Saturday, October 23, 2010

wine wine wine (part 1)

You may have heard me talk about wine from time to time because, well, I LOVE it.

This weekend, Joe and I headed off to Walla Walla with our great friends, Anthony and Jeff, for some wine tasting. Because Anthony works at the swanky Sheraton Seattle, he has quite a few contacts in the wine world, and we were greeted with some lovely VIP treatment at a number of places. Case in point- Olsen Estates.

Olsen Estates is located in Prosser, so we stopped there on our way to Walla Walla. What a TREAT. The winery is warm and inviting, as are all the people who work there. We were lucky enough to get a wine tour from Kyle Johnson, the winemaker, which was pretty darn cool. Afterwards, we sampled their wines which, let me just tell you, seriously rock. If you are a fan of big, fat, juicy reds well, then, this is the winery for you. Their Petit Verdot is amazing, although I think my personal favorite was the Malbec. The Heritage Syrah was also absolutely delicious, (Anthony and Jeff bought a case of that, so I know where I will be hanging out in the coming months. Get ready boys!)
After tasting, we were treated to a wonderful lunch prepared by the general manager, Linda Moran, and then some delicious cheeses and their 2007 Golden Berry Select Riesling. YUM.

Thank you to everyone at Olsen for a fantastic afternoon!

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After tasting at Olsen, we headed in Walla Walla, got situated in our fabulous vacation rental, (thank you, VRBO!!) and settled in to the evening. Because it's Crush in wine country, restaurants were booked solid, but we managed to get seats for dinner at the bar at Whitehouse Crawford, which was perfect. Our bartender, Colin Yocum, was so kind and helpful, the space is unbelievably cool, and the food was as great as everyone says. In fact, Jeff said his burger was the best he's ever had, and that's sayin' something because Jeff is a burger aficionado. :)

On Saturday, we began our day at Northstar Winery, where we not only sampled some very tasty Merlots, we also got to see peek in to the production facility.

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After Northstar, we headed over to one of my favorite spots in Walla Walla, Gifford Hirlinger.
Unfortunately, I was distracted by the adorable winery dogs running around the grounds, and I forgot to bring my camera inside for the tasting. Sorry about that.
You should know, though, that GH makes some really great wines at very reasonable prices. It's owned and operated by The Berghan family, who are warm and approachable and clearly proud of what they do. Check out their Cabernet Sauvignon-- it's my favorite.

From Gifford Hirlinger, we went to the Spring Valley tasting room in downtown Walla Walla, where we tried five red wines, our favorites being the Mule Skinner Merlot and the Uriah, (Merlot blend.)

One of my favorite things about this tasting room, though, was the space itself. The history of the vineyard is incorporated into every aspect of the winery-- from the names of the wines to the sepia family photos embedded into the plaster on the wall.

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From downtown, we headed to the airport area to visit a couple more tasting rooms: Buty and Dunham Cellars.

From their Chardonnay to the Columbia Redviva (my fave), Buty consistently produces excellent wine.

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Located in an understated building a few blocks from Buty, Dunham Cellars is home to some great wines, a couple adorable border collies, and a very cool event space.

During our visit, we were treated to a tour of the facilities, a chat with the winemaker, Daniel Wampfler, and a taste of the 2010 Malbec in it's first stages of fermentation.

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Photobucket

After all that drinking, we ate an early dinner at the very cozy T. Maccarone's, and devised our strategy for the next day.

I won't tell you what time we went to bed because, quite frankly, it's embarrassing. Oh, the joys of getting older.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our wine adventures...

9 comments:

John said...

Buty and Northstar, two of my favorites...made me thirsty just seeing the pictures - which are AMAZING my dear!

life in walla walla said...

Your photos are amazing! Glad you had a good visit to Walla Walla.

Sharlane said...

Okay, so maybe you received VIP treatment from the wineries because you were with Anthony and Jeff, but the wineries received VIP PHOTOGRAPHS from the one and only Clare Barboza! I'd say they got the sweeter end of the deal.

Lael Hazan @educatedpalate said...

Beautiful photos, I loved the texture and composition!
I wish I could attend your class, I definitely need it.
Thanks for letting us know. Perhaps one day you can do a class in Florida!

Gretchen said...

stunning pictures! wish I was still out west so that I could take a workshop. be well.

danika said...

Beautiful pictures! Looks like you had a great time!

Joan Leonard said...

Beautiful photos!! I felt like I was there, and I wished I was.

I'm glad you are back to blogging - with photos. Do any of these wineries distribute to Florida?

Angie said...

I'm with Sharlane. ;)

Tori said...

OMG! Your photography is amazing!!! Can you suggest a set of actions to add that "shine" to your images? I just love the crisp, gloss you have on your images! They pop right off the page! (I'm a hobbyist, but learning and working hard to capture what I want in my images!!)

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