Andrew Will Winery 2006 Sorella red wine

Dafuq is wrong wit’ the Seahawks??? Let’s spell it out… new cast, lack of depth, no Golden Tate, and most importantly, no offensive line. It doesn’t help that they’re playing quality teams every single week while their non-performing list resembles something more like the Yankees’ injured-reserve list. They probably won’t make the playoffs this year but if they can lay a Rock-sized whoopin’ on the 49ers on Thanksgiving Day, then we can call it a decent season. And, what up with Felix not winning the Cy Young Award this year? They guy only bettered a long-standing record of 7-innings of no more than two runs scored upon held for eternity by HOF Tom Seaver. So he coughed up a loogie in Toronto in mid-September? Sixteen super-quality starts didn’t mean much. Too bad Felix doesn’t pitch in New York or else, no question, he would have got it. It’s a sad fact of life he pitches for the T-ball hitting Mariners. And, can we now one-up the “Coug’d it” with a “Dawg’d it” after that pathetic loss in the desert by those Puskies? I swear, there is nothing better to see than a Husky fan after a loss! Huck the Fuskies!

Looks like wine bloggers are back in the news. There was a rumor that Paul Graygut was in the Houston area recently to do a book signing. How do we know? A wine drinker in nearby La Porte called in to say, “We are used to funny smells around here whenever a wine blogger is in town, but when he showed up, I thought something died in the house. We started burning candles but his smell didn’t go away.” Then there’s this note from our Los Angeles bureau where Sean Sillyvain was invited to do a wine seminar aboard a cruise ship. After his bogus presentation to a group of non-English speaking Communists, hundreds of passengers became infected with diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and a bogus palate while admitting that they were told to become wine bloggers in their own country with the mantra of “fake it ’til you make it” as is the creed of that flakey buttworm himself. Finally, Shona made the sports front page Monday with DEA agents raiding several NFL locker rooms looking for that brokeass wine leech who was reported to be stealing bottles of champagne purchased for the victorious teams. The Federal agents also had a tip that Shona luvvvvvs horses and that she was also seeking some that were hung like a…

Catching up on recent news, we heard Sean recently won some type of award he begged for so we called him for an interview, of which he asked money for so he could pay his July rent but eventually backed off and volunteered his lame time.

Wineman: “So how’d you celebrate when you were declared the winner?”
Sean: “I jumped so high, my tampon almost dislodged itself. But, I brought my entourage on stage and we danced to that Pharell song, ‘Are You Fappy?’, doing the jazz hands thing with our twerking.”

Wineman: “I heard you had another falling-out with your Asian-fetish gf. What happened this time?”
Sean: “Well, as you know, I unseated my idol as the premier wine-stealing reviewer for the D-list wine mag so I’ve been blackmailing all these wineries that never gave me a thought before. That’s taken up all my time so Anny was complaining that I had tight nuts and a rusty tool. Well, when I have plumbing problems, I go to my nearest Ace Hardware store and bought the solution. When she came home from another stressful night waiting tables, I seduced her then sprayed my weapon on her blue waffle. She got upset and left the apartment even though I pleaded with her that I bought it because it was advertised as “Makes old tools like new again; tools slide in and out with ease; lubricates dry passage ways; makes screwing a pleasure; and gives better penetration.” She still didn’t appreciate having WD-40 sprayed on her kooch.”

Wineman: “So I take it she wasn’t happy when she found out you were bangin’ Stacey after meeting her at a food bar convention? How did you manage to bed a food company executive?”
Sean: “Easy! I just told her I don’t need to flirt and that I’d seduce her with my awkwardness.”

Wineman: “How’d that work out?”
Sean: “She told me to go deeper but, like a Pikachu, I had no PP left for that move.”

Wineman: “Are the peeps you meet at these conventions that easy to bed???”
Sean: “Oh wineman, I always soften them up with my feminine agreeability, then lay down this line– ‘If you say no to oral sex, somewhere a little rabbit starts to cry.’”

Wineman: “Hmmm, I tell women that I’m a Midwest forecast– ‘I’m like a snowstorm. I’ll give you 10-12 inches and make it inconvenient for you to move in the morning.’”
Sean: “I tried something like that but it didn’t get me far. I told some wine bloggers, both male and female, that I’m like a southwestern forecast– lots of hot air moving in with a quick two inches.”

Wineman: “And how did you first meet Jameson?”
Sean: “He shouted something sexually aggressive at me when he worked at Esquine Liquor Store and we just went from there really.”

Wineman: “I don’t get it. Why don’t you just settle down with one partner?”
Sean: “Life is short! But then you meet ‘The One’ and he or she makes each day drag on for like an eternity.”

Wineman: “Are you honest with each of your sex partners?”
Sean: “I am always upfront with each of them. I tell them I will love them forever and ever… until something better comes along or I get bored.”

Wineman: “So how did Anny take this latest breakup?”
Sean: “I told her she needed to move on and forget me and all my free passes to wine events. She tweeted back, ‘How am I supposed to forget you when everytime I go outside, I see things that remind me of you, like garbage bins and dogshit.’”

Ya know, with everyone and his ex-gay lover putting out ‘Top 50 Wines’-this and “I drank 713 wines to make my Top 100 Wines”-that before we even have a chance to buy that TG turkey, we’re noticing some pretty sleazy characteristics about these lists. For one, only wineries that donate their products will qualify. What happened to “I found this great wine I BOUGHT and put it to the test.”? After all, if you’re gonna tell a consumer what wines are so-called “great” then it should be understood that mister dood-on-a-pedestal has walked in the consumer’s path, visited the outlets that cater to retailing, and drinks the wine as a consumer would, at least to confirm the wine pairs well with a meal as opposed to being a fastidious meal-in-a-glass, of which such wines are really made to excel in testing and not at the dinner table.

One winery that’s missing on all prominent lists is Andrew Will Winery. Perhaps, owner Chris Camarda knows the bullshit racket of the local wine reviewers and refused to partake in the superfluous hyperbole that plagues these second-rate, half-ass wannabes because it surely isn’t due to his wines sucking.

This winery is transitioning to the next generation of winemaker as his adopted son assumes more responsibility over the daily operations. This is a natural course of evolution that is occurring in all the venerable Washington wineries of significance. Think Leonetti Cellar, Quilceda Creek, and Januik Winery, to name some of the top-tier players.

After all, if Washington didn’t have so many family-owned wineries then they would fall victim to the shitty, thoughtless transitions like what’s going on at Columbia Winery. Thankfully, that is still the exception than the rule, but for how much longer?

There is plenty of truth-in-advertising when Chris says his top-line ‘Sorella’ red will age for decades. This 2006 has the tattoo of a life expectancy out to another 25 years in the cellar.

He wasn’t kidding.

This bottle was opened five years post-release, made from grapes harvested eight years ago, and still tastes like day one. And, in full agreement, the wine evolved with grace and elegance after a couple of hours. Images of Grace Kelly dancing under a grand chandeliered ballroom wisped alluringly as I gazed-while-glazed at the rain-stained ceiling.

Tasted at 55-67 degrees on the IR temp gun. Youthful garnet edge with a deep core of magenta reveals aromas of satiny-sweet oak, black currant, black cherry, and freshly crushed cloves of black pepper. Firm and full on the palate with a near-eternal presence displaying bold black fruits, cherry river, dark plum, black olive, burnt tips, cinna-mint, pencil shavings, and black licorice. A bullseye match with grilled ribeye, portabello, and Inca sweet onions.

Alcohol: 14.3%. Horse Heaven Hills AVA. 71% cabernet sauvignon, 17% merlot, 8% cabernet franc, 4% petit verdot. Average age of vines: 30 years (Champoux Vineyard, folks). Barrels: new Taransaud. Aged 21 months. Bottled June, 2008. Released February, 2009. TA 0.66. pH 4.0. 1326 cases. Power: 4/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 4/5. Rated: 94. Value: $70. Paid: $65. Music pairing: “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Washington AVAs 2014 Growing Degree Days Total

This will go down as the BEST EVER vintage of Washington wine!

AVA (station) – - – - – - – - AGDD50(lta)-(2014)-(2013)-2014 rain (“)

Red Mountain (Benton City)- – - 3134 – - – 3599 – 3195 – - 3.7

Columbia Gorge (Mary Hill)- – - 3043 – - – 3544 – 3308 – - 7.1

Wahluke Slope (Mattawa)- – - – 3034 – - – 3527 – 3225 – - 3.2

Horse Heaven Hills (Paterson)- -3008 – - – 3445 – 3164 – - 3.8

Lake Chelan (Chelan South)- – - 2896 – - – 3359 – 3092 – - 8.4

Ancient Lakes (George West)- – -2895 – - – 3315 – 3192 – - 3.6

Rattlesnake Hills (Outlook)- – - 2892 – - – 3431 – 3180 – - 4.3

Walla Walla Valley (W.W.)- – - -2808 – - – 3331 – 3050 – -10.3

Yakima Valley (IAREC)- – - – - -2645 – - – 3082 – 2860 – - 5.0

Snipes Mountain- – - – - – - – -2535 – - – 2998 – 2821 – - 3.6

Naches Heights- – - – - – - – - 2295 – - – 2845 – 2605 – - 4.5

Puget Sound (Mt. Vernon)- – - – 1585 – - – 2048 – 1750 – -32.1

–info from WSU V&E (posted Nov., 2014)

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Gard Vintners 2013 Grand Klasse rose

Did you fall back one hour?

You know what chides my hide more than wine bloggers? Yeah, nothing. But, what comes a close second is anti-Americanism.

Yes, we got total monkeyasses shooting at law enforcement like Eric Frein as well as some local dingleberries like Jaylen Fryberg who, as a teenager, gunned down his own classmates and family. We have hit-and-runners mowing down innocent teenagers out celebrating Halloween. We have political parties that represent only themselves. We have churches that protect child molesters. We have convicted felons winning mayoral positions (Marion Barry). Our educational system is consistently ranked outside the world’s top-25. We believe that owning a firearm is a right, while most of the rest of the world blames that right as the crux of all our violent endings. And, we are the only country that stokes the “racism” card to this day.

So, along comes this recent blog post by some rancid, beedy-eyed 33 year-old Commie named Joe Pingpong or something distorting all kinds of statistics about ‘Merica (MY ‘Murica!) in some macabre attempt to kowtow to his Communist commanders so he can be assigned a posh 400 sq. ft. flat in Shanghai with a drove of hairy-armpit concubines at his beckoning.

Yes, I’m talking about asinine faux-facts presented to his one-party Communists that the USA is all about: (1) $3500 mandatory car insurance; (2) $30,000 for a low-end whip; and (3) that most Americans cannot graduate from high school because they’re idiots. This dingleberry distorts and imagines numbers almost like Sean does with Walla Walla wines.

What is truly disturbing is that his blasphemy against Americans is propped up and held as truths by the brutal and tyrannical singular party in his home country of China.

In a wineman exclusive, we discussed the finer points of his repulsive blogpost and agreed this was what he was really saying about his own frustrations of climbing the ladder within his own Chinkanese system of success. The following is his real message to the world.

“China is about as civilized a country as being an offspring of Joan Crawford. We profess unity but we have no choice. You see, we have only one political party as we simply cannot tolerate differences amongst our people. We would rather hasten their demise by firing squad than assume their innocence and spend copious amounts of blood money, earned off the low wages of our exploited workers from our vast rural areas, on lengthy trials in front of a judge we haven’t properly blackmailed.

And, to prove our control of our citizens, we limit their fornicating to one child per family. You want more? Mutherfocker, you better blatantly bribe your local government commander because we cannot pay that asswipe enough to support his own family and ten bitches on the side. And, if you get exposed, we will deny any approval of your misdeeds and then publicly shame you before confiscating your entire assets.

Speaking of kids and their toys, we have the reddest fire trucks and shiniest bumpers in the world! That’s what cadmium and chromium can do if you just relax your environmental standards. Same goes with our efficient factories. Smog problem? F*ck it. Consider it a fart that Mother Nature blows toward Japan. Those punkasses will forever pay for what they did in Nanjing.

We want the world to think we have the best educational system. We want ‘math whiz’ to be synonymous with us even though we send our best students to American colleges. You may think ‘Singapore Math’ is the shizznits but we let them slide until they diss us. Then, we will invade their chicken-rice economy and piss all over their inferior Muslim beliefs.

And, while on the subject of education– why bother teaching creativity and uniqueness when we can just steal ideas by illegally hacking into American company websites? It’s so much easier!

So what if you find dead baby girl bodies dumped in our rivers. We call it voluntary population control.

It’s true, we still bind all patriotic girls’ feet. Historically, it’s been to keep them from running away from their abusive, arranged-marriage husbands. Today, it’s all about minimizing their breakaway when they become disobedient from our police or sex-crazed party officials.

Yes, we still eat dogs. You call them pets. We call them ‘dinner.’ What a waste of protein.

We spit in the streets. Often. That’s why we don’t have droughts.

Speaking of streets, we love our newfound vehicle called the car. It gets us from A to Z, regardless of the divider stripes and traffic lights. You call it ‘DWA’ (Driving While Asian). We call it ‘F*ck you, get outta my way.’

We don’t believe in underwear for our children. It’s not our fault they can’t control their waste. Let them figure it out. I’m too busy saving money for an overpriced Bordeaux.

And since we don’t believe in underwear, why bother with fancy toilets? Just dig a hole in the ground then shit and piss in it. Simple. No need for fancy, imperialist three-layer thickness toilet paper infused with baby oil. Is your asshole that delicate? Condition that area by practicing anal like the Africans do. And, be thankful we’re not Indian where they shit in the streets in broad daylight.

Nobody owns a house in China. Even if they did, when we need their land to put up a shiny new building, we just take it. F*ck individual rights. It’s all about the Communist party.

There’s no dissension in China. We relocated them to our version of America… the Gobi Desert. Yeah, they protest whatever they want out there.

We love our neighbors! When we feel they have a valuable natural resource to exploit, we provide assistance by sending our security forces to defend against anyone we deem to be a threat, even if it’s that country’s own citizens.

You see, America, you think freedom is what makes you the greatest country in the world, but if you would just let one party control the nation, you will find greater progress and uniformity. Why, look at our comrades to our south… North Korea!”

Speaking of which, Vietnam in still under Communist control, but with slightly more tolerance. This is not to be mistaken with the foods of Vietnam that are now popular in our great region. Don’t be misguided… most of the local Vietnamese hate the situation back in the mother country, not too much unlike the Cuban and Nicaraguan immigrants. However, aside from politics, let’s talk about the foods that drive the community.

What brokeass student hasn’t queued up for the cheap Vietnamese sandwiches called banh-mi? These things used to cost a buck but are now worth a five-spot to acquire and yet, are still considered a deal. This is mostly a lunchtime luxury for the working-class but this somewhat knockoff-with-a-Frnech-twist of a sub-sandwich is the petrol that feeds the engines of the blue-collar workforce.

What the hell is a banh-mi, you say? First off, think of it as a crispy, freshly-made French baguette that is stuffed with fresh, pungent ingredients within its soft inner-linings. There’s julienned, pickled carrots and turnips nestled with cilantro and sometimes, cucumber. Add steamed pork, cured pork, and sliced chicken then slather a dollop of mystery pate and you have a poor man’s fulfilling masterpiece called lunch.

Think about the ingredients… nothing overly strong, other than the pate, which tastes something like Libby’s canned “potted meat.” Notice, when a manufacturer refuses to state on the label the provenance of the meat source, this can only be a good thing… for your taste buds if you’re a foodie. We all know what the prime cuts of the major meat groups taste like. However, it’s all about those lesser cuts that deservedly should end up in our pet’s food bowl that really turn on the palate. Overall, the taste combination is fairly thin in depth, albeit bountiful on the surface. And, this is where a wine should duplicate that profile. That wine is this one.

Look, whatever happened with the recent turnover of the infrastructure at Gard Vintners is done. I don’t care much for what happened because I liked the former setup but it’s all a memory now. They took a sledgehammer to the foundation then rebuilt it and this wine is one of the first jewels manufactured under the new order.

This rose wine can be touted as some Provence wannabe but the fact is, less than 1% of the locals have been there so they have no clue what the resemblance is so why bother hyping the wine as something mirroring a Provencal wine? Strange marketing….

For the Vietnamese readers, this is the wine that should be served with those staples of cheap Vietnamese faire like goi cuon (spring rolls), banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), banh xeo (Vietnamese crepes), and cha lua (pork rolls). It’s a rare, perfect match. There’s not a better wine to pair with these nibbles. You know I’m not the only one who knows this.

Tasted at 46-60 degrees on the IR temp gun. Best under 55 degrees. Color: white currant. Nose: strawberry potpourri, cherry powder, peach. Mouthfeel: cotton candy. Tail trail: 6 seconds. Flavors: strawberry-cherry mineral water. Bold, firm, ephemeral.

Alcohol: 13.1% Lawrence Vineyards. Columbia Valley AVA. Produced and bottled by Lawrence Cellars of Walla Walla. Winemaker: Aryn Morell. Varietal (clone): grenache (Tablas Creek), block 9. Aged in 100% stainless. Harvested October, 2013. Bottled on March 14, 2014. Released: April, 2014. RS 0.02%. TA 0.68. pH 3.53. 306 cases. Retail: $22. Paid: $16. Value: $16. Power: 2/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 1/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 88. Music pairing: “I’m Not The Only One” by Sam Smith. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Lauren Ashton Cellars 2011 chardonnay

Was hoping for better but this was a tough vintage…

Tasted at 53-63 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: light gold. Nose: lemon, grapefruit, singe of oak, supermarket bread. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: green apple, nectarine, lemon zest, Mexican pineapple.

Alcohol: 14.0%. Bottle #1683. Washington appellation. Retail: $25. Value: $15. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 88. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Beringer Vineyards Luminus 2012 Oak Knoll District chardonnay

Pleasant, but overpriced.

Tasted at 57-62 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: luminescent gold. Nose: lemon, chopped pecans. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 10 seconds with a vibrant mid-palate lift. Flavors: lemon zest, nectarines, orange rind, bitter pear.

Alcohol: 14.3%. Napa Valley nested AVA. Winemaker Laurie Hook. Retail: $35. Paid: $25. Value: $20. Power: 3/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 90. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Vin du Lac 2012 Columbia Valley chardonnay

If you’re in the local wine industry here, you can plan your obit around the month of October. If you make it past Halloween (or, in Shona’s case, Beauty Pageant Day), consider yourself alive for another year. We lost a titanic five years ago when David Lake went to teach the Lord how to vinify grapes. Then, we lost a Washington original in chef de emeritus of Chateau Ste. Michelle in John Sarich earlier this month. Last week, the demons lurking inside Eric Dunham of Dunham Cellars finally persuaded him, reportedly, to eat a bullet in that quaint resort town of Cannon Beach, OR. He left behind a son who will spend the rest of his life asking, regretfully, why?

Wine aficionados know of Mr. Dunham’s artwork through the artwork that graced the Artist Series of wines that headlined his eponymous winery. Those wines were good but everyone knew that the high premium for those wines were more for the artwork than the quality within the bottles. Art and wine go together; just ask any hoidy toidy art gallery hosting an “opening night” party. People don’t spend thousands of dollars (while sober) on something an elephant can splat together. Eric’s works were, suffice to say this, bizarre. However, what modern artist hasn’t endured criticism from those who don’t “understand” what the artist is attempting to convey? Anyone can draw circles with high-contrast paint. Painting a Mona Lisa is a whole ‘nother matter.

Perhaps, the clue that provided a window into Eric’s dark chasm began when he even chose to take up painting as an endeavor. It is well-known that “artists” have a higher propensity toward suicide than other intellectual explorations. The odds are stacked against artists… men are four times more likely to close their books than women, and whites are twice as likely to commit self-harm than blacks. That same 2x factor goes with artists.

Creative people, in general, are more apt to prematurely end their own life for many reasons, but there is a growing understanding that those who “become” artists essentially have found an outlet to express their lack of some sort of conformity within their society.

One can look immediately to a most famous example in Vincent van Gogh. The Dutch-Frenchman hacked off his own ear during another purported psychotic episode before later dying by a bullet to the chest (allegedly self-inflicted although no gun was ever found).

However, the bigger loss might be that of John Sarich. His Saturday cooking shows on KIRO, Taste of the Northwest, pre-dated that of Emeril and all that clunk and clutter hoarding the PBS airwaves, with locally-inspired dishes that anyone in the area could comfortably attempt. The fact he was showcasing his culinary artistry as a representative of Chateau Ste. Michelle during the sunrise years of the modern Washington wine industry attests to his importance to the industry. The local executive chefs of the last twenty years can all tell you they got some motivation from watching Mr. Sarich’s televised cooking demonstrations. He did it when no one was, and for that, he should be honored in Washington Wine’s Hall of Fame.

Speaking of notoriety, the folks at Vin du Lac have gotten on the radar with us. Both flattered but not intimidated, we have Larry and David on the list of followers on our social media account and that is greatly appreciated but will not sway us in how we evaluate the wines from this notable Lake Chelan AVA winery.

Let’s just say that the wines coming out of the Cascade Valley have not been too inspiring to drinkers west of the Cascades. Most of the sales tend to come out of their tasting rooms, plentifully attended by weekend and summer tourists drawn to the splendor of Lake Chelan itself. And, we continue to attest that people with money on vacation tend to loosen their critique of premium wines. That’s a natural given. I would have no issue paying $15 for a coffee and croissant on the boulevard in Paris, yet I balk at coughing up three lousy bucks for an Americano at the twin-tailed mermaid.

However, that built-in hypnotized audience continues to stifle exceptional winemaking.

There will come a day when no amount of scenery will blissfully continue the illusion that a scenic lake can uplift the quality of food and wine served there. The Alliance can wine-and-dine half-wit wine bloggers into grossly overhyping the wines but those in-the-know see right through the smokescreen and will eschew buying any wines with the Lake Chelan title. Until then, the other AVAs will deepen the fissure of quality separating these AVAs. Sure, there are a few exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority of Lake Chelan AVA wineries continue to underperform while their balance sheets remain somewhat healthy. A false sense of entitlement if there ever was one…

Alcohol: 13.3%. Tasted at 55-61 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: bright lemon. Nose: hay, lemon crème, peach. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: lime, nectarine, mint julep, lemon, grapefruit. Columbia Valley AVA. “Barrel Select” whatever that means. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 1/5. Rated: 87. Paid: $15. Value: $8. Music pairing: “Title” by Meghan Trainor. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Eroica 2013 Columbia Valley riesling

Oh Florida. A Tampa woman manipulated herself to make it look like she now has three, count ‘em, THREE boobs that she supposedly paid $20,000 for to have a third funbag surgically implanted on her chest all in a quest to have her own reality show on MTV. You know, the Music Television channel that doesn’t play any music. Whatever happened to the usual path of, like, joining to college to get a degree in journalism/communications, paying your dues at a network, then earning the right through skilled talent to have your own show? Yeah, that was soooo last generation cause it makes too much sense. Rhode Island makes its dubious debut here on the blog when a 53 year-old sot set the modern-day record of getting DUI’d FOUR times in four DIFFERENT vehicles over a 30-hour period. On a Monday morning when most of us were fueling up on caffeine, this grunt blew a .22 for a cop. And, hey, did you know that Europe beat the U.S. in the Ryder Cup? Yeah, not one f*ck was given that day.

Hey get this, gang,– a blog that proclaims itself to be an “independent” and has “Washington wine” in its name no longer posts reviews of wines from Washington! How much of a moron must one be to not figure out this wank of an author is (1) not independent, but very cozy with industry insiders who ultimately control the content of said wine blog; and (2) think about it… a Washington wine blog that doesn’t review Washington wines. What a twat. We have said this before: the readers there are the fools for thinking they were getting an honest, untainted look into the glorious wines of Washington State. They finally figured out they were really reading a cheap PR stunt of the featured wineries making themselves look good in exchange for cases of free wine. Trick or treat, wine drinkers!

Where did we get all these weirdass blends lately? Perusing the tasting rooms and markets, there are some scratch-your-head combinations that make no sense. I never gave thought to much of these besides their value as a shock-marketing tool. Sure, blends originated long ago from the great chateaus that basically did a field blend, harvesting grapes regardless of their varietal when the clusters were ripe. The most famous example is the “Bordeaux” blends of France, utilizing up to six prime varietals for red wines, as required by their appellation’s restrictions. Other wine laws allow anywhere from 15% to 25% blending while still being allowed to be labeled by the major varietal’s name. This type of allowable blending is intended to develop more pleasing characteristics that a 100% varietal cannot display. Whether it be a deeper color (vision), more complex bouquet (smell), or flavors (taste), these blends were intended to impress the end-consumer and either charge more or prove that any leftovers at the winery could still boast a superior profile. Regardless, a blended wine has many origins; sometimes, it is made out of necessity or created to improve upon a varietal.

Then, there’s the consumer’s version of blending. Picture this, you’re at the dinner with friends and the last drops in the bottle are insufficient to completely fill your glass. The next bottle the host brings out is another type of wine. What do you do? Well, if you’re a true explorer of wine, you do what I do– fill ‘er up, Gaston! That’s how you discover that a pinot gris and sauvignon blanc synergistically do better than the individual components when paired with sushi. Or, add a dash of a earthy, peppery mourvedre into a glass of tempranillo and it stokes a pleasing fire with a fresh platter of paella. Or, cross it up and make your own satisfying blend of viognier and syrah. Pinot grigio with merlot. Sangiovese with a splash of dry riesling. They don’t always work, but at least you will know.

This 2013 edition is the 15th vintage of Washington’s most celebrated riesling and continues the trademark expectations of what a German perspective can do to a Washington grape. Crisp acids and aromatic fruits define Eroica riesling and this bottle bests its predecessors of the last four harvests. With just enough dissolved carbon dioxide to tingle but not corrode, this riesling will light up a platter of artisan cheeses. The balanced fruit profile along with a touch of sweetness is complex and complements spicy Indian curries and Sri Lankan sambal to perfection. Got invited to an Indian family’s dinner and want to impress? This is the wine to present… and you may want to tote an extra bottle!

Tasted at 53-62 degrees on the IR temp gun. Thin straw in color with a summer shower of lemon blossom, guava, and pomelo. Also light bodied on the palate with a collage of grapefruit, lime, slate, and crushed white rock.

Alcohol: 12.0%. Guessing the TA is 0.7-0.85% and pH 3.0-3.15. RS between 1.6% and 2%. Thousands of cases. Retail: $22-25. Save some moolah and buy it at Costco for $14.89. Ready to enjoy now but also worth keeping for the 25th anniversary. Power: 2/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 91. Music pairing: “Shower” by Becky G. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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