Kirkland Uncorked summer wine festival launched on a glorious sunny afternoon at downtown Kirkland Marina Park. Featuring Washington wines, local restaurants and a variety of artists, Kirkland Uncorked has two major components. There is the free, all ages Art Promenade and the adult-only Tasting Garden that requires a purchased ticket to enter. The Tasting Garden includes wine tasting, Pyramid beer, restaurant food samples, live music, carnival foods for purchase and a number of vendors to browse. In addition to those components there is a boat show all weekend and a car show adjacent to the Kirkland Uncorked festival on Sunday. To top it all off, the weather on the Kirkland waterfront was spectacular.
Wines to Watch
Although there is a lot to see, do and taste at Kirkland Uncorked, the Washington wines are the stars. Available in the Tasting Garden section, there are two wine tasting tents and a wine sale tent where you can buy your favorite bottles of wine. Each wine taste costs 1-3 tokens, depending on the retail price of the wine. Your entry ticket to the Tasting Garden comes with 10 tokens and additional tokens are available for purchase.
Here were some of the highlights of my tastings:
- 2007 Syrah – deep dark Syrah with concentrated black fruits and cocoa. A bit of licorice and pepper accentuate the fruit on the long finish.
- 2009 Au Contraire French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay – Elegant Chardonnay crafted like an exquisite Chablis. Fantastic minerality grounds pear and white nectarine aromas and flavor. Nice food friendly, mouth watering acidity is another highlight to this wine. I suggest you get a sample of this wine and find a place by the water to sip and savor the nuances of this wine.
- 2008 La Montagnette Alder Ridge Vineyard Grenache – A lovely ruby red wine redolent with bright cherry fruit and spice, shows depth and complexity.
- 2008 Adagio – White Bordeaux blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. For me, I get lot of Chardonnay characteristics on the nose and Sauvignon Blanc on the palate. Lots of pear, apple and nectarine on the nose this medium bodied white wine has lots of refreshing grapefruit in the mouth.
- 2009 Duet (Pinot Blanc/Pinot Gris) – This is a refreshing wine that you will want to drink before the sun goes down. It has some tart citrus, lime and grapefruit, but unlike some Pinot Gris this wine isn’t so acidic that you think it is going to strip the enamel off of your teeth. The epitome of a refreshing summer sipper!
- 2009 Rosato – Refreshing light pink dry rosé with concentrated fruit and a hint of mint. Only about 10 cases of this double gold award winning wine left but there are some bottles for sale at the Kirkland Uncorked wine shop.
- 2008 Sangiovese – This pretty ruby red Sangiovese was released Friday night. Although it is a bit tight, it is delicious with bright cherry and spice notes supported by pleasing tannins.
Different local restaurants will be taking turns through out the weekend preparing and serving sample dishes to pair with the wines. The Friday night line up included:
Check out our announcement post to find out when other restaurants will be serving. In addition to the restaurant samples, there are vendor booths selling food and food related items like oils and seasonings.
Getting to the festival
Traffic is a challenge this weekend. I suggest that you check out the DOT web site so you can find out if any of this weekend’s ramp or bridge closures will impact your route. Car pool with friends to deal with traffic and the limited parking situation. The Art Promenade takes place in the parking lot for the Kirkland Marina Park. Parking will be SEVERELY limited on Sunday due to the car show but the City of Kirkland has some good parking suggestions on their web site.
Avoid the traffic and parking hassles, use public transportation or bike to the event. Kirkland Uncorked has a bike valet service to secure your bike while you are enjoying the festival.
Tips to enjoy the festival
The ATM machine is outside of the Tasting Garden. Make sure you have enough cash before you enter the Tasting Garden.
Although there are tables and chairs spread throughout the festival there are not enough for everyone. You can bring your own folding chair or a blanket to sit upon.
Take advantage of the water coolers located through out the festival. Stay hydrated during this summer weekend.
Take a break every now and again to browse the various art works on display and for sale.
Support the Hope Heart Institute
A portion of all Tasting Garden ticket fees will directly fund local research and education to fight heart disease. The Hope Heart Institute is a local non-profit with a 50-year history of revolutionary medical advances and educational curricula that make heart disease, America’s #1 cause of death, more treatable, beatable, and preventable. The Hope serves the Kirkland community through The Hope Heart Clinical Research Program at Evergreen Hospital, where cardiologists bring the latest medical treatments to their patients. Although I did hear the occasional complaint about the number of tokens received as part of admission, just remember that this a fundraiser, a means to make your wine dollars matter.
Sometimes it can be difficult to attend wine festivals when you are dependent on a cane, crutches or wheels to get around. Here are a couple of tips to make it easier if you have difficulty ambulating independently.
- Disabled parking slots are very rare this weekend, have someone drop you off or use public transportation
- The accessible restrooms are in the Art Promenade area. Porta-potties are available in the Tasting Garden but they are not accessible. You will need to leave the Tasting Garden area to use the accessible restrooms
- There are paved paths that you can use to easily navigate between the wine tasting tents. The beer tent is off the paved path but it is short distance over level grass
- There are a nice number of tables and chairs to relax and enjoy your wine and food. Not all are accessible, like the ones on the beach.