Friday, September 18, 2009

PALATE PRESS: The Online Wine Magazine

The official launch of PALATE PRESS: The Online Wine Magazine has arrived! PALATE PRESS seeks out and publishes the very best wine writers and writings on the internet.

PALATE PRESS is the collaboration of David Honig and W.R. "Tish" Tisherman. Honig is publisher, blogger, attorney, self-educated oenephile and the man behind the 89 Project. Known as "Tish' in the wine trade, he has been writing and speaking about wine and food for more than two decades, including former editor of Wine Enthusiast magazine from 1988 to 1998.

Last week was the official launch of the online magazine. There is a wide range of wine topics by a wide range of talented wine writers. A sampling: Randall Grahm profile, Nutritional Facts on Wine, Brettanomyces in White Wine (who knew?) Alsace Gastronomy, Spotlight on Zin and last but not least. For those of you who love Walla Walla and love the wines - - a few words about the town so nice they named it twice by - - yours truly. Check it out!

Deep Deep Roots: Walla Walla Wine Their once claim to fame was when cartoon star Bugs Bunny announced himself in one of the Looney Tunes episodes as the “Wishie-Washie-White-Washing Machine Salesman from Walla Walla Washington.” ...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wine Blogging Wednesday #61: The Serendipitous SuLei Cellars Rousanne

Today is the 61st Wine Blogging Wednesday. And today we go back to the beginning of this project as it's being hosted by Lenn Thompson of Lenndevours who is the founder of WBW. This month Lenn has challenged us to write about a wine based on a tasting done at a winery. And “extra points” are given if we do the tasting with the winemaker. I am claiming my extra points. What do I win, Lenn?

When you live in a small wine oriented community like Walla Walla, there is bound to be serendipitous events that will lead you to a great wine.

It all started when I received an email from Tanya and Elaine, owners of a new winery, SuLei (Soo-Lay) Cellars in Walla Walla. I had just returned from the Wine Bloggers Conference in California and was playing catch-up with my emails and deadlines. The evening I had planned to tackle this project, I had also made plans to attend a wine industry event. While at the event and visiting about, I was chatting with friend Kate Bray Morrison, who commented there were a couple of people at the event she thought I should meet. Well, to make a long story short, it was Tanya and Elaine of SuLei Cellars!

Six days later, I dined at the ‘Burg Cottage (Waitsburg) of Paul and Karen Stanton-Gregutt. If you are a fan of Washington wines and live in Washington State and do not know who Paul Gregutt is, then you must be drinking your wine under a rock. Paul writes Sunday’s "Wine Adviser" column in the Seattle Times Pacific magazine and a monthly wine column in Spokane Spokesman-Review, as well as the author of the critically acclaimed book – “Washington Wines & Wineries – The Essential Guide.” The focus of the meal was Karen’s “Herbal Chicken Platter” - grilled slices of tender chicken breasts. Each piece of chicken had its own savory mixture of fresh herbs that Karen had picked from her beautiful, and very fragrant, herb and antique rose garden minutes before.

Paul brought to the table a bottle of white wine to pair with the meal. And with the label concealed by the wine chiller, he asked us to figure out what type of white grape it was. After a few wrong guesses - - it was the 2008 Roussanne from SuLei Cellars. I exclaimed that I had an appointment to visit SuLei for a private tasting! Two days later, I once again had the opportunity to taste the SuLei Cellars Roussanne, but this time with owners, Tanya Woodley, winemaker and Elaine Jomwe, Operations Manager.

SuLei Cellars Roussanne 2008 is a very friendly white wine that was far too easy for me to consume. Typically, my palate doesn’t lend itself to Roussanne, like it does to Viognier, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, but when Tanya offered me a second glass I didn’t turn it down (nor did I turn down a second glass of the SuLei Roussanne at the Gregutt Cottage).

This Roussanne is produced as single vineyard wine from the Jon Cockburn Ranch Vineyard in the Walla Walla AVA. I definitely thought the wine carried an influence from the old apple orchards in the area many moons ago. The nose showed floral notes of orange blossom and honey suckle. My palate found flavors of ripe peaches and also found the wine to be dominant with notes of crisp apples. Old and new barrels were used leaving just enough oak to round out the acids, while still leaving enough acidity to enhance food pairings.

I would recommend this wine to be paired, of course with a plate of imported cheeses. Also a complimentary pairing with a buttery seasoned seafood entree or a seafood salad with a variety of crisp lettuce or even a fruit salad. And of course - - Karen Stanton-Gregutt’s "Herbal Chicken Platter."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Robison Ranch Cellars: Real Cowboys Drink Rosé

Hey Cowboy - Yeah, I'm talkin' to you. Rosés are probably one of the most food friendly wines around. And Robison Ranch Cellars aint' afraid to make this pretty pink wine their first release.

Winemaker, Brad Riordan and Jim Robison have teamed together to form Robison Ranch Cellars. Robison Ranch is a third-generation family-owned ranch located in Walla Walla County.

In the Valley, Robison Ranch has been synonymous with hard work and unremitting quality since 1918, so it's no surprise that the next step for them would be to open a winery.

This 2008 blend of Walla Walla grown Syrah, Sangiovese, Merlot and Viognier is crisp, bright, fruit-forward and we discovered it was a great food pairing with curry and Asian-influenced meals. I served it for guests and family during our Labor Day BBQ and even the most critical wine fans and professional foodies raved!

We picked up notes of strawberry, cranberry and vanilla in the finish. I'm tellin' ya, I would recommend this rosé for the Thankgiving bird - - well, if the wine lasts that long. You see, there were only 25 cases made - - and it's going fast! Check it out at the W5.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Food & Wine Magazine: Winemaker of the Year 2009!

HOT OFF THE PRESS!
Recognize this rock star winemaker from Walla Walla?
Sometimes one picture says it all.


Congratulations Charles!