The best part about being a wine-geek is [without a doubt] the ongoing set of new things you discover, taste, experience, and learn about on the journey to full-blown wine nerd. I’ve lately become a huge fan of the history in Washington and the juicy, impressive wines the region is producing. And, who’s with me on this – it’s just FUN to say Walla Walla.
On the topic of grape growing and in particular, Washington – I find the words of Karen MacNeil out of her 2nd edition Wine Bible especially on point, not to mention actually, very exciting:
“Most of the world’s classic grapes can grow in lots of places, but each has a kind of spiritual home – a place (or sometimes places) where that grape can ascend beyond what is merely good and be transformed into stunning wine. In the 1990s, Washington State, much to most wine drinkers’ surprise, emerged as one of the great spiritual homes of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The phenomenon was startling, for only a dozen or so years earlier most winemakers’ hopes were pinned on gewürztraminer, chardonnay, and other white grapes that filled the vineyards. As it turns out these grapes (still widely grown in Washington) make good wine there…. What you notice immediately about Washington Cabernets and Merlots is the concentration of the wines. It almost seems as though, by some magical osmosis, they’ve been infused with the PRIMAL LUSH BERRYNESS of WILD NORTHWEST blackberries, boysenberries, raspberries and cherries.”
When I think Cabernet, especially top-tier cabernets, conventional wisdom immediately and almost always points me directly to Napa where 55% of the crop population is exactly that – Cabernet. Then again, I admit my lack of formal knowledge and realize that as a new(er) region, Washington has so much to offer.
Being self-taught in any topic is going to present it challenges. For me on this wine journey over the past several months, this has manifested into disorganized study which effect can be expressed in my failure of the modern-day colloquialism to “work smarter, not harder”.
With my readjusted timeline to pass level one before June of 2018, I’ve got no more time to waste and I need to study in a formal setting.
Enter Austin, Texas this November. I’ll take my first wine Masterclass in an actual setting amongst my fellow Guild members.
In this masterclass, MS Chris Tanghe will lead a tour of the wine regions of his home state of Washington. In its relatively short history as a winemaking region, Washington has achieved success in a wide range of varieties and styles as the country’s second largest producer of vinifera wines. The class will accompany tastings, of course, and hopefully lead me to an expanded network of wine students, or better yet as I seek my own, a new group of wine nerds.