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Posts Tagged ‘NW Travel Writers Conference’

Five Woodinville, Washington, wineries are among the sponsors of the NW Travel NW Totem CellarsWriters Conference, “Travel & Words,” this spring. I knew their wines would be good, but I didn’t expect anything this special.  At Willows Lodge, half an hour east of Seattle, tables are set up under a shelter in the garden and a small crowd gathers, glasses in hand. We’re in for a treat.  First I head for the NW Totem Cellars table because I’m drawn to the label on the bottle (such are the whims of a less-than-serious wine drinker). Mike Sharadin has a small, family-owned winery that produces hand-crafted wines–Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and various blends, including a new one called “Potlatch.” It’s a tasty blend of Syrah, Tempranillo, and Petit Verdot. All the winery’s bottles of red wines are sealed with attractive glass toppers rather than with corks.

Next I move on to Covington, where they’re pouring praiseworthy Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and inviting one and all to visit the winery, where the event schedule is lively.  wine tasting tablesYou can have appetizers or dinner on Friday evenings, lunch Saturdays and Sundays, and/or attend a series of classes, tours, and tastings. Their big Summer Bash features live music, food, and wines. David Lawson is the enologist here, and his wife Cindy covers the culinary front.   Now, on to Patterson Cellars. The table is serving a few of their consistently high quality wines, several of them well-crafted blends, and all made with grapes from eastern Washington. Father and son Jack and John Patterson began their winery in 2000, with the first release in 2003. They say their wine “follows the new world wines in its style.” There’s a tasting room in Seattle, below Pike Place Market, as well as at the Woodinville winery. And there are summer tastings in various places around Seattle.

distefano cellars winesAt the DiStefano Winery table, the whites and reds are made from classic varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc. The grapes come from Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley, Wahluke Slope, and Horse Heaven Hills. DiStefano was established in 1983 by Mark Newton, in honor of his wife Donna DiSteano, as one of the first wineries in the area. Now there are some 90 tasting rooms in Woodinville Wine Country.  The DiStefano tasting room is open afternoons except Mondays; for 4-6 wines, the cost is $8. In summer, 5-course wine dinners are offered, and in July there’s a party that sounds like great fun, involving Latin jazz, a pig roast, and wines.

Sipping a Semillon at the Davenport Cellars table is pure pleasure; it suits my palate as a last taste, ending on a happy note. Mostly, Davenport uses blends from different areas toWine tasters at Willows Lodge produce complex wines, such as the one that layers Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The winery, owned by Jeff and Sheila Jirka, offers tastings on Saturday afternoons or by appointment. I’ll plan to stop in not only for a sip or two but to see whatever art is on display. Currently they’re showing the work of Gary Gibson, who paints remarkable, colorful  designs. And he does it with toothpicks.

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