SEATTLE – While Taste Washington’s two days of grand tastings serve as the festival’s highlights, one of its most enjoyable departures is the educational aspect: the seminars.
On both days of Taste Washington – Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30 – several seminars will take place just before the doors to the grand tasting are opened.
Several years ago, the Washington State Wine Commission created an education day as a walk-up to the grand tasting. It took place at Bell Harbor Conference Center on the Seattle waterfront and was an all-day affair with multiple breakout sessions and a grand luncheon.
With the move to a two-day tasting format, the seminars have moved to the mornings. Here is a rundown of each seminar:
Saturday, March 29
On the first day of Taste Washington, four seminars will take place simultaneously. Each is $45.
An Old Vine’s Tale takes a look at whether older vines matter to a finished wine. Sean Sullivan of Washington Wine Report will lead this session that will include seven Washington wines made from vines that are at least 30 years old. The wines include:
- Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling
- Chateau Ste. Michelle 2010 Cold Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Walla Walla Vintners 2010 Sagemoor Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Owen Roe Winery 2010 Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Barrister Winery 2010 Bacchus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Seven Hills Winery 2012 McClellan Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
- Seven Hills Winery 2012 Seven Hills Vineyard Old Blocks Cabernet Sauvignon
Joining Sullivan on the panel will be Jon Bonné of the San Francisco Chronicle, Luke Sykora of Wine & Spirits magazine, Jason Smith of Bellagio Resort, Kent Waliser of Sagemoor Vineyards, David O’Reilly of Owen Roe, Raymon McKee of Chateau Ste. Michelle and Casey McClellan of Seven Hills Winery.
The Allure of the Exotic dives into a number of unusual or somewhat forgotten varieties of grapes grown in Washington. Alder Yarrow of Vinography will lead the panel. Wines being poured include:
- San Juan Vineyards 2012 Madeleine Angevine
- White Heron Cellars 2012 Mariposa Vineyard Arvine
- Two Vintners 2012 Boushey Vineyard Grenache Blanc
- Leonetti Cellar 2011 Sangiovese
- Waitsburg Cellars 2012 Chevray Chenin Blanc
- Syncline Wine Cellars 2012 McKinley Springs Counoise
- Dusted Valley Vineyards 2011 StoneTree Vineyard Petite Sirah
- Woodward Canyon Winery 2012 Estate Dolcetto
Joining Yarrow will be Chris Figgins of Leonetti Cellar, Cameron Fries of White Heron Cellars, Morgan Lee of Two Vintners, Jon Rimmerman of Garagist and Paul Gregutt of Waitsburg Cellars.
The Northstar Blending Experience is a program that has been taking place in Walla Walla and hits the road for Taste Washington. Master Sommelier Rob Bigelow of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and Northstar winemaker David Merfeld will provide a glimpse into the art of red wine blending. Participants will get to create their own masterpieces.
Playing Matchmaker is a food-and-wine-pairing seminar led by Jame Peha of TableTalk Northwest. She will be joined by Jameson Fink of Grape Collective, Lenny Rede of Esquin Wine Merchants, Reggie Daigneault of South Seattle Community College, Sean Hails of Columbia Winery and Harry Mills of Purple Café.
Sunday, March 30
Washington vs. The World will be a fascinating tasting that will help you understand how well Washington wines fare on the world stage. This will be led by Doug Charles, owner of Compass Wines in Anacortes, Wash. The wines tasted will include:
- Andrew Will 2005 Champoux Vineyard Red Wine, Horse Heaven Hills
- Gorman 2010 The Evil Twin, Red Mountain
- Lawrelin 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
- Reynvaan Family Vineyards 2010 Stonessence Syrah, Walla Walla Valley
- Sheridan Vineyard 2010 Block 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley
- Bodega Catena Zapata Nicolás Catena Zapata 2008, Mendoza
- Domaine August Clape Cornas Renaissance 2011, Rhône
- Morlet Family Vineyards 2009 Mon Chevalier Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley
Joining Charles will be Joe Roberts of 1winedude.com, Emily Wines of Kimpton Hotels, Chris Gorman of Gorman Winery, Matt Reynvaan of Reynvann Family Vineyards, Kendall Mix of Lawrelin Wine Cellars, Chris Camarda of Andrew Will and Scott Greer of Sheridan Vineyard.
Chef vs. Somm Smackdown will pit both sides of restaurants in a wine-and-food-pairing cage match. It will be led by Jame Peha and will include David Varley and Jeff Thorsen of RN74, Bobby Moore and Anthony Berkau of Barking Frog and Thierry Rautureau and Scot Smith of Loulay & Luc.
The Rose of the Rhônes will provide a glimpse into one of the most exciting wine categories in Washington. Led by Sean Sullivan, the wines poured will include:
- Maison Bleue 2012 Métis Blanc
- Lauren Ashton Cellars 2012 Roussanne
- aMaurice Cellars 2010 Boushey Vineyard Grenache
- Rasa Vineyards 2010 QED Red Wine
- Gramercy Cellars 2011 John Lewis Syrah
- Betz Family Winery 2011 La Côte Rousse Syrah
- Eight Bells Winery 2011 Red Willow Vineyard Syrah
Joining Sullivan will be Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars, Jon Meuret of Maison Bleue, Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery, Anna Schafer of aMaurice Cellars and Patrick Comiskey of Wine & Spirits magazine.
A Winemaker, a Brewer and a Distiller Walk into a Bar will bring together experts on beer, wine and spirits. This will be led by Michael Kelly, a certified beer sommelier. He will be joined by Rusty Figgins of Batch 206 and Christian Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars.
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