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- wondersofwine - 08-11-2005 11:17 AM

One of our first stops was Willow Crest Winery where a friend of CCK is a blender and assistant winemaker. He is a young phenom to watch. He just graduated froma wine program (at Walla Walla?) and I liked every wine we tried (right from the barrels.)

At Snoqualmie I prefered the Merlot to the Merlot-Cabernet blend (to my surprise). The Cabernet Sauvignon itself (1997) was rich with soft tannins and good, bold fruit. I also like the Cirque du Rose which Dananne and CCK also like. From the winemaker: "'I am very delighted with the first release of Snoqualmie Cirque de Rosé.My goal was to create a fun rose wine that captured the fruit essences of premium cabernet sauvignon grapes. The wine showcases strawberry and spice aromas that carry into the palate and linger on the crisp, clean finish.' Joy Andersen, Winemaker"


Detailed Wine Information and Reviews:

Wine Press NW says: "This Cabernet rosé is as whimsical on the palate as the drawing is on the label. Bright, refreshing cherry and blueberry aromas give way to delicious strawberry and watermelon flavors. An inviting wine that will do equally well on the holiday table or picnic basket. Won gold at the Enological Society of the Northwest Wine Competition."

At Kestrel I was impressed with the Sangiovese rose and wanted to have that and a red wine shipped to me but they said they couldn't ship to NC because they don't have a state permit.
At Hedges the 2002 Three Vineyards Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend was quite nice with blackberries, black currants. Their 2001 Red Mountain Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was also a good wine. It sells for $50 and is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot. They recommend decanting for 3-5 hours and say it will reach full potential after 3-5 years of bottle age and hold for 20 years. I found blackberry, cassis and some earthiness in the wine. The 2004 CMS White (Chardonnay, Marsanne and Sauvignon Blanc) was a pale straw color with a nice nose of apple and white peaches. (They also have a red blend of Rhone varietals). We had another white blend elsewhere that I liked better (possibly Two Mountain?)

The wife, Anita, did the pouring at Saviah (named after her great-grandmother). The Jack (named after her great-grandfather) was a nice inexpensive blend of 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. It had a chocolatey element and was smooth. I bought a bottle of the 2003 Syrah Red Mountain.

Somewhere along the line I bought a Bouchey Syrah which I contributed to dinner at CCK's along with an Italian "super-Tuscan" the Ciacci Piccolomini Ateo (blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) and a semi-sparkling dessert wine of Sylvan Ridge Moscat picked up at the Oregon Tasting Room (very refreshing and only about $15 and less than 7% alcohol). Bouchey was the grape grower who was credited on the label of the Syrah I bought.

At Two Mountain, Matt allowed us to pick fruit off their orchard trees (wonderful nectarines and peaches. Apricots and cherries were pretty well finished for the year). I bought a bottle of the Two Mountain 2004 Riesling ($13 discounted to $11.92--I should have bought more). 1.2% residual sugar. A gold medal at the 2005 Washington State Wine competition. We tried Riesling, Chardonnay, Midnight Rose' (100% Cabernet Franc grapes), Lemberger, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Hidden Horse Red Table Wine. Of three or four Lembergers we tried I liked Two Mountain's version best.
Both Matts were good company at the barbecue at CCK's. (We didn't do the skeet shooting at Destiny Ridge with our smaller turnout).

At Anthony's Home Port for the Friday dinner I had the planked salmon--delicious! We had wines we brought to the dinner plus two from the restaurant wine list--a sparkler Luxe and a Belle Vallee.

We had two superb dinners at CCK's house--the barbecue (prepared by her friend and business partner Greg who photographs the Men of the Washington Wine Industry calendar) and a penne/sausage/basel/tomato dish that Greg also prepared. Another friend of CCK, Eric, is a painter and did the painting for the Prosser Wine Festival poster. We saw Eric's paintings and Greg's photos all over Eastern Washington. CCK has a cute Victorian house (100 years old this year) which is almost finished with its exterior painting job in brick red.

Back in Portland on Monday I went to Noble Rot on SE Ankeny where I had the herb gnocchi with zucchini and grape tomatoes in brown butter. Hearing people talk about the macaroni and cheese I had to order that too although I couldn't finish it. Had a 2002 Josephy Roty Marsannay (Burgundy). Soft cherry nose with rose petals. Cherry flavor with some cranberry. Medium body and mellow.
I was supposed to fly out Tuesday. Turned in my rental car at 0900 and took the shuttle to the Portland Airport. At curbside checkin I was told they couldn't check my bags because my flight was probably going to be canceled and I would have to go inside and get rerouted and rebooked at ticketing. After 90 minutes in line, United said they couldn't get me to Raleigh-Durham that day (flight from Portland to Chicago was canceled due to mechanical problem) so gave me a voucher for the Sheraton Hotel by the airport and some meal vouchers. I booked for the flight through Washington-Dulles the next morning. After the Sheraton driver took me to the hotel I found that the lady had given me boarding passes for the earlier Chicago flight in the morning rather than the one through Dulles. I rode back to the airport and finally got the right boarding passes and returned to the Sheraton. I spent the afternoon relaxing in my room although I could have taken the light rail from the airport into downtown Portland. Had lunch in the Cafe Espresso at the hotel (good egg rolls with a not-so-good Riesling) and dinner in the Premiere Restaurant of the hotel (Greek salad and the night's special of Alaskan halibut over potato cake with mixed vegetables--bell pepper strips, carrots, etc.). Combining the dinner and breakfast vouchers paid for about half of my meal (excluding wine).
Flight connections went smoothly on Wednesday. I wasn't due to return to work until Thursday anyway but missed out on free time in Raleigh to visit Carolina Wine Company, have lunch at Zely & Ritz and get back to Fayetteville in time to pick up my mail, unpack, do laundry, etc. I had planned to stay overnight in Raleigh Tuesday but with an earlier flight Wednesday I drove back to Fayetteville that evening.

Loved seeing everyone who made it. Wish more of you could have been there and joined in the fun. I will e-mail or call CCK separately to thank her for her arrangments and hospitality.

KC, if you are reading this thank you and Judy and Don for putting up with me and for doing all the driving around Prosser, Walla Walla, etc.




[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 08-11-2005).]


- dananne - 08-11-2005 01:07 PM

These notes are great, Wonders. We would have loved to stick around for the Sunday stuff, but alas! We had a great time, nonetheless.


- hotwine - 08-11-2005 01:16 PM

Great notes, Wonders! Many thanks!


- wondersofwine - 08-11-2005 01:39 PM

I forgot to mention that one wine we tried at Willow Crest was a Grenache/Gewurztraminer blend! (only about 5% of the Gewurz)
None of us would have thought of that combination but Judy loved it and she normally hates Grenache, even in a blend! I liked it too and I usually prefer small amounts of Grenache with large amounts of Syrah or some such.


- Innkeeper - 08-11-2005 03:29 PM

You makin me very thirsty.


- winoweenie - 08-11-2005 06:01 PM

Lovely notes WOW. Sorry I wasn't there and really missed seeing alla' youse guys. Love the area and have spent a lot of time in the Portland/Seattle area. WW


- jmcginley1 - 08-11-2005 11:41 PM

wow, sounds like everyone had a great time, or at least everyone drank some great wines. I am envious.


- stevebody - 08-13-2005 02:43 PM

Hated to miss the festivities but we've been pushed behind by the bank and dealing with the landlord and contractor and have a million things to resolve, still. I tasted the Willow Crest stuff up in Levenworth about two weeks ago and found it far better than when I tasted it while working at Esquin. I envy you guys a couple of days of JUST wine and food and no headaches! That said, I'm finally able to spend time concentrating on the wine inventory 80% of the time and nuts'n'bolts 20% - instead of the reverse. I think the shop is going to be great and the response I've gotten from everybody so far has been unbelievable. Bob Betz called yesterday to say that he's looking forward to coming by and is putting us on his release list. Ditto from Baer last Tuesday. Will post regular notes from here on and, of course, any and all from this forum are invited to drop by! Email me for directions and when we'll actually be in the shop. Opening date is Sept. 7 +/- 1 week!


- Kcwhippet - 08-15-2005 12:11 PM

Wow, It was our distinct pleasure having you along with us. It was fun trading stories about travels around wine areas, here and abroad. You can ride along with us any day, hopefully next year as well.


- wondersofwine - 08-15-2005 03:08 PM

Thanks, KC.


- chittychattykathy - 08-18-2005 06:05 AM

WOW,
You rock! Nice story with great tasting notes to boot.

We loved meeting you and you're welcome to stay with us anytime!
[Image: smile.gif]
cck & G