Monday, November 19, 2012

Finding a Spark

This fall I've been blessed with quite a few visitors to the fair city of Seattle.  Why they didn't choose to come over the summer when the weather was simply gorgeous, I do not know...but I digress.

Visitors are always a great opportunity to reacquaint myself with the local booze scene; an activity that Kyle, Rebecca, and I embraced last weekend in Woodinville Wine Country.

On this journey both Kyle and I were determined to check out wineries we were less than familiar with.  With a tasting room located in the Hollywood Hills Wine District near Purple, our lunch destination, Sparkman Cellars fit the the bill nicely.

Frankly I'm a little embarrassed that Sparkman hadn't been on my radar before.  They've certainly received quite a bit of critical acclaim lately including recognition as Wine & Spirits Top 100 Winery, Wine Spectator Rising Star, and Wine Enthusiast Rising Cult Winery.  Nonetheless, after an amazing visit with Larkin in the tasting room, they're definitely on my hot list now.

Sparkman Cellars was formed in 2004 after an impressive career in the restaurant industry for Winemaker Chris Sparkman.  Strong relationships in the Pacific Northwest wine industry allowed Sparkman to source some of the very best fruit in Washington early on.  Without great fruit you can't have great wine; Sparkmen seriously has some great fruit from some of my favorite vineyards:

  • Klipsun, Red Mountain
  • Ciel du Cheval, Red Mountain
  • Boushey, Yakima Valley
  • Stillwater Creek, Columbia Valley
  • Evergreen, Ancient Lakes
  • Red Willow, Yakima Valley
  • Temperance Hill, Eola Hills (Oregon)
Told you.

With a little care, magic, and attention Chris handcrafts the juice into simply phenomenal artisan wine.  Two particular highlights stuck out for me during our tasting.

The Wilderness is a red blend that varies in composition from year to year using the fruit left over from the varietal specific wines of that vintage.  Sure, it's seconds...but we're talking seconds from the best vineyards it the state, so yea.  At only $28, you're getting a phenomenal bargain on a delicious, drinkable, and flavorful wine.  I've got a bottle on the rack.  Look forward to a full review when it gets cracked open.

The 2010 Darkness Syrah was simply...gorgeous.  Fruit forward yet balanced and silky, this 100% Syrah was the star of the day.  Sourced from Boushey and Olsen vineyards, this bottle is worth every penny of the $62 purchase price.  If only my wine budget allowed for more $62 bottles!

 Next time you're looking to put a little spark into your Woodinville tasting experience, stop by Sparkman Cellars and savor every sip.


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