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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012

Pacific Northwest Wine of the Week for Jan. 17, 2012

This week: Gamache Vintners Merlot. This week's Fresh Press. Chef Magana returns to Washington wine country. Wine Press Northwest e-edition available. Ice wine harvest returns to British Columbia. Upcoming wine events. California perspective on Northwest wines.

Jan. 17, 2012
Vol. 13, No. 3

Gamache Vintners 2007 Estate Merlot

Appellation: Columbia Valley

For many years, Merlot has been a strong grape for Washington, and it has remained a strong No. 2 red grape in the state for the past half-decade. The Gamache brothers grow some of the best, resulting in this great wine crafted by Charlie Hoppes. This opens with aromas of black cherries and exotic spices, followed by rich, bright flavors of black cherries, blueberries, chocolate and a bit of oak. The sweet tannins are well managed and do not overwhelm the lovely fruit. This is a superb example of a Washington Merlot. Rated "Outstanding" by Wine Press Northwest magazine. (289 cases, 14.5% alc.)

Price: $24

Food matches: Pizza, burgers, prosciutto or grilled beef will pair nicely with this Merlot.

Gamache Vintners, 505 Cabernet Court, Prosser, WA 99350, 509-786-7800, www.gamachevintners.com

Recent Wines of the Week

-- Smasne Cellars 2008 Phinny Hill Vineyard Carmenere, Horse Heaven Hills

-- Barking Frog Winery 2008 Chapman Road Cuvee Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains

Best Buys

-- StoneCap Wines 2010 Estate Merlot, Columbia Valley, $8

-- Martinez & Martinez 2010 Alder Ridge Vineyard Viognier, Horse Heaven Hills, $14

More about Gamache Vintners

Brothers Bob and Roger Gamache began planting wine grapes in the early 1980s and launched their eponymous winery in 2002. They farm several hundred acres of grapes near the Columbia Valley town of Basin City, which is north of Pasco, and their tasting room is in the Vintners Village in Prosser. Charlie Hoppes, owner of Fidelitas Wines, has made Gamache's wines since the winery's launch.

This week's Fresh Press

Get the freshest reviews of recently released Northwest wines with Fresh Press.

Fresh Press publishes every Monday and is an easy-to-download PDF that is perfect for viewing digitally and is formatted to be easily printed.

Download this week's edition of Fresh Press.

Chef Magana heads back to Washington wine country

Frank Magana, who closed his two Picazo restaurants in November, is going back to his roots in Washington wine country.

Magana owned Picazo 717, which had locations in Prosser and Kennewick. He closed the Kennewick location in early November, and Desert Wind Winery took over his Prosser operation about the same time. After a little time to regroup, Magana is back in Prosser to launch Chef Magana Catering. He is based at Alexandria Nicole Cellars, where he had his first Washington wine country gig in 2005. He is leasing the kitchen from Alexandria Nicole and will also handle all of its in-house food events.

Magana already has several events lined up, including dinners and cooking classes in Walla Walla and Spokane. He said his philosophy of working closely with Yakima Valley farmers and Columbia Valley wineries will not change, adding that 90 percent of his business is with wineries.

Read more.

Wine Press Northwest Winter issue e-edition

We have posted the latest issue of Wine Press Northwest. The e-edition, an electronic facsimile of the magazine, is freely available for your perusal and enjoyment.

Read the e-edition.

Ice wine harvest returns to B.C.

What were the top wine stories of 2011? Certainly, harvest was high on our list, as were wine industry deaths, winery closures and sales, as well as many political changes.

Read more.

Upcoming wine events

Each week, we highlight an upcoming wine event in the Pacific Northwest.

Red Ridge Farms in Dayton will be play host to an Oregon Chardonnay seminar and tasting event Saturday, Jan. 21. Attendees will learn about growing and the evolution of winemaking styles from Jesse Lange (Lange Estates Winery), Dave Paige (Adelsheim Vineyard), Isabelle Meunier (Evening Land), Marcus Goodfellow (Matello) and Paul Durant (Durant Vineyards). Award winning sommelier Erica Landon of the Heathman Restaurant & Bar will lead the discussion. Cost is $20, and RSVP is required. Red Ridge Farms, owned by the Durant family, is a unique Northwest property that features a nursery, garden shop, overnight lodging in a cottage that overlooks the vineyard. It also is home to the Oregon Olive Mill, which produces estate olive oil.

To see more events (or submit yours at no cost), go to our calendar. We currently have 103 upcoming events on our calendar.

California perspective on Northwest wine

Jon Bonne, the wine editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, is a close observer of West Coast wine and was working in Seattle prior to heading to the Bay Area about five years ago. In this interview, Jon talks about how Northwest wines stack up with their California counterparts. He also chats about the economy and some of his favorite new areas of California.

You can watch the Northwest Winecast two ways (both free):

On our Web site:


On YouTube:


Find Northwest wine events

Looking for a wine-related event? Click here for our Northwest wine events calendar.

Wine Press Northwest e-edition

We have loaded up the past 15 issues of Wine Press Northwest in a freely available e-edition format, with a goal of eventually posting a complete archive of the magazine, going back to 1998.

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