Thursday, July 2, 2009

Event Report: Seattle Wine Awards

Taylor had the pleasure of attending the Seattle Wine Awards a couple of weeks back. He e-mailed me this report, and I'm posting it here for him.

Seattle Wine Awards

Held at the historic Rainier Club, the Seattle Wine Awards is
marketed as Washington’s most “prestigious” wine awards. Wineries that
received awards poured their honored wines—though there were some
notable award winners absent, including Buty. We were worried that
the event might be a little stuffy, considering the venue, but it was
actually an enjoyable experience and a great opportunity to try some
of Washington’s best.

We neglected to take notes while tasting each wine. To be honest, this
would have been too much of an undertaking for our palates as almost
200 different wines were poured. We will mention some wines that
caught our attention, though.

Of the established wineries represented at the SWA, Boudreaux’s 2005
Reserve Cabernet was a stand out. At just over $100 the producer
seems to have presumed greatness from this wine; it met those
expectations with its great structure and beautiful red fruit notes on
the nose and palate. Cote Bonneville Carriage House 2005 also greatly
impressed us. Similar to the Boudreaux, it has great structure with
accessible tannins, but is instead driven by gorgeous dark plum and
blackberry fruits. This is another great offering from Dubrul

With regard to established wineries, we enjoyed Zerba’s 2005 Reserve
Walla Walla Cabernet and 2006 Reserve Walla Walla Syrah. It is hard
to understand how this largely estate winery is not more popular west
of the Cascades. Their wines always bring depth and complexity
without being bulky or overripe, often coming in at under 14.0%
alcohol. These two are great examples of this winery’s talent,
especially the Cabernet.

Two impressive newcomers were Obelisco and Hollywood Hill. Obelisco
Estate Red Mountain Cabernet 2007 was a gorgeously deep wine with
cedar, leather, and all sorts of dark fruit on the nose. Lush tannins
and balanced acidity really made this an impressive wine even in its
youth. Especially surprising to us was that this wine was taken from
second leaf vines. $60 is a pricey start for this winery’s first
release, but it is not outrageous considering its Red Mountain peers.
This wine really is a head above many other wines from that

Hollywood Hill was represented by two of their Syrahs—their 2005
Yakima and their 2006 Rattlesnake Hills each of which retail for
around $30. The Yakima was driven by bright ripe fruits, while the
Rattlesnake Hills had a little bit more complexity and spice. Both
were beautifully balanced and lingered on the palate. Although not
quite as new to the scene as Obelisco, Hollywood Hill is still a young
winery and it appears to be headed in an interesting direction.

On a slightly different note, this was our first trip inside the
Rainier Club and we were quite taken with the enormous wood fire oven
and grill that took up an entire wall of one of the dining rooms. A
huge banquet of roasted meats, cheeses, fruits, spreads, and breads
covered the tables and offered a mouth-watering reprieve from the
multitude of wines.

Thanks, Taylor, for the interesting review!

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