Your wine questions answered here
In Paul Gregutt's decade as the wine columnist for The Seattle Times, the most frequently asked question is, "Where can I buy the wines you recommend?"
Special to the Seattle Times
Pick of the week
Bodegas Tarima 2009 Monastrell; $7
From Jumilla, the epicenter of Spanish value wines, this high-octane (15 percent alcohol) monastrell/mourvèdre is a fruit bomb, loaded with baked plum and prune fruits, dotted with black pepper. Dense and chocolaty; not for every palate, but unusually thick and concentrated at this price. (Distributed by Elliott Bay)
I WELCOME questions from readers and do my best to respond promptly to all of them. Here are some that may be of general interest.
Q: After checking at (a neighborhood supermarket) several times to pick up some of your recommendations, I haven't yet found one. I notice that you often include distributors' names when you list wines, but who uses whom?Can you suggest where to go?
A: In my decade as the wine columnist for The Seattle Times, the most frequently asked question is, "Where can I buy the wines you recommend?" And I truly recognize that it is a hassle when you go out to look for a certain wine and come up empty-handed. But there is no way for me to track who among hundreds of retailers is carrying any given wine. What I can do is look for wines that are widely available (and note the ones that are not) and list the name of the distributor. Any wine shop or wine retailer can order wine from any distributor. That said, not all are willing to offer that level of customer service. My best advice is to find a wine retailer in a location convenient for you, and get to know someone there who is responsible for ordering wine. That person can become your one-stop resource for finding the recommended wines.
Q: What do you see as the next big thing in Washington wine?
A: Iberian varietal wines are gaining a lot of momentum among growers and winemakers, and that is often a precursor to consumer interest. Though quantities are small, varietal offerings of grenache (garnacha), mourvèdre (monastrell or mataro) and tempranillo are proliferating here in Washington.
A national organization with the acronym TAPAS (which stands for Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society) just added Doug McCrea to its board of directors. McCrea, along with the late David Lake, pioneered syrah and other Rhône-influenced wines here, and McCrea is embarked on a new venture — Vina Salida — with the goal of putting tempranillo and other Spanish grapes in his portfolio.
Some recent Washington efforts that have impressed me, listed by varietal grape:
Grenache: Cayuse 2007 G.O.K.; Betz 2008 Bésoleil; Novelty Hill 2007 Stillwater Creek; Maison Bleue 2008 La Montagnette and 2008 Le Midi; K Vintners 2007 The Boy; McCrea Cellars 2008 Grenache; Darby 2008 Stillwater Creek; Dusted Valley 2008 Grenache, Gramercy Cellars 2007 Grenache.
Mourvèdre: Syncline 2008 Coyote Canyon Vineyard; Mark Ryan 2007 Crazy Mary; Efesté 2008 Emmy Red; Hollywood Hill 2008 Mourvèdre.
Tempranillo: Zerba Cellars 2007 Tempranillo; Cayuse 2007 Impulsivo; Seven Hills 2007 Tempranillo; Gramercy Cellars 2007 Inigo Montoya; Trio Vintners 2007 Tempranillo.
Q: I am interested in learning more about growing wine grapes in the Puget Sound region. Are there any resources you can point me to?
A: The Puget Sound Wine Growers Association website (http://pugetsoundwine.org/default.aspx) lists events and offers helpful advice on vineyards and wineries west of the Cascades. Later this spring, Washington State University's Snohomish County Extension is presenting a hands-on workshop on vineyard care. For more information contact Karie Christiansen at 425-357-6039 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The date is Saturday, May 14. Fruit horticulturist Gary Moulton will lead a workshop covering canopy and crop-load management, managing shoots, enhancing yield and quality, and managing pests. The cost is $65 per person. To register visit www.BrownPaperTickets.com/event/136802..
About Wine Adviser
My column is all about sharing the joy of exploring all the world of wine. I want to guide people to make inspired choices, and encourage them to try as many different styles of wine as they can. I will always seek out the best wines at the best prices. Wine Adviser runs on Sunday in Pacific Northwest Magazine.