Woodinville Wine Country: A Taste of Washington in one city

This week, IFBC participants will be descending upon this beautiful state and the Seattle area. While the schedule is jam-packed, I’m planning on taking some time to meander out to Woodinville and hit a few of my favorite wineries.

Who are my favorite wineries in Woodinville, you ask? Well…here’s a list of where you can find me when I’m in Woodinville:

JM Cellars: With a line up that leaves you unsure of what to buy (or wanting to buy everything), JM Cellars doesn’t disappoint. My personal favorites are the Bramble Bump Red and Bramble Bump White. Beware, you can easily miss their driveway, so pay attention!! Address: 14404 137th Pl NE

Guardian Cellars: Bold reds are the hallmark of Guardian Cellars. The tasting room has an funky, industrial feel and the wines have names like Chalk Line and Confidential Source. Yep. Just like what you hear on any police show. Address: 19501 144th Ave NE #E600

Sparkman Cellars: located directly next door to Guardian is Sparkman. With bold reds and enticing whites & rosé’s, this place is destined to become a favorite. Address: 19501 144th Ave NE, #E-400

Alexandria Nicole Cellars: located in the Hollywood Schoolhouse, Alexandria Nicole’s satellite tasting room delivers on their goal of approachable elegance. Address: 14810 NE 145th St.

If you’re hungry while in Woodinville, I highly recommend The Purple Café. Great food and even better ambiance!!

All in all, have fun while in Woodinville. Stop in at someplace new or go to your favorites. Whichever you choose, make it an experience!!

Off The Beaten Path – Cowlitz Wine Tour

The communities of Castle Rmp; Toledo are not necessarily what you would think of when you think of wine destinations. To most, these towns are just names you see on a freeway sign. You may take a quick break to fill up your gas tank or take a quick run through the drive-thru restaurant, but not stay for the local culture.

Well, I’m here to say STOP! Take an hour or two…or three…and take a break. Experience what small town hospitality has to offer.

Cowlitz Wine Tour Map  (image courtesy of Mt. St. Helens Cellars)

Cowlitz Wine Tour Map (image courtesy of Mt. St. Helens Cellars)

The three wineries that make up the Cowlitz Wine Loop are HarMony Wines, Mt. St. Helens Cellars and Bateaux Cellars.

When you’re coming from the south, like I do (I’m located near the border of Clark and Cowlitz Counties), HarMony Winery is the first stop. In addition to making the traditional (AKA Grape) wine, they also make a variety of fruit wines. When I visited, they were pouring 11 wines. Between my Mom and I, we tasted through a good majority of them and we were impressed with the reds. The Counoise and Murphy’s Romance are highly recommended!! They are located at 555 Kroll Road in Castle Rock, WA.

HarMony Winery Owners Deann & Les, along with the wines they were pouring during my visit!

HarMony Winery Owners Deann & Les Murphy, along with 10 of the 11 the wines they were pouring during my visit!

The bench outside of HarMony.

The bench outside of HarMony.

Mt. St. Helens Cellars was the next stop on the wine loop. They have a good variety of wines, from aromatic whites to enticing reds, they appeal to every wine lover. My personal recommendations are the Albariño and their red blend called Sasquatch in a Bottle. If you’re not familiar with the legend of Sasquatch, you can read up here. Mt. St. Helens Cellars has a tasting room located at 1254 Mt. St. Helens Way (off of exit 49 in Crossroads Plaza) in Castle Rock, and the winery itself is open by appointment at 211 Morningstar Dr., Silverlake, WA.

The whites at Mt. St. Helens Cellars

The whites at Mt. St. Helens Cellars

The red lineup at Mt. St. Helens Cellars

The red lineup at Mt. St. Helens Cellars

The final stop is Bateaux Cellars. Bateaux came onto my radar at the 2013 Craft Wine Festival in Vancouver, WA and has been a go-to for me ever since. With deliciously crisp whites, a fantastic Rosé of Sangiovese and a stellar line up of reds, Bateaux is one of my “must finds” when I see they’re at a festival I’m planning on going to. This is, in my opinion, one of Western Washington’s hidden gems. Bateaux is located at 288 Smokey Valley Road, Toledo, WA. Just a hint, though…DO NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FROM GOOGLE! Go to their website and get the actual address, as the address on Google is incorrect. Dear Google: Bateaux Cellars is at 288 SMOKEY VALLEY ROAD…NOT JACKSON HWY S!

The full lineup of Bateaux Cellars Wines

The full lineup of Bateaux Cellars Wines

A partial view of the line up

A partial view of the line up

The remaining closeup of the line up

The remaining closeup of the line up

All in all, I HIGHLY recommend taking the time to work the Cowlitz Wine Loop into your wine tasting repertoire. One piece of advice would be to call ahead, though, as these places are almost all run by folks who have other careers beyond the wine industry.

Advice for the IFBC Wine-related Events

So, we’re closing in on IFBC. Tons of great food, advice and knowledge will be shared throughout the conference. This is my first IFBC, but I’ve been to the Wine Bloggers Conference that Zephyr puts on the last three years (Portland, Penticton & Santa Barbara).  I know that the fine folks at Foodista and Zephyr are going to do their best to make sure those of us attending the conference are going to have one hell of a good time!

While perusing the agenda for IFBC, I noticed that Wines of Bordeaux will be there. I am really looking forward to the session they’re putting on, but I wanted to share some advice, from a wine bloggers perspective, on how to make the most of this session.  This advice also pertains to any other wine tastings that may happen during the conference.

1.  Spit. Yes. Spit that delicious elixir. I know it’s hard, especially when the wines are fantastic, but you don’t want to make your “blogger brand” look bad.

2.  Do break the food and wine pairing rules. Seriously. My favorite food and wine pairings are as follows:

  • Grilled steak and Riesling
  • Kit Kat bar and Robert Mondavi Chardonnay
  • Rosé and ANYTHING.  And I’m *not* talking about White Zinfandel, either.

3.  Don’t say how you’re “allergic to sulfites” when presented with a red wine, but make a beeline for a white wine. Whites actually have more sulfites in them than reds. Also, stay away from the dried fruits, as dried fruits have more sulfites than both red & whites. These two articles: Sulfites in Wine: The Myths, the Facts and the Truth and The Bottom Line on Sulfites in Wine are great starting points on educating yourself on why you may get up with a bit of a headache after drinking wine and the use of sulfites in the winemaking process.

4.  Do ask questions!! There are no stupid questions when it comes to wine. If you don’t know how the aromas are integrated into the wine, then ASK!

5.  Don’t be intimated by tasting notes that talk about the flavors found in the wine. If you get something else, then say so! Everyone’s palate is different and for someone like me, I may take it as a challenge to see if I, too, can pick up on that note that you’re getting.

6.  Do take pictures of the labels!  This way, you can remember the fantastic wines you had and you can do what you can to acquire them when you get home!

The most important thing, though, is to have FUN!

WBC 14 – Another year in the books…

So I’ve been home from WBC 14 for 5 days and in that time, there have been some fantastic posts about WBC come across my Facebook feed. Here are some of the posts that I’ve particularly enjoyed:

My response to the Panel of Professional Print Writers from Vindulge. – The most eloquent criticism I’ve read in a long time and it hit on many good points.

Wineries Need to Give Bloggers More Respect from Demystified Vine. – I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve said that I’m a blogger to some wineries and they don’t seem to care, while others take some interest…then there are the ones that are almost overzealous to the fact that I chose their tasting room during my adventures.

Top 10 Things I Learned at WBC 2014 from Another Wine Blog. – FYI, I wholeheartedly admit to being part of #10 on this list. There were times when I couldn’t breathe because I was laughing so hard.

On Respecting Intellectual Property Rights & Tell Me a Story from BungRCooper. – Some fantastic points were made in both posts. As a photographer and a casual fiction author (yes, I’m admitting that I write the faux pas genre known as fan fiction when the muses cooperate…so shoot me, I’ve learned to duck…), I’m hyper aware when it comes to people stealing sh!t. Just don’t do it, no matter how tempting it may be. As for “Tell Me A Story”? Yes, please! Tell the story of the wine or the winery. In time, we all come to know your story…share the winery story instead!

My takeaways from WBC 14 are this:

- Santa Barbara County is beautiful. Seriously. This view from Presqu’ile should prove it.

Santa Maria Valley from Presqu'ile Winery

Santa Maria Valley from Presqu’ile Winery

- The wines in Santa Barbara County are even more beautiful.

- As bloggers, we need to focus more on character rather than credentials.

- Drinking wine + blogging ≠ wine blogging.

- A hotel that doesn’t advise of an option (*ahem* Marriott, yes I’m talking about the breakfast option for an additional $10) that should’ve been clearly asked at check in does not make for a good experience. In fact, when the most friendly staff members are the restaurant staff…you’ve got a problem.

- While I understand the desire to have one “official” after party, when you have a conference of this magnitude, there will always be rogue events. Instead of chastising those rogue events, go with the flow. While the Jordan and J Party was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed myself (hi, I was there until the very end of the party…), there’s also something to be said about the “backyard BBQ” or “family reunion” atmosphere of the rogue events. Yes, some of them were invite only or exclusive to a certain set of bloggers, but that’s what happens when you end up becoming friends with people *AND EARN THEIR RESPECT* at these conferences.

For the live tasting notes, please go check my twitter feed, @onegirloneglass. If you’d like to see pictures from the weekend, go check my Facebook page, One Girl, One Glass, One World.

It’s almost that time!!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen…the wait is finally over.

On Thursday morning, I will be leaving the World HQ via PDX and heading down to California for the 7th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference.

Here are the social media hashtags and accounts that I’m going to recommend you follow:



I’m sure that more will be added as the time goes on. :)

Find me on Social Media:

Twitter: @onegirloneglass
Instagram: @onegirloneglassoneworld
Facebook: One Girl, One Glass, One World

The wait is finally (almost) over!!!

Caymus 40th Anniversary Tasting

Through a stroke of genius, and happening to constantly praise them via Twitter for having the best wine selection when it comes to Washington wine, I was invited to participate in a tasting and webcast at Total Wine & More on June 14th. This tasting happened to be the Caymus 40th Anniversary tasting. Knowing that I couldn’t possibly spare myself an opportunity such as this, I accepted.

20140616-190629-68789801.jpgThe Caymus/Wagner Family Lineup + a couple extra bonus pours thanks to the kind gentlemen at Total Wine & More, Vancouver

We started the tasting with the 2012 Conundrum White. The Conundrum has a nice balance of peach, tropical fruits and floral notes on the nose while being a lovely balance of acidity and creaminess on the palate. This blend food pairing recommendation is seafood or spicy food, but I’d also serve this with either grilled or BBQ chicken. $22 MSRP.

Next, we went into the 2012 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc. This is a *GREAT* wine, IMHO. With a lovely mineral nose and a flinty palate with hints of melon, there is a refreshingly clean finish on this wine that makes it go down way too easily. An interesting fact with this is that they brush the clusters while they’re in the pre-bloom stage to prevent any green nuances in the wine. This is a fantastic start for a rookie winemaker! $22 MSRP.

After the Sauvignon Blanc came the 2012 Mersoleil Reserve Chardonnay. This is a barrel fermented Chard and when I saw it was included, I honestly cringed internally because I am, admittedly, the biggest opponent of California-style Chardonnay’s. As much as I am a fan of the 7 Culinary Sins (if you watched Food Network Star season 9, you’ll understand…but if you didn’t, the 7 culinary sins, according to contestant Russell Jackson are sugar, fat, salt, liquor, bacon, ice cream & offal), wine should not taste like you’re snacking on a stick of butter and a handful of oak chips. Sorry. Had to say it. Sorry. But the Reserve Chardonnay blew that idea out of the water! The nose was buttery and inviting with notes of tropical fruits, burnt sugar and butterscotch. The palate brings the tropical fruits and oak to the forefront, but it’s not overwhelming. It is nicely balanced and I think the reason why it is so comes from two reasons. One, they let these grapes have a longer hang time to bring the acid levels in check. Two, while it is barrel fermented, the malolactic fermentation is held to a minimum. $32.00 MSRP

Immediately following the Chardonnay was the 2011 Belle Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir. With bright cherries and cranberries on the nose as it opened up, plus the beautiful ruby color, my notes, palate and nose immediately said, “Is this secretly an Oregon Pinot??????” This was a nicely balanced, stunning Pinot that made me want more. $44 MSRP

Finally…we got to the big daddy. The 2012 40th Anniversary Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet. This was opulent to say the least. Ours had been decanted for roughly three hours at the point where we tasted it. There were notes of anise, spice, tobacco and chocolate on the nose and tons of dark berries and tobacco on the palate with nice tannins that delivered a balanced, tart (but not puckering) Napa Cab that has plenty of years left on it. If you read through the twitter feed for this (#caymus40th), you’ll see that everyone who tried this had a different experience, based on if it had been decanted and how long it had been decanted for. The color was best described by Josh Wade of Nectar Tasting Room as “sinfully dark”, as you can see in the picture below. $60.00 MSRP


Summer’s Here!!!!!! What are you going to do???

Summer is here, and the start of what I’ve heard as the “Wine Tasting Season” is upon us. To which I reply with an emphatic, “HOORAY!” (even though I know there a lot of places that are open year round).

With that said, I thought I’d take a moment to recommend some of my favorite places when you’re out and about this summer, if your travel plans take you to Oregon or Washington.

Willamette Valley, OR

My must-stops in the Willamette Valley are:

Argyle Winery: Argyle is known for their Sparkling Wines, but they also have a still lineup that is just as interesting as their bubbles. They are, unarguably, one of Oregon’s premier producers and an ambassador for Oregon Wine. Their quaint farmhouse tasting room does get busy, so I recommend getting there early or going during the week. Address: 691 Highway 99, Dundee, OR.

Barrel Fence Cellars: This winery was stumbled upon by my cousin and I one day and I’m glad we stumbled upon them! They do two Pinot Noirs, one from 45° Latitude North and one from the 45° Latitude South parallels (if you’re not aware, the 45° Latitude North runs through Oregon and the 45° Latitude South runs through New Zealand), a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and a Dundee Hills Pinot Gris. Address: 8880 Worden Hill Rd., Dundee, OR

Kramer Vineyards: Kramer Vineyards. What can I say about them that’s *bad*? That they’re remodeling the main tasting room so you get thrown off when you enter through the back area? Nah. That’s a temporary inconvenience. That I can’t get enough of their wines (especially their Brut…which is part of my last meal, FYI…and yes, the winemaker knows it! LOL)? Maybe. Or that I could easily spend an entire paycheck here and still not be satisfied? Yeah. The wines are that good. For a fun treat, ask about the Sparkling Rosé of Carmine. Two locations: Vineyard & Winery: 26830 Olson Road, Gaston, OR & Downtown Carlton Tasting Room: 258 Kutch St., Carlton, OR.

The Willamette Valley doesn’t appeal to you? Okay…well, then, try something different. Instead of heading south or west from Portland, head NORTH! Yes, north, as in north of the Columbia River to beautiful, historic Vancouver, WA! Seriously. Disregard the “Vantucky” & “Vamsterdam” references you may read about. Yes, we may like our chain restaurants (YouTube “Vancouvria”, our hilarious interpretation of the hit show “Portlandia”, select the episode “The Dream of the Suburbs Is Alive” and you’ll get my point), be a little bit country-fied and have legalized marijuana, but there’s some seriously awesome stuff coming out of Vancouver & Clark County.

First stop? Burnt Bridge Cellars. Seriously. DO IT! Located off of exit 1D (AKA the second exit in Vancouver, or Mill Plain if you’re familiar with the area) on the corner of 15th and Broadway, Burnt Bridge Cellars brings it with their Syrah, Pont Brûlé and their surprisingly complex Semillon. Address: 1500 Broadway, Vancouver, WA.

After Burnt Bridge Cellars, get back onto I-5 and head north to exit 14. Yes. That far. You will be in the city of Ridgefield. Turn right off the off-ramp, take the right fork at the traffic circle and follow the road to Gouger Cellars. Located in an old firehouse, Gouger gives you a vino experience that’s second to none. Get a glass of the Zinfandel, one or two of Gary’s delicious appetizers and go watch the neighbor’s alpaca’s frolic in the field directly behind the tasting room or go up on the roof and enjoy the mountain views. :) Address: 26506 NE 10th Ave., Ridgefield, WA.

Next, go to Three Brothers Winery. When you get there, after taking in the sheer awesomeness of the property, which has vineyards on one side and a picturesque lawn on the other, try the Dry Riesling and the Pinot Noir (if they have more than one of their Pinots open, try ‘em all). Address: 24018 NE 29th Ave., Ridgefield, WA.

Wine not your thing? Have no fear, Vancouver and Clark County *IS* in the shadow of beer excellence. There’s some excellent breweries in Vancouver. My personal recommendations are Dirty Hands Brewing, Loowit Brewing and the winner of the 2013 “Battle of the Brews” through our local CBS affiliate, Heathen Brewing.

If you can’t make it to my recommendations, then here’s a piece of advice: Find your local wineries. Get out there. Support them. They need your love and support! :)