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Tuesday, 21 March 2017 14:53

Wine Pick of the Week

2013 Fidelitas RedMountainCab Picmonkey

2013 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon



Red Mountain (WA)

Alcohol: 14.1%

Suggested retail: $45

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 10:33

Wine Pick of the Week

wbsangiorose Picmonkey

2016 Sangiovese Rosé


Waterbrook Winery

Columbia Valley

Alcohol: 13.3%

Suggested Retail: $12

Saturday, 14 January 2017 18:32

January 13, 2017 Wine Pick of the Week

Hedges HIP Merlot 2013 Picmonkey

2013 HIP Merlot


Hedges Family Estate

Columbia Valley

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $17.99*

Friday, 08 July 2016 14:05

July 8, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

Two Vines Chardonnay Picmonkey


2012 Chardonnay


Two Vines

Washington State

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $ 8

Saturday, 02 July 2016 12:31

July 1, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

Wild Meadows Cab S Picmonkey


2013 Cabernet Sauvignon


Wild Meadows

Columbia Valley (Washington)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $14.99

Saturday, 14 May 2016 14:20

May 13, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

Waterbrook Chard Albertsons

2014 Chardonnay



Columbia Valley

Alcohol: 13.7%

Suggested Retail: $12

Friday, 18 March 2016 23:42

March 18, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

CSM cre mer nv 1400 store Picmonkey

2012 Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot


Chateau Ste Michelle

Horse Heaven Hills (Washington)

Alcohol: 14.5%

Suggested Retail: $36


“Merlot is one of the many wine varieties that the State of Washington does well. Wine writer Dan Berger—California-based, but internationally known—had a recent column to that effect and we certainly concur. He suggested that quality Washington Merlot was undervalued. We agree with that opinion, too.

“The state’s wine industry has enjoyed robust growth in recent years—currently there are over 890 wineries and Chateau Ste Michelle is by far the most significant of these operations. They’ve pretty much been around since the beginning and have garnered a reputation for providing quality wines at all price points.

Friday, 26 June 2015 20:49

June 26, 2015 Beer Pick of the Week

PIKE NAUGHTY NELLIE in glass Picmonkey

Naughty Nellie


The Pike Brewing Company

Seattle, Washington

Style: Blond, session-ale

Alcohol: 5.5%

IBUs: 24

Serving Style: 12 and 22-ounce bottles and kegs (our sample from draft)

Availability: Widely distributed in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest


Appearance:   “Dark golden color tending toward copper or amber hue. Fluffy white head that dissipates fairly quickly.”

Aroma:   “Mildly hoppy with maybe just a bit of pear and lemon zest.”

Taste:   “Opens with inviting malt notes, followed closely by a full mouth of carbonation and hops (Centennial and Cascade). Finishes cleanly and crisply. A lighter summertime brew, but not insufficient at all. Just the right amount of hops elevates this ‘sessionable’ beer.”

Food Affinity:   “Clean and crisp, Naughty Nellie would be a good companion with many foods. We'd suggest enjoying it with a Crab Louis.”

DanClarke Good Mug Shot Picmonkey



Reviewer Dan Clarke enjoyed this beer while checking out Washington Wine Country.

Thursday, 19 March 2015 14:16

March 13, 2015 Wine Pick of the Week

Maryhill Rose 2013 Picmdonkey

2013 Rosé of Sangiovese


Maryhill Winery

Columbia Valley (Washington)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail: $14


“Pink in color—watermelon to coral in hue. Aromas of strawberries, raspberries and maybe a bit of honeysuckle. More strawberry and raspberry in the flavor with a nice roundness in the mouth. Sangiovese is popular grape variety for Northwest rosé winemakers. There’s lot of lively fruit and the good natural acidity of Sangiovese to balance the slight sweetness (measured at .8 residual sugar). An altogether pleasant rosé wine.”

Food Affinity: “Reviewer enjoyed the Maryhill Rosé of Sangiovese with grilled pork chops and sweet onions. This wine is delicate enough to accompany egg dishes for Easter brunch, but has enough substance to justify pairing with ham.”

Monday, 16 February 2015 17:42

February 13, 2015 Wine Pick of the Week

lembergerwrap1 Picmonkey

2012 Red Mountain Lemberger


Kiona Vineyards

Red Mountain (Washington)

Alcohol: 13.5%

Suggested Retail:  $15


“Lemberger has the reputation in the wine industry as being ‘a tough sell.’ That’s a shame, because it’s really a worthy option among red wines. Just as Zinfandel and Merlot are names of grape varieties, so, too, is Lemberger. It has no relationship to that pungent cheese bearing a similar identity, but somehow there’s a negative connection for the consumer.  Lemberger is a variety known by other names, notably Blaufrȁnkisch  in Austria and some eastern European countries.  Wineries in New York state also produce this variety as does at least one California winery, Shooting Star, which markets it under the name ‘Blue Franc.’ "

For wine drinkers relatively unfamiliar with Washington wines, the name on this bottle may also conjure memories of an inexpensive wine popular in an earlier era. Those jugs bearing the Red Mountain brand  were actually acceptable, low-end table wines from California’s San Joaquin Valley, but tended to be consumed in too-substantial quantities by college students, some of whom now believe that the product was ‘full of chemicals’ because of the hangovers they remember from the day after. The more plausible culprit was the quantity they consumed, given that  Red Mountain’s price appeal to the college student budget.  These days knowledgeable consumers recognize Red Mountain  as the name of an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in southeastern Washington known for producing extremely high quality wines, particularly red ones.

“Kiona Vineyards has pioneer status in the Red Mountain AVA, having begun planting of vineyards there in 1975.  They produce many other varieties more acceptable in the current market climate, but still make about 3,000 cases of Lemberger each year. Fans of this variety hope they never stop.

“Lemberger isn’t exactly like any other wine the reviewer has experienced.  When he first tasted this variety about 25 years ago, he thought it was somewhat like a lighter Zinfandel . . .  but not exactly. The 2012 Kiona Red Mountain Lemberger (their current release) had a hint of that Zinfandel personality, particularly in that bit of spice or black pepper on the finish. A closer analogy might be to a good Gamay, which, when grown in Beaujolais, is an attractive, lower-cost alternative to the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy. In both aroma and taste, this Kiona Lemberger first reminded us of just-baked blackberry or Boysenberry  pie, but there are aspects of other fruit here, too--blueberries and cherries.  Tannins are very gentle and sufficient acidity means it will pair well with a fairly wide variety of foods.”

Food Affinity: “Lighter treatments of pork and veal dishes with morel mushrooms. Good crackers and triple-cream cheeses. Baked eggplant served with a not-too-acidic tomato sauce. Ragout of mushrooms.”

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