Harvest 2023 Under Way

As of today, the 2023 wine grape harvest is well under way. Much of the white grapes are already undergoing fermentation and a lot of reds are coming in. Winemakers are liking what they are getting. There is some concern about acid levels dropping, but that can be managed. The weather outlook looks good for the next ten days. So growers are hoping for an early harvest completion, avoiding last year's rush to finish during a dropping temperatures in October. More later....

Valdemar Estates Opens Pintxo in Woodinville

Valdemar Estates tasting Woodinville tasting room has opened a restaurant serving tapas and other Spanish inspired dishes. The themes mirror those of Valdemar's Walla Walla Valley facility, including "halo" lighting and a range of Spanish as well as Washington wines.

Jenna Bicknell Named Director of Hospitality at Echolands

Jenna Bicknell has been added to the expanding team at the Echolands Winery in the Walla Walla Valley as Director of Hospitality. She comes to the winery with experience at the Whitehouse Crawford restaurants and the Sustainable Living Center in Walla Walla. She will be a great addition to the team, along with Director of Winemaking, Brian Rudin.

Sally Johnson Blum Named Executive Winemaker at The Walls and Pasxa

Mike Martin's The Walls and Pasxa wineries has a new head winemaker, Sally Johnson Blum. She comes from the prestigious Pride Mountain Winery in St. Helena in the Napa Valley and replaces Todd Alexander who departed along with Carrie Alexander in March to focus on Force Majeure, Holocene and other ventures.

Wines Recently Tasted

Here are some noteworthy wines we've run across lately.

2022 Otsatu Rioja Rosada ($21.99 - wine.com) - From the Rioja Alavesa region, this Rosé shows a copper-pink color and lovely aromas of strawberry, pomegranate, Valencia orange, pink roses, ornge blossoms, lavender and orange incense. The flavors, as well, are appealing, with pink and orange fruits that are accented by grape skins and pomegranate seeds and minerals. The back picks up strawberry liqueur, orange peel and light spices prefacing a juicy, dry finish. 18.5/20 points.

2019 Mas de Boislauzeau Châteauneuf du Pape ($48.99 - wine.com) - Deep ruby-colored, this emits intoxicating aromas of black currants, black plums, blood orange, crushed roses, sweet tobacco, lavender, anise, wild violets and spiced incense. The flavors, as well, are dramatic, with loads of dark fruits that are infused with licorice, dark cocoa, French roast and mas earth and minerals. The concentration continues on the back with roasted berries and nuts, grilled meats, mocha, charcoal and spices, followed by a lengthy ripe tannin finish. 19/20 points.

The following were standouts at Mauro Golmarvi's Tomato Fest on Saturday, September 16th, where a huge pot of marinara sauce was simmered during the annual end of summer celebration.

N.V. Moutard Brut Rosé Champagne - Poured from a Magnum, this was delicious - strawberries, pomegranate, orange peel - with streaming bubbles and exquisite flavors.

2021 Mollydooker "Blue Eyed Boy" Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia - This is a powerful Shiraz, dark, intensely aromatic with loads of dark fruits and a penetrating finish. Available from Wine.com for $59.99. 19+/20 points.

2017 Cayuse "Wallah Wallah Special" Syrah, Walla Walla Valley - This is what The Rocks Syrah is all about: intense aromas, gamy flavors, loads of fruit, cobblestone and silt minerals. 19.5/20 points