Saturday, June 12, 2010

Winemakers Rock out with their Corks out, 3rd Annual Wine Rocks Seattle

Seattle Wine Rocks 2010 - Images by Alan Alabastro

Wine Rocks got off to a strange start this year with a small group of wine enthusiast/geologists who had become confused by the event title, and had been operating under the assumption that this whole wine rocks thing was about wine and rocks. And while the geology of Washington State is to "blame" for all the top notch wine that is being made here in Washington, it wasn't that kinda party.

While the rocks do help make amazing wine, there's another side to that equation: the winemakers, who spent the event rocking out, uh, with their corks out. Rob Newsome of Bourdreaux Cellars out of Leavenworth gave us a sense of his southern Louisiana roots with a little blues action to kick off the event. After Rob; Paul Gregutt and some renegade-looking rockers, The Paul Gregutt band took to the stage followed by Jamie Brown of Waters Winery out of Walla Walla (and winemaker of one of my favorite Syrahs in the world with their Forgotten Hills). Jamie went a bit wild on us, he was not messing around, donning black and sunglasses he unleashed a obscenity-filled can of lyrical whoopass upon us. I want to say that Gordy Rawson of Chatter Creek went on last, but I might be wrong about that. There was also this young cat who was very handsome and could sing quite well. I didn't catch his name but he was wearing a knit cap, or the Canadians would call it, a touk. My man could sing like a canary, or maybe something more sultry but I just couldn't get past how warm his head must have been.

Oh, there was wine at this event, and as a wine blogger, I should probably talk a bit about that. There was a lot of wine, a lot, and I didn't get to drink all of it, but I definitely hit some of the highlights.

The Cabernet Sauvignon from Walla Walla Vintners was one of the wines that I've not had before and so I was pleased to give this wine a whirl. The wine is 100% Sagemoor fruit from what may be Washington state's oldest vines. This wine had very chocolatey notes on the palate and an excellent finish. I was very impressed.

I was also happy to see one of my favorites from last year's event, Donedei Wines, pouring their Cabernet and Merlot. Both wines are from some of Washington's most amazing vineyards, Ciel du Cheval and Elephant Mountain. Carolyn Lakewold is making amazing wines down near Olympia, so go see them if you get the chance.

The real treat of the evening for me were the two Syrahs that Eric Dunham was pouring. I hadn't met Eric before but made a lot of assumptions about him based on his rock star winemaker status. Pairing up with the guy from Dune doesn't seem to have effected Eric. He was friendly and given how loud it was with all that rocking that was going on, he was patient with my questions. His Syrahs, the Double River and Frenchtown, are both single-vineyard 2005 Syrahs from Walla Walla. The Frenchtown was my favorite of the two; an elegant wine that is a confident example of Washington Syrah.

Wine Rocks number three is in the books, and the Hard Rock Cafe proved a worthy site, the crowd was bumping with another sellout. The beneficiary of the event was Art Corps, the community organization that seeks to grant access to art education to children from all socio-economic communities. We also benefited as these vintners were pouring top shelf wines, many of the wines we were tasting ranged from $35-$65. They weren't holding anything back. Jamie Peha put on another fabulous event again this year; good job, Jamie.


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