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Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2012

Pacific Northwest Wine of the Week for April 18, 2012

This week: Willow Crest Riesling. Stag's Hollow Winery in Fresh Press. Mercer hires new winemaker. Spring barrel tasting events. Ryan Pennington on pro wrestling and California Zin.

April 18, 2012
Vol. 13, No. 17

Willow Crest Winery 2010 Estate Riesling

Appellation: Yakima Valley

Prosser winemaker David Minick first planted the family vineyard in the Roza Hills nearly 30 years ago and he continues to produce stunning whites at approachable prices -- thanks in part to his partnership with Precept Wine. The latest example is this fruit cocktailish drink that's loaded with pineapple, Mandarin orange, spearmint and petrol aromas. It's luscious between the lips with Fuji apple, pineapple and peaches, but there's more than enough tangelo and lime acidity to keep it focused amid the residual sugar (4%). In the finish are hints of minerality and lime shortbread cookies. Rated "Outstanding" by Wine Press Northwest magazine. (2,600 cases, 9.5% alc.)

Price: $10

Food matches: Here's a delicious white to enjoy with spicy Asian or Mexican dishes or all alone on a warm spring day.

Willow Crest Winery, 509 Merlot Drive, Prosser, WA 99350, 509-786-7999, www.willowcrestwinery.com.

Recent Wines of the Week

-- Kiona Vineyards Winery 2009 Lemberger, Red Mountain

-- Cloudlift Cellars 2010 Updraft, Columbia Valley

Best Buys

-- Latah Creek Wine Cellars 2009 Sangiovese, Washington, $11 -- Columbia Winery 2010 Cellarmaster's Riesling, Columbia Valley, $12

More about Willow Crest

The Minnick family began growing wine grapes in Washington's Yakima Valley in 1982, and David Minnick was one of the first wineries to relocate to the Vintners Village in Prosser (his tasting room was a few miles north of town amid the vineyards. Today, the Vintners Village is home to about a dozen tasting rooms, all within walking distance of each other.

Precept Wine in Seattle purchased half of the winery from Minnick a few years ago, though he still owns the vineyard.

This week's Fresh Press

This week in Fresh Press, we spotlight wines from Stag's Hollow Winery in Okanagan Falls, our 2012 British Columbia Winery of the Year.

We also review new wines from Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, Gamache Vintners, Gecko Cellars, Maryhill Winery, Michael Florentino Cellars, San Juan Vineyards, Wild Goose Vineyards and Wind Rose Cellars.

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

Fresh Press publishes every week 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.

Mercer hires new winemaker

Mercer Estates in Washington's Yakima Valley has announced a new head winemaker.

Jessica Munnell will replace David Forsyth, who is leaving the Prosser winery to focus on his own small brand and work as a consultant, custom winemaker and educator.

Munnell is a former viticulturist for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, including enologist for Snoqualmie Vineyards in Prosser and assistant winemaker for Chateau Ste. Michelle. The Washington State University grad also has worked in the Australian wine industry and owns her own small brand, Wautoma Springs.

Munnell is maried to Juan Munoz Oca, head winemaker for Columbia Crest.

Mercer Estates started in 2007 and is owned by the Mercer and Hogue families, both longtime names in the Washington wine industry.

Planning for barrel tasting weekends

Spring wine events are coming up fast, so now is the time to make your plans.

Spring Barrel Tasting in the Yakima Valley is April 27-29, with at least 40 wineries participating.

Spring Release Weekend in Walla Walla, also known as Leonetti Weekend, is May 4-6. More than 50 wineries are expected to participate.

Memorial Weekend in Wine Country is a bit farther out, but start planning now to head to Oregon's Willamette Valley, where 150 wineries will welcome visitors May 26-28.

Upcoming wine events

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

Wine Cellars of Washington is a new indoor/outdoor venue in Snohomish, Wash., that covers an entire city block and features more than 20 Washington wineries. It is open this weekend. Cost is $5.

To see more events (or submit yours at no cost), go to our calendar. We currently have 109 upcoming events on our calendar.

Ryan Pennington

We chat with Ryan Pennington of the Washington Wine Commission. He talks about the Washington wine industry, pro wrestling, Scooby Doo and Riesling, as well as California Zinfandel.

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

On our Web site:

http://www.winepressnw.com/

On YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/WinePressNW

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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