- Written by Rand Sealey
A couple of weeks ago, I received a posting on my Facebook page from an old family friend with a picture of an advertisement from 1985 with me and four Esquin Wine Merchants "clients" captioned "Rand Sealey is looking for a few Good Clients." (I owned the store from 1969 to 1997). The Facebook comments included, "Awesome pic," and "Love, love, love!" I commented, "This ad was dug up in the Chevignard home in Nuits St. Georges in Burgundy, going through the possessions of Eleanor Chevignard after she had passed away. Her son, Paul, lived with David Horsfall [producer of the ad] at the time this and other advertisements were being published in the Seattle Weekly [a newspaper launched in 1976 by David Brewster]."
A week later, my wife, Lynn, posted on Facebook an ad from October 1978, "I'd walk a mile for a 1976 Meursault Genevrieres," with a photo of me with a glass of white Burgundy and a pack of Camel cigarettes, a takeoff on the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco ads of the 1950's. That posting elicited 40 "likes" and 11 comments, including, "So awesome, Rand Sealey is the epitome of cool."
When finding the "Walk a Mile" ad, Lynn happened to spot a Seattle Weekly article about some music recordings by Paul Gregutt (today, my wine writing cohort) next to the ad, and scanned and forwarded it to Paul bt email. Paul replied, "Wow, Lynn, this is a real blast from the past." He added, "I began writing for the Weekly in March of 1976 - their first issue - and was on staff for several years before wandering off into the broadcast wilderness. During those years I worked under Roger Downey...I wrote about music, theater and media in particular, but this article, with its focus on jazz and references to classical music amazes me, as I was then and still am firmly rooted in pop, blues and country!. I didn't write about wine until 1985, when I was gone from the Weekly full time staff, but I talked David Brewster into running some wine coverage which turned into a Wine of the Week feature that ran for several years and launched my ersatz 'career'." Lynn also found in our files a couple of these articles, one about Chanpagne and one about Port.
The Esquin Wine Merchants advertising campaigns were the brainchild of David Horsfall, at the time an independent producer. In the 1970's, my wine shop was in a rut, with slow growth. We did some radio advertising which brought in some people, but not a lot. The radio station rep, Michael Levin, suggested I contact David about doing some print advertising. The first ads he did, with Sue Cummings, were on the theme of "Who's hiding the best wines in Seattle" in 1977-1978. Other memorable ad campaigns were the hidden case of wine in Discovery Park, and the "Rand Sealey and Esquin," with me and an attractive, pert model pouring wine in the clouds. We also did sale ads and the "Esquin - Wine at its Best" inserts in the Weekly, a takeoff on Esquire magazine. In later years, David's wife, Terri Nakamura did the art direction.
I sold Esquin to Chuck Lefevre in 1997 and his daughters are still doing a great job running the store. Paul Gregutt is still writes wine reviews for the Wine Enthusiast. David Horsfall and Terri Nakamura now run the Alki Surf Shop, a boutique store of beach themed clothing and accessories. Lynn has been going through these old ads and we've been going down memory lane with them. Those were the days.
For pictures of some of the ads, see Rand Sealey's Review of Washington Wines on Facebook.
Coming up for February
On Sunday, January 24th, we will be departing for the warmer climes of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, returning February 9th. The February issue of the Review of Washington Wines will go on line Saturday, January 23rd, along with a short Review Blog posting. There will be no Review Blog for the week of February 1st, and the next Blog posting will be on February 10th.
- Written by Rand Sealey
As the new year gets under way, here are a few news items on what's happening in the wine scene in the Walla Walla Valley.
Changes at Abeja, Dunham and Sinclair
At the begining of 2016, David Wampfler and Amy Alvarez-Wampfler took over as winemakers at Abeja. Both are excited to be working together as a husband-wife team. At the end of 2015, John Abbot and Molly Gault retired from the operation of the Abeja winery. These changes also leave Dunham Cellars, where David was winemaker, and Sinclair Estate Vineyards, where Amy was winemaker, without head winemakers. Both wineries are transistioning with other help as they look for replacements.
Alaska Airlines adds New Flights between Seattle and Walla Walla
Beginning March 13, a third flight four daya a week between Seattle and Walla Walla will be added by Alaska Airlines. This will provide added flexiblity for travellers between the two cities as the added flights will be in late morning. Air travel in and out of the Walla Walla Regional Airport increased dramatically in 2015. The number of passengers flying rose 13.7 percent for the year. The load factor for all flights was 80.47 percent, which means the average flight was about 80% full, meaning greater profitability for Alaska Airlines. This increase also means the airline's management believes the increase in flights is warranted.
Walla Walla Valley Wine Tastings to be held in Seattle and Portland
In February, the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance will be presenting wine tastings in Seattle and Portland. The dates are:
Seattle: February 8 at McCaw Hall
Portland: February 29 at Pure Space
For tickets ($50) go to the Wine Alliance website, Walla Walla Wine.
The Waters / Flying Trout Industry Appreciation Night
Last night, January 11, the Waters Winery and Flying Trout Wines held an Industry Appreciation Night for its friends. Over 50 guests were in attendance and some delicious wines were poured, including Waters' 2012 Loess Syrah (to be reviewed in March), the 2011 21 Grams Red Blend, and the 2013 Flying Trout Konnowak Vineyard Malbec (reviewed October, 2015). It was a fun evening of tasting and conversation. Kudos to the Waters / Flying Trout team, Michelle Aichle, Ashley Trout, Trista Flores, Janna Detoiler and Jill Mediah for putting this on.
- Written by Rand Sealey
The Christmas and New Year's Holidays was a time for drinking many fine wines. Here's what we had.
Christmas Eve - We had the Michels, Philippe and Penny, and son, Max for a casual dinner. We started off with a Champagne Gaston Chiquet Blanc de Blancs, a classically-styled Propietaire-Recoltant bottling, made entirely from white grapes. With the tranches de jambon Morvandelle, we had two fine Burgundies, a 2012 Domaine Dubreuil-Fontaine Aloxe Corton Blanc, 1er Cru, Clos Berthaut and a red, the 2012 Domaine Chandon de Brialles Aloxe Corton, 1er Cru, Les Valozières. We finished off with a bottle of Champane Aubrey Brut Rosé with the fruit tart.
Christmas Day - We had an afternoon dinner of prime rib roast at the Michels, along with Sue and Howard Higgen and Gordy and Kate Venneri. Leonetti was the theme, with a magnum of 2010 Merlot, a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, and a 1988 Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet. The latter was showing age, but still quite drinkable. The Merlot was tasty, and a bit young. Also poured was 2005 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, which was superb.
Sealeys' Post Christmas Buffet - On December 27th, we hosted an informal dinner with a variety of exceptional wines. A Georges Vernay 2012 Condrieu was a spectacular expression of ultra precise Viognier. A 2013 Domaine Graillot Crozes-Hermitage turned out to be a fine value in Rhone Syrah, likewise, the 2012 Domaine Labastide Blanche Bandol Rouge, a fine expression of Provençal Mourvedre. Cindy Rasch brought her 2010 Golden Ridge Walla Walla Red Blend.
New Years Eve - We went to Brandon and Emma Kubrocks' for the final evening of 2015. Scott and Linda Byerley brought two striking Cayuse wines, a 2011 "Edith" Grenache Rosé and a 2011 "The Lovers," a 90% Caberfnet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah combination. Trey Busch uncorked his well concentrated 2010 Sleight of Hand "The Black Circle" Cabernet Sauvignon from the Scooteney Flats Vineyard on Red Mountain. A 2012 Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc and a 2011 Grancercy Estate Walla Walla Syrah were also impressive. I took the Champagne Aubry Brut Rosé. Aryn Morell uncorked a 1969 Chambertin Clos de Bèze, which was stll very much alive.
New Years Day - At supper, Lynn and I toasted the New Year with a bottle of Champagne Copinet "Cuvée Marie-Etinenne" Rosé. Made in the saignée method of drawing off red juice, it was strikingly deep colored and elegantly perfumed.
Have a great and prosperous 2016!
- Written by Rand Sealey
As the year comes to a close, I am writing about what's ahead in Washington Wine for 2016. Here are my predicitions.
More Exceptional Wines at Affordable Prices
In my last Review Blog posting, " Wine Best Buys of 2015," there were 80 wines scoring 19/20 points for $40 or less and 42 wines scoring 18.5/20 points for $25 or less. This is the largest listing ever in this publication. It attests to Washington State's high quality to price ratios, something that is unmatched by California or Europe. With the current costs of grapes and production it is harder to come up with exceptional wines for less than $25. These are often undervalued or underappreciated varietals. But when it comes to truly outstanding wines, one doesn't have to spend $50 or more a bottle. All this is what makes Washington wines a value bonanza.
Along with Expanding Wine Grape Acreage Comes Infrastructure
With the increased acreage of vineyards, there needs to be increased infrastructure for wine production. Last Fall, the Dusted Valley Winery opened a new production facility on Braden Road in the South Walla Walla Valley. And a major new development is under way at the junction of Lower and Middle Waitsburg Roads, just off Highway 12. This will include production and shipping facilites.
More Tasting Venues Around the State
When it comes to wine tasting rooms, it isn't just Walla Walla and Woodinville any more. Walla Walla is filling up, and Woodinville is maxed out. Seattle's SODO (SOuth of DOwntown) district is an up and coming winery and tasting room venue. During 2015, Kerloo Cellars, Scarborough, and Structure Cellars opened just south of Spokane Street on First Avenue South. And other wineries have plans to open facilities in the area. Further south, in Georgetown, the Charles Smith Jet City winery in making a big impact. The Leavenworth and Spokane areas are expanding as well.
Watch for the 2013's and 2014's
As the 2012 vintage nears the end of its cycle, more 2013's are being released and the 2014's will be coming around before long. The 2013's are turning out to be "friendly wines," as Vicky McClellan (Seven Hills Winry) descibes them. Coming from a warm summer and cooler harvesting season, they are nicely balanced and attractive. (See my blog of 1 October for more). The 2014's come from a more normal year, with fewer temperature spikes and a steady, even harvest. The 2014's I have tasted so far, are elegant, well-structured wines, with fine aromatics. They seem to have both Old World and New World characteristics. More later!
Wineries to Watch in 2016
Nota Bene Cellars - Tim Narby and Carol Bryant have turned out some very nice 2012's which will be reviewed in the February and March issues of the Review of Washington Wines.
àMaurice Cellars - Anna Shaefer continues to turn out outstanding wines. As the Estate Vineyard off Mill Creek Road, continues to mature, some highly impressive wines will be coming.
Walla Walla Vintners - With its Estate Vineyard next to àMaurice, and the adjacent Yellow Bird and Leonetti Vineyards, we will be seeing the makings of a sub-AVA. Gordy Veneri tells me some interesting blends and varetals will be coming out from WWV.
Barrister - This Spokane Winery is making its mark as it continues to produce impressive wines. Some fine 2012 have been released and more is in the offing.
Full Pull & Friends - Paul Zitarelli's negociant label continues to offer excellent values - 19/20 points wines for $30.
Salida and Gino Cuneo - Doug McCrea's Salida offers interesting wines from Spanish varietals and Gino Cuneo, does likewise with Italian varietals, making the "Latin Corner" on Second and Rose in downtown Walla Walla a must-visit location. See the Blog posting of 8 December for upcoming releases.
- Written by Rand Sealey
Wines Scoring 19/20 Points for $40 or Less
2014 àMaurice Cellars Viognier-Marsanne, Yakima Valley ($35) - July
2012 àMaurice Cellars Malbec, Columbia Valley, Gamache Vineyard ($38) - July
2012 àMaurice Cellars "The Ivey" Artist's Series Red Wine ($40) - July
2013 àMaurice Cellars Malbec, Columbia Valley ($38) - November
2013 Analemma Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Atavus Vineyard ($27) - September
2013 Analemma Gewurztraminer, Columbia Gorge, Oak Ridge Vineyard ($27) - September
2013 Ardor Cellars Syrah, Columbia Valley, Lawrence Vineyard ($40) - December
2012 Array Cellars Chardonnay, Washington State ($25) - December
2012 Array Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($32) - December
2012 Array Cellars "Dijon Clone" Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, Otis Harlan Vineyard ($32) - December
2012 Andrew Januik "Stone Cairn" Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($40) - June
2011 Baer "Callisto" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($39) - July
2012 Balboa Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Eidolon Vineyard ($34) - April
2014 Balboa Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($30) - July
N/V Barrister "Barrister's Block" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($33) - February
N/V Barrister "Barrister's Block" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($33) - October
2012 Barrister Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, Pepper Bridge Vineyard ($35) - February
2012 Bergevin Lane "Paco Franco" Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope, Stone Tree Vineyard ($38) - March
2012 Browne Family Vineyards Malbec, Columbia Valley ($35) - August
2012 Bunchgrass Malbec, Walla Walla Valley, Frazier Bluff Vineyard ($35) - September
2011 Bunnell Family Cellar Souzão, Snipes Mountain ($36) - November
2011 Bunnell Family Cellar "Fête" Red Wine, Snipes Mountain ($40) - November
2011 Convergence Zone "Black Cloud" Malbec, Red Mountain, Hedges Vineyard ($39) - August
2012 Cuillin Hills Malbec, Columbia Valley, Weinbau Vineyard, Block 51 ($34) - July
2012 DaMa Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - April
2012 DeLille Cellars Doyenne "Aix" Red Wine, Red Mountain ($39) - May
2011 Domaine Pouillon "La Barrique Perdu" Mourvedre, Horse Heaven Hills, McKinley Springs Vyd. ($40) - September
2010 Don Carlo Vineyard Vino Rosso, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - March
2010 Don Carlo Vineyard Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - March
2013 Dowsett Family Riesling, Columbia Gorge, Aunt Diane's Vineyard ($16) - December
2012 Dumas Station Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - March
2012 El Corazon "Tiger's Blood" Carmenere, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($38) - January
2012 El Corazon "Blueprint" Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - January
2012 Flying Trout "Cutthroat Blend" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($35) - April
2013 Forgeron Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($28) - May
2012 Full Pull & Friends Merlot, Red Mountain, Klipsun Vineyard ($30) - April
2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, Angela's Vineyard ($30) - April
2012 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($30) - April
2013 Full Pull & Friends Merlot, Yakima Valley, Red Willow Vineyard ($30) - December
2013 Full Pull & Friends Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($30) - December
2012 Gifford Hirlinger Estate Malbec, Walla Walla Valley ($36) - February
2012 Gifford Hirlinger Estate Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - September
2012 Guardian Cellars "The Wanted" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($37) - May
2012 Hard Row to Hoe Estate Reserve Syrah, Lake Chelan ($40) - April
2012 Kerloo Cellars Grenache, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard ($40) - April
2012 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - April
2012 Kerloo Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Les Collines Vineyard ($40) - April
2012 Kerloo Cellars Malbec, Wahluke Slope, Stone Tree Vineyard ($40) - April
2012 Kerloo Cellars Tempranillo, Columbia Valley ($34) - August
2012 Laurelhurst Cellars "El Humidor" Petite Sirah, Horse Heaven Hills ($38) - March
2012 L'Ecole No 41 Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($36) - April
2012 L'Ecole No. 41 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley ($39) - April
2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Chardonny, Columbia Valley, Evergreen Vineyard ($35) - November
2013 L'Ecole No. 41 Grenache, Wahluke Slope, Stone Tree Vineyard ($36) - November
2012 Maison Bleue "Metis" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($40) - February
2011 Nota Bene Cellars Syrah, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($40) - March
2013 Nota Bene Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Conner Lee Vineyard ($30) - April
2011 Nota Bene Cellars Red Wine, Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval Vineyard ($40) - April
2012 Obelisco Syrah, Red Mountain, Les Gosses Vineyard ($40) - July
2012 Otis Kenyon Carmenere, Washington State ($40) - May
2010 Robert Karl Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Gunselman Bench Vineyard ($35) - February
2010 Robert Karl Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Horse Heaven Hills, Phinny Hill Vineyard ($35) - February
2014 Rôtie Cellars Southern White ($32) - July
2014 Rôtie Cellars Grenache Blanc ($32) - July
2012 Saviah Cellars Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley ($38) - April
2012 Scarborough "The Immortal" Syrah, Yakima Valley, Lewis Vineyard ($35) - August
2013 Seven Hills Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley, McClellan Vineyard ($35) - September
2013 Seven Hills Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, McClellan Vineyard ($38) - September
2013 Sleight of Hand Cellars "The Enchantress" Chardonnay, Yakima Valley, French Creek Vyd. ($28) - May
2012 somme des parties "A Stream Diverted" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($34) - June
2012 somme des paries "Down in the Valley" Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley ($38) - June
2013 Syncline Syrah, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($35) - September
2012 Tertulia Cellars Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Riviere Galets Vineyard ($35) - April
2012 Tertulia Cellars Petit Verdot, Horse Heaven Hills, Phinny Hill Vineyard ($35) - July
2012 Walla Walla Vintners Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - April
2013 Walla Walla Vintners Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - November
2012 Waters "Capella" Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - February
2012 William Church Malbec, Columbia Valley, Gamache Vineyard ($38) - June
2012 Zerba Cellars Estate Petit Verdot, Walla Walla Valley ($40) - March
Wines Scoring 18.5/20 Points for $25 or Less
2014 Amavi Cellars Semillon, Walla Walla Valley ($24) - September
2012 Amelia Wynn Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Dwelley Vineyard ($25) - June
2014 Armstrong Family Riesling, Columbia Valley ($18) - July
2014 Balboa Rosé of Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, Eidlon Vineyard ($24) - May
2012 Barnard Griffin Reserve Roussanne, Columbia Valley ($20) - January
2010 Barnard Griffin Côtes du Rob, Columbia Valley ($25) - January
2012 Bergevin Lane "She Devil" Syrah, Columbia Valley ($24) - March
2013 Buty Semillon-Sauvignon-Muscadelle, Columbia Valley ($25) - August
2014 Buty Semillon-Sauvignon-Muscadelle, Columbia Valley ($25) - December
2014 Castillo de Feliciana Albariño, Columbia Valley ($22) - September
2014 Ch. Ste. Michelle "Indian Wells" Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($18) - August
2012 Chinook Cabernet Franc, Yakima Valley ($25) - August
2014 College Cellars Mourvedre Rosé, Walla Walla Valley, Nostra Terra Vineyard ($15) - June
2013 Convergence Zone "Dewpoint" Riesling, Columbia Valley, Bacchus Vineyard ($17) - August
2013 Convergence Zone "Sunbreak" Chenin Blanc, Snipes Mountain, Upland Vineyard ($19) - August
2014 Domaine Pouillon "Savoir Faire" White Wine, Columbia Valley ($23) - September
2013 Dunham Cellars "Shirley Mayes" Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($25) - February
2013 Forgeron Cellars Riesling, Columbia Gorge, Underwood Mountain Vineyard ($22) - February
2014 Forgeron Cellars Rosé of Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($22) - May
2013 Foundry Vineyards "White on White" Wine, Columbia Valley ($19) - January
2011 Full Pull & Friends Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($20) - December
2012 Guardian Cellars "Chalk Line" Red Wine, Columbia Valley ($25) - May
2014 K Vintners Viognier, Yakima Valley, Art Den Hoed Vineyard ($25) - August
2014 Lagana Cellars Roussanne, Columbia Valley, Sagemoor Vineyard ($25) - June
2014 Lauren Ashton Rosé, Columbia Valley ($24) - May
2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Semillon, Columbia Valley, Stillwater Creek Vineyard ($21) - November
2014 L'Ecole No. 41 "Luminesce" White Wine, Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills Vineyard ($21) - November
2014 L'Ecole No. 41 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley ($24) - November
2012 Memmaloose "Idiot's Grace" Dolcetto, Columbia Gorge ($25) - January
2012 Scarborough "The Works II" Rhone Red Blend, Yakima Valley ($25) - August
2013 Stottle Viognier, Columbia Valley ($20) - August
2014 Syncline Grenache Blanc, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($25) - September
2012 Tempus Cellars Grenache, Yakima Valley ($25) - January
2013 Tranche Cellars Pinot Gris, Columbia Valley ($18) - June
2014 Waitsburg Cellars "Chevray" Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($18) - November
2014 Waitsburg Cellars "Cheninieres" Old Vine Chenin Blanc, Columbia Valley ($18) - November
2014 Waitsburg Cellars "Three" White Wine, Yakima Valley, Boushey Vineyard ($18) - November
2013 Waitsburg Cellars "Three" Merlot Malbec Mourvedre, Columbia Valley ($24) - November
2014 Waters Rosé, Washington State ($20) - April
2014 W.T. Vintners Grüner Veltliner, Columbia Gorge, Underwood Mountain Vineyard ($20) - July
2014 W.T. Vintnrs "Parasol" Rosé of Pinot Noir, Columbia Gorge, Celilo Vineyard ($20) - July
2013 Zerba Cellars Chardonnay, Walla Walla Valley, Cockburn Ranch Vineyard ($24) - March