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Taste Washington Seattle
“ It’s Hip to Spit at Taste Washington in Seattle”
Annual Wine Event Features More Than 160 Wineries

By Christina Kelly
Avalon Staff Writer

How do you sample food from more than 100 restaurants and taste wine from more than 160 wineries in four hours?

The answer is—you don’t, at least not unless you want to waddle and stagger out of the eighth annual Taste Washington. The biggest wine event in the state will be held from April 8-10, culminating in the big taste at the Qwest Field Event Center on Sunday, April 10.

Tickets are $125 for the Taste and can be purchased at www.tastewashington.org/tickets.cfm.

Recognizing that the event has become so large it is nearly impossible to taste and eat everything, Taste organizers have created a new theme for the event—It’s Hip to Spit.

“We wanted to encourage spitting, so we will have buttons encouraging it,” said Regan Sheehy, communications director for the Washington Wine Commission. “We want people to enjoy the wine and food, but in an event this size, spitting is OK while tasting so many wines.”

Taste Washington - The Scene

The best plan to attend Taste Washington is to check out the room and see what wineries are represented, paired with what Washington restaurants. Take notes and start a list of the food you would like to sample with a taste of wine. These are the wines you will actually swallow.

The second step is to look at the list of wineries and pick out as many as you want to taste, because you will be spitting the wine in a “dump bucket.” This guarantees that you will be able to distinguish more than five wines in your mouth. If drinking all that wine, after about the sixth winery, your palate might tell you the wine is red or white, and you’ll probably think all the wine is great, but your palate and tongue will be shot. And, you would miss the wonderful nuances in the latest wine releases.

Besides, for those of us who were taught not to spit as children, spitting as an adult gets to be quite fun. There is an art to it so practicing ahead of time might prevent wine-stained drooling, or splattering the stranger standing next to you.

Once you have tasted and spit out all the wines you listed in your notes, go back to the original list of food you wanted to taste with a particular wine. These are the samples you want to savor.

The three-day celebration of Washington wine begins on Friday, April 8th with a MAGNUM kick-off party at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center. On Saturday, food and wine seminars will be held for the novice and expert by panelists well known in the wine industry, including keynote speaker Leslie Sbrocco, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and book author.

The education day was tried last year and was a huge success, said Jamie Peha, Taste organizer for the commission. Historically, Taste Washington was held on one day until last year, when the commission expanded it to include education.

“That has been the best part of the expansion—the workshops and seminars,” said Steve Burns, interim executive director for the Washington Wine Commission. Burns left last summer to pursue a wine import business in Northern California. However, he was asked to fill in recently after the commission’s replacement, Jane Baxter Lynn, resigned for personal reasons last month.

“This is a great opportunity to see what Washington is offering, while at the same time, learning more about the state’s wine production through the workshops,” Burns added.

For additional information on the event, go to www.washingtonwine.org.



A to Z Winery Grabs "Sideways" Wine Name

According to Sam Tannahill, winemaker and part owner of A to Z Winery, business partner Bill Hatcher has trademarked the name "Sideways" for use as a wine name and plans are underway for an Oregon Pinot noir with that name. Bill heard about the movie from customers and was surprised to discover that the name had not been taken.

Bill contacted the film's director, Alexander Payne, and asked for his cooperation. "We've had some good talks with Payne and Pickett", said Sam when contacted today.

At this time, A to Z may be producing a "Sideways Pinot noir" but final details as to release date and label are still being decided.



New Dundee Hills Appellation- First Wine Released

Sokol Blosser Winery has released the first wine in Oregon to be labeled with the new "Dundee Hills" appellation: the Sokol Blosser 2002 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir. In addition to its historic labeling, the 2002 Pinot Noir represents the accumulation of several milestones for this pioneering Oregon wine producer.

"We believe this wine is a flagship for the qualities of the Dundee Hills winegrowing region," said winery vice president Alex Sokol Blosser, who spearheaded the drive for distinct appellations within the sprawling Willamette Valley -- an idea first put forward by his father, winery co- founder Bill Blosser, more than a quarter-century ago. The Dundee Hills American Viticultural Area is in the northern Willamette Valley, and has more than 1,200 acres planted to vines. The area was home to the first plantings of Pinot Noir in Oregon in the 1960s, and is widely considered among the top regions for this beguiling grape in the United States.

The AVA went into effect on January 31, 2005. Twenty-eight miles southwest of Portland and 40 miles east and inland from the Pacific Ocean, the Hills rise to an elevation of 1,067 feet in the rain shadow of the Coast Range, providing the perfect combination of climate and soils for the production of Pinot Noir.

"With 'Dundee Hills' on our label, we can now share with the world what we've come to understand since first planting here so many years ago: These hills produce unique and extraordinary wines," Alex added.

The 2002 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is also notable as the first wine made from grapes under Sokol Blosser Winery's official organic transition certification.

"We live the credo that as stewards of the land it's our responsibility to take care of it," said winery president Susan Sokol Blosser, long known for her commitment to the environment.

"The payback is fulfilling in terms of the low impact we're making on our 70 acres, and the vines are healthier and rewarding us with incredible flavors in the wines. The effects of organic practices and minimal farming intervention shine through. "

In addition, this Pinot Noir is the first wine to spend its full barrel aging term in the winery's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified barrel cellar. The new barrel cellar was the first winery building awarded the exclusive LEED certification in the country.

For added complexity of flavor and aroma, the 2002 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir includes the first wines from the new estate plantings of Dijon clones 115, 667 and 777 in its blend. These clones are new to the Sokol Blosser vineyards, which were largely planted to Pommard and other traditional clones on their own rootstocks. Furthermore, Sokol Blosser's new label is printed on processed chlorine free, 30% post consumer waste recycled paper.

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