Taste Washington Itinerary: New and Noteworthy Vintages
We asked three local wine experts to map their ideal route through the largest wine tasting in the nation. Here, Sean Sullivan's picks.
Taste Washington is back this weekend from 2-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. The thought of more than 200 wineries under one roof might make you feel giddy. Or, more likely, overwhelmed. Never fear—this week we asked three local wine experts to plot an actual route through CenturyLink Field Event Center.
First up is Sean Sullivan founder of the Washington Wine Report, Seattle Met's house wine guru, and contributing editor to Wine Enthusiast magazine. We asked him to point out some of the newer and noteworthy vintages making their way to the floor this year. Sullivan is no stranger to Taste Washington; he’s been attending for over 10 years and is often a guest moderator. This year he’s leading an Introduction to the World of Wine panel where guests can learn the basics of Washington’s grapes, soil, and how our state differs from other regions. Maybe hit the seminar first, then follow the route below (complete with some Sean wisdom).
The official event guide will have more detail on the floor plan, but you can also print out this PDF of Sean's picks to help guide you.
A Andrew Will
Since founding the winery in 1989, winemaker Chris Camarda at Andrew Will has made some of the state’s most heralded wines. Make sure to check out to 2010 Sorella Red Blend, the winery’s flagship offering.
Former DeLille assistant winemaker Chris Peterson teams up with former Microsoftee Marty Taucher on this new winery, which has come out of the gate with a series of stunning wines. Don’t miss the 2010 Sestina Red Wine.
C Betz Family Winery
Winemaker Bob Betz is one of Washington’s most respected and revered winemakers. Betz’s 2010 Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon is as good as the winery has made to date.
D Col Solare
Each year at Taste, Col Solare brings a vintage wine to demonstrate the ageability of Washington wines. This year, it’s the 2003 Red Wine.
E Eight Bells Winery
Located in the bustling Ravenna neighborhood, Eight Bells is not only an excellent example of an urban winery, it also creates some of Washington’s highest quality-to-price ratio wines.
Former NFL star quarterback Drew Bledsoe teams up with winemaker Chris Figgins (Leonetti, FIGGINS) to create one wine each year–a cabernet sauvignon from the Walla Walla Valley.
G Fall Line Winery
Located in Seattle's South Park neighborhood, Fall Line Winery creates a series of vineyard-designated blends from some of Washington’s top sites—including Artz, Red Willow, and Boushey—and offers them at extremely fair prices.
H Force Majeure
Force Majeure brings together some of Washington’s best winemakers to create wines from one of Red Mountain’s most heralded vineyards, Ciel du Cheval.
I Long Shadows
Merlot has been a much-maligned grape of late. The 2008 Long Shadows Pedestal will change a lot of minds and is as good as it gets in the state.
J Maison Bleue
Former dentist Jon Meuret is crafting some of the most compelling wines being made in Washington right now. Don’t miss the 2010 Le Midi Grenache.
K Mark Ryan Winery
Mark Ryan Winery has long been in the state’s upper tier of wineries but the 2010 red releases take the winery to another level. Don’t miss the 2010 Long Haul.
L Rotie Cellars
Blends are big in Washington right now and no one is making them better than winemaker Sean Boyd at Rotie Cellars. His 2010 Northern Blend, Syrah cofermented with Viognier, is one of the best wines to come out of the vintage.
M Taste the Vineyards
The Taste the Vineyards section at Taste Washington is the perfect spot to sample multiple wines from the same vineyard and try to get a handle on both soil and winemaker style. Make sure to visit Sagemoor Vineyards, one of Washington’s finest sites.
Some parting wisdom from Sean: “Pace yourself. There are more than 500 wines being poured and even if you only sample the smallest fraction of them, those fractions add up quickly. Make sure to use the dump buckets distributed at most winery tables rather than finishing every pour.”