .8% acidity, 14.1%abv, 136 cases produced
- The Swirl: Light and nearly clear in color, thin viscosity, clean and clear
- The Sniff: Floral aromas of white flowers, pears, and perfume. The nose offers a tight bouquet but is still elegant and fresh.
- The Sip: In agreement with Greg, this wine is summertime on the lips. A bone dry presentation that allows the crisp fruit to be front and center. Your mouth is greeting with a kiss of pear and wet stone and says goodbye with a well balanced acidity. The wine is not tart and in spite of being bone dry, doesn’t leave you feeling parched.
- The Score: At only $17, this is one of the most refreshing and well balanced Rieslings that I have discovered. With only 136 cases made, you won’t want to delay to get yours for the upcoming summer season. Drink now or store for 3-5 years. I score this wine a 4 (out of 5).
The 2009 Barrister Winery Riesling is a superb value and an amazing demonstration of Riesling fruit from Koinonia Vineyards. The bone dry finish leaves you longing for more without a tartness that leaves you parched. Pair this wine with summer, grilled vegetables, shrimp salad, light pasta, and fruit. DrinkNectar highly recommends this wine.
2008 Barrister Winery Sangiovese
- The Stuff: 100% Sangiovese from Kiona Estate Vineyards. Aged 15 months in used French oak, 14.5%abv, 149 cases produced
- The Swirl: Deep burgundy color that is 60% opaque and mellows out to bright ruby tones on the edges.
- The Sniff: An amazing presentation of big bright cherries, spice, vanilla, and hints of cinnamon.
- The Sip: Hold on Antonio, this is not your father’s Italian Chianti / Sangio. This medium bodied wine is a showcase of the hot weather from Red Mountain that produces amazingly bold fruit. In this limited tasting there was all bright cherries and hints of toast. A nice firm tannin and lingering tart finish rounded out the beautiful wine. Not representative of the variety, but made in a strong new world fashion.
- The Score: Loving the presentation of fruit and big finish, this $25 wine scores a solid 3+ (out of 5).
2007 Barrister Winery Merlot
- The Stuff: 86% Merlot from Dwelly Vineyards and 9% Cab Franc, 5% Cab Sauv; 14.8%abv, 271 cases produced
- The Swirl: Elegant bright plum colors that are about 70% opaque. Spectacular color structure that suggests quality and high extraction
- The Sniff: A Merlot worthy of putting Miles (from the movie Sideways) in his place. Fantastic aroma of smooth cocoa and berry – imagine cherry cocoa puffs with a hint of pipe tobacco smoke.
- The Sip: The very front palate of this wine is a semi-sweet medium cherry flavor that presents hints of baking cocoa on the mid-palate. A bright hint of blueberry jumps out at the back end as you begin to swallow the wine. A surprisingly strong and well structured finish complete this well crafted Merlot.
- The Score: At $25 this Merlot can compete among the ranks of wines twice the price. I score this a 4+ (out of 5) and put it up there with the top 3 Merlot I’ve had in 2010.
The 2007 Barrister Winery Merlot is a showcase of what Merlot can be. With smooth elegant cherry and cocoa flavors the addition of Cab Franc and Cab Sauv bring to light a bright blueberry spark and a strong finish. This wine could be a casual sipping wine and would stand up well to grilled burgers, BBQ ribs, and a mild red pasta dish. DrinkNectar highly recommends this wine as one of the top Merlots of the year.
2007 Barrister Winery Sagemoor Cabernet Sauvignon
- The Stuff: 75% Cabernet from Sagemoor Vineyards in Walla Walla, 15% Merlot and 10% Syrah also from Sagemoor Vineyards; aged 20+ months in 75% French and 25% American oak; 15.2%abv, 210 cases produced.
- The Swirl: Thick and inky with stormy night characteristics. The wine is about 90-95% opaque and is nearly black at the middle of the glass
- The Sniff: An aroma of blackberry and plum saturates the nose. A slight alcohol heat with spice accompaniment throws off the aroma profile only slightly.
- The Sip: The wine has bottle aged well and despites its youth of 3 years, is a fairly smooth offering for a big Cab (probably softened by the addition of Merlot). Big dark spicy cherries showcase the flavors with undercurrents of red raspberry and dark chocolate. Slight hints of oak, but very subtle. The finish lingers for quite some time, but presents a little burn on the swallow.
- The Score: A beautiful wine that will resonate with big Cab lovers. The high alcohol is the only moderately off-putting part of this wine. Avoid pairing this with spicy dishes which will compound the heat. At $33 I score this wine a 4 (out of 5).
Every so often I’m reminded of the reason I love wine and the reason I love reviewing wine. Tonight’s review is an example of that. I get the privilege of sampling wine before most people in the world. I get a sneak peek into the passion and heart that a wine maker has put into his craft. One wine is a new flagship from a veteran wine maker, the other is a very special limited release of juice from a young winery.
Latah Creek is an icon in Washington Wine. Producing 20,000 cases per year, Latah Creek was one of the first 20 wineries in the state of Washington (currently at 650). – SEE MY INTERVIEW WITH MIKE CONWAY – For 28 years, Latah Creek has been synonymous with white and specialty sweet wine. Over the past five years Mike and daughter Natalie have been changing that. The Monarch series, of which the Monarch Red is the first, is a distinct departure in effort, direction and label. The Monarch Series will be a focus on premium reds including Petit Verdot, Zinfandel and stylistic blends. The label is their first NOT using their traditional wildlife artwork. The bold new label is a replica of a 30×36 painting from acclaimed Spokane artist Edward W. Gilmore. The new label releases April 23, 2010.
NV Latah Creek Monarch Red
- The Stuff: 50% Zinfandel 25% Syrah and Cabernet from Columbia Valley, 12.5%abv and 112 cases produced
- The Swirl: Dull plum color with garnet edges, about 80% opaque
- The Sniff: Mellow fruit with pleasing vanilla and red fruit notes
- The Sip: Very well balanced from front to back. The wine begins with a nice cherry vanilla and offers a hint of spice. The finish concludes with beautiful tannin and well played acidity. The velvet smoothness will play well with food or as a casual quality drinker.
- The Score: At $25 I can easily score this wine 3+ out of 5. It is well made and offers a good amount of character and complexity to please the casual drinker and the wine connoisseur.
Nodland Cellars 2006 Reserve Cab is simply one of the best 5 wines I’ve had this year (out of close to 100 formal reviews and dozens of other samples). Tim and Tracy Nodland began their boutique winery in 2007 with the release of the 2005 Reserve Blend and are committed to making “small amounts of the best wine we can make,” says Tracy Nodland. - SEE MY INTERVIEW WITH TIM AND TRACY – The 2006 Reserve Cabernet (from McClellan Vineyards) was born when making the 2006 Red Blend. During blending the McClellan Cab was so over the top that each blending percentage they tried resulted in a Cab forward flavor. While they eventually ended up with a blend that represented all six Bordeaux grapes, they held back a few barrels of the 06 McClellan Cab for this reserve. The result is pure Cabernet bliss. The wine is bold without being over the top, provides drinkability while still letting you know it can be stored.
- The Stuff: 94% McClellan Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 % Seven Hills Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot; 50 cases produced, 14.9%abv
- The Swirl: Elegant dark black purple with hints of leathery brown. Edges are subdued tan. Color is about 90% opaque
- The Sniff: Ominous aromas of fresh pepper, big cherries, dark fruit and earthy soil. A hot alcohol smell when taking a deep breath.
- The Sip: Velvet blackberry and plums on the initial attack with a strong pepper mid-palate. Subtle hints of toasted cocoa add intrigue. Very bold tannin without being chalky. The acid is big and makes your mouth water. There is a slight high alcohol heat on the swallow. A beautifully elegant representation of Cabernet without being over worked by the oak.
- The Score: At $45, it may out of the price range for some consumers but rest assured I can score this wine a 4+ out of 5, being one of the five best wines I’ve had thus far in 2010.
For those reading this early enough and in the Spokane area, the release parties for these wines are below. For those NOT in Spokane and lucky quick enough to react, contact each of them directly to purchase.
Latah Creek Monarch Red – Release party is Friday April 23 from 5-7pm – call to order 1800-LatahCreek
Nodland Cellars 06 Cab – Release party is Saturday April 24 from 4-9pm – call to order 509-927-7770
16 Apr 2010
Chances are you’re on this page because you like wine and you live in the Spokane area. Spokane is home to 17 fantastic wineries (okay Overbluff Cellars won’t open for a few more weeks). Did you know that 9 of the wineries have tasting rooms within a 5 mile radius? You don’t have to travel to Walla Walla or Prosser for your wine journeys. Take a stay-vinocation and enjoy some local juice.
Having an event and don’t see it on the list? Email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Spokane Tasting Room Tour – Most Spokane tasting rooms are open. Check out this tasting room map for contact information, hours of operation and video reviews.
Niko’s Wine Bar – “WILD about Washington Chardonnay” Tour (2005) $10 for 3 wines, two ounces each pour. Here’s the flight: Chinook (Yakima) L’Ecole N 41 (Columbia Valley) and Buty (“Conner Lee” Columbia Valley). Cheers! 725 West Riverside Spokane 509 624-7444 (Thanks to Sip of Spokane for digging this one up)
Lone Canary - Please note that Lone Canary winery will not be open this weekend.
Friday April 16
Whitestone Tasting Room Anniversary 111 S. Cedar – Celebrate the one year anniversary of the Whitestone tasting room in Spokane!
Davenport Hotel – Live music from 8pm – midnight 20% off all food and drink if you mention you’re a Facebook fan.
Left Bank Wine Bar – Live music ever Friday starting at 8pm, 60 wines by the glass
Saturday April 17
Rocket Market – Saturday drop in tastings, complimentary pours 3-6pm
Nodland Cellars – The tasting room is open Noon – 4pm at 11616 E Montgomery Rd. Get into their tasting room and get on the mailing list. The only way to be invited to the “special release” is to be on the mailing list.
Earth Day 40th Anniversary – Taking it to the Streets, 11 am to past midnight! Community booths, vendors, and music/performance outside from 11a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. Live music, performers, and food/beverage vendors inside the Community Building Warehouse until midnight. On Main St. between Browne and Division.
Festival of Wine and Flowers The Festival of Wine and Flowers is Spokane’s most prestigious tasting and auction of ultra-premium Washington wines. This annual fundraising event supports the comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute provides to adults and children throughout our region. $125 for wine and auction; $200 for Winemakers Dinner
Get out and enjoy one of the many tasting rooms in Spokane!
On the radar:
Check out this post featuring four amazing can’t miss Spokane Winery events
- April 20 – Madelines French Bistro Wine Dinner (w/ Vino Wine Shop)
- April 23 – Latah Creek releases a new wine with a new abstract art label
- April 24 – Nodland Cellars releases a very limited (40 cases) Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon (p.s. DrinkNectar is the only media that has been invited to this event)
- April 30 – Barilli Cellars pre-release party (to Facebook friends and family)
- May 7-9 – Spring Barrel tasting weekend
15 Apr 2010
Spring is a beautiful time to be a wine lover in Spokane. The city seems to come alive with events. As the buds are breaking from Walla Walla to Wahluke Slope, the blossoms are blooming on the cherry trees across the Inland Northwest. Spring usually marks a wineries new release season as well. This is a chance to try red wines that have been aging for 1-3 years in beautiful oak barrels and white wines that were just plucked from the vine the previous fall. Below are the HIGHLIGHTS of three events that you MUST mark on your calendar.
Latah Creek Monarch Red Release
April 23: 5-7pm at 13030 E. Indiana
Mike Conway is a pioneer in Washington Wine. Latah Creek was one of the first 20 wineries in the state (see my interview with Mike here). I’ve noticed a new direction with Latah Creek forming over the last 3 years with the release of their Vinosity blend, and Petit Verdot. Now, Latah Creek is excited to announce the release of their Monarch Red. This potential flagship red is a bold blend of 50% Zinfandel, and 25% each of Syrah and Cabernet. In addition to the wine, the bottle is adorned with the first “new” Latah Creek label in nearly 30 years. In a partnership with Spokane Artist Edward Gilmore, Latah Creek departs from their wildlife label with bold modern art as big as the wine!
Experience the art that is Monarch Red
Nodland Cellars Walla Walla Reserve Release
April 24: 4-9pm at 11616 E Montgomery
Mike and Tracy Nodland typically release only two wines per year, a red blend and a divine Riesling. They sell out quickly. The quality is top notch. Last year a wine developed in the barrel that had such stunning quality and character that they held back from using it in their proprietors blend to save for a special release. This wine is the 2006 McClellan Vineyards Cabernet. With only 40 cases produced this extremely limited production will be made available ONLY to people on their mailing list. Here is your chance to drink something truly amazing. The party is April 24, but to be invited, YOU MUST be on their mailing list. “How do I get on the mailing list,” you ask? Get yourself to their tasting room Saturday, April 17 from Noon – 4pm.
Spring Barrel Tasting
May 7-9: 11pm – 5pm daily
Making wine is hard work. It’s farming, crushing, racking, bottling, sweat work. Spring barrel tasting is a way to experience the romantic side of winemaking. Mother’s day weekend is a rare opportunity to learn about the winemaking process, sample new wine, and in some cases sample wine that is still in the barrel waiting for it’s magical time to enter the world. Sixteen Spokane wineries are participating, including the brand new Overbluff Cellars and the return of Barilli Cellars. See a complete list of Spokane Wineries including an interactive map here.
Download the PDF map http://www.spokanewineries.net/SWA_map.pdf