JM Cellars 2013 Klipsun Vineyards sauvignon blanc

How about that?

Fourteen fat-fucks associated with the hierarchy in soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, were indicted by the United States for “rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted” corruption. Charges include taking over a hundred million dollars in bribes in exchange for votes as to where the next World Cup will be held. Evidence includes witnesses and video footage of the real exchange of money for favors. Apparently, this grotesque form on “pay to play” has been in play for a couple of generations. Word of caution to all the wine reviewing fuckfaces of the rags like Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, and the lesser pubs like Wine Enthusiast and Food and Wine: baby, all that free wine you extorted from desperate wineries ain’t gonna pay for your bail. Count this blog in as to who filed a complaint with the Department of Justice against these unscrupulous rags.

As for another sign of the coming Armageddon, a Seattle cop killer who is currently playing the mentally insane card was described by prosecutors as “not normal but not insane” after being asked by the judge what similarities the defendant had compared to local wine bloggers.

The multi-generation unwashed armpit of Seattle, aka Central District, is now projected to be less than 10% (by 2024) of the root cause as more Asians and Latinos gentrify the centrally located inner-city zone known for drive-by killings, muggings, and gang-related sorties. Of course, that filthy, putrid trash of a ghetto population has to move somewhere, and generally, that move is southbound so expect more violence to overrun the quiet communities of Skyway, Tukwila, Renton, and Kent. That’s what happens when all you can afford is fortified wines wrapped in a brown bag. Hey, at least it’s environmentally friendly!

Of course, morally vacuumed dimwits are not limited by color. Soon-to-be former State Auditor Troy Kelly has to deal with a new accusation that he used stolen funds to pay for his defense of tax evasion. Whether it’s blue-collar, white-collar, or a fat-lipped orange-jumper, a crime is a crime and the bill comes due for these swindlers.

Your phone is a computer so, yes Martha, it can crash like one, also. Android users have long known of its vulnerability to viruses, worms, and other malware which can hijack a users control and steal personal information. Well, that also includes, albeit to a much lesser extent, iPhone users as it was recently revealed that a nonsensical string of Arabic characters in a message can cause the iOS to crash. A belated welcome to the wired world for those who thought these problems would never affect them. so naïve.

Back to Stupid Seattle News…

Some numbnut with nothing to do over the weekend decided to jack an Ezell’s Express food truck from a Kent storage facility then stripping the insides of $100,000 worth of fryers and refrigerators before abandoning it under the Spokane Street Bridge where it was found on Tuesday morning. Like yeah, how are you gonna sell or use that equipment without getting snitched on? And, to top that, a car thief in Ballard, aka New Florida, smashed and grabbed a pair of sunglasses from a couple’s gas-powered horse, thinking he made off with some easy cash. But, in typical hoodlum intelligence, he didn’t bother with the lottery ticket that was resting under those same sunglasses. That lottery ticket turned out to be worth $1 million that the couple later verified.

It’s been busy here at world headquarters lately with several kickball teams headed for the playoffs. We know many of you readers are sad to not get your weekly fix of real wine reviews from reviewers who know their shit about wines and are not afraid to throw a right hook to anyone who disputes this fact, but… it is what it is. This has been an unusually busy year with the change in strategy of the mother ship that pays our bills so hang in there, Joan, we are workin’ our asses off but we be whistlin’ like sistahs!

JM Cellars has been off the radar, so to speak, on many wine blogger’s radars simply because they despise these cheesy halfwits who write with the artistic skill of a doofus. Not much has changed with this winery, other than the addition of the estate Margaret’s Vineyard at SeVein. Yes, parking is still at a premium at their reclusive winery and their wines are still very difficult to find; however, they are producing more wine so that means, if you’re a professional wine sleuth, you can acquire a rare bottle at specific outlets and at specific times of the year.

We are fortunate enough to have yet another early summer here in the Seattle area so that means popping a lot of white wines at 5:31pm. The rose wines have been meh so thankfully, we have a better option in the releases of sauvignon blancs. While other white wines have been questionable in their quality over the 2012-14 warm stretch vintages (with ’15 expected to be warmer), the sauv blancs have been consistent with muscle-y melon, citrus, and tropical fruit flavors. I mean, what more can you expect out of a sauv blanc up here? The gravelly, mineral flavors have always played a foundation role but why would anyone expect any less? Lesser sauv blancs fall prey to a winemaker’s apathy. Overcropped yields, mal-judicious use of oak, and/or neglect of acid management conveniently leads to a flappy lemon drop of a wine. Thankfully, and this is never a given, Woodinville is endowed with winemakers that give a rip when it comes to producing the state’s best sauvignon blancs. And yes, I’m talking about all those faceless, blended sauvignon blancs made east of the Cascades.

It is no secret that a sauvignon blanc made by a Woodinville winery has been owning the annual white wine awards here on this blog. It’s good shit, mon. So, to be fair, we have sent scouts out to find every other worthy sauvignon blanc made in the area that should be considered for pertinence. JM Cellars has always been known for quality so we did our due diligence and found its offspring playing happily in a wooden bin at a discount merchandiser. And, this is what we found…

Tasted at 53-59 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: illuminescent light gold. Nose: cantaloupe, melon, pitcher lemon. Mouthfeel: medium-weight. Tail trail: 8 seconds. Flavors: apple, melon, grapefruit, white gravel, tropics, crisp acids on opening. A great pairing with Vietnamese appetizers. Now, some lunkhead senior wine writer claimed “toast” from a “barrel” but this wine never saw the inside of any barrel. Good going, Greg P. Utt– you dumbass. The attorney general wants to have a word with you, but she’s afraid you’re too damn ugly to approach and might get infected with all those wrinkles you gots.

Alcohol: 14.2%. 5% semillon. Red Mountain AVA. Fermented in 100% stainless steel. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 3/5. Choad Enthusiast rated this a ’91’ so you know what this got from this blog. This wine was featured in a recent pit dance party inside Kirkland city limits and all hell broke loose by the end of the night. So, drink at your own risk of revealing your hidden organs. Just sayin’. Value: $20. Paid: $20. Music pairing: “Whistle” by Katy Tiz. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Guardian Cellars 2014 Angel sauvignon blanc

Another cash money night, thank you Mayweather!!! Good guys finish last.

Welcome to the 1970’s issue!

Here’s a first world problem that some of you out there understand.

If you’re like me, you do a fair amount of traveling for your j.o.b. You negotiate deals from a distance then fly over to seal the deal and make the company sustainable for years to come. You call the shuttle service so often, they recognize your voice and the driver knows how many bags to expect for that 5am pickup. You roll through check-in then drag your designer spinner carry-on over to the caterpillar line at Starbucks to fuel up for the long flight then grab a paper and an impulse-buy gossip mag just for kicks then settle in to a strategically-placed seat near the gate door. After a few priority levels, your status “club” is called and you make that solemn trek through the tunnel to the jet and rubberneck your way to your seat. All belted in, you grab the airline magazine and curiously wander its pages. Then, it hits you…

Who the fuck reads this shit? Like I really want to get in early on that flamingo-colored Miami beach club condo. And what of those horrendously gemmed-up rings from some French-sounding designer? Nope. And I’ll pass on that black-and-white wingback chair that’s tall enough to seat Lurch. And, yeah, I know all about the steaks at Metropolitan Grill and John Howie.

But, the worst of these white-peeps problems are the asinine ads for hooking up with other busy deadbeats in my world. Single? Check. Successful? Since birth. Selective? We talkin’ about breast size? Simply too busy? I wrote the book on unproductivity– heck, this blog proves that. Then, the eyes drovel down to this photoshopped picture of a middle-aged blonde with the Botox’d eyes and perky boob job as she sucks in her gut for the camera. Like, uh, no. Holy crap, batman? This bitch has fifteen, FIFTEEN!, offices in the country and one in jolly ol’ England. Um yeah, I ain’t about to shell out for a $10,000 nookie run and surgical piece of art.

Whaddya ya know… a few pages later, there’s a full page ad for visiting Beaver Creek. Yeah. Been there. Too many times. Some with full bush. Some clear-cut. Some with low hanging meat hooks, some with a look that made me wonder, “Is this considered statutory?” This, followed by a “Date Smarter” full page ad proclaiming matchmaking through a lunch date. No, I’m not interested in meeting a nearly eyebrowless blonde who graduated from Huskyville to be a sales agent for Big Pharma. A few more pages down, and yet another matchmaking service where another Barbie promotes finders keepers. This smells of legalized escort services and makes me wonder if the balding dude next to me is a presage to my own decline.

Then, hey, flip the page and baldy over there can be cured via robotic technology with hair transplants. That’s just wonderful. I can imagine the day when HAL 9000 is assigned to my bare melon and short circuits when its computers realize I have no pubes to harvest from, thus igniting my oiled scalp and leading to fourth degree burns.

But hey, the inside back cover provides the remedy as I can contact some big time lawyers and settle out-of-court and all’s well that ends well.

Where’s my neck pillow?

Okay, cocks and chicks, it’s Quiz Time!

The category is… 70’s detectives tv shows. With a little assistance from a neighboring tasting room gimp, see if you can stump the wineman for a great bottle of wine! As always, no cheating via the internet or any other reference tool. Pull it straight from your noggin’. You have three minutes (about 5 seconds per question). Your time begins… NOW!

One standard bottle:
1. Telly Savalas played detective Kojak. What was Kojak’s first name?
2. Barnaby Jones was played by the same actor who starred in The Wizard Of Oz. What character did he play in that movie?
3. Robert Blake portrayed Tony Baretta. What famous singer belted the theme song for the show?
4. Raymond Burr was Robert Ironside. What was his character’s middle initial?
5. James Garner was the main actor for The Rockford Files. What was his character’s first name?
6. New York City was the setting, Hal Linden was the lead actor. Name the show.
7. Pepper Anderson was the main character. Who played the character and name the tv show.
8. Columbo was one of the longest running tv detective series covered by one actor as the lead. Who played the lead character?

One magnum:
1. David Janssen played Harry O in the series. The “O” stood for?
2. What was the name of The Streets of San Francisco lead detective played by Karl Malden?
3. “Hondo” was the nickname of the lead character for this white-hot but short-lived series. Name the series, the full name of the character, and the actor.
4. Erik Estrada was one of the lead cops for this show. Name the show, his character’s full name, and nickname.
5. Who played Starsky and who played Hutch?
6. Rock Hudson was the lead actor in McMillan & Wife. What was McMillan’s first name?
7. Darren McGavin starred in The Night Stalker. What was his character’s name?
8. Who played Frank Cannon?

One jeroboam:
1. New York City, Los Angeles, and this other city were the most frequent settings for 70’s detective shows. Name the city and at least three tv detective shows based in that city.
2. Who played Joe Mannix?
3. Dennis Weaver got the lead role as Sam for this tv detective show. Name the show.
4. George Peppard was the freewheeling lead for this ephemeral detective show. Name the show and the city it was set in.

A case of single-vineyard cabernet:
1. Pete, Julie, and “Linc” were undercover cops for this groundbreaking counterculture detective series. Name the tv show.

And for you pussies who are going WTF?, here are some brainless ones you can get even if you clicked through TV Land on the way to Playboy Channel. For a piccolo:
1. Jack Lord’s character name and the tv series.
2. Jaime Sommers. Real name or character? A question with bionic implications…
3. Lee Majors. Male or female?
4. Name the original three actresses of Charlie’s Angels.
5. Who played John Shaft?
6. Speaking of Charlie’s Angels, what were the first names of those original three characters?

DOUBLE OR NOTHING
70’s trivia (non-detective):
1. The original “pilot” show for Happy Days (before it was named Happy Days) was shown on this eclectic dramedy tv series. Name this iconic 70’s tv show.

NO PARTIAL CREDITS!!!
Comment your answers if you’re honest and got the guts to admit it. I don’t want to know if you cheated and neither does anyone else. Don’t ruin the fun. International readers get a few mulligans.

It’s Taco Sunday in the warehouse district and the official release of this blog’s unanimous vote for best white wine lineage. You hear that? Best. White. Wine. Lineage. Not “one of the best.” Not a one-hit wonder. And, it is coming-out day today. If I see your ass stealing my tacos in the parking lot, I will actually forgive you because of this wine. Just don’t thief my wine. And yes, you can hand in your answers while I chow down on some hot nasty double-wraps.

A great pairing with vermicelli noodles, fish sauce, lemongrass beef, and julienned veggies. Thank you, Nguyen sisters!

Tasted at 53-60 degrees on the IR temp gun. Smiling light gold in the Riedel and pushing scents of grapefruit, lemon crème, red apple, and citrus rind. Dense and full on the palate with a deep reserve of flavors true to the aromas plus mandarin orange and more pink grapefruit. Pleasant mid-palate lift. Pairs well with lighter-colored, healthy faire. A best friend to common vegetables, light herbs, white meats, mild dairy, and non-bizarre ethnic foods like fish tacos. Hard to calculate what this wine doesn’t pair well with.

Alcohol: 14.0%. Klipsun Vineyard. Red Mountain AVA. The usual Reiner regimen (see past reviews) for vinification. 525 cases. Expect to sellout by Independence Day so get yours now. Buy one to open tonight, and buy one more to open in three years. There’s a reason for the new French oak massage. Power: 3/5. Balance: 3/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 92. Value: $30. Paid: $20. Music pairing: “Whodunit” by Tavares. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Doyenne 2010 Aix syrah

Most of you, that is, practically all of you readers out there missed the recent Tasteless Washington event where hordes of wine whores convened in lower Seattle to score free pours of Washington wines.

The event kicked off with a wine tasting race called the WAcked Wine Derby where local wine bloggers whose writings sound like a three year-old hermaphrodite wrote them mount their overly obese lardasses onto a stick pony and skip around the track of wine booths, sampling wines as fast as they can then rating each one with equal perfunctoriness as they sprint to the finish line laced with green and purple cheeses and authentic prosciutto from California. Yours truly and my fellow peer reporter, Britt McHorny, announced the race.

Viewing the day’s racing sheet sponsored by Chateaus And My Shells, we see that the odds on favorite at 5:1 is none other than Walla Walla fanboy and overrater Sean Sillyvain. Not far behind is uber-horse luhhhh-ver who stole and claimed as her own–The Chiffons ripoff title of “She’s So Equine”… why that would be none other than Shona of Woodinville Wine Dipshits. Longshots squatting in the outer lanes include Margot, who peglegged it from the ass end of nowhere to place in last year’s free-for-all; Jameson the unemployed greaseball who would rather attend a wine seminar on anthocyanins than shag a Nordstrom model, male or female; and Kori the eternal wine creep who fluffs free wine from wineries that daddy had great influence in initiating the free pipeline.

The free-wine fattened hyenas are all locked into their gates then after a brief salute to the wine commish who gave them free passes while the poor masses actually had to shell out a few bucks to acquire those heavily discounted tickets, the bell sounds… Aaaaaaand, they’re off! Kori’s in the lead at the clubhouse turn. She nearly breaks the course record for the first furlong as she whips down a dozen glasses of 1 ounce pours from SYZYGY, Tempus Cellars, Terra Blanca, Tenor and Tertulia. Her only hangup was nearly choking on a stem from Thorny Rose.

As they enter the backstretch, some outsiders have taken the inside rails! Why look, it’s that old 50-something goat in William Blake G. splashing down his favorite Rainier Wines, Purple Star, and Saint Laurent Wines as he boasts that Napa wines are still better, but not by much. It looks like Bon Jonne is right behind him and appears to be giving assistance to his friend and Bay Area cohort by giving Willy a hand. No, literally, he’s pushed his hand so far in that it’s actually stuck up Willy’s ass! Britt looks shell-shocked at what she’s seeing and notices one of the track officials is about the disqualify the pair and she assesses the developing situation to the crowd, “Looks like Bon’s hand is in deep shit!”

At the far turn, Margot and Shona have taken the lead and… wait a minute, they have both suddenly slowed down as they pass the Viking stage. It looks like since there are no free wine booths in sight, they have decided to make out with their stick horses behind the stage. They convince the rest of the uninfluential field to hunker down and stroke the mighty stick that Shona rode and is now riding in a new and deeply disturbing posture. What is that moaning sound coming from? Says Britt: “Gives new meaning to the term, 14 hands.”

And DOWN THE STRETCH they come! Streaking past the VIP barrel closet, Doubleback, Dunham, and Dusted Valley tables, the Silly and Vain one catches a second wind of Walla Walla whiff but oh no!, his jockey pants have come undone down to his knees! You can hear all the guy wine bloggers go “Oooooo!” as they conclude he is not wearing any knockers, yet they see the trademark skidmark on his striped trousers. Britt smugly kicks in, “Will he be suspendered after the race?” Well, at least he’s not bringing up the rear. I can’t tell which one is his face, tho. Overheard in the crowd, “And I thought that smell only came from reading his stupid overrated-wines report.” Another bloke pops his antiviral medication and quaffs, “Guess he passed on the samples from Modesty Wines.” Next to me in the announcement booth, Jamie PeePee haa’d, “Well, now I know why the derps at Choad Enthusiast chose him.”

As to who won, I won’t spoil it for you because you just had to be there to witness history on par with the lighting of the Hindenburg. But, I got bills to pay so slide a Franklin in my handshake next time and I’ll tell ya.

The new DeLille Cellars is the same as the old one, except the prices are higher and there are more high-end offerings that you and I can no longer afford. Thankfully, their Doyenne lineup is still mostly in sane territory if you can find any on sale outside the chateau and Carriage House. Doyenne is the non-Bordeaux portfolio that encompasses the wines made with grapes best associated with the Rhone region of France. Suffice to say, this entry-level syrah offers the best value without the need to sell your gf, if only for a night.

Tasted at 53-67 degrees on the IR temp gun. Squid ink black with deep garnet rims, this Red Mountain AVA wine rocks the nares with black currant, red currant and red cedar smokelines. Full and dense expressing a muscular mid-palate of purple berries, sweet cedar, black licorice, sarsaparilla, blueberries, and black pepper, this silky juice seduces your soul while shading the fact that the grapes hail from the cold 2010 harvest. This is why you go Red Mountain, regardless of any year’s climate challenges.

Alcohol: 15.0%. Red Mountain AVA. Winemaker: Theodora’s husband. Power: 3/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 90. Value: $30. Paid: $32. Retail: $39. Music pairing: “Bills” by LunchMoney Lewis. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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14 Hands 2012 Kentucky Derby red blend

Seattle has transformed its core into a pathetic cornucopia of San Fran-wannabes. Apparently, cars have been outlawed in downtown, in favor of the two-wheeled pest that routinely runs stop signs. And now, these granola-crunchin’ varmints have just chased out two innocent elephants residing at the local zoo because they thought it was inhumane to house these magnificent creatures. At the same time, right-wingers were saddened to witness the shipping of the 4-ton creatures as they were crated onto a train destined to a city that routinely steals Seattle’s jewels (read: SuperSonics).

This is a microcosm of what’s wrong with Seattle ever since Amazon.com moved into south Lake Union. Home prices have shot into the stratosphere. Police are under more scrutiny. Traffic becomes paralyzed when a fish truck flips over on Hwy. 99. Prices for a shot of decent whiskey have more than doubled. And, you can drive west on Mercer St. However, we could still count on a zoo that had real elephants.

I mean, how can a city zoo call itself such without elephants on display? A zoo without elephants. I have never lived in or near a major city that didn’t have elephants in its zoo. This is the equivalent of my gf getting a double mastectomy because it’s the best way to eliminate breast cancer. Like using Windows but with Firefox. A “fast” computer with an AMD chip. There’s just something completely wrong with the entire concept. You feel it. You know it.

Seattle has become north San Francisco. They have trash police that make sure you are throwing castaways in the appropriate bins. They make their cops wear cameras because the “bad guys” are really the victims of the crimes they commit. Bicyclists have the ultimate right-of-way because they are entitled to it. After all, they aren’t polluting the environment like those 16-wheelers that transport those new rides to the bicycle shops. Jaywalking is a no-no despite some antiquated traffic light systems that make cars wait two minutes at an intersection with no cross-traffic. And, of course, it’s okay for two guys to make out in public but breastfeeding at city landmarks is considered offensive. This is all that is wrong with Seattle in 2015.

Thankfully, we have a safe haven that is wine. This is where monkeyasses like Shona and her all-too-creepy-intimate love of horses can roam freely. Where buttsniffers like Sean can dupe some crinkled, old fogies into hiring the moron to write for some D-listed wine rag. Where wine swingers like Dave and Arnie trade partners to keep slogging wine onto the clueless masses. Where it is no longer offensive to find Walla Walla wineries schlepping wine in Woodinville. Where even the tasting room staffers change allegiances like a seasonal menu.

Thankfully, there’s a consistent thread of an event that keeps our lives in check and that is the run for the roses. The event that made the mint julep famous. Those crazy-ass hats. The wild infield drunk hooligan parties. Yep, we’re talking about the most exciting two minutes in sports outside of game 7 of the NBA finals. The 141st running of the three year-old thoroughbreds will be on May 2, just a few hours ahead of the most important boxing event in the history of your life (Pac vs. Mayweather).

Current odds have American Pharoah from the south as the favorite but Dortmund of the west is the spoiler. This will be a photo finish–bet on that. 2 kilometers and these racers will be separated by less than a second when all is said and done.

It figures that a winery named for the measurement of a horse would become a prominent sponsor of the iconic equine sport, but this is the third year of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s parent company involvement with the Derby and it’s first wine that explicitly spells it out.

Let’s get some things straight here. We all buy wines at retail based at least partly on the wine’s label quality. I mean, let’s face it: nobody, and I mean NOBODY, of any decency will go out and buy a black-and-white label depicting a child-like scribe of a house between the block print words of “House” and “Wine” to present to honored guests at a home-cooked dinner. If you do that, then you must be a typical broke-ass smellier working for a big name restaurant or you are just a complete fuck up of a life. If you have ever bought a wine based on “Hey, that label looks cool” ethics, then you, pal, will buy this wine.

The label in itself is top-shelf worthy. Gold lettering with a red background and a ground-level shot of a couple prominent thoroughbreds racing by the grandstands. The label is beautiful enough to almost give me an eye boner. The fact that the wine is made under the auspices of Keith Kenison should clue you in that you should buy this wine.

This is a wine that is suited for the Derby clientele of crusty perverts and snooty, raisined bitches. There’s the trademark bold fruit that is Washington followed by a smooth mid-palate and a finish that resembles the woody, spicy tail that encumbers the cheaper wines.

Sadly, this wine has a recommended food pairing with crispy citrus shrimp and other foods not accustomed to bold dark fruits with a spicy tang. Skip the west coast uninformed recs and go with the Bluegrass classics– creamed bleu cheese, figged port chutney, hot browns, country ham, bourbon-marinated pork bits, fried green tomato blt, and pecan pie. And, it’s not complete without a garish hair cover.

For the rest of us commoners who cannot purch a ticket to the southern inbred event of the year, we have a hung-like-a-horse Pacific version of some equivalence. Leave it to the Japanese to figure this one out… carry-okay, that is the singalong to a favorite tune, has been lowered to a new standard with the $10,000 challenge of trying to sing a talented imitation of the original song… whilst getting a handjob! I kid you not. Find out which wine blogger won here– Japanese game show handjob karaoke.

Graded well with black bean tacos for you Tex-Mex denizens.

Alcohol: 14.5%. Columbia Valley AVA. Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah. Limited release.

Tasted at 56-66 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: dark magenta. Nose: red fruits, blackberry, green oak. Mouthfeel: medium-bodied. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: raspberry, plum, blackberry, redwood, dark chocolate, backend white pepper, pillowy but obscure tannins. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 3/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 89. Value: $18. Paid: $11. Music pairing: “Runaway Horses” by Belinda Carlisle. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Columbia Crest Grand Estates 2012 Gold red wine

If the last three months are any indication, then 2015 will be remembered as the nadir of wine blogging in Washington.

This blog notified all the other halfwits and dickweeds that we were on a winter break due to a huge project that would ultimately add a hefty six figures to our retirement options and what do the Seans and Shonas do? Nothing. They kept to their usual half-truths and woop-woops when they could have come clean and actually admitted that (1) one of them had not even a remote candidacy to become some brain surgeon despite majoring in psychology and even quitting at that; (2) glorifying a chat to some obese, bald fat fucks in torn overalls about not using cow shit to fertilize grapevines in Minnehaha; and (3) admitted that she only loves horses because they are hung lower than her ex-bf from the Mazatlan kitchen. But, then again, we’re talking about bloggers who spew about peripheral wine issues rather than the hardcore wine issues that readers want to know more about.

But, worse yet was the utter discombobulation of existing wine blogs that are disguised as emails. These sources must have lost their inspiration from this blog to keep blazing a clear, concise path on the current state of Washington wine. There’s this one clod who pushes wine that “stains your soul.” Really? And for only $11? Someone call the wine patrol and arrest this wine prostitute! The most pathetic issue in this is the wine was a cheapo California syrah. Makes you wonder if the varmint sold used cars prior to his current gig. Next up is another wine pusher that hyped up a French merlot, claiming his staff loved it. Of course, none of the staff dared put their name behind it. But, it sounded good! And, we all know merlot is a dead sell here thanks to that idiot movie. However, the most heinous violator in our absence was a gentleman of high esteem in the community. A man who serves his constituents well and versed dignified letters of pertinent commendation to individuals of current events. Unfortunately, between this individual’s intense obsession with all things mad in March, rabbits, and some orphan from Canadia, his negligence in regulating issues via an insubordinate server with a bloodline linked to HAL 9000 led to a blistering flood of identical emails that made all followers wonder if he had a few too many speaking engagements in the high-life district of Denver.

Nothing to fear for we have returned, for your viewing, this wine blog’s derrière. And yes, lots of codes and hidden goodies for you wine geeks to stay up-to-date on who’s plonking who in Woodyville.

My local schlepper turned me on to this hidden gem that is a “limited release.” This is the first in the line of “Gold” series that somewhat falls between the H3 single-AVA lineage and the value Grand Estates lineup. A so-called “couple of barrels” were set aside by Mexican John for this small-lot blend. Now, when one hears “a couple barrels,” one thinks maybe a 55-liter football or a standard 60-gallon cask but we are dealing with the state’s largest winery so their definition of a barrel probably resembles something closer in volume to a Heidelberg tun (almost 58,000 gallons) so be careful in your presumptions.

Whatever the background, this is still within the realm of the Grand Estates affordability and, as we all know from reading previous forecasts about the 2012 vintage here, the greatest rewards from the 2012-4 vintages will be wraught right here in the value village of $5-$12 wines. And, you would hard-pressed to find the breadth of cheap-ass quality Washington wines anywhere other than the Evil Empire that is Columbia Crest. You may have better-looking labels, L’Schoolhouse and Barney Griff, but the money’s in the stuffin’ and CC still does it better than anyone in Washington. And, this is where Washington wines are kickin’ ass lately. F- Chile. F- California. F- South Afuckra. And F- TJ’s. At nine lousy bucks, we be A-list stylin’!

Quite dandy with grilled lemongrass chicken breast, over-easy eggs, and marinated beef.

Tasted at 61-67 degrees on the IR temp gun. Magenta-garnet in the Riedel with a black pepper storm up the shnozz along with dark cherries. Surprisingly medium-full bodied on the palate with sustained flavors of raspberry, red plum, black pepper, black licorice, bitter herbs, and muddy boots. This is a wine for those desiring instant gratification along with thinking they are some wine expert either because (1) they drank more wine before the age of 21 than after, and/or (2) they have “lots of money,” therefore, they know wine.

Alcohol: 13.5%. Columbia Valley AVA. 52% cabernet franc, 38% syrah, 8% cabernet sauvignon, 2% merlot. First harvest date: 9-21-12. Fermented 7 days on skins. Aged 18 months in 10% new French oak. Power: 2/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 1/5. Rated: 87. Retail: $12. Club: $9.60. Paid: $9. Music pairing: “Style” by Taylor Swift. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Columbia Crest 2013 H3 Horse Heaven Hills chardonnay

F— Butler. F— Virginia. F— Villanova. Bracket busted way too early this year.

Sure has been a long, warm winter around these parts. Just made it through a long, drawn-out project that’s just getting some publicity and will soon hit your cozy, shmozy homes sometime later this year. Unlike other blogs that drag the same dead horse subjects because there’s nothing else to discuss… we chose to ease up on the rhetoric and let those half-wits blog about useless crap and let you decide how much you miss this perfect wine blog. Yeah, even those vomit-laced emails sent out by those revolving “wine consultants” aka smellier-wannabes pushing cheap wine on the clueless masses got a free pass. What were the results? S.O.S. Same. Old. Shit.

So, as we embark on another year of patrolling the local wine blog scene, let’s start with the fundamentals of Washington wine.

First off, our common ground between us writers and you readers is this… Washington wine is where it’s at. The wines coming from Washington State have been the best punch for the money since at least 2005 (some will argue 2003, but they’re old fogies who also hit on the teen waitresses). Ask the once-upon-a-time A-listers like Daniel Marino, Damon Huard, Kyle Maclachlan, Drew Bledsoe, and any debt-free doctor and they will concur with this.

Next, understand the 13 districts that want to be known as unique entities of wine fingerprints. No, we do not count the recent approval of The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA for the simple reason that it is a stupid name for an American Viticultural Area. Someone with the IQ of their shoe size decided on this mal-creative name and it figures that this is yet another cluster of arid land in neighboring Orygun.

There are many reasons to designate an AVA. Most are for ego reasons. Some dino-brained, high school dropout farmer hired an English major whose daddy works for the Feds and maneuvered their way through the system (read: old boys network) to get this fluffy title. However, look deeper and a few of these designations actually do have some real meaning for the masses of curious, moneyed wine drinkers. Take Red Mountain for example. This is rare and pristine acreage primed for red grapes. So, when you see a red wine bottle listed with “Red Mountain,” you can most assuredly be comforted that the wine will be a conversation stopper, regardless of price. It also helps that the proprietors of the vineyards within the AVA are as close-knit as family so they minimize the possibility of some “made in China”-type of questionable wine. Think about it… aside from some jackass’s weak effort at a sangiovese some years back, who else has made a shitty wine with the bold label proselytizing the Red Mountain name? Yeah, can’t think of any.

Then there’s the AVA with the “I know I make great syrahs so I will charge extra so that you pay for the free bottles I send to any jerkoff wine blogger.” Yeah, that’s Walla Walla. And, despite Walla Walla, the city, being wholly within Washington, the prime grape-growing sections are actually across the border in that other state. So, when you’re shelling out bookoo bucks for that anus-smelling syrah, just know that you are supporting yet another overpriced Orygun wine AND you still think you are drinking stellar Washington wine. And that’s why those yippees who tout Walla Walla wines are about as credible as Enron stock.

For you newbies to Washington wine, here’s the real lowdown. For white wines, the hierarchy begins with Ancient Lakes AVA. Any white wine labeled “Ancient Lakes AVA” is a safe bet to being the best white wine in Washington. That goes for riesling and chardonnay. And, to be specific, go for Evergreen Vineyard. There are no bad white wines that are labeled that way, and, if anything, you are getting a better return on your investment. Runner-up is the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. This AVA has the ideal combination of schooled winemakers and fabulous terroir for white wine grapes.

For reds, it goes deeper. Red Mountain for non-syrah, non-zinfandel grapes. Wahluke Slope for non-cabernet, non-merlot grapes. Walla Walla for syrah. And Horse Heaven Hills for a nice side-trip for all the reds.

Wanna get specific? Fine, let’s call it what it is since no other wine blogger or even half-decent wine scribe will lay his balls down for this. The best vineyards for cabernet sauvignon are: Red Willow Vineyard, Champoux Vineyard, and most of the older plots on Red Mountain. The best syrahs are made from older vines in Boushey Vineyard and a few acres in the Walla Walla Oregon area. The best cool climate grapes (chardonnay, gruner veltliner, pinot gris, etc.) are grown in the Columbia Gorge AVA and if you are in at Syncline Wine Cellars, then you know your shit.

Everything else is a crapshoot.

First off, watch the vintages. Avoid 2010 and 2011 like the plague unless the wines are from Red Mountain AVA because that’s the only AVA that survived the Ice Age. Pieces like Wine Expectorator require blackmail to get a rating. Buttwipes like Choad Enthusiast overrate the wines consistently so subtract like at least 3 points from the listed rating. Anything Paul Guttless rates should be deducted an automatic 5 points. Talk about the king of graft in the wine world.

Secondly, know your appropriate price range. White wines that will please the general population from wine tards to wine master-baters should cost no more than a Jackson. We’re talking a WAwineman-rated 90. For red wines, it’s a little more complex. Cabernets up the median to $25 and red wines fall in the range of $20-25. Syrahs are in the $25-30 range. Some like the fruit, in which case you should stay low and drink early versus the stinky secondary fumes with more antioxidant wood artifacts that moneyed drinkers will part a U.S. Grant for.

Cult wineries? Ask yourself why. Who are you trying to impress? Status costs money and that money is better spent on a high-priced screamer with a Hoover for a mouth than dropping down for some slick-named, old-time winery’s juice. I mean, like seriously, we just returned from a shindig that served up $140 cabernets and as great as it was, it ain’t the end all as far as dinnertime enjoyment.

Lastly, know this… Washington wines are fruit-forward like everything else not made in France. These wines are made to be drunk early. Why cellar a well-made $25 Washington cabernet when it was made to provide immediate pleasure? Many of the wines priced under $70 are made to drink well NOW. Sure, they can cellar for decades but why? You lose that primary fruit character for softer secondary flavors. Ask yourself if it’s worth it. Perhaps, buy yourself two bottles then. One for now and one to share with your high-schooler brat. Or, stash ’em both. Or, slog ’em both with the change of seasons. Never say never.

F*ck riesling. I brought this bottle over for some beef curry and I will say this… if you’re gonna have beef and chardonnay, this is the perfect pairing. The curry matches the heavy vibe of the beef yet brings an ameliorating presence that allows for a harmonious match that even Indians adore.

Tasted at 55-61 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: bright light lemon. Nose: yellow flowers, peach, orange blossom. Mouthfeel: light-heavy yet dense. Tail trail: 7 seconds. Flavors: orange zest, Marcona almonds, cantaloupe, red apple.

Alcohol: 13.5%. Horse Heaven Hills AVA. Fermentation 14-20 days with Burgoblanc, N96, Prise de Mousse, Chanson, and Premier Cuvee yeasts. TA 0.51. pH 3.39. Many thousands of cases. Power: 3/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 3/5. Rated: 90. Value: $18. Retail: $15. Paid: $9.89. Music pairing: “Never Say Never” by Romeo Void. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.

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Woodinville Wine Honors (6th vintage, 2014)

Still the longest running honors gala in the heart of Woodinville, whatever that means!

2014 was another of change for the better. The first honor for Washington wine was a Chester Kidder 2009 red wine being served at a state dinner for France’s president at the White House. A big, fat California winery (Canvasback by Duckhorn) setup roost on Red Mountain in what should be the first of many Cali ex-pats arriving on our musty shores. Speaking of California influences, Force Majeure hired a winemaker from Bryant Family Vineyards that put more prime Red Mountain acreage in the hands of non-natives and former residents. And more graduates of the wine program at South Seattle C.C. took up space in the warehouse district. Now, why Betz Family Winery buying an estate vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley made such news with other wine floggers is the real puzzle there. Who gives a flying fcuk?? And, we seal up the year with vintage news that 2014 will be the best since the unanimously heralded 2007 vintage, and may even surpass that and 2005 to own the latest “best vintage ever in Washington” moniker. And the beat goes on…

The best news within city limits is that most of the wineries have finally depleted their stock of 2010 and 2011 so we can look forward to better wines at your favorite tasting venues in an industrial setting. The 2012 reds are showing well now. Not great, but good enough. No one worked harder to get tourists and wedding parties into the warehouse district to buy up all the flat stuff so that the locals who snuck in on Seahawk Sundays could enjoy the new releases in peace. We high-fived some fans at a tasting room with a flat-screen tv and we all know that a delicious red goes well with a Seahawk victory! Is there a better combination of witnessing Jim Harbaugh go down in flames (twice!) and drinking the blood (red blends) of those fallen 49ers? We think not!

To the awards…

Best tasting room experience: Bunnell Family Cellar/Upland Estates. Finally, someone got the message that a really dandy lineup of wines deserves a well-manicured plate of charcuterie. The lethal Bunnell syrahs and Upland Estate whites are a fine match with the selected cheeses and cured meats and the staff is congenial and upbeat. Everyone else just fell a step behind…

Rookie of the Year: Ambassador Vineyards. Always the most competitive category, it seems. The tasting room is as big as the wines, whose grapes hail from Red Mountain’s former La Coye Vineyard. That means the wines will be bold and the staff attentive and knowledgeable (and pretty, too). The gals may not all be from Benton City but they have that small-town friendliness that makes walking in a fun and comfortable experience. Of note, the other finalists are neighbors– W.T. Vintners and Savage Grace Cellars. Watch out for these two as they develop their lineup of alternative headline wines that eschew the fighting Bordeaux lineage. Their ode to Rhones, Burgundies, and obscurata fully rounds out the varieties available in the warehouse district and makes for wonderful exploration of Washington’s ideal climate for grape growing.

Winery of the Year: Pondera Winery. Ever since their entrance a couple years back, this winery/art gallery has upped their game with each vintage and now sports a lineup of wines every bit as colorful as the artwork hanging on the walls. Strong and sturdy are the reds with the malbec as its biceps, get their wines now as they are underpriced. Really underpriced.

Red Wine of the Year: Pondera Winery 2010 Stillwater Creek malbec. Fine, fine… yes, it’s from the 2010 vintage (cool year) but the vineyard is sited in a warm zone so the grapes performed well and this is the result. Read the earlier review…

White Wine of the Year: Guardian Cellars 2013 Angel sauvignon blanc. Like seriously, this is one heckuva wine, year after year after year. Is it a felony that we, the wanted, hired a confidential source and another informant to draw a chalk line to other wineries’ sauv blancs but our rookie’s palate was tainted by the gun metal wine in those mini-kegs (a misdemeanor in our P&Ps), some 50 (five-O) or so, sprouting around the warehouse district so she had an alibi and besides, she’s an angel, too.

Washington Wine of the Year: Cooper Wine Company 2012 Estate carmenere. Those big, bold, complex, nuanced, and elegant wines that you remembered from yesteryear… yeah, they’re all back and in this one package of rapturous delight. Don’t let the carmenere listing scare you as this is representative of what’s going on in the Red Mountain AVA. THIS is what carmenere should taste like at its best. It ain’t a cheap bottle but holds its value well and you will be proud to serve it at your own state dinner with a spicy prime rib or grilled porterhouse.

Merry F’N Christmas, winos! I gotta get on the next plane out of here…

Next week, we will feature Sean Sillyvain’s Top 100 wines of 2015.

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