Last month's Taste Washington event in Seattle proved to be a food-and-wine lover's dream, as over one-fourth of the state's nearly 800 wineries, and scores of regional restaurants, were assembled under one roof.
One of the things I enjoy about the event is that there is no judging, no competition and no lengthy list of awards to be given. That makes it a refreshing alternative to wine-tasting events that are occasionally bogged down with ceremonies or, worse yet, tasters clamoring to line up for a medal winner.
In its simplest - albeit supersized - form, it's indeed a wine festival, providing the public an excellent opportunity to sample what Washington wineries do best.
Last week I gave you my favorites among the wines I sampled. This week I'd like to add a few more recommendations.
Apex Cellars 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (about $15) - There's a bright, fragrant note of grapefruit and lemongrass on the nose that follows through to the palate, along with hints of dried herb. Bright acidity and minerality on the finish make this a prime candidate for fresh clams or oysters.
Gamache Vintners 2012 Estate Riesling (about $18) - This is one of the first white wines I've tried from Washington's promising 2012 vintage. It's lovely, with generous tropical fruit flavors, brisk acidity and a noticeable splash of residual sugar that should pair perfectly with spicy cuisine.
Otis Kenyon 2009 Merlot (about $30) - Winemaker Dave Stephenson hits another one out of the park with this not-for-the-faint-of-heart Washington merlot. Black currant, roasted coffee and perhaps a whiff of smoky bacon lead off, with a finish of subtle spices, toast and vanilla bean. If there is such a thing as a breakfast wine, this could be it.
Ott & Murphy Wines 2009 Petit Sirah (about $45) - This is another big, red wine sourced from the Horse Heaven Hills Appellation and produced in Langley, on Whidbey Island. It features dark berry fruits, plenty of dense, chewy tannins and notes of cocoa and caramel on the finish.
Hightower Cellars 2009 Red Mountain Red Wine (about $55) - Washington has come a long way with red-wine blends, but should you be paying this much? Absolutely! This is an intense, dark, powerhouse wine that's drinking nicely and should continue to age gracefully with additional cellaring. Black cherry, fig, and nuances of bittersweet chocolate and cedar highlight this stunning Bordeaux blend.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at www.danthewineguy.com.
Reach DEAN KAHN at email@example.com or call 715-2291.