Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Moved by Sleight of Hand

He was okay but wondering about wandering.
Was it age by consequence or was he moved by sleight of hand? – Pearl Jam

It’s a perfect fit that a Washington State winery with a “magic touch” is named for a song by a famous rock band from Washington. Winemaker Trey Busch and partners, Sandy and Jerry Solomon have created a Walla Walla winery like no other and to take a phrase from them, their wines are “simply magical.”

I had my first experience with Sleight of Hand when they opened their doors in 2007. Upon our first taste, Steve immediately joined their wine club, the Wine Illusionist Society. It was at Taste Washington last month, where I tasted the wines again and I couldn’t get Sleight of Hand wines off of my mind - - and was reminded about this winery again the day after Taste Washington when Steve and I visited Seattle’s Experience Music Project, the museum of music, upon viewing the Pearl Jam exhibit - - and I knew I must have Sleight of Hand wines for my new wine store.

Sleight of Hand has everything you want in a wine: not only style, of course they are highly pleasing to the palate, and last but not least - - beautiful labels! Five days later after the Experience Music Project we were back at the Sleight of Hand winery in downtown Walla Walla visiting with Trey. I found myself standing back from the other visitors and taking in the relationship between the winemaker and the guests he was pouring wine for. Trey is personable, charming and he has a way drawing an audience like a fine magician should.

If Sleight of Hand hasn’t named a signature wine, it should be “The Magician Gewurztraminer.” Sleight of Hand is one of the first small handful of Walla Walla wineries to brave the screw-cap and it just seems to work with this particular wine that makes me think of picnics and easy entertaining. The Gewurztraminer is refreshing and indeed shows off its German-style from the aromas of green apples and rose petals to the flavors of stone fruit from the orchards. It’s yum-yum with a yum-yai salad or any other Asian-influenced dish.

Ahhh…Rose'. What can be said about the beautiful Magicians Assistant? Of course, the first thing you will notice is the label and once you get past the beautiful pink liquid it’s all about the taste. Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite grapes to make into a rose'. And so perfect for summer when you want the taste of a red grape but the cool crispness of a white. Only 60 cases of this 2007 vintage were produced and it’s going fast.

The Levitation Syrah – 2006 is another wine that less than 100 cases were produced. Four very special barrels of 100% Syrah (and from some of the oldest vines in the state) were “levitated” into bottles. A bold and rich Syrah giving the impression of a fine old Northern Rhone (one of my favorites) leaving a mouthful of blueberries. Again, there wasn’t a lot of this special Syrah produced and mainly to be sold within the winery so I felt privileged Trey let me have a few bottles for my store. (note: all three of the above wines are also available through me at Walla Walla Wine Woman).

You have my word that when in downtown Walla Walla it is time well spent to check out these magical wines at the Sleight of Hand tasting room and I promise you it won’t be an illusion of sleight of hand - - but the real thing.

A time to dream to himself…
I'll see you on the other side.
Another man moved by sleight of hand.

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