Tag Archives: wine education

All About Bordeaux: A Website

Wine Regions 1

Okay, I know we’ve already talked about Bordeaux, but I came across this beautiful website today, and I wanted to share it with all of you. It’s run by the Bordeaux Wine Counsel and is meant to provide a comprehensive introduction to Bordeaux wines. It has information on the different regions of Bordeaux, how to understand Bordeaux wines, how to taste and appreciate them, and where to buy them. My favorite part is this Bordeaux wine finder that’s rounded up a bunch of different Bordeaux wines from $10-55, and has links to where you can buy them. It makes me want to go back to Bordeaux!

I spent way too long poking around this site; it’s well organized, has lots of info, and is lovely in and of itself! 


Varietal Spotlight: Malbec

photo by bongo vongo via flikr

Single-varietal Malbecs have been the hot thing ever since inexpensive Argentinean imports put them on the map. This is a young person’s wine, if my observations in the tasting room hold true; because you can find Malbecs for such good value, 20-somethings are snapping them up and becoming familiar with this grape. It’s trendier than Merlot and Cab, it has some tannin to it, but can also be hugely fruity, so it appeals to the taste buds of younger drinkers. Malbec is not a stuffy grape; it’s a lively and fresh choice for wine drinkers looking to branch out or get started in exploring wine.

I like Malbec for its dark fruit flavors; blueberry and blackberry are predominant flavors in many Malbecs, and many of the Washington Malbecs I’ve tasted have been full, round wines with a lot of fruit and some spice to them. Malbec is a great young-person wine because it has some tannin to it, but it’s lower in tannin than big Cabs and Merlots. The first Malbec I ever had was on my birthday a few years ago, when my friend ordered a glass of Walla Walla Malbec at a bar; it was the cheapest wine by the glass, but it rocked!

Where is it grown? Malbec is one of the traditional Bordeaux grapes, although it’s almost never seen by itself in France. Bordeaux blends usually contain some percentage of Malbec; for a while, many of the Malbec vines in Bordeaux were wiped out by frost, but the vines have since been replanted and the grape has been making a comeback. Argentina is what really drew attention to 100% single-varietal Malbecs, especially in the Mendoza region. The US market went a little crazy for inexpensive Argentinean Malbecs, and that’s really where the current Malbec trend came from. Since then, single-varietal Malbecs have been more popular in the US. California has some Malbec, but Washington has been growing Malbec for quite a while as well, since at least the 1990’s.

Pair with: pulled pork, sweet-and-sour meat dishes, pesto pasta. Malbecs are usually fruity and lower in tannin than, say, Cabs, so they’re not necessarily calling out to be paired with steaks and burgers, but I think meats in a sweeter sauce or pasta in light sauces would be delicious with a Malbec.

Try drinking: Argentinean imports! If you’re new to Malbec, start yourself out on those inexpensive imports and see what all the fuss is about; then, you can move on to some of the delicious Malbecs being made here in Walla Walla!

Varietal Spotlight: All About Cabernet Sauvignon

If you like wine, it’s hard not to know Cabernet Sauvignon. Although it’s not the most widely sold red wine (that would be merlot), it’s widely grown and recognizable by almost everyone who drinks red wine.

What is Cabernet Sauvignon?

Cabernet Sauvignon is the result of a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc way back when, which produced a thick-skinned, durable, and delicious grape that went on to become one of the stars of the Bordeaux region in France and, later, in almost every grape-growing country in both Old and New world wine regions.

Where is it grown?

Lots of places. France (particularly in the Bordeaux region), Italy, Spain, Chile, Australia, California, Washington, you name it. Almost every country that grows grapes has cab, and they all turn out differently. Regions with cooler weather will produce cabs with more vegetal flavors to them, and hot weather regions will make cabs with lots of ripe fruit and berry.

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5 Things to Know Before Wine Tasting

I know wine tasting can be intimidating if you’re new to wine or have never been to a tasting room before. Luckily, we tasting room workers are trained to tell you about the wine AND make you feel comfortable in the winery; if you’re an inexperienced wine taster, let us know, and we can explain it to you! We see a wide range of people in tasting rooms, from the person who is tasting for the first time to the person who grew up in Napa around wine and tasting rooms. However, there are some tips that are helpful to know ahead of time; here are 5 things you should know before you descend on the wineries!

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8 Delicious and Budget-Friendly Rieslings

 I’ve declared it riesling week, so instead of the weekly link round up, I have some Washington rieslings rounded up for you! I know we’re all on a budget these days, so I picked a few of my favorite grocery store wines and then a few of my favorite local wines.

Awesome Grocery Store Rieslings

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2011

I tend to think that Charles Smith’s wines are good, but often overpriced. Not this one! This riesling is crisp and refreshing, with a touch of residual sugar (about 1.8%). $12 at the winery (located here in Walla Walla), where it’s sold out, so grab some at the grocery store, where you can find it for around $10. Or, if you have your heart set on going to the winery, you can try the 2012 Kung Fu Girl Riesling!

Willow Crest 2011 Riesling

This riesling is a little sweeter than the others on this list (4% residual sugar), but still pretty refreshing. A little unbalanced in the sweetness vs acidity, but a good choice for those who prefer their rieslings sweeter. Tropical fruit and honey notes make this a good summer riesling; I enjoyed the first glass, but couldn’t get through a second. Buy for $12 through the winery or $11 in grocery stores.

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Varietal Spotlight: All About Riesling!

Varietal Spotlight: Riesling

How do I love Riesling? Let me count the ways! It can be a very elegant and refreshing wine, even though it’s sometimes considered a beginner wine because it’s often sweeter than other whites. It’s a classic starter wine for new drinkers because you can find very sweet Rieslings and work your way towards the dry Rieslings. Not all Rieslings are sweet; it really all depends on what style of Riesling the winemaker is trying to make. Rieslings in the European style (as in, barely sweet or not sweet at all) are all the rage in Washington right now.

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