It’s Washington Wine Month, that boozy stretch of days leading up to Taste Washington at the end of the month. And everyone from retailers to winemakers is getting in the mood. Grab a glass of something local: Here are a few events not to miss this March.
Walla Walla Meets Mendoza
Kerloo Cellars, Otis Kenyon, and Waters Winery are joining forces with Santiago Achával, winemaker for Argentina’s Hand of God Winery for a “north and south” winemaker’s dinner at Velvet Underground (Hand of God's Jon Staenberg also owns the event space). Skillet's Brian O'Connor is doing the menu.
Where: The Vude (308 Ninth Ave N)
When: Friday, March 8, 6pm reception; 7pm dinner
Price: Tickets are $125 but note: they want you to join “The Velvet Underground Dining Experience,” too.
Taste Walla Walla
Each March, Walla Walla trots a bunch winemakers west of the Cascades to meet with trade and the media. The good news: These wineries also let the general public in for chance to taste from 50-some Walla Walla wineries, all under one roof and in a more intimate setting than at Taste. In fact, a few won’t be at Taste—Northstar, Rasa Vineyards, and Sleight of Hand, for example.
Where: McCaw Hall
When: March 13, Trade tasting noon–3pm; public tasting 5:30–8:30
Fridays at Wine World and Spirits
Each Friday this month, the Wallingford shop hosts a “legendary” Washington winemaker who will pour current releases and hold forth. For example, $10 gets you an audience with Ron Bunnell of Bunnell Family Estates on March 8, or Rick Small of Woodward Canyon on March 15.
Where: Wine World and Spirits, 400 NE 45th St
When: Fridays, 6–8
Esquin Washington Wine Tastings
Down in SoDo, Esquin is throwing a Leonetti release party so popular it sold out, forcing Esquin to add two more days, which also promptly sold out. However for the rest of the month, Esquin will dedicate its Thursday and Saturday tastings to other Washington wines and winemakers.
Where: Esquin Wine and Spirits, 2700 Fourth Ave S
When: 5–6:30 on Thursdays, 2–5 on Saturdays
Price: Free to taste
Wine Discounts at Safeway
Loathe as we may be to suggest you hit the big-box grocery store, grab a bottle of Washington wine at any Safeway this month and it's 30 percent off when you use a Safeway Club card.
Where: Any Washington Safeway
Price: 30 percent off retail (plus another 10 percent when you buy six bottles or more with your club card)
Sure, you’re headed to Taste Washington March 23 and 24. So is everyone else. Everyone else, however, is not necessarily headed to a seminar. You should be. Seminars are where you get to taste stuff you might not be able to otherwise (verticals, horizontals, single vintages, etc.) and hear winemakers themselves argue the merits of everything from a vintage to a grape. Sometimes they even argue with each other. This year’s seminar-not-to-miss has to be Washington vs. the World, wherein Quilceda Creek’s Alex Golitzen, Leonetti’s Chris Figgins, Woodward Canyon’s Rick Small, Bob Betz, and more will walk attendees through a tasting-driven discussion of how Washington wines compare to the rest of the world. Compare and contrast a Chateau Cos d’Estournal 2005—a first growth Bordeaux that earned 98 points from Robert Parker—with a 100-point wine from Quilceda Creek, and a 2005 Leonetti Reserve against an Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cab 2006, from Napa.
Where: The CLink
When: The seminar is Saturday, March 23, 11am
Price: $75, in addition to a Taste Washington ticket (hint: buy your ticket NOW, before they are gone)