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Unique Washington Wine Picks

By Anne Sackett

It seems that the general public is becoming more interested in wine. This gives sommeliers a chance to put more varieties of wine grapes on the "glass pour" lists. I was in Seattle in between wine tastings and was able to order a glass of Gigondas (a French wine Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée - AOC-in the southern Rhone wine region) with my lunch, what a treat!

I recently purchased some Baco Noir from Girardet Cellars in Oregon and decided to put it on the "glass pour" list so my customers could get a chance to taste the beauty of it. Baco Noir is a hybrid grape and Girardet does it justice. This wine has medium body with a silky mouth feel, blueberries and spice, with low tannins and great minerality. Marc Girardet is also known for his safe, emergency landing of his airplane on I-5 near Roseburg, Oregon, in 2013. He also has another obscure red grape blend called "Touchdown," pun intended.

My unique Washington wine picks from this year are:

Robert Ramsey Grenache. Grown on Snipes Mountain in the Upland Vineyards' upper reaches. It matures evenly and produces a light yet rich mix of fruit and minerality.

Morrison Lane Cinsault. Morrison Lane Vineyard is located just south of Walla Walla on Cottonwood Creek. The Cinsault was planted in 1998.

Jacob Williams Cabernet Franc. 100% Cabernet Franc, this wine has great balance and layers of intense, dark fruit and a touch of toasted oak.

There are fewer folks getting caught in the rut of Chardonnay-Cabernet-Merlot. They're allowing their taste buds to go on an adventure; looking for subtleties instead of over extraction, wines to contemplate and swirl your tongue around. Don't get me wrong, I like a big wine, too. After attending the Vancouver, BC, Wine Festival I am very excited about the 2012 and '13 Cabernet Sauvignons and Shirazes from Barossa and McLaren Vale in Australia.

So step out of the box and try something different!

Anne Sackett is the Cellar Master for The Fireside, waterfront dining at the Resort at Port Ludlow (360-437-7412, She has nearly 40 years of experience in the restaurant business and 19 years of experience buying wine for restaurants. She received her Sommelier Certification through the International Sommelier Guild (ISG), class of 2009, in Seattle. And she would love for you to stop by for a glass of Baco Noir!

March 2015

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