home wine cellar
Buying Wine, Random Musings

Vintage Charts Only Tell Half the Story

When I first started collecting wine I paid so much attention to vintage charts and rankings. I would buy sparingly from mediocre vintages like ’89 Napa Cabernets but I would back the truck up for a vintage like 1990. Nowadays I find myself paying far less attention to vintages and far more attention to producers. What changed my mind? I…

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Cayuse 2013 Release Party
Random Musings

Cayuse 2013 Release Party

Cayuse was founded in 1997 by Christophe Baron, a native of France who grew up in family of winemakers in Champagne. Baron studied viticulture in Burgundy and Champagne, and had ambitions to make Pinot Noir in Oregon. However, on a visit to Walla Walla, he found property that he believed would be perfect for growing grapes and decided to purchase…

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2010 Leouville Barton Bordeaux
Random Musings

Too Old for Young Wine?

I recently purchased several bottles of ’09 Leoville Barton. The wine has long been a favorite of mine and I have over a dozen different vintages in the cellar going back to 1990. I knew the wine was well regarded by the Wine Spectator garnering a score a score of 95 points and the number 6 ranking in their top…

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Washington Wine Hall of Fame
Random Musings

The Washington Wine Hall of Fame

I recently read an article about the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and the new inductees to the California Vintners Hall of Fame. Members of the Hall of Fame include iconic California winemakers like Joe Heitz, Robert Mondavi and George de Latour. This made me wonder: Is there a Washington Vintners Hall of Fame? If so, who’s in it? As…

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Random Musings

Reflections on the 2003 Vintage in France

The heatwave vintage of 2003 has always been a controversial one, especially for two of my favorite regions, Bordeaux and Chateaunef du Pape. Much of Europe, France in particular, suffered under a brutal heat wave and drought. In Bordeaux the grapes were picked earlier than ever before. The levels of sugar, and therefore resulting alcohol, reached record levels, but the…

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2010 William Church Bishops Blend
Bottle Notes, Random Musings

Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon at Woodinville’s William Church Winery

William Church Winery was founded by Rod and Leslie Balsley in 2005. The winery is named after Rod’s father William and the middle name of Leslie’s father, Church. Matt Loso, then of Matthews Estate was their first winemaker. Rod Balsley assumed winemaking responsibilities in 2008. Rod and Leslie are both actively involved in all aspects of the winery. Rod manages…

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Random Musings

Wines and Charities

For three years now my wife, Lisa, and I have helped to procure wines for the Komen Grace Notes Auction held each March in Seattle. Due in large part to the success of last year’s event, the Puget Sound Affiliate was able to award $2.85 million in grants to local non-profit organizations providing breast cancer screening, treatment options, and support…

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2005 Carlisle Russian River Valley Zin
Bottle Notes, Random Musings, Zinfandel

Has the Recipe at Carlisle Changed?

Robert Dwyer of Wellesley Wine Blog recently tweeted a less-than-favorable impression of 2010 Carlisle Sonoma County Syrah. I respect Robert’s palate and think my tastes are somewhat aligned with his, so I was surprised that he did not enjoy a staple from one of my favorite producers. I began to wonder: Has the “recipe” at Carlisle changed? I’ve had the…

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Quilceda Creek
Random Musings

Give Quilceda Creek Its Due

The release of the 2010 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon to mailing list members began last week. As in years past, there seems to be a movement on the various wine boards to knock Quilceda Creek off of it’s pedestal. A common opinion is that Quilceda Creek is not worthy of the “inflated” scores it received from Jay Miller of the…

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