The Grand Taste is the last, and biggest event for the Taste of Tulalip. I was amazed when I saw how long the line up was for people to enter this event. If you’ve been to the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival, this lineup was at least that long or longer. Represented at the Grand Taste were 66 WA wineries, 22 California wineries, and 16 Italian wineries. Many of the WA wineries, I did not recognize as their wines do not reach the BC market. It was so interesting to try their wines, and I hope that we will be able to see more WA State wines in our BCLDB stores, or in our private shops. There was also many tables of food being cooked fresh in front you in the WA State tasting room, so you could try your wines with a wide variety of tasty tidbits.
Here are a few of my favourites from the Grand Taste at the Taste of Tulalip. I spent most of my time in the WA State room trying their wines, thus the longer list of wines mentioned below.
Washington State Wines
Brian Carter Cellars Le Coursier 2007. This is a ‘Right-Bank’ Bordeaux style blend using Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Medium garnet in colour with a light ripe fruit nose. Light body with red cherries and vanilla flavour. Medium tannins.
Charles Smith Wines King Coal 2008. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon / Syrah blend (Bordeaux meets the Rhone). Medium garnet in the glass with a light blueberry nose. Full body with soft tannins. Mint/herbal, vanilla, plums and blueberries on the palate. Very tasty.
Cullin Hills The Dungeon, 2008. This is a Syrah / Mourvedre blend. Highly unusual, but very nice. This wine was deep garnet in colour. Light dusty nose, but on the palate it is very full body with ripe blueberries. Vanilla and ripe cherries on the mid palate. It would be a total knock out if it was more open on the nose. Maybe the bottle was just opened and had not yet opened up yet?
Januik Winery Cold Creek Vineyard Chardonnay 2009. Watery lemon in colour with a light oak and apple nose. Light body with light oak and apple flavours. There is also a bit of minerality or earthiness. Light spice and vanilla on the finish. An interesting wine.
Kontos Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. This Cabernet has a small amount of Petit Verdot in the blend to give additional colour and flavour to the wine. This was was a deeper garnet colour. Light aromas of dark fruit. Full bodied with firm tannins. Lots of cumin, nutmeg and ripe cherries on the palate. Medium length.
Novelty Hill Syrah 2008. Meaty nose. Full body with light tannins. Dark chocolate and black fruit on the palate. A quality wine.
Rotie Cellars Southern Blend 2009. Rotie Cellars as in Cote Rotie, is a winery that produces traditional Rhone Blends in WA state. This is their southern blend, which contains Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Light garnet colour in the glass. Meaty with light cherry aromas. Dry, full body with firm tannins. Lots of black fruit flavours.
Rotie Cellars Northern Blend 2009. This blend is 95% Syrah with 5% Viognier. This is a traditional blend in the Rhone. The two varieties of grapes are co-fermented. The white Viognier grape causes deeper colour extraction in the Syrah, plus adds a more floral or perfume component to the wine. Light garnet in colour with ripe plums and perfume on the nose. Full body with medium acidity. Dry with dark fruit, blackberry and blueberry flavours. Very nice.
Stottle Winery Tempranillo 2008. The grapes for this wine come from the Horse Heaven Hills area of WA State. I’ve noted before that I really do like the wines that use HHH grapes. Something about the terroir… This wine was deep garnet in colour with a light plum aroma. Full body, round mouth feel with cherry and vanilla flavours. A really nice wine.
Terra Blanca Merlot 2006. Nice translucent garnet colour. Plum, red fruits and vanilla aromas. Full body with cassis and ripe black fruits. Dry with medium tannins. Very nice.
Waters Cabernet Sauvignon 2008. Medium garnet with light smoky sausage and dark fruit aromas. Very fruity on the palate. Full body with medium tannins. Ripe dark fruit flavour with a bit of capsicum in the mid-palate. Dry finish.
Napa Valley Wines
Aubert Chardonnay 2009. This wine is fermented in 100% new oak barrels, but the oak does not overpower the wine. Pale lemon in colour. Toasty oak and buttered popcorn aromas, with a whiff of citrus. Medium body with vanilla and lemon flavours. Long length. I think this is the first time I mentioned a wine and buttered popcorn at the same time.
Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2009. This is a single vineyard wine. Medium lemon in colour with tropical fruit and some toasty aromas. Medium body and very soft mouth feel (really silky). Some vanilla and tropical fruit flavours. Really nice.
MacRostie Chardonnay 2009. The grapes for this wine come from the Sonoma coast. Medium lemon with a greenish tinge. An interesting nose with light tropical fruit and butter. Light body with vanilla, lemon, and light oak flavours. Very tasty.
Merryvale Chardonnay 2009. We have grapes from Carneros in this wine. Light toast on the nose. Light body with some minerality, light citrus, vanilla and spice on the palate. An elegant wine.
Roederer Estate L’ermitage 2002. This sparkling wine is made by the famous Roederer Estate Champagne house from France. It is a blend of 52% Chardonnay and 48% Pinot Noir. Pale lemon in colour. Toast, lees, and caramel aromas. Tiny bubbles in the glass. High acidity with lots of citrus flavour and some toastiness on the finish. Nice.
Did you notice that all the wines are white wines or sparkling for my Napa Valley selection? There were lots of quality reds there, but I just did whites on my way to the WA State tasting room, where I tried so many white and red wines. I ran out of time to get back to the Napa reds.
Bastianich Vespa Bianco 2008. This is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 45% Sauvignon Blanc, and 10% Picolit. You don’t see Picolit very often. From Wikipedia, “Picolit (also known as Piccolit and Piccolito) is a white Italian wine grape grown predominately in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy… The grape is most commonly associated with sweet dessert wines often made in the passito style. Historically planted in poor and infertile vineyards, the grape gets it name from the very small piccolo yields that the vine produce… ” Light apple aromas. Dry with medium minus acidity. Round with apples and some nutmeg spice on the palate.
Bisol Estate Crede Brut. This is a Prosecco. Nice citrus and light white flower aromas. High acidity with white flowers, citrus, almonds and caramel flavours. Medium length. A very tasty Prosecco.
Food is a natural complement to wine, and there was lots of complements to pass around in the WA State tasting room. One of the appetizers that I really liked was a coleslaw that was made with bacon, blue cheese and topped with shrimp. So many flavours and textures. A natural pairing to a Sauvignon Blanc or other aromatic white.
There were salads, pork and beef dishes, seafood, and of course some desserts.
There were many more wineries than I’ve listed here. It is impossible to taste all the wines from this event, so I’m sure I missed a few gems.
If you were at the Grand Taste and you have a few favourites, please post your comments here. If you have never been to the Taste of Tulalip, consider attending next year. Next year’s event will be November 9 and 10, 2012. This is a very high quality event, and I highly recommend going to it.
This is my third post about the Taste of Tulalip. Here are the other two posts in case you have not had a chance to read them:
When I hear about ticket sales, I will be sure to post it on Twitter. My Twitter id is @mywinepal. Enjoy!