Seattle Wine Awards Grand Tasting

It’s been over a month since The 2010 Seattle Wine Awards Grand Tasting took place, and the memory of that fabulous day is still fresh! If you’ve read the posts by Bean and Ed, you know this is an event not to be missed. In my humble opinion, this wine event is exceptional from start to finish. Seattle Wine Awards Executive Director Christopher Chan does an excellent job of taking care of the industry people as well as the consumers. Even though I was there 7 hours and “working” as part of the media team, the time flew by.

What’s all the fuss about? After all, there are a lot of wine tasting events in Seattle. However, the setting at the Rainier Club is not only stunning, it’s very intimate allowing us to chat with winemakers and winery representatives. This isn’t the usual stand in line, get your pour, and move out of the way situation.

Of course, this is also a great opportunity to investigate wines that we might like to pursue further, ultimately purchasing and pairing with food at home. Wines such as Gold winner 2006 Grand Rêve Vintners Collaboration I. While I was chatting with Grand Rêve’s Paul McBride, the hubby came up for what was clearly not his first pour. In fact, Paul greeted him with, “long time no see.” While wondering if I should pretend I’m not married to the guy, I couldn’t blame him for wanting more of that amazing wine. It’s such an elegant, well integrated red Bordeaux blend. I hope the hubby caught the hint when I told him that this would make a great birthday gift (again Sweetie, I say hint, hint). In any case, I was thrilled when later that month we attended the Wine Blogger Conference excursion to Red Mountain and got to meet Red Mountain guru / grape grower extraordinaire Ryan Johnson who poured more of the Grand Rêve collaboration series for us. Retailing around $50 a bottle, these are what we consider special occasion wines in our house. However, I believe the age-ability and the quality of the Grand Rêve wines are worth that price.

Paul McBride of Grand Reve Vintners and Don Wood of Icicle Ridge Winery

Coyote Canyon Winery’s Gold winning 2009 Albariño got my attention with it’s pear and spice on the palate. At $18 a bottle, it’s a great value. Winery owner Mike Andrews produces his wines with estate grown grapes from his Horse Heaven Hills vineyard. Mike also relays the family history through pictures and stories on the labels of his wine bottles. Intrigued, I pursued the opportunity to spend a day tasting through his wines and visiting his vineyard during a recent trip to Prosser. It was an incredible time. We purchased nearly a case of wine during our visit and would’ve bought more if we had more room in our wine cellar. I look forward to enjoying those wines at home while experimenting with food pairings.

Roger’s favorite “never before tried” wine of the day was the Silver award winning Stillwater Creek Merlot from Glencorrie Winery. This wine gives me plum, Chukar cherries, and a touch of espresso on the palate along with velvetty tannins. Glencorrie is one of Washington state’s younger wineries. As a result of Ronn Coldiron’s participation in the Grand Tasting, we made a point of visiting the winery and purchasing some of their wine during our trip to Walla Walla for the Wine Blogger’s Conference. If you haven’t already tasted the wines from Glecorrie, it’s worth a visit.

Although Roger and I stopped in at Icicle Ridge Winery last summer, we didn’t have much of a chance to visit with winemaker Don Wood at that time. So, seeing him at the Seattle Wine Awards gave us a chance to chat more while he poured me some of their refreshing Riesling with all its fruity pear goodness (yeah, that’s the one Bean caught me licking out of my glass). We learned more about Icicle Ridge’s concept of combining wine drinking with outdoor activity, something that definitely sets them apart from other wineries and gives us something to consider next time we visit them in Leavenworth.

So, yes there are a lot of wine events around town. Yes, there are a lot of wines being produced by a lot of  Washington wineries. As in most things, it comes down to the relationship. Are we more likely to purchase wines from people we meet and like? Yes, we are! That’s why I say intimate wine events such as the Seattle Wine Awards Grand Tasting are a win/win for the producer and the consumer. I hope to see you there next year!