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Taste Washington Seminar: Washington’s Icons of Tomorrow Part II of II

This is the second and final post reviewing Taste Washington’s seminar, Washington’s Icons of Tomorrow. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at comments made by the panel as they tasted the wines of Gramercy Cellars, Grand Rêve Vintners, EFESTE, Woodward Canyon Winery, Côte Bonneville, and Col Solare.

The tasting began with Gramercy Cellars 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($45). The panel characterized Gramercy as charting new territory, producing wines that are lighter on their feet with slightly lower pH’s and slightly higher acidity.

Next up was Grand Rêve Vintners 2006 Collaboration “I” Red Wine ($45). One panelist commented that it seems like an ambitious wine rather than iconic. It is made in a crowd pleasing style and marketed as important.

Third in line was the EFESTE 2007 Big Papa Cabernet Sauvignon ($45). This is when I heard someone comment, “It’s not California wine, it’s interesting.” It’s for the guy who says, “I just want a big ass wine.” At the same time, it was stated that it’s not an oak monster even though it’s really oakey. It shows complexity.

Following that came Woodward Canyon Winery 2007 Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon ($75). Bruce Schoenfeld of Travel + Leisure, and the panel’s moderator, called this a confident wine that says, “I don’t need to be out dancing because you know how you’ll find me.” Mike Teer, owner of Pike and Western Wine Shop, noted that it is consistent from year to year. You can put it away 10-15 years and you’ll still have a great bottle of wine.

Now came time for some big discussion regarding the Côte Bonneville 2006 ($120). Côte Bonneville is the estate winery for DuBrul Vineyard.

Before even tasting this wine, the price was the first thing mentioned and clearly a point of contention with the panel. Why? Price makes people stand up and take note right away. If you can back it up, it can become a world worthy wine. On that note, winery and vineyard owner Kathy Shiels was asked, “What was the intention?” The answer, she replied, is that they came at this differently. “We didn’t have the passion to make a $20 wine, we wanted to be the best of the best.” To that end, they have worked hard to develop the vineyard. If you have any doubts about the labor involved in that, check out Vivian’s latest post as she follows the vines at DuBrul Vineyard.

After tasting, the panelists’ comments regarding the wine ranged from it being beautiful and elegant stylistically, to it being reminiscent of early Washington reds. Balanced. Yet, when pressed as to whether or not this is an iconic wine, comments became very noncommittal. For example, Joshua said that as a critic it’s hard for him to judge it if he has no history with it. In short, he said he didn’t have enough information on it.

Finally, the Col Solare 2006 ($75) was tasted. According to the folks at Col Solare, they can compete with any of the great wines of the world. The most interesting comment from the panel was that it was perceived more as an ambassador for Washington wine rather than an icon. Why? It’s accommodating. The other wines are pushing the envelope.

I tip my hat to the Washington Wine Commission for doing a great job of putting together an interesting topic and panel for this seminar. You’ve heard a bit from the experts. What are your thoughts? Do you consider any of these wines to be among Washington’s icons of tomorrow? Let us know what you think.

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