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Talk to winemakers. Sniff the wine.

Taste Washington is coming up March 22nd through 25th. This multiday wine festival includes a Red and White party on Thursday night with a who’s who list of wineries, an on the farm dining experience on Friday, the buzz-about New Vintage soiree on Friday night, and educational seminars Saturday and Sunday morning. This is all capped off, of course, by the Grand Tasting on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Taste Washington’s Grand Tasting is the largest, single region food and wine event in the country, with over 225 Washington wineries and 65 local restaurants represented. Washington is one of the most exciting wine regions in the world right now, marked by rapid growth and continued exploration. Here are some current trends in the state’s industry that you can taste at this event. 

Rosé Don't Play

There’s been a huge boom in rosé production in Washington in recent years, with quality going way up as well. The 2017 rosés are just being released, so Taste Washington will be your first opportunity to sample these wines.

Chateau Ste Michelle Rosé Columbia Valley 2017
Cor ROSAE Cabernet Franc McKinley Springs Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2017
L’Ecole No. 41 Grenache Rosé Columbia Valley 2017
Syncline Rosé Horse Heaven Hills 2017
Tranche Pink Pape Rosé Blackrock Estate Vineyard Yakima Valley 2017
Upside Down Nebbiolo Coyote Canyon Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2017

White Wine Winners

Some winemakers are saying 2017 was the best white wine vintage for Washington in the last five years. Are they right? Find out for yourself by tasting through newly released wines that are barely six months old.

Cairdeas Grenache Blanc Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2017
Callan Grenache Blanc Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2017
College Sauvignon Blanc Stan Clarke Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2017
Syncline Grenache Blanc Yakima Valley 2017
Two Vintners Grenache Blanc Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2017
Va Piano Black Label Sauvignon Blanc Chelle den Millie Vineyard Yakima Valley 2017

Cabernet All the Way

Washington cabernet sauvignon production increased a whopping 50% in 2016 and now makes up more than a quarter of total tonnage. Will Washington become known around the world for its cabernet? Taste the wines and decide for yourself.

Betz Family Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2015
EFESTE Big Papa Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2014
Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Champoux Vineyard Horse Heaven Hills 2015
Mark Ryan Dead Horse Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2015
Owen Roe Cabernet Sauvignon DuBrul Vineyard Yakima Valley 2015
Upchurch Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain 2015

Super Syrahs

Syrah often produces the highest quality wines in the state. Here is a chance to taste what all of the fuss is about with this variety. 

Dusted Valley Tall Tales Syrah Stoney Vine Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley 2015
Eight Bells Eight Clone Syrah Red Willow Vineyard Yakima Valley 2015
Gramercy Syrah Forgotten Hills Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2015
K Vintners Syrah River Rock Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2015
Saviah The Stones Speak Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2014
Sleight of Hand Psychedelic Syrah Stoney Vine Vineyard Walla Walla Valley 2015 

Make Friends with Red Rhône Blends 

Washington has long been known for its Bordeaux-style blends (wines using cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc, and petit verdot). More recently, an increasing number of winemakers are also making Rhône-style blends using syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and other varieties.

Avennia Justine Red Rhône Blend, Columbia Valley, 2015
Kerloo Majestic Columbia Valley 2015
Red Rhône Blend, Yakima Valley, 2016
Latta Latta Red Rhône Blend Columbia Valley 2014
Rotie Northern Estate Red Rhône Blend Walla Walla Valley 2015
Tenet GSM Columbia Valley 2015

Varietal Exploration

Growers and winemakers continue to work with new grape varieties in Washington. Use Taste to explore the leading edge of Washington wine.

Callan Picpoul Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2017
Lobo Hills Auxerrois Inland Dessert Vineyard Yakima Valley 2016
Palencia Albariño Ancient Lakes 2017
The Walls Lip Stinger Grenache Blanc French Creek Vineyard Yakima Valley 2015
W.T. Vintners Grüner Veltliner Underwood Mountain Vineyards Columbia Gorge 2016

New Wineries to Watch

The Washington wine industry has grown from 163 wineries in 2000 to over 940 today. There’s a new winery bonded about every 10 days in the state, and Taste is the perfect spot to check out what these new producers have to offer. 

Co Dinn Cabernet Sauvignon Painted Hills Vineyard Columbia Valley 2014
Damsel The Fates Red Rhône Blend Boushey Vineyard Yakima Valley 2015
Descendant Belle Red Rhône Blend Columbia Valley 2013
Lawrelin Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2004 (Yes, that vintage is correct!)
Pearl and Stone Mailbox Peak Red Bordeaux Blend Yakima Valley 2015
Pollard Estate Red Blend Yakima Valley 2015

 

As always, I advise taking public transportation or a ride share to this event as all those sips of wine can quickly add up. Enjoy Taste Washington weekend!

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