Taste Washington Day Two: Electric Boogaloo
You would think one afternoon in a huge exhibition hall (the CenturyLink Events Center, next to the Mariner's stadium) would be enough to get intimate with bites from 50 restaurants and pours from 225 wineries, most of whom don't even distribute out side the Northwest. But no, it takes two--at least. So on Sunday April 1st, I braved the threat that Taste Washington's first two-day event was an April Fool's joke (it wasn't) and returned to the scene of the wine. As it were.
On day two, with the help of local critic Chris Nishiwaki, I tried more wines and got a stronger sense of the styles and terroirs of Walla Walla, Columbia Valley, Boushey Vineyards, and other Washington state appellations.
If you don't call the Northwest home, you probably don't realize how the wine industry has exploded here in recent years: There are more than 700 wineries in Washington according to Washingtonwine.org, producing an estimated 12 million cases (though many don't even break four digits). Riesling and Chardonnay are by far the dominant varietals, though reds were certainly more prevalent at the event–including even a few decent Italian varieties and a couple stabs at Tempranillo.
Along with the bottles pictured, I also enjoyed wines from Fall Line, DeLille Cellars' Chaleur Estate, OS Winery's German-style Riesling and the 09 Cabernet of Quarterback Drew Bledsoe's Doubleback winery.
I should note that the event was very reasonably priced at $99 for the two days (one day was $75; VIP passes gave you an extra hour each day, but it hardly seemed necessary). Special seminars were also good value, chef demos were included, and dozens of local hotels offered package deals. In short: this was a well-run, organized, easily-navigated event (wineries were arranged alphabetically: imagine!) I do have to give them one poke though–for a region practically obsessed with localism, it was astounding that the water sponsor was Satna Vittoria, bottled in Italy and distributed in Australia. Are you (&^%*& kidding me? I'm sure pizza made with it tastes better, but otherwise, it seems like some of the abundant local rainwater ought to wash down the Kushis just as well.
And visit the following wineries at... 21Cellars.com, AndrewWill.com, BunnellFamilyCellar.com, ColumbiaCrest.com, FacelliWinery.com, GoedhartFamily.com, MarkRyanWinery.com, PepperBridge.com, RossAndrewWinery.com, Ste-Michelle-Wine-Estates.com