Category Archives: Local Wines

2013 Harvest: Reports from the field

 

Cab Franc

Brynn writes:

Every year around this time I see posts on Facebook and email updates from our local winemakers. Many of them are making regular trips to Eastern Washington to harvest grapes and check the conditions of their vineyard blocks to determine the best time to pull the clusters from the vines.

I’ve always wanted to get a report from them about how harvest is going and to hear their initial projections about the vintage, but never want to bother them since I know they’re busy and running on minimal sleep. This year I took a chance and sent an email to the winemakers of Bainbridge Island (Amelia Wynn Winery, Eagle Harbor Wine Company, Eleven Winery, Fletcher Bay Winery, Rolling Bay Winery) and Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair to see if they’d be interested in sending me email updates of how things are going in the field.

I haven’t heard back from everyone, but a number of the winemakers wrote back almost immediately — some with reports from the field, others saying they would be sending me updates as harvest went along. My plan is to compose periodic blog posts that includes their reports from the field — either as a direct copy and paste from what they sent me, or my summary of what they have to say.

I was surprised to hear that a number of white grapes have been harvested and are already back on the peninsula fermenting. Matt Albee, winemaker for Eleven Winery, said his Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio grapes were about two weeks ahead of schedule this year.

Below is a list of the wineries I’ve heard back from and quick summaries of how things are going. As you’ll see, Amelia Wynn winemaker Paul Bianchi has supplied a great report from the field. I’ve copied and pasted his emails so you can see the life of the local winemaker around this time of year.

Amelia Wynn (Email from winemaker Paul Bianchi sent Sept. 17):

Timing is everything at harvest and plans take shape over weeks. When it’s time to pull the trigger the vintner puts the vineyard on notice for an agreed upon harvest date.

The players are: vineyard owner, vineyard manager (if not the owner), picking crew being paid by the pound, the custom crush facility (if used) and most importantly the truck rental agency because you need a big truck if you’re hauling more than 5,000 lbs.

This Sunday (Sept. 15) in Walla Walla it was 95 degrees with 20 mph drying winds. Not a good day for grapes. So the green light was given to pick on Tuesday (Sept. 16). Predicted light showers turned out to be heavier than anticipated, complicating the day.

All grape bins were covered and because the crush schedule got screwed up, our Merlot was to be destemmed around 11 p.m., making for a very long day for the crush crew. We have to be at Artifex at 8 a.m. Wednesday (Sept. 18) to pick up the destemmed grapes and then drive west to Prosser to press the Cab Franc and Viognier. The latter I need to pick up at the Elerding vineyard.

The pick date for the Viognier was established last week and all players were put in motion. The Cab Franc was given a green light Sept. 16 to be picked on the same day as the Viognier.  The intent is to make a 500 mile truck rental, two nights on the road, and use of commercial equipment as efficient as possible.

What has gone down toward the end of the 2013 harvest is: A record-setting hot summer has skidded to a slow walk with a cooling trend that is in fact a relief because the  grape varieties were rippening too close together as a result of the high temperatures. With a cooling period the wineries can pace the harvest dates so work in the winery is not chaotic.

When I return to the island tomorrow night (Sept. 18), I will have the following grapes fermenting or preparing to ferment:  Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cab Franc Rose, Viognier and two clones of Merlot from Walla Walla.

Here’s a summary of what winemaker Paul Bianchi’s days looked like Monday/Tuesday:

  • Monday: catching the 8:10 p.m. ferry and arriving in Prosser at midnight, staying at the Best Western.
  • In the morning dropping off bins for Cab Franc, which will be picked and pressed on Wednesday (Sept. 18) for a Rosé. Also dropped off two 275 gal juice totes where the cab franc will be pressed as well as 4,000 lbs of Viognier.
  • Drove on to Walla Walla where we will pick up 3 tons of Merlot and have destemmed at Artifex, a custom crush facility.
  • Sept. 18 back on the road to Prosser where we will pick up 2 tons of Viognier at Elerding vineyard and then to Kestral winery where the Cab Franc and Viognier will be slowly pressed in a membrane press.

Eleven Winery (Email summary from winemaker Matt Albee, sent Sept. 16):

I have Sauv Blanc and Pinot Grigio fermenting, and am leaving tonight (Sept. 16) to pick Viognier tomorrow (Sept. 17); Roussanne/Marsanne and Syrah on Thursday (Sept. 19).

The very hot summer perhaps favors later-ripening varieties like Cabs and Mourvedre, but so far everything is good quality!

We picked Sauvignon Blanc on Aug. 29, Pinot Grigio on Sept. 9 (originally scheduled for Sept. 4, but pushed back due to forecast of rain, which ended up not hitting our vineyard). This week we will see if last week’s extreme heat had much impact. There seems to have been a lot of rain for September in Eastern WA, but my sources have largely been spared (whew!).

Fletcher Bay Winery (Email from winemaker Jim Wilford, sent Sept. 16):

My plans for harvest this year include: Tara Rouge ( Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon), a Walla Walla Cab Sauv, a Red Moutain Zinfandel, a dry Rose, Semillion and a Pinot Grigio.

Pinot Grigio is being picked, everything else is still on the vine.

Perennial Vintners (From winemaker Mike Lempriere’s newsletter):

The 2013 harvest is looking fantastic! It will be our largest local harvest to date. The Frambelle is done fermenting, it’s tasting superb already.  We will be getting an excellent harvest of Melon de Bourgogne, so mid-2014 we’ll have our signature wine available again!
The vineyard is mostly done with for the year, at this point we’re mostly just waiting for Mother Nature to finish the job of ripening. We do still have to spray for Botrytis mold, but other than that it’s just trying to catch up on weeding.  It’s a beautiful time to visit the vineyard as the grapes have gone through veraison, meaning they ‘re ripening and turning color.
From Facebook: Mike said they harvested the Siegerrebe Sept. 8.

Mosquito Fleet Winery (Email from winemaker Brian Petersen, sent Sept. 16):

Crush has just begun for us here at MFW and we are excited! We brought in a couple tons of our first white: A Viognier from Elephant Mountain. The fruit is very nice, tremendous flavors and great acids.

We will only be producing around 100 cases of Viognier this year. Partially fermented in stainless steel tank and partial barrel fermentation, which we will ferment and age sur lie and go through malolactic fermentation.

This Thursday (Sept. 19) we are bringing in Merlot from Double Canyon Vineyard and on Saturday (Sept. 21) we will bring in our first Malbec off Elephant Mountain as well. We are looking forward to this too.

We have increased our Pepper Bridge Vineyard fruit and we are now sourcing Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from there as well. The PB Merlot will be ready in about a week.

Then it’s Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional for our Port.

It will get very, very busy here shortly.

Do you have your Kitsap Wine Festival tickets yet?

It’s August and you know what that means, it’s Kitsap Wine Festival time.

This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 17 starting at 2 p.m. at the Harborside Fountain Park next to the Bremerton ferry terminal.

There looks to be a good line up of wineries that will be pouring from different tables set up around the fountains, and according to the event’s website there will be even more food offerings this year.

Here’s just a few of the wineries we’re looking forward to tasting:

  • Camaraderie Cellars
  • Convergence Zone Cellars
  • Davenport Cellars (their 2009 Snowflake from Bacchus Vineyard was one of our favorites from the 2010 festival)
  • Dubindil Winery (we liked their 2008 Syrah poured at the 2011 festival)
  • Knipprath Cellars (their website says they specialize in Northwest grown Portuguese and Spanish grapes, with a focus on Port wines. Sounds intriguing.)
  • Maryhill Winery (they always have a strong showing at the festival, especially their crisp white wines, perfect for a hot day)
  • Mosquito Fleet Winery (If you haven’t visited this Belfair winery yet, now’s your chance to try their wines. Make this one of your first stops of the day, you don’t want to miss what they’re pouring.)
  • Stottle Winery (based in Lacey they have tasting rooms in West Seattle and Hoodsport)

It looks like this year’s line up of wineries is a little smaller than years past — 25 compared to last year’s 30-plus — which means you’ll be able to visit more tables and try more wine. (We were disappointed to see some of our favorites from year’s past: Chinook Wines, McCrea Cellars and Kiona Vineyards and Winery, won’t be there this year).

For beer lovers Hale’s Ales and Silver City Brewery will be pouring their brews and Finn River Farm Cidery out of Chimacum will be pouring its hard ciders.

Tickets are $50 and can be purchased from this site.

We love this festival because, well let’s face it, it’s the only wine tasting festival in Kitsap (that we know of). We also enjoy it because of the scenery — love the proximity to the water and the ferry — and because it’s close to home. Another bonus? If you like what you’re tasting you have the chance to buy the wine, which isn’t usually the case at tasting events like these.

For more about the festival, which serves as a fundraiser for the Harrison Medical Center Foundation, visit the event website at www.kitsapwinefestival.com.

Memorial Day wine tastings of award-winning wines

Brynn writes:

From Bainbridge to Belfair, a number of Kitsap’s wineries are open this weekend for people to taste some great wine and enjoy good company.

Here’s an added bonus, a number of the Bainbridge Island wineries and Belfair’s Mosquito Fleet Winery were recently recognized by the Seattle Wine Awards.

The Bainbridge wineries will be open all weekend, some even on Monday, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information or to see a map of where they are located visit bainbridgewineries.com.

Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair will be open Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. (and will continue to be open Saturdays from now until September). Sunday the winery will be open for its annual Spring Barrel Tasting event from noon to 4 p.m. Five wines will be offered and several barrels of the 2011 wines will be tapped. Winemaker Brian Petersen will be there to talk about changes from barrel to barrel and vineyard to vineyard. Pizza, cheeses and chocolates will also be served.

To attend the Sunday tasting, reserve your spot through the winery’s website, www.mosquitofleetwinery.com, or by calling the winemaker at 360-710 0855.

Here’s a list of the local 2013 Seattle Wine Award winners:

Amelia Wynn
  • Gold: Viognier; Columbia Valley Cuvée; Red Mountain Sangiovese
  • Silver: Rose

Eagle Harbor Wine Co.

  • Gold: Raptor

Eleven

  • Double Gold: Sweet Sarah dessert wine; Malbec
  • Gold: Viognier; La Ronde
  • Silver: Angelica dessert wine

Mosquito Fleet Winery (Belfair)

  • Double Gold: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gold: Cabernet Franc; Petit Verdot
  • Bronze: Griffersen Reserve (port); Meritage;

Perennial Vintners

  • Bronze: Frambelle Raspberry
Rolling Bay Winery
  • Double Gold:Cabernet Sauvignon

Saturday a perfect day for wine tasting

Brynn writes:

I’m sure by now you’re all well aware that this weekend is supposed to be awesome, filled with warmth and blue, sunny skies.

What better way to enjoy our sneak peek at summer than with a glass (or two, or three) of a good wine.

Rolling Bay Winery on Bainbridge Island is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5:30 p.m. Their winery is a beautiful location just off Rolling Bay with outdoor tables, picturesque gardens and views of Seattle. See their website for more details.

Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair is opening its barrel room Saturday for people to taste its latest wines. This weekend marks the start of wine tasting season for the winery, which will open its doors every Saturday from now until September from noon to 5 p.m.

A recent email from the winery lists a calendar of events happening over the summer. If you’re super organized like me, you might want to write these dates down for future planning:

Spring has come fast and furious for us at MFW. We’ve been tasting and blending our 2011 wines and are excited to share them with you! We’ve also been busy creating a calendar of events to enjoy with you and your family and friends this summer. Check out some of  the upcoming events:

  • May 4: Barrell Room opens every Saturday for wine tastings Noon – 5pm (May-Sept)
  • May 17: Bainbridge Island: wine tasting and book signing. Author Richard Blumenthal will be at The Chapel on Echo Bay to discuss his book “Maritime Place Names”.  Come and learn all the interesting reasons why Washington waters and places are named the way they are. Time:  7- 10 p.m.
  • May 17: Gig Harbor: Wine Tasting at The Wine Studio from 5-9 p.m.
  • May 18: Winemakers dinner at Alderbrook Resort the breathtaking Hood Canal. Social hour begins at 6:30 / Dinner at 7 p.m.; $129 per person.
  • May 26: Barrel tasting 2-5 p.m. with winemaker, Brian Petersen.  Sample a variety of wines in various barrels. Learn about the importance of barrel selection and how it affects the flavors.  $25 per person.
  • June 27: Winemaker’s dinner at the Winery in the barrel room with one of our favorite chefs, Dustin Joseph of the Art House Café in Tacoma. $100 per person menu BTA. Enjoy a gourmet five course meal and wine with the owners of Mosquito Fleet Winery. Seating is limited.
  • July 5: Winery open for tastings 4-8 p.m. Bring your family and visiting guests down for a taste!
  • Aug 8: Salsa dancing lesson in the Barrel Room.  This is gonna be one HOT August night!! Bring your partner and a little attitude and we’ll bring the wine and appies! Tickets will be available soon.
  • Sept 10: Bottling day. We’ll be bottling our 2011wines for your future enjoyment.

Chocolate and wine, a great Valentine’s pair

Brynn writes:

Struggling for ideas to surprise the love (or love interest) of your life this Valentine’s day? Look no farther than Bainbridge Island.

The winemakers that have put the island on the wine tour map are opening their doors for a Valentine’s day-themed wine tasting event Feb. 16 and 17. The weekend also coincides with the release of some of the wineries latest wines.

Here’s a list of the tasty treats they plan to serve:

  • Amelia Wynn: Artisanal chocolates paired by the winemaker
  • Eagle Harbor: Chocolates handmade by a Pasticceria of the Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu
  • Eleven: Super-secret chocolate plans are afoot at Eleven
  • Rolling Bay: Taste through a delicious line up of Theo Chocolates paired with our wines
  • Perennial Vintners: Chocolatier Keith Jackson of Yukon Jackson’s chocolates will be serving several of his creations, including his Perennial Frambelle chocolate truffle

Also of note: Fletcher Bay winery will be closed because they are moving to a new location set to open in March.

The wineries are open both days, noon to 5 p.m. To see driving directions visit their collective website.

What we’re drinking: Mosquito Fleet Winery

Mary writes:

This weekend is the second-annual wine release party at Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair (21 Od Belfair Highway) and we highly recommend you make the visit. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. the winery will be open for people to taste the six newly released 2010 wines, paired with chocolates, cheeses and listen to live music. The cost is $10 but it’s waived with a wine purchase.

Brian Petersen of Mosquito Fleet Winery invited us to barrel taste these wine twice now, and we’re grateful for this learning opportunity.

Barrel tastings are more about the grape than the final blend in the bottle. It’s wine in a basic elemental state, still showing all of its angular youthfulness. What the final blend will taste like at this point is left to imagination and many months of tasting and blending until the winemaker has achieved the final product.

Barrels are one of the tools that winemakers use to spice up the wine. Barrels, in addition to a few other techniques, are sort of the salt and pepper of the winemaking world.

The staves of the barrel are generally toasted to some degree. Light, medium, medium plus and heavy are the different levels of toast that a winemaker will ask for when ordering barrels. The barrel heads are also sometimes toasted. With “toasted heads” more flavors are imparted in to the wine.

With barrel toasting, strong tannins aren’t as easily extracted while the wine ages in the barrel. Considering some tannic, heavy reds may spend two to three years in a barrel, judicious use of oak is needed.

Our first invite to attend a barrel tasting at Mosquito Fleet was last spring. Brynn was unable to attend because she’d just had the baby, so I went down solo. It was one of nicest, educational barrel tastings I’ve attended. Six months later we were invited back — this time Brynn came along, and so did the baby — and it gave me the chance to taste what six months of aging did for the wine before the final blend and bottling.

The following are notes from the spring and fall tastings:

2010 Pepperbridge Cabernet: We began with this in the barrel which was 100 percent cabernet sourced from Walla Walla’s Pepperbridge Vineyard. Winemaker Brian Petersen planned to eventually blend it with a little cabernet franc before bottling. This medium-bodied wine had a bracing amount of acidity with raspberry fruit. It was aging in a barrel with medium plus toast on its staves and barrel heads.

2010 Syrah: In barrel more body, less chunk; bright raspberry fruit and nice spicy finish. Very bright.

2010 Syrah: This was blended with 19 percent mourvedre and 7 percent cabernet. In puncheon saturated color. Stinky nose, nice up-front fruit; thick with an astringent finish.

2010 Petite Verdot: In barrel with minor amounts of mourvèdre and syrah. Bready nose up front from aging sur-lie. Brilliant purple robe, long legs, spicy raspberry with a hint of herbs and spice. The nose needs to develop.

2010 Cab Franc:From Pepperbridge Vineyard. In barrel there was of raspberry and black berry fruit. Soft. Not the final blend.

2010 Meritage: In the barrel there was 100 percent cabernet from Pepperbridge Vineyard. Pepperbridge fruit adds some bracing tannins that will soften with age. Brix at harvest was 24.2 with a PH of 3.8 and alcohol 13.9 percent. Elevage for 22 months on new French oak with a small amount of  American oak. Beautiful nose of red and black fruits, nice balance, medium-bodied with a red fruit finish and a bit of mocha.

Touriga Nacional Port 2010: Made with two of the six port grapes — 82 percent Touriga Nacional and 18 percent Tinta Roriz from Two Mountains Vineyard on Elephant Mountain. Brix at harvest was 23.5 with a PH of 3.81 and alcohol of 21 percent RRS 8.6 percent. Elevage 24 months on French oak; bottled November 2012. There are 72 demi cases 6/500ml. Black-red color, sweet nose with caramel and alcohol, black cherry. This is a thick rich, well-balanced, fabulous wine.

You’re invited: Mosquito Fleet Winery release party

Brynn writes:

Wine release party season is fast upon us as area wineries prepare to share their hard work with the drinking public.

Belfair-based Mosquito Fleet Winery is opening its doors the weekend of Feb. 9 and 10 for its release party celebration to showcase the release of its 2010 vintage wines. This is the winery’s second release. We attended the winery’s inaugural release party last year and were thoroughly impressed. We also had a chance last fall to taste some of the winery’s 2010 vintages while they were still in the works and again were extremely excited to taste the “final” bottled product.

(Click here for our story about last year’s release party; click here for a story about Mosquito Fleet Winery; click here for our review of MFW Cab).

Doors will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. For $10 you can taste the winery’s six wines. The fee is waived with purchase.

Here’s info sent by the winery with details of what to expect at the weekend celebration:

The crew at Mosquito Fleet is intent on rolling out an enjoyable spread of chocolates and cheeses. They have hired Chef Dustin Joseph of the ‘Art House Café’ to create food pairings for each of their six wines.

In addition, Mosquito Fleet contracted with Oh Chocolates of Mercer Island to create truffles using the winery’s own ‘Port style’ desert wine. The winery is also bringing in a different band on each day to play for guests.

Doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 5:00 pm both days. They will be serving six wines, five still wines and a dessert wine that will be served in small Swiss chocolate cups. The cost is only $10 per person with the winery waiving that fee with the purchase of a bottle of wine.

Mosquito Fleet Winery has operated for four years, but has only released one vintage (2009) thus far.  The 2010 varietals will be their second release.

“We are certainly wanting to remain patient and not release the wines before they are ready. We want to continue maximizing wine quality and creating a good first impression for the consumer,” said winemaker and co-owner Brian Petersen.

The MFW 2009 vintage sold out in a matter of months and received tremendous accolade. The winery believes the soon-to-be released 2010 wines are even better and the four owners anticipate tremendous sales this year as well.

The February release consists of only 1,000 cases and some varietals are extremely limited. With the tremendous local support and many commercial accounts clamoring to get their hands on this year’s production, it could go quickly.

“We are excited about the growing demand. We believe it’s a result of prioritizing quality over quantity… a stronghold of the Mosquito Fleet Winery philosophy,” Petersen said.

Babies at wine tastings? Yes please!

Brynn writes:

Since having my son four months ago I’ve made a point of not letting the little guy slow me down. That doesn’t mean I haven’t spent time at home cuddling, playing and enjoying these early months where he thinks his mom and dad are the coolest people around (I know this won’t last forever), but when the chance arises to get out of the house for something fun, I typically won’t turn down the invitation.

That was the case Labor Day weekend. My best friend Michelle flew all the way from Maui to meet the little guy, and of course hang out with her bestie of 16  years. Not wanting to deal with the Seattle craziness, we opted to stay in Kitsap. Instead of hanging around our house all weekend I suggested we head to Bainbridge Island to take advantage of the winemaker open houses and try some wine.

Since Daddy worked Saturday, there was no leaving the baby at home. So we packed up the little guy and hit the dusty trail. We had so much fun we returned Sunday, this time with Daddy in tow. The baby handled his first wine tasting like a pro, hardly making any fuss, and the wines we tried were superb. (As you can see below, he enjoyed his time at Eleven Winery Saturday).

I know we just devoted several weeks of our “What we’re drinking” posts to the Bainbridge wineries, but there were some new releases this weekend that were too good not to mention.

They are, in no particular order:

Rolling Bay Winery’s 2011 Fusion. This wine is a blend of 75 percent chardonnay, 25 percent pinot gris. Winemaker Alphonse de Klerk sources all of the grapes for his wines from Snipes Mountain in Eastern Washington. This white blend is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, which allows the mingling of citrus and tart fruit flavors of the chardonnay and pinot gris to stand out. The winery showcased its Fusion white wine blend in 2007 and de Klerk has made it ever since, thanks to its popularity among his winery’s followers. It was a great wine to start our tasting with Saturday, and paired nicely with the mini cubes of white aged cheddar we sampled.

The Fusion is a great choice to sip in the sun while sitting at one of the tables de Klerk has positioned in the gardens surrounding the winery’s cozy tasting room. We loved the setting — especially the peekaboo views of Murden Cove, and the foliage. Apparently so does Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, which recently named Rolling Bay’s tasting room its “Best Essence of Puget Sound.”

Eleven Winery had a couple of wines that stuck with us after we left. While we enjoyed everything we tasted, we especially liked the 2011 La Primavera, a rosé, and the 2011 Angelica, a white port made from pinot grigio.

The Primavera was wonderful — made just the way I like it: dry. Winemaker Matt Albee blends all of the red grapes he sources for his other wines to make this delightfully light rosé. The Angelica port was a great surprise too. It’s not everyday you see a white port; most well-known ports are made from red grapes, but there is such thing as white port wine. This wine offered a delicate balance between the citrus flavors of the pinot grigio grapes and sweetness.

Eagle Harbor Wine Company’s 2009 Viognier. Winemaker Hugh Remash doesn’t offer this wine as a part of his five wines available for tasting, but we lucked out Sunday. Remash described the wine to us, saying he doesn’t filter or fine the wine, so it appears cloudy because of the sediment that stays in the bottle. This can be unappealing to some, which is one reason why Remash doesn’t taste people on it. As Michelle debated whether she wanted to buy a wine she hadn’t tried, Remash went into the back and brought out a bottle of his precious viognier. Saying he planned to open some for dinner guests that night anyway, Remash poured us a sip.

Oh my what a treat. This was hands down my favorite white wine we tried at his winery Sunday — Remash’s Goldfinch sits high on my list of favorite wines, so this is an impressive feat. The viognier grapes come from Remash’s block at Dwelly Vineyard in Walla Walla. While Remash warned the wine might be cloudy, it poured nicely. Floral and tropical notes filled our noses and then our mouths. The full mouthfeel of the wine was exactly what I love about oaked white wines, but by no means does oak overpower this wine — it adds weight, but doesn’t detract from the delicate characteristics of the viognier grape.

Amelia Wynn Winery’s 2011 Riesling is the wine I ended with Sunday while at the Island Vintners tasting room in Winslow. Since we got a late start on the day, 5 p.m. came upon us fast — that’s when the wineries close their doors to tasters. So we headed to the tasting room, which was open later. We ran through the list of Amelia Wynn winemaker Paul Bianchi’s white wines, including his chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and Riesling. Bianchi added all of these this year after seeing the high demand for white wines from visitors to the tasting room.

The 2011 Riesling was just released. It’s a refreshing wine, and a perfect match for some of the warmer afternoons we’ve been having recently. The color is a pale, barely visible yellow, and the slight sweetness of the grape is met with the balance of tart citrus flavors, leaving your mouth feeling refreshed sip after sip.

What we’re drinking: Bainbridge’s Victor Alexander

Brynn writes:

Victor Alexander’s Semillon 2009 is one of Brynn’s favorite wines from winemaker Charlie Merrill. Unfortunately it’s apparently everyone else’s favorite too because Merrill doesn’t have any bottles left to sell.

While selling out is a good problem to have, it’s too bad because his Semillon is the perfect wine to sip while on the back deck of the Island Vintners tasting room where Merrill sells his wines alongside Jim Wilford’s Fletcher Bay Winery and Paul Bianchi’s Amelia Wynn Winery.

This light- to medium-bodied wine has floral notes on the nose, but time spent on oak is evident on the finish, which has a slight vanilla finish. Hints of apple and custard carry through this wine, which is reminiscent of crème brulee.

While we wish there were more supply for people to try while visiting the tasting room, we recommend letting Merrill or the tasting room employee know you hope to try the Semillon so Merrill makes sure to make it again.

*This is part of a series of reviews of Bainbridge Island wines recently tried at the Bainbridge Uncorked event, which featured the island’s winemakers.

What we’re drinking: Bainbridge’s Rolling Bay Winery

Brynn writes:

Rolling Bay Winery 2011 Pinot Grigio: When summer arrives and temperatures rise above 70 degrees this is a great wine to sip while enjoying the sunset on a warm evening.

The higher acidity of this wine makes it a refreshing choice to counteract the lingering heat. Winemaker Alphonse de Klerk has created a nice marriage in this wine of rich apple notes with weighty herbal flavors. The color is a beautiful pale, straw yellow.

All of de Klerk’s grapes are sourced from Snipes Mountain, near Yakima. He’s been making wine for close to 20 years and has sourced his grapes from Snipes for 18 years.

*This is part of a series of reviews of Bainbridge Island wines recently tried at the Bainbridge Uncorked event, which featured the island’s winemakers.