Tag Archives: walla walla

What I’ve Been Up To

I tend to disappear for weeks on end and then come back with a trickle of new posts (and then occasionally, a flood), and this time I’ve been gone from blogging for a month and a half! Partly, the busy season in Walla Walla has been heating up, and partly I’ve been focusing on other projects.

We went back down to Sonoma again last month for a delicious wine luncheon at Kosta Browne winery and a day of wine and beer tasting, which I’ll post fully about soon!

I‘ve also been pretty active going to tasting groups and wine events around Walla Walla (again, more posts to come!). In the last month, I’ve been to a sparkling wine tasting, a Burgundy tasting, a viognier tasting, and a Crawfish Boil (Rotie’s annual spring event).

But the main project that’s been taking up my free time has been my volunteer work doing social media for Shakespeare Walla Wallathe local nonprofit Shakespeare organization. We just recently had The Importance of Being Earnest on the stage, and I ran a fun (but time consuming!) social media campaign for it that involved a bowler hat and a treasure hunt! We have a lot of downtown Walla Walla businesses that support us, so we pitched this idea to them at the beginning of April; every day leading up to opening night, we would leave Earnest’s bowler hat at a different downtown business and post photo clues to our facebook page. Anyone who went in to the business and told the employees “I’m looking for my friend Earnest” got an immediate discount code for tickets. It was a lot of fun; I love that being in a small town allows for this kind of promotion with other businesses.

The show itself was hilarious (as Wilde always is- I think it’s hard to screw up when every line from his plays is quotable), and I’m glad that Walla Walla is developing more in terms of arts and culture- it pairs well with the wine culture here!

Hopefully, I will be able to make more time to blog now that the show is over (although we have a few more shows coming up- Duke Ellington’s Such Sweet Thunder next week, and Julius Caesar and Two Gentlemen of Verona this summer!) As always, I have a running list in my head of things I want to write about.


Know Your Grapes: Cab Franc

Cab Franc is coming into style BIG TIME in Walla Walla right now. While not considered one of the quintessential Walla Walla varietals (like Syrah, Cab, and Merlot), Cab Franc is becoming ever more present in tasting rooms- and tasters are starting to ask for it.

What is Cab Franc?  Cab Franc is a grape variety that is mostly used as a blending grape to beef up the aromatics in Bordeaux-style blends, and can be green or vegetal and thin when it’s not fully ripe. The Loire specializes in Cab Francs and produces some really nice 100% Cab Francs wines.

Why is it delicious?  When it ripens well, it can be very aromatic and delicious and seems to lend itself well to barrel flavors. I’ve had some really deliciously fruity and floral Cab Francs, earthy and soft Cab Francs and more chocolate-vanilla (typical barrel flavors) Cab Francs. The barrel notes can beef up a Cab Franc if it’s tasting a little thin. Cab Francs also tend to be less tannic than, say, Cab Sauvs, which means they’re a little more versatile in terms of food pairings, and they’re more approachable right away.

What would you pair with Cab Franc?  I’d pair Cab Franc with a dish that had some heartiness to it, but nothing that would overpower a slightly lighter wine: mushroom and spinach risotto, roasted root vegetables (beets, potatoes, carrots), or a Greek quinoa salad with feta.

Who does Cab Franc in Walla Walla? More and more wineries! I’ve tasted and enjoyed Cab Francs from Trust, Watermill, Saviah, Northstar, Tertulia, El Corazon, Balboa, and Canoe Ridge. I’m sure there are others that I haven’t yet discovered!

What I’m Drinking: Old Seven Hills

So, tonight we broke open that bottle of 2000 Seven Hills Syrah at dinner with some friends, and it was so fresh tasting for 13 years old! As per Walla Walla, it was a funky, earthy Syrah, and some good fruit still. We were all pretty impressed, especially as it opened up. And then our friends pulled out a bottle of 1998 Seven Hill Merlot, and that was also fresh and bright, with some tannin to it still. I’ve found that Washington Merlots age better and hold their fruit longer than Washington Cabernets do, while it seems to me like it should be the other way around.

Either way, it was really neat to taste a couple of old wines from a Walla Walla winery known for its long-lived vintages!

What’s the oldest wine you’ve ever tasted?

Spring (Release) is in the Air!

photo by Lara 604 via flickr

Spring Release is this weekend, and everyone is ordering last minute cheeses and crackers for the tasting room, slapping labels on the last cases of new release Sauvignon Blanc, and calling the cavalry in to help schlep boxes of wine and polish glasses during the rush!

For those new to Walla Walla, Spring Release is the weekend when the wineries officially release all of their spring wines (although they’ve probably been available for sale for a month or so already) and provide special appetizers to pair with their new releases. Some wineries put out a huge spread of food and some wineries just have a cheese plate, with most wineries falling somewhere in between, but it’s always a crowded weekend with a lot going on!

When I was in college, this was my first gig at a winery; I was an extra hand hired for Spring Release weekend to pack boxes of wine and polish glasses at a small tasting room downtown to make some extra cash (and score some free wine!) when the tasting room manager said, “Hey Emily, I’m going to go get some lunch. You take the bar!” So there I was, just turned 22 and still drinking my $3 Syrah from Safeway, pouring wine and talking to people about wine, and I loved it. I loved it so much that I completely changed my life plan and headed back to Walla Walla to work in the wine industry after my year in France. You might say I have a special place in my heart for Spring Release.

This spring release I’m extra excited about:

The Charles Smith First Annual Rosé Festival and Burlesque

The new white blend from Rulo

Food Truck Nightwhen all of the local food trucks gather on Main Street.

So find a last minute place to stay and come to Walla Walla this weekend!