Monday, May 12, 2008

Wine Weekend in Walla Walla

We took our first road trip to Walla Walla this weekend to do a bit of tasting and some shopping. Have never been this far east in the wine country I was really looking forward to the trip. The weekend was also their annual Balloon Stampede but we only saw a few the first night driving into town. I guess the balloons go up real early in the morning, we aren't really the morning types so...

Our friend Abra has mentioned many times Glondo's in Cle Elum as the place to stop for beef jerky for the drive to Walla Walla so that is exactly what we did. We actually got their beef jerky and some pepperoni sticks. The beef jerky is so thick and meaty, you can see the smoke ring around the meat. My car's jockey box has a small cooler built into the back of it and this became the meat box for the weekend!

Although it is not in Walla Walla I wanted to stop at Kiona on the way as I hadn't been there for about 12 years and the last time I tasted it was in the finished basement of their house! They have come a long way! They have a brand new HUGE tasting facility with amazing views of the surrounding area and Red Mountain AVA which is becoming known around the world for it's fantastic grapes. We also stopped at Goose Ridge cellars which I had read a little about as they are all estate fruit and make some very nice and affordable wines.

Back on the road we checked in to our B&B quickly changed and were out the door to a private meeting with Greg Harrington at Gramercy Cellars. I have wanted to meet Greg for some time so was super excited! Greg is the youngest person in the states to pass his Master Sommelier Exam at the age of 26 and has directed the wine programs for Emeril's and Wolfgang Puck's restaurants. He and his wife moved from New York and started Gramercy in 2004. We met him and a friend of his who was visiting from Finland where he writes and teaches about wine. These two were so interesting to taste with, so much knowledge and passion for the wine! Greg had us taste from barrels and then we created a few blends which was really fun. After we stepped outside and tasted a few of his bottled wine. This is good stuff, get it if you can! The 05 Lagniappe Syrah was especially delicious as was the amazing 21 Grams Cab- a collaboration of Greg and Jamie's (winemaker for Waters) cabs bottled together. They only make 75 cases of this and Greg was so nice to send us on our way to dinner at 26Brix with the barely opened bottle!

Wonderful dinner at 26Brix and great cocktails after in their bar. A good start to the weekend!