Friday, September 18, 2009

Weekend in Woodinville - Part 1 of 3

Written by Liam Carrier
Edited by Sheila MacCallum

A Weekend Away

To celebrate the only-important-to-newlyweds milestone of six-months of marriage, my wife and I went on a weekend trip in June 09’. We weren’t celebrating six months because we thought it unlikely that we would make it that far, but rather because the date landed on a Friday and it gave us a nice excuse to plan a weekend away, something we rarely do. Also, due to a fantastic engagement party that my mother had organized to which everyone had brought a bottle of wine for us to consume when special conditions have been met, we had a nice bottle of champagne to be opened on the occasion of our six-month anniversary. Why not plan a trip around that?

And so we found ourselves at Tulalip Casino & Resort, in Washington State, about two hours south down the I-5 from Vancouver, BC or roughly thirty minutes north from Seattle. This resort caters to gamblers and shoppers with a 200,000 sq. ft. casino floor and adjacent outlet mall. Not big gamblers, I was eager to use the hotel primarily as a staging area for my assault on Washington State wineries, and my wife was eager to shop.

My goal for the trip was to visit two large wineries (Chateau Ste-Michelle and Columbia Winery) and two smaller boutique wineries (Novelty Hill/Januik and Brian Carter Cellars). (I would have loved to visit more wineries, but I had made a compromise with my wife: equal time for shopping and wineries.)

However, every trip to the US demands a visit to Costco, the world’s single largest wine buyer. Driving down from Vancouver on the Friday afternoon we had made said obligatory stop to the Costco near Burlington, WA. Prior to the trip I had done my research to choose which WA wineries we would visit on the Saturday, and I wanted to see if Costco carried any of their wines. I wasn’t disappointed.

The Burlington Costco carries two of these wineries including three of their signature wines:

Chateau Ste-Michelle 2005 Col Solare - $54.99 US
Chateau Ste-Michelle 2007 Eroica Riesling - $19.99 US
Brian Carter Cellars 2005 Byzance - $24.99 US.

Instead of purchasing the above wines on reputation alone, we decided to purchase a couple bottles that we were more familiar with for our evening consumption. These were:

Francis Ford Coppola 2006 Black Label Claret – $14.99 US. This claret is a beautiful Bordeaux blend, rich in colour and aroma. Strong tannins do not distract from the taste but do shorten the finish slightly. 89pts.

Edge 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon - $15.99 US. Edge is Signorello Vineyard’s entry-level Cabernet Sauvignon and a big seller north of the border. This is a Napa Valley Cab Sauvignon charmer. 89pts.

Both of these wines retail around the $30 mark in Canada - how lucky the Americans are to drink such good wines at the $14-$17 price point!

When we arrived on the Friday night we also enjoyed our bottle of champagne, Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve, to celebrate our “anniversary”. This was fabulous champagne, full of citrus and melon aromas with comforting yeast notes. Crisp lemon zest and mineral flavours with a pleasing long finish. 91pts. -LC

In Part 2 we visit:

Chateau Ste-Michelle
Columbia Winery

No comments:

Post a Comment