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2016 – Another Year Over……2017 - A New Year Has Begun

Happy New Year!  2017 brings a promise of new and exciting things for all of us.  Will 2017 be a good year for the vines?  What excitement, what anticipation……but before we move ahead, I want to take a moment and look back at all the wonderful wine experiences Denise and I shared in 2016.

We kicked off 2016 at McCall Hall on February 8th with the Walla Walla Wine Tasting event.  I really liked how they did this event.  Lots of Vintners from the Walla Walla valley and a good pairing of food to go with it.  It was our goal to seek out wineries that we had not tried before.  We were not disappointed.  I love how the Walla Walla valley keeps producing some of the most amazing wines in our region and the wine makers hone their craft to perfection.  

February 21st found us at the “Seattle Food and Wine Experience.  I just love this event.  So many wines to sample and the food is outstanding.  Besides wine there is also beer and spirits to sample.  You could never sample everything so pace yourself.  Also I highly recommend taking a taxi or Uber car to and from the event. 

In March, Denise and I attended the "Rose' Revival" - sponsored by Seattle Uncorked Wine Club - at Ray's Boathouse in Ballard, Washington and did their wine tasting/judging event.  Denise was honored the year before to be a judge for the Rose’ wines.  This year she brought me along and I too was able to experience my first time at judging.  It was a fun event but I can see there is definitely a fine art to good judging.  I hope to grow my palette in 2017 and learn more about the finer points of judging.

Oregon AVA Wine Event at Seattle’s World Trade Center – March 21st – Denise and I were invited to experience this event.  The word is AMAZING!  The Oregon vendors brought a sample of their soil to this event so you could see just what the vines had been grown in.  We don’t usually think of the soil as we sip wine but it has such a huge influence on the grapes and we definitely can taste the earth if we know what we are looking for.  Great representation from the growers and it was so nice to be able to speak with them one on one and not have to hurry.  The wine was excellent too!

Our first trip of the season to Walla Walla was on April 29th.  Our dear friends opened their home to us once again and shared the bounty from their budding garden.  We in turn introduced them to some new wine discoveries.  As always, Walla Walla does not disappoint. I hope that if you have never experienced a wine region before, let Walla Walla be your first experience.  It is still a small region and very personable.  However, it is growing fast so you will want to get a visit in soon.

One of the best local finds we found was Laurelhurst Winey in Seattle. (Georgetown)  Business men by day and wine makers by night/weekend and any other free time they can squeeze out.  They had a wine tasting event for their wine club in June and it was a lovely event.  Each time we go to this winery the wine gets better and better.  I’m so glad they are over on our side of the mountains and only a ferry boat ride away.

If you haven’t read Denise’s blog entitled “Ballad of the Syrah's” then you need to read it.  In late June Denise hosted a blind Syrah tasting event.  The wines ranged from high and low and the food pairs were out of this world.  I was completely humbled by this event.  I thought I had really grown as a wine taster but once again I was tripped up by my own wine prejudices.  I didn’t even guess half of the wines correctly but I really enjoyed drinking them all. J  Thank you Denise for making it a truly special event.

In the summer Denise and I are so busy with our families and summer activities that we don’t do many wine tastings.  However, a new Total Wine store opened up this year and every Saturday and Sunday they have wine, beer and spirits tasting.  My neighbor Robin introduced us to this experience. J  Needless to say I have discovered some pretty good wines.  The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.  Great customer service!

September rolled around and found us heading to Port Townsend, Washington.  The last time I had been in Port Townsend was when we started our blog in April of 2010 and we wrote about Fairwinds Winery.  It seemed only right that we re-visit Fairwinds and see how they were doing.  The winery was still having great success and the wine was as delicious as ever.  We had a nice long chat with the owner, Michael Cavett and some of his friends while we sipped the afternoon away.  We also promised not to stay away so long. J

Our second trip to Walla Walla was in the middle of October.  I was on a serious hunt for 100% Petit Verdot and I found it!  Grantwood Winery has some of the best wines around for very reasonable prices.  The gentlemen who own and run the winery are some of the nicest men I have met.  We arrived in the middle of crush so we were able to see them working (punching down) their vats and smell the aroma of freshly crushed grapes and fermentation.  It’s a heady smell and I love it.  Their Petit Verdot is the best and I can’t wait till they have more.  I took one of their last two bottles they had available for sale.

Earlier in the year we attended the Seattle Food and Wine Experience and the folks that host that event put on the Seattle Holiday Wine Event in November.  This event was even better.  Less crowds, great vendors and excellent information.  Of course it being the first year the crowds would be less.  Some of the best vendors were there and it was a great pleasure to have the time to speak to the wine brokers and vintners.  I really was impressed how many women vintners were present and they have some fantastic wines.

The year was over before we knew it and now a new one has already begun.  What will 2017 hold for all of us?  Who knows, but no matter what, sharing moments with our friends and family is the most important thing we can do.  Denise and I raise a glass to all of you and wish you the happiest of new years and pray that we all have a safe, happy and joyous 2017.  Cheers!! LaDonna


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