This past weekend Mary and I had the pleasure of attending the
fourth annual Kitsap Wine Festival.
It was our third year at the event — we missed the inaugural
year — and unlike the last three years, this year the sun hid
behind a bank of clouds. We heard from a lot of people they were
happy it wasn’t as hot as years past, but I have to say I would
have liked at least a little sun.
But I digress, we weren’t there for the weather, we were there
for the wine!
This year 34 wineries were set up around the Bremerton
Harborside Fountain Park, many of them returning from the previous
When we got there we went straight to the back, as we usually do
at this type of event. Not too many people had arrived yet, so we
were able to make our way around pretty quickly before it got
I was pulling double duty, triple duty actually, reporting on
the event for Sunday’s paper (See the story here), taking
photographs for the paper, and doing the wine blog thing with
The fact that I was mutli-tasking was a good thing because it
made me run around to different booths and try wines that I might
have otherwise overlooked.
Of course to start things off I went to two of my favorite
wineries: Kiona Vineyards and
Winery and McCrea
Once again McCrea is taking the award of “Favorite white wine”
from the festival for its Sirroco Blanc, a blend of Grenache blanc,
marsanne, roussanne and picpoul — all my favorite white Rhone
grapes. Looking back at our previous reviews of this weekend,
McCrea ranks among our top picks.
The Sirroco Blanc is a medium-bodied white, with the weight of
the marsanne balanced nicely by the mouth-puckering flavors of the
picqpoul. The nose is floral and the finish has a slight tartness
Here’s our reviews of some of the other wines that made our
favorites list from the event:
2010 Chardonnay: This wine is 100 percent
fermented in oak, 1/3 of it new. Those who don’t like oaky
chardonnay would love this wine. While there are hints of caramel
from the oak in the wine, the fruit and citrus flavors take center
stage. If I hadn’t been told it was fermented in oak I would have
guessed the wine was aged in stainless steel. This wine follows the
traditional winemaking style of Burgundy.
The winery labels its chardonnay as “unique”. I asked Don Gagne,
who was there pouring for the winery, what makes it unique? He said
it’s the fact that winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla uses grapes from four
different vineyards. This allows for the mixing of different
terroir. There’s also one barrel of Grenache blanc added to the
mix. It was added because the winery had a barrel left after doing
its Rhone blends and didn’t want it to go to waste, Gange said.
Retail: $25. Forgeron is available at the Port Orchard Fred
2010 Late Harvest Riesling: This wine was
apparently a fan favorite Saturday because by the time we made it
up to the retail shop it had sold out.
This vintage is the winery’s first with Botrytis, or noble rot,
which is what produces the concentrated flavors. The syrupy
sweetness is evident on the nose, while the citrus flavors balance
the middle. The winery recommends it paired with strong cheeses or
tart cobblers, or as dessert in a glass. Retail: $19.
Out of Line 2009: This estate wine from
the Red Mountain AVA is in its fourth year of production. It’s the
winery’s Bordeaux Blend with 42 percent merlot, 34 percent cabernet
sauvignon, 8 percent cabernet franc, 8 percent malbec and 8 percent
This earthy wine is complimented with notes of dark cherry,
cedar, graphite, cassis and kola. It is a medium-bodied wine with a
smooth finish that lingers.
Heights Vineyard and Winery:
2010 Syrah: Unlike some Washington
Syrah’s that can be chewy and fruity, this Syrah is more
reminiscent of one from France’s northern Rhone Valley. That is
probably because the vineyards are the highest planted syrah in the
state, according to winery owner Phil Cline. The result of the
cooler climate is a wine that retains its acidity, making it less
aggressive on the fruit flavors and an elegant accompaniment to
food. Retail: $20.
This winery is very unusual. Here is an Oregon winery
producing the California grape (zinfandel) harvested in
Washington. They also produce a Primitivo, which is a cousin
to the zinfandel grape. Both wines have the typical scents of plum
and black cherry and big, rich plum, berry, and peppery spicy
Convergence Zone Cellars:
This winery produces award-winning wines in all categories
— gold, silver and bronze. Their Storm Front Red
2009 is a wonderful blend of merlot, cab, cab franc and
malbec from Red Mountain. It’s a blend that has aromas and flavors
of plum, black cherry spiced and pencil lead with this jimmy
finish. It just rocks!
This Seattle urban winery poured a Columbia Valley red blend of
mostly cab with a little merlot, cabernet franc and malbec called
Laurus Nobilis. We loved their 2008 Red Mountain
This is a small, family-owned winery producing handcrafted wines
in Woodinville. Their consulting enologist, Cheryl Jones, has been
making wine in Washington for a number of years and is well
practiced at her craft. Mary especially liked the Qoné 2009
Red. It is a delicious blend of cab franc, cabernet
sauvignon, syrah and petit verdot that smells of blackberry,
cherries and vanilla, with a luscious berry and white pepper
The first wine of the day for Mary was Finca Domingo’s
2011 Hermanos Torrontés from the Cafayate Valley
in Argentina. This vineyard is located 5,500 feet up the foothills.
Its tropical fruit aromas were delightful and the steely citrus and
spice flavors refreshing.
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