The Wine Hub.com has a new 10-question quiz online that will help you to get the most out of your wine education. The URL follows — give it a shot! You will need to register first for a FREE membership. http://www.thewinehub.com/learn/quiz
Don’t let the six-week Hood Canal Bridge closure (May 1 – June 15) keep you from experiencing spring on the Olympic Peninsula. Consider this “downtime” a catalyst for adventure with the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (aka Hwy. 101) leading the way! From wine tasting to wilderness beach backpacking to touring the Forks setting for Stephenie Myers’ best-selling “Twilight” series of books, this beautiful region has it all. A number of Olympic Peninsula resorts, inns, B&Bs and vacation rentals are offering spring lodging specials to make your getaway the best it can be. And, for those who prefer to commune more closely with Mother Nature, beautiful campgrounds abound throughout the region.
The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway traverses the east, west and north sides of the Olympic Peninsula in a 284 mile loop, which begins in Olympia and terminates in Aberdeen, located on the Peninsula’s southern edge, or vice-versa. The distance is ideal for a leisurely three-day weekend or longer vacation, but if short on time, choose a destination and continue your exploration on another trip.
To start planning your trip, go to www.visitolympicpeninsula.com.
Terroir, prounounced “ter-wah,” is a french word often heard sprinkled throughout wine-centric conversation. But what exactly does it mean? If you’ve ever wondered about that term, the following definition provided by the website Terroir-France.com and accompanying commentary by Wine Press Northwest Columnist Ken Robertson should shed some light.
“A ‘terroir’ is a group of lands from a certain region, belonging to a specific vineyard, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions and winemaking savoir-faire, which contribute to give its specific personality to the wine.”
Robertson: In the Northwest, I think we mean a little more and a little less than that. What I hear winemakers, winery owners and wine lovers saying when they use the word is they mean the character a vineyard site gives to its wines as a result of its soil, its sun, its wind, its elevation and whatever else the land and climate may have to offer.
For a veteran wine taster with a sophisticated palate, those elements are surprisingly detectible. Most of us pick up some of the elements and may recognize a “terroir” less than consistently. What’s really important to remember is that a well-tended vineyard on a well-chosen site will consistently produce fine wine in the hands of a capable winemaker.
What could be better than spending a weekend sipping handcrafted wines wonderfully paired with mouth-watering Northwest artisan cheeses? How about doing your sipping and tasting on the scenic and sunny Olympic Peninsula?!
According to today’s forecast, the sun will shine on the Olympic Peninsula Wineries’ inaugural Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour this weekend! So come on out to this beautiful part of our state and experience a taste of spring! All seven wineries will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19.
If you’re wondering which wines to pair with your Easter ham or leg of lamb this year, following are a few tips.
Ham is often prepared with a sweet glaze or topping to balance the saltiness of the meat. Well-paired wines can accomplish the same objective. A Riesling or a Gewurtraminer are excellent choices.
Both wines offer fresh, flavorful taste profiles with enough sweet fruit to balance the salt in the ham and enough acidity to support the combination without compromising the flavor of the ham or the wine. If you prefer to serve a red wine, Zinfandel is a perfect pick, as the higher alcohol content and fruit forward approach can handle ham’s sweeter side.
If you’re serving lamb, go with a red wine. Your best choices are those with a decent tannin structure, good fruit, and a finish that can endure as long as the lamb itself. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot are good choices. The goal is to serve a wine with enough fruit and acidity to handle the robust flavors of the lamb, but not overpower it in the process.
All of the above mentioned wines can be found in Olympic Peninsula Wine Country, handcrafted at our seven artisan wineries. Visit our tasting rooms or order online and let us help make your Easter dinner extra special this year.
Mark your calendars for the Olympic Peninsula Wineries’ inaugural Northwest Wine and Cheese Tour! On April 18 and 19, each of the seven wineries will host a different northwest specialty creamery and pair handcrafted wines with a delectable selection of artisan cheeses. Participating cheese makers include Wild Harvest Farms located in Chimacum; Port Townsend’s own Mt. Townsend Creamery;Gotherberg Farms from Bow, WA; Fairaview Farm located in Sequim; from Montesano, Estrella Family Creamery; and Beechers Handmade Cheeses located in Seattle.
Tickets are $25.00 per person and include a special commemorative wine glass, complimentary wine tasting, and mouth-watering samples of northwest artisan cheeses. Purchase your tickets online at http://www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org/nwwinecheese.php (recommended) or at the door. The wineries will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
The Lemberger grape is rooted in Washington wine industry history. For more than a quarter century this vigorous grape, which begets a fruit-forward, ruby red wine, has thrived in vineyards east of the Cascade Mountain range. But a wine that sounds like a stinky cheese naturally has its share of skeptics – most of which are quick to pass Lemberger by when perusing store shelves for wine. Fortunately, the grape still has a number of champions in the industry today, and they are working hard to change its image.
Medium-bodied with lots of bright fruit and soft tannins, Lemberger is an approachable wine that is sure to appeal to Pinot drinkers, and those who prefer something lighter than a big, bold Bordeaux-style red. The name may stink, but it’s really about what’s in the bottle!
Three Olympic Peninsula Wineries offer handcrafted Lemberger wines, and all are award-winners!
FairWinds Winery’s 2004 Lemberger is oaked and unfiltered; Olympic Cellars’ 2006 Dungeness Red Lemberger wine is made in the Beaujolais-style; and Harbinger Winery’s Rose de Lemberger is a blend of barrel fermented Lemberger grapes.
Visit the Olympic Peninsula Wineries and give Lemberger a try!
The Associated Press ran a story yesterday about the phenomenal growth of Washington’s wine industry. Just 10 years ago, 160 wineries supported the state’s burgeoning industry. Since then the number of wineries has grown nearly 300 percent, with winery #602 receiving its license just last month.
A little known fact, the Olympic Peninsula’s place in our state’s wine industry dates back three decades, to a time when there were a mere 15 wineries in the state!
Port Angeles’ Olympic Cellars, the Peninsula’s first commercial winery, was founded by grower Gene Neuharth in 1979. Formerly known as Neuharth Winery, the name was changed to Olympic Cellars in the mid-80s. Now the woman-owned and operated home of “Working Girl Wines,” Olympic Cellars continues to offer Gene’s popular “Dungeness Red” and “Dungeness White” labels.
Lost Mountain Winery of Sequim was established in 1981 by second-generation Italian winemaker Romeo Conca. Currently owned and operated by Steve and Sue Conca, Romeo’s son and daughter-in-law, Lost Mountain continues to produce premium red wines in old-world style, without added sulfites.
Get away to the beautiful Olympic Peninsula this spring and experience this piece of our state’s wine industry history! Olympic Cellars, Lost Mountain and the five additional wineries that have made the Peninsula their home over the past 30 years — FairWinds, Sorenson Cellars, Black Diamond, Camaraderie Cellars and Harbinger Winery — welcome you!
While it’s been reported that wine sales are up in 2009, with Washington state wines showing the greatest domestic growth (http://wineindustryinsight.com/?p=763), the fact is that the wine industry is not recession proof. Washington winemakers have been feeling the pinch as reported by the Tri-City Herald (http://www.tri-cityherald.com/kennewick_pasco_richland/story/472266.html). According to WINO Magazine Editor Doug Haugen, however, there is a win/win solution for wine consumers and wineries in a down economy — buy direct. Here’s what Doug has to say, http://www.winomagazine.com/2009/02/economy-scheconomy/.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, as well as a delicious three-day Red Wine & Chocolate weekend on the North Olympic Peninsula, here’s a quick, fun quiz you can take to discover your chocolate personality!