Another WAwineman classic, 1st posted on January 29, 2010:
What is up with these mongol-looking faces popping up in ads for lending or supplements?? Talk about fugly! Oh, I guess it’s eye-catching but I still ain’t a clicking on the ad. Lesson #2 on how not to do a web ad…try reading a Seattle Times online article; you get this annoying visually-blocking ad and I don’t care if it’s the Seattle Storm or Teatro Zinzanni, you are gone from my consciousness…<close!>. And, the ultimate…I received this in the mail yesterday: “limited to 1% of U.S. residents” (read: that’s 3 million folks), a credit card made of carbon!, and VIP airport lounge access! Wow, you mean with my pristine 830-credit rating, I qualify for this? Sign me up! Oh, btw, it costs $495 a year, every year, for the privilege. Do I get a rebate like a Costco card? No. Do I get miles? No. Do I get a low APR? 13.24%…no. Do I get to piss on your application as I’m ripping it up and tossing it in the wastebasket? (click.)
There are a few wineries that appear an enigma to me and this is one of them. Woodinville Wine Cellars apparently started up in 1999, according to WineTrailsNW, but the Better Business Bureau (and the winery) sports a 2002 business open date, probably at their current location, which owns the title of…”Closest Winery to the 98072 Post Office.” There is not another winery within at least half a mile, considering cozy Woodinville has around 60 of them and they tend to cluster around each other to maximize visitor arrivals.
Winery owner Stan Barrett also is the sole American distributor, via Art Culinaire, for Lacanche professional cooking ranges. Stan also produced “Fantastic Foods of the World—Burgundy”, which sounded like a book, but really is a 48-minute dvd.
Sean Boyd is the winemaker who humbly started his wine trail working at a California wine shop as his first job, period. Wine shops appear to be a good training ground for winemakers…think Charles Smith and Mike Januik. Imagine seeing a 15-year old across the counter selling you a bottle of wine. Awkward! He has since worked harvests around the world and has honed his blending skills without the need for formal wine education.
As for the tasting room, it is closed to the public between November and March. The only access is via an arranged private tasting, which is costly, or through special events such as the upcoming “The Perfect Pair” red wine and chocolate event on Super Bowl weekend.
And, the last of these enigmas is the strangest of all…their lineup of wines. Five straight varietals and three blends. This year, Sean will add a cabernet franc and a single-vineyard syrah. Only one white to show and it’s a sauvignon blanc. The flagship 2005 “Ausonius” got renamed with the 2006 vintage to “Indomitable” as the winery respectfully bowed to the graces of a prominent French chateau’s request. Two of their wines have peculiar abbreviations in “O.M.O.” (Odd Man Out) and “L.M.S.” (Last Man Standing). And, last but not least, is their hush-hush alter-ego called Envious Winemakers, responsible for the super-value “Woodinville Red” I discovered in a Fred Meyer last October.
Onto the food pairing.
This was part of my very own impromptu Food and Wine Challenge. This wine competed with King Estate 2008 Signature Collection pinot gris over the following foods: Spam-powdered macadamia nuts, traditional shrimp tempura, shiso-infused takuwan (pickled radish), and the nastiest of common Japanese cuisine…natto (fermented soybeans). Do not try this combo at home, folks.
The goal was to discover what worked with this meal. I’m a Washington-kind of wineman so I was cheering for this wine. Rooting. Screaming. Even “fixing” the contest…but then I’d end up under the table handing cash off to…myself. Didn’t work. The sauvignon blanc’s tartness butted heads a little too much with the umami dipping sauce for the tempura, flattened the mystery-meat Spam flavors, and didn’t dance well with the crunchy takuwan. Not dead yet, I chose to do a blending in-the-glass with half of each wine, trying in vain to recreate the magic I savored at a high-end sushi bar called Sushi Sasabune when I paired the incredibly expensive sushi (avg. $11 an order) with the native-Japanese wine grape called koshu. Turned out to be a close second place.
Color: a happy pale straw. Nose: honeydew, apple, hint of lemon skin. Faded with time. Mouthfeel: sides of the tongue forced into saliva production, stat! Tail trail: 3 seconds. Flavors: peach, pink grapefruit, lemon, blood orange. Indistinct identity.
Music pairing: INXS “Wild Life”. Alcohol: 14.2%. Vineyards: 80% Artz (Red Mountain), 20% Stillwater Creek (Frenchman Hills). 80% stainless, 20% French oak. 570 cases. Released May, 2009. Rated: 87. Value: $14. Paid: $18. This is WAwineman…uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.
Purchased at World of Wines (Redmond) upon recommendation.