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Yakima Valley Wineries in Seattle

03-May-2005

Last night R and I attended a tasting of Yakima Valley wines held at Tom Douglas’ new catering facility, the Palace Ballroom.  I was excited both to taste the wines and to see the new facility. 

About 35 wineries were represented at the tasting. As is normal for these types of events, there was a trade tasting earlier in the day, a little break and then the public tasting.  The public event was to start at 6:00 and by 5:45 the line was forming outside the door.  At 6:00 the doors opened and the crowd started pouring in.  There were plenty of staff to do the check-in so the line moved very quickly.  We were soon inside, picking up a glass and starting our tasting. 

Before the room got too crowded I made my way to the DeLille table.  This is one of my favorite wineries and I always try to sample their wines at tastings, since with their pricepoint I don’t purchase as much as I’d like to.  Last night, this strategy really paid off.  There were two bottles that had been only for the trade tasting that still had a little wine, so I got to taste the 2002 D2, 2002 Harrison Hill and 2002 Chaleur Estate.    I’d never had the Harrison Hill before; apparently it is normally limited to about 500 cases and most goes to restaurants.  This was really a deep, intense wine and I was glad I had the chance to taste it. 

I won’t go into excruciating detail about all the wines I sampled but I will call out a couple things of note. 

Alexandria Nicole was a new name to me.  I sampled their Syrah and liked it a lot.  Unfortunately I didn’t look closely at the label so I’m not sure exactly which of their Syrahs I tried.  The cheat sheet we were given doesn’t list it either. :-(

Donitelia Winery was also new to me.  I sampled their Sangiovese and will watch this winery in the future. 

The 2002 Dark Star from Kana Winery is a really interesting blend of Syrah, Mourvedre and Counoise. 

Thurston Wolfe was tasting two wines, a 2002 Zinfandel and a 2003 Sweet Rebecca.  I liked the Zin and really liked the Sweet Rebecca, a bit to my surprise.  I normally can tolerate dessert wines on their own and enjoy them with dessert but this wine, a fortified Orange Muscat, was very pleasant on it’s own. 

Hedges Cellars is taking their popular red CMS and expanding the "CMS" to become a second label.  They now have a white CMS, formerly known as their Fume Chardonnay.  Since Fume Blanc is also known as Sauvignon Blanc they just had to add a bit of an "M" grape (I’ve forgotten which one) to make it fit into the CMS label.  It’s an interesting tactic and R and I spoke with Chris Hedges about it and other related topics when he happened to sit next to us at the Palace Kitchen bar, following the tasting.  The Hedges label will be reserved for Red Mountain wines.

As for the ballroom, it’s a great spot.  Good location, lots of old brick and the appetizers they served were quite nice.  There was a great cheese and fruit platter, although this it the type of dish that creates a bottleneck; wonderful mini-tarts filled with goat cheese and topped with pancetta and caramelized onion; smoked salmon bites with a wasabi cream dollop; heavenly lamb meatballs; and a few other things that I didn’t quite get to.  They had plenty of food and even when we left at 8:00 there were still items left on the table. 

I don’t know if it was they way they laid this event out or if they had oversold tickets – maybe a bit of both – but for the first hour the place was so packed you could barely move from table to table.  At about 7:00 enough of the crowd had given up so you could move about more freely and then it was very pleasant.  If you are planning a corporate event or need a facility for a large party it’s definitely worth checking out. 

2 Comments
  1. Unknown permalink
    04-May-2005 12:54 pm

    Hey CuFo:Sorry I\’m a bit behind on my commenting (however valueless my comments may be). Been battling a cold, ya know.Reading your various wine/winery posts, I got to wondering–whatever happened to the great brewpub/microbrew craze that began (and flourished) in the Pacific-Northwest? I seem to remember that it was the cat\’s pajamas during the 80\’s and 90\’s (most especially in your part of the country), but don\’t recall you mentioning any microbrews in the posts I\’ve read. Perhaps you\’re just not a beer fan…or perhaps I haven\’t delved deeply enough into the archives. In any event, me be curious.Sal

  2. Culinary permalink
    05-May-2005 6:42 am

    Mr. VTB:Hope you are feeling better and I ALWAYS look forward to your comments – well except maybe the one on the James Beard awards! :-) Ok – even that one. The NW is till a mecca for brewpubs, although you don\’t hear too much about it anymore. I guess they are so common that no one thinks about it that much. Oh, and maybe the fact that success turned a lot of them into huge companies. So now they are actually macros.The reason you won\’t see me mention them too often (so far not at all) is because my beer tastes tend towards water and I\’m pretty sure no one really cares about that. Give me a Bud Light and I\’ll be happy. Or I might go wild and order a Corona! There are three occasions I\’m likely to order beer: at baseball games – that\’s just sort of mandatory!; when I want to make sure I don\’t become intoxicated – since I don\’t "love" it, I tend to drink it ve-e-er-r-r-y slowly; and at a college kegger – and I gave those up a "number" of years ago. :-) When the micro craze hit Seattle, I thought about trying to get into beers but then decided there was already enough alcohol in my life that I did love – no need to add another one that I\’d be trying to learn about! Plus, I really like food and those dang micros are so filling that I can\’t eat when I drink them! Now, where\’s the fun in that?? ~ B

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