Arizona. Everyone knows this is the mecca for sun-drenched deserts, towering saguaro cacti, and ranges of majestic mountains. But rolling vineyards? Absolutely. In fact, Arizona may very well be one of the next up-and-coming wine regions in the country.
Our timing for visiting Washington state wineries last month might have one thinking we had the inside scoop on Wine Spectator’s editorial calendar. One of the latest issues that featured the Top 100 wines also included some in-depth articles about Washington being a rising star in the wine world. We couldn’t agree more. In a two-week period, we covered close to 700 miles and visited 35 wineries and wine bars. Yes, you read it right…35. And, we were tasting wines from the 2012-2014 vintages, which have been highly rated due to favorable weather conditions in the state. I’ve already recounted our visits to Woodinville and all of the main wine regions of the Yakima AVA, so now it’s time to share highlights of our four-day visit through Walla Walla.
More than 100 wineries can be found in the Yakima Valley. That said, with only four days to explore the region, we barely made a dent. However, many of them are in close proximity to one another, making overall logistics easy, particularly with a GPS-enabled smartphone! When scheduling a trip to this area, I recommend calling in advance as many of the wineries are only open on weekends and have different seasonal schedules.
Yakima Valley, a rich agricultural epicenter, is where you can truly experience farm to bottle at its best. Boasting more than 13,000 acres of vineyards, it is a diverse AVA that offers everything from the small, local family winery to the large-production winery with national distribution, and to everything else in between.
If you are seeking a vibrant, urban wine tasting experience, then Woodinville is your place! Located about 20 miles northeast of Seattle, Woodinville is home to more than 140 wineries, wine bars and tasting rooms. Although you won’t encounter the typical vineyard experience here, many wineries in Yakima, Walla Walla, and other AVAs have tasting rooms in Woodinville, bringing the wine directly to you in a dynamic atmosphere.
Todd and I embarked on a 2-week journey through Washington state wine country today. We have an action-packed itinerary that includes stops in Woodinville, Yakima, Walla Walla, and the Tri-Cities areas.
One of my favorite magazines, Sunset, recently announced that October is Sonoma County Wine Month. I love Sonoma and personally could celebrate it every month. Fall is a particularly great time to celebrate Sonoma, when harvest is at its peak, the grape leaves are turning color, and the change of the weather and thoughts of upcoming holidays are simply conducive to the romance of wine.
I’ve come to realize that Trader Joe’s is surprisingly polarizing. You’re either a Trader Joe’s fan, or you’re not. Those of you that fall into the latter category may already be rolling your eyes, desperately clicking off this page out of disinterest, or maybe even annoyance. No problem, it’s not for everyone. For all others, I wanted to share my latest TJ’s wine experience, which has turned up a fantastic white, a surprising Brunello, and a couple bargain-priced Amarones that I would buy again.
Who knew there were so many days in the year that give us guilt-free permission to drink wine! Today we celebrate Cabernet Sauvignon, which has wine geeks worldwide doing a happy dance. To celebrate, here are some fun facts to impress your friends with when you pop open that bottle.
Do you have that one place you drive by frequently and keep saying, we’ll stop next time? It’s not as though you have a compelling reason for the drive by. It just happens. Well, I can happily cross one of those “next time” places off my list because I finally made the stop. And, ironically enough, this time it took a cross-country flight to do it. But it was well worth it.