My favorite birthday present this year? The tickets my hubby scored to Le Vin á Son Apogee, including a special VIP “meet the wine maker” party with Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery. The evening included Around Washington Wines and Around the World in 80 Wines

VIP Party with wine maker Bob Betz

The event kicked off with tastes of Betz Family wines including the 2007 Besoleil, 2007 Syrah la Côte Rousse, 2006 Clos de Betz, and the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille, all delicious reds. After savoring our pours, Bob Betz joined the crowd and said a few words, explaining that he makes red wines because all wines would be red if they could. He went on to tell a bit of what it was like working for Chateau Ste. Michelle in the 1970’s. He still recalls when he told someone we were making wine in Washington and was asked,

“On what side of the Potomac do you grow your grapes?”

Later, we had an opportunity to approach Bob and speak with him more informally. I was thrilled to have the chance to speak to someone I admire, who crafts wines that I truly appreciate. Also, I was on a mission – to find out what Bob believes to be a wine from Washington State that has made history. After all, Washington’s history with wine is so young, there isn’t much recorded prior to the 1980’s. So, it was news to me when Bob shared the story about a 1974 blind tasting sponsored by the Los Angeles Times in which Chateau Ste. Michelle’s 1972 Johannisberg Riesling won top honors, putting Washington State on the world wine map. It was the least expensive Riesling in the lineup, competing against some big names from around the world, and it won! We were surprised we hadn’t heard of this milestone event before.

Around Washington Wines

So, how can you top meeting Bob Betz? I have to admit that was really the highlight of my night. However, the next segment of the evening’s event called, “Around Washington Wines” was a pretty good follow up. This was a showcase featuring one wine from each of Washington’s 11 AVAs. Some were familiar, such as the Barrister Winery Cabernet Franc that we always have on hand at home. Then there were some newly found treasures, such as the 2008 San Juan Vineyards Siegerebbe which is incredibly floral and aromatic.  We’ve added this Puget Sound AVA Washington wine to our list of wines to buy. On top of all that, these Washington wines were specially paired with food, something I wish we’d see more of at wine events.

Around the World in 80 Wines

What more could a wine lover want? Try experiencing something called, “Around the World in 80 Wines™.” Each wine in the selection was rated over 90 by Robert Parker, and included such treats as 2000 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo, 2000 Tommaso Bussola Vigneto Alto Amarone della Valpolicella Classico,  and 2005 Domaine Bertagna Clos de Vougeot Red Burgundy. If you want to expose your palate to a number of different varieties and styles of highly rated wines, this is the event for you to consider attending next year (date not yet published as of this writing). It may sound overwhelming, but the event took place over hours in a relaxed setting at Fremont Studios in Seattle with chic seating and plenty of room to roam back and forth between the wine and the creative cuisine provided by Lisa Dupar Catering. What a great way to spend an evening!

Why so much wine? Well, this is a fundraiser with an auction after all. In fact, the Overlake Service League raised over $175,000 for at risk youth at this event. I’ll drink to that!