A Resolution I Can Live With!

New Year’s Resolutions.  How many years do you make them in hopes of fixing something that you think is broken or with the idea that by keeping them you will somehow improve your life?  Very few resolutions can do all that, even if they were kept longer than the dried up Christmas tree in the corner of the room.  This year is different.  Along with a few typical “self-improvement” resolutions, I decided to make a few resolutions that would be fun to keep.  For example, I’ve made a resolution to drink at least one bottle of non-Washington wine a month.  I realized the other day that the wine I drink is almost all  from Washington.  As a result, wines from other regions can sometimes taste “different.”  This happened to me when I lived in California too, only with California wines.  When I moved back to Washington the wines here almost tasted sweet to me.  They sort of reminded me of…and this is going to be a stretch and prove how very little I know about wine…they sort of reminded me of late harvest wines.  Not all of them, but some of my favorite big reds from Red Mountain.  Now that I’m used to (and loving) my big/ripe Red Mountain reds again, other wines sometimes taste light, or thin.  I used to love lighter style reds and would like to stretch my palate a bit in hopes of appreciating them more again.  I was lucky enough to get a great Christmas gift that will help with this resolution.  My dad got me a case of wine from The Wall Street Journal.  Yep, you read that right – The Wall Street Journal.  They put together a mixed case of wines from all over the world…perfect for my new and favorite New Year’s Resolution.  Cheers to a New Year and a resolution I can live with!

Two Brunellos for Christmas!

Two Brunellos?  Wow – it must be Christmas! 


My dad and I have been Brunello fans ever since our trip to Tuscany.  The wine itself is out of this world but just as great is the conversation that follows after we start drinking it.  The trip was one of the best either of us have been on and this wonderful wine always takes us back there in the fondest of ways.  We had TWO bottles with Christmas dinner.  Dinner was a gorgeous leg of lamb  and it called for an equally gorgeous bottle of wine.  A Brunello was the perfect choice.  We’ve never had two at once before – such a treat!  Both were from Banfi, one 2001 and one 2003.  I have to say, both were excellent.  The 2001 was smoother initially but the 2003 had a bit more fruit.  After they’d both been open a while they were more similar.  We decided that there was no real favorite, no winner or loser.  Both were great and, much like our trip to Italy, both were done too soon.

Black Friday – Red for Us…

 Yep – this is a recap of a wine tasting day that happened almost two months ago – sad, right?  The holidays were great but boy did I get behind on the blogging.  I started a few posts but never got back to them, until now…

The day after Thanksgiving is probably best known for shopping, long lines and crowded parking lots.  Dad and I skipped all of that and went to Woodinville instead.

  • Janiuk/Novelty Hill – Somehow I’ve managed not go visit this winery since they moved.  That wouldn’t be a big deal if the move was recent but it’s been a good 4-5 years!  No excuse.  The other shocker is that I’ve been mispronouncing Janiuk!  I would have bet that it was pronounced “Yan-ik.”  I would have lost the bet; it’s “Jan-ik.”  The girl at the tasting bar was a good sport about it and was kind enough not to pick on me when I messed it up a few more times.  The tastings were nice and there were several different flights available.  Not surprisingly I chose the Cabernet flight.  It was delicious!  There was no tasting fee refund with purchase so we didn’t buy anything, but the wines were very nice and the tasting room itself is gorgeous.
  • Teft Cellars – Yet another great winery from the other side of the mountains!  They had a great line up of wine and wonderful tasting room, complete with some tables and conversation areas.  It had a bistro feel to it, not just a typical tasting bar.  There was a nice line up of wines, my favorite of the day was the Villa Toscana – a nice Italian inspired blend.  They also had several ports but I can’t comment on them because I just don’t drink port.  I keep trying it every so often but I haven’t developed a taste for it yet.  But if you like ports, I’d suggest trying theirs; everything else is great so the odds are good!
  • Efeste – This may be the first wine club I join next year.  There is nothing they make that I don’t like.  My only issue here is that I have a hard time narrowing down my choices when it comes time to purchase.  Even the white wine (which I can usually pass up at most places) is fantastic.  We were lucky enough to meet the winemaker, Brennon Leighton, this trip.  He was still (understandably) on a high from the Wine Spectator ratings that had come out earlier in the month.  The 2006 Ceidleigh Syrah was ranked #36 on the list of all wines (worldwide) released in 2009.  That and the Final Final are always my favorites.  This time I didn’t try to pick between them; I bought them both.
  • Canon de Sol – Dad and I saw this place right after we left Teft but they were literally hammering up their sign when we drove by so we decided to give them a little time before stopping by.  When we did drop in we found out that this was their opening day!  Canon de Sol and Irlandes share a tasting room and a winemaker, Victor Cruz.  The Canon de Sol label is his and Irlandes is his partners.  The Canon de Sol wines were priced in the mid 20’s and each one was great.  They all had great fruit and moderate tannins, pretty much ready to drink now.  I bought a couple of the blends and can’t wait to open them up and introduce my friends to a new winery.
  • Irlandes – These wines were priced higher and were done in more of a reserve style.  The wines were bolder and had more tannins on the finish.  They were delicious!  The tasting room is nice and big and I expect this place will do well.  It’s in a great location (the Hollywood School House area) and has wonderful wine as well as great people.  I look forward to repeat visits.
  • DeLille Carriage House – Okay so nothing can really compare to DeLille-on-the-hill.  The problem is, the main location is almost never open to the public.  So The Carriage House was born.  It’s a small tasting room showcasing DeLille wines.  It was absolutely PACKED when we were there.  Usually that’s a turn off for us but we stuck it out because it had been so long since we’d done any tasting at DeLille.  I’m glad we stayed.  The wines were better than we remembered and the people working there were fantastic at keeping up with such a crowded room.  I’d like to go back again when the weather is nicer and the patio is open.

After we were done in Woodinville we went back to Redmond and out to dinner at Frankie’s Pizza and Pasta.  We have loved this place for a long time.  The food is excellent and the wine list is even better!  Boy did we get lucky on this trip.  My parents’ favorite waitress brought us the wine list and then a few minutes later came back to make sure that we’d noticed a certain wine on the list.  It was the 2005 Columbia Crest Reserve Cabernet that had just been ranked the #1 Wine of 2009 by Wine Spectator Magazine!  Yep, same list that I mentioned earlier.  What a great day for wine!  Thanks for pointing it out to us, Kelly!