1) Over 650 wineries?
2) A rattlesnake problem?
3) Summer temperatures that can reach over 100ºF?
4) Less than 10” rainfall a year?
Yes, you have to jump!
If you guessed Washington State, you guessed right.
Washington produces more wine and has more vineyard acreage than any state other than California. Yet, it is virtually anonymous. I think this has to change. In fact, I think Washington will be hailed as North America’s next world-class wine producing region because the wines are so good. To help publicize their cause, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates brought three of the best winemakers to Dallas where they served their wines to an audience at The Grape, accompanied by a four-course menu prepared by Executive Chef Brian Luscher.
Their wines were:
2006 Northstar Vineyards Merlot, Columbia Valley, Washington.
A blend of 76% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc.
2007 Spring Valley Vineyards, “Uriah”, Walla Walla, Washington.
A blend of 60% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec.
2006 Col Solare, Columbia Valley, Washington.
A blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Syrah
Rather than present detailed tasting notes on each of these, let me just summarize that all were outstanding (90+/100) wines and are, because of their anonymity, comparative bargains at between $25-$50. All are ready to drink now but would keep 5+ years if cellared. They are available in local specialty wine stores and liquor chains.
In this video the winemakers talk a little about making wine in Washington.
The menu gives one an idea how these full-bodied reds were matched with food…
sauteed striped bass
white wine tomato broth
chef’s bacon-cannollini bean ragout
Northstar Merlot, 2006
shredded braised veal, caramelized cippolinis,
fava beans, oven dried tomatoes, & parmesan reggino
Spring Valley “Uriah”, 2007
roasted flank steak roulade
with roasted peppers, tellegio, & spinach
chef’s mustard jus, & creamy polenta
Col Solare, 2006
giant Valrhona chocolate truffle
with fresh strawberry coulis
Domaine Ste. Michelle blanc de Noir, NV