Stems and Legs

Food, Wine and Beyond

Video Exclusive: Wines from South Coast Winery Resort & Spa

Video Exclusive: Wines from South Coast Winery Resort & Spa celo4life


During our “A Holiday Evening in the Wine Cellar” event, Antoine Pin from the Parallel Winos joined me for a live review of a couple of wines from South Coast Winery for Legend Mag. Enjoy the video and below is information on the two wines we featured along with a link to where you can pick them up:

South Coast Winery 2007 Tempranillo

“Our 2007 Tempranillo was aged in a combination of new American and used French oak barrels that give the right amount of smoky oak tones to a wine that is noticeably swelling with cherry and blackberry fruit aromas.”

Tasting Notes:
Moderate oak intensity, rich berry aromas and balanced tannins underscores the wonderful fruit characters


Bronze Medal – Grand Harvest Awards
Bronze Medal – Los Angeles International

Vineyard Notes:
Carter Estate Vineyard

South Coast Winery 2006 Zinfandel (Cucamonga Valley)

Cucamonga Valley Zinfandel
Harvested from Jose Lopez Vineyards, August 2006

 “As a variety, the origins of Zinfandel are somewhat shrouded in mystery; its complete origin is unknown. What is known, however, is that Zinfandel is one of the first recognized varietals that is uniquely American. It quenched the thirst of Californios and old forty-niners alike, and over the years emerged as California’s native contribution to the international world of wine. Rich berry character, with layers of spice and chocolate frame this big red wine. A part of the old west and apart from the rest, Zinfandel is truly Eureka!”


Bronze Metal – Grand Harvest Awards
Silver Metal – San Fransisco Chronical

2009 Wine Competition Results:

Six (6) Silver Medals in San Francisco Wine Competition, Monterey Wine Competition, Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, Pacific Rim International Wine Competition, Riverside International Wine Competition and San Francisco International Wine Competition; Two (2) Bronze Medals in the West Coast Wine Competition and Los Angeles International Wine Competition

2008 Wine Competition Results:

Three (3) Silver Medals in San Diego Ntn’l Wine Competition, West Coast Wine Competition, and Critic’s Challenge; Three (3) Bronze Medals in Grand Harvest Awards, California State Fair Wine Competition, and Long Beach Grand Cru

Vineyard Notes:
Jose Lopez Vineyards – Rancho Cucamonga

My 2011 hot button wine events for St Valentine’s Day

My 2011 hot button wine events for St Valentine’s Day 700 438 celo4life

St Valentine’s Day, one of the most loved or hated holidays of the year, but also one of the most mysterious holidays on the calendar. Most people don’t understand the significance of this day and merely write it off as a commercialized holiday, not realizing the commercial history of the holiday. Others look towards history and find tales of a saint who secretly married young soldiers to their lovers and was killed once the secret got out. Or you may believe the other version where Valentine was imprisoned and one of his final acts was writing a love letter to his beloved Valentine. Whatever the case, this is a month for romance and love and with that comes a series of excellent events that have landed on my hot button. For your convenience, I have decided to give you guys some creative ideas to take your special someone. I even have an event for those of you who want to rage against the holiday!

Events Close to Home

Assuming you live in the Seattle area, the wineries of Woodinville are hosting a series of events from simple to extravagant. There are events for everyone

Bring On the Red Wine, Chocolate, & Throw In Some Cheese!

February 12 – 14, Noon – 6pm: Cabtastic Valentine’s Day Weekend @ Airfield Estates, 14450 Woodinville-Redmond Rd (Suite 109), Woodinville, WA

This event features a variety of Airfield’s Cabernet Sauvignon & a selection of tasty chocolates. You will also taste barrel samples of their 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon & 2009 Aviator.

February 12th & 13th, Noon – 5pm: Valentine’s Weekend @ Patterson Cellars (2 locations): Pike Street Climb Location, 1427 Western Ave, Seattle, WA / Woodinville Location, 19501 144th Ave NE (Suite D), Woodinville, WA

Enjoy a stylish Valentine’s weekend celebration with wine and a complimentary selection of fine chocolates & cheeses. You’ll also get the chance to wine either a Theo Chocolate gift basket or the opportunity to create your own wine at Patterson Cellars for a party of 10 people.

February 12, 4pm – 7pm: 3rd Annual Valentine’s Day @ Hollywood Hill Vineyards, 14436 Woodinville-Redmond Rd, Woodinville, WA (Advanced Registration Suggested!)

Enjoy a nice selection of artisan cheeses paired with the great wines from Hollywood Hill Vineyards. You’ll also enjoy a compliment of  local chocolates and pastries. The cost of this event is $25 in advance, $30 at the door. To register:

Chocolates Are Great & All, but I Want Truffles!

February 12th & 13th, Noon – 5pm: Valentine’s Day Weekend @ Davenport Cellars, 19501 144th Ave NE (Suite B-600), Woodinville, WA

If you love truffles, Davenport Cellars is providing your fix. Intrigue Chocolates will be at the winery providing a delicious selection of truffles for you to enjoy with wines from Davenport Cellars. If that’s not enough, they will also be giving away red roses for the first 25 wine purchases each day.

February 12th & 13th, Noon – 5pm: Red Wine & Chocolates Galore @ William Church Winery, 19495 144th Ave NE (Suite A-100), Woodinville, WA

This event features artisan truffles by Julie Berg from Wellington Chocolates that will be paired with wines from William Church. This event is only $5 per person.

February 11, 6pm: Chocolate Truffle Cooking Class @ Woodhouse Wine Estates, 15500 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville, WA (Advanced Registration Required!)

Take your love for truffles to the next level with this special truffle cooking class.  This event kicks off at 6pm with a serving of light appetizers w/ Woodhouse wines. At 6:30pm, Intrigue Chocolates chocolatier, Aaron Barthel will begin demonstrating how to make fresh chocolate truffles crafted in the French tradition. In this class, participants will be guided through the history of chocolate, see the process of making an intriguing truffle, Each truffle will be expertly paired with at least 5 of our exquisite wines. You will leave inspired, and wanting more wines and truffles! Registration is required for this event and costs $70 for individuals or $100 for couples. Click Here to Register (Almost Sold Out!)

I Feel Like Giving A Piece of My Heart!


February 12, 1pm – 6pm: Chocolate & Wine @ Challenger Ridge Vineyard & Cellars – Benefiting the American Heart Association, 14344 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Redmond, WA

Challenger Ridge will be hosting a wine & chocolate event at the winery. Proceeds from wine sales will benefit the American Heart Association.

February 12th & 13th, Noon – 5pm: I Heart You Red Wine & Dark Chocolate @ Convergence Zone Cellars, 19501 144th Ave NE (Suite D-500), Woodinville, WA (This event is also at Michael Florentino Cellars)

 Convergence Zone Cellars & Michael Florentino Cellars are teaming up for the “I Heart You – Red Wine & Dark Chocolate event. Enjoy delicious chocolates paired with red wines from both wineries. 10% of wine sales will be donated to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women initiative.

February 14, Noon – 4:30pm: Valentine’s Day @ DeLille Cellars, 14421 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville, WA

DeLille Cellars invites you to enjoy Valentine’s Day at the Carriage House Tasting Room on Valentine’s Day. All tasting fees will be donated to the American Heart Association.

What About Dinner? I’m Hungry!!!

February 11, 7:30pm – 9:30pm: Hand Dip Your Valentine’s Day Truffles & Dinner @ DiStefano Winery, 12280 Woodinville Dr NE, Woodinville, WA (Advanced Reservation Required!)

DiStefano Winery takes truffles to the next level for their Valentine’s Day celebration. Guests will get to hand dip their own chocolate truffles under the eye of Chef Paul and enjoy an elegant dinner for two paired with a special bottle of DiStefano Wine. After dinner, you’ll get to take home your truffles in a Valentine gift box. This event costs $100 per couple (plus tax & gratuity). You can make your reservation by sending an email to or by calling 425.487.1648 ext 1.

February 12, 12:30pm – 2:30pm: Share the Love Appetizer Cooking Class and Wine Tasting @ Matthews Estate, 16116 140th Pl NE, Woodinville, WA (Advanced Reservation Required!)

If you’re looking for an event with great value while providing something different, then this one is for you! Join Landau’s Catering as they teach you how to make delicious appetizers to share with friends and loved ones.  Appetizers & Tastings of Matthew’s wines are included! Class will be held at the Matthews Estate House on the winery property. Space is limited so call 425-487-9810 to reserve your $30 ticket now.

February 14, 6:30pm – 9:00pm: Valentine’s Dinner @ Matthews Estate, 16116 140th Pl NE, Woodinville, WA (Advanced Reservation Required!)

If you’re looking for an extravagant experience, then join Matthews Estate for their Valentine’s Dinner.  You and your sweetheart will enjoy a four-course meal paired with Matthews wine and a unique opportunity to taste our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, to be released in early summer.  The Valentine’s dinner will include a Seafood Sampler of Oyster Rockefeller, Crab on Endive, and Gravlax with dill mustard sauce and Arugula salad garnish, followed by Mushroom Soup.  The main course is Boneless Beef Short ribs in red wine sauce with orange zest, cinnamon, ancho chili, served with Yukon Gold Potatoes with crisp shallots and Sautéed Rainbow Baby Carrots with fennel and onion and Candy Ginger Butter.  For dessert there will be a Dark Chocolate Cake with Black Cherry Compote, Chocolate Fudge Pot de Crème with Kirsch infused Whipped Cream.  Tickets are $85 and space is limited so call 425-487-9810 to reserve your spot now.

Chocolate, Truffles, Dinner??? I Want Something Unique!


February 12th & 13th, 11:00am – 4:00pm: Red Wine & Gourmet Cookie Extravaganza @ Novelty Hill Januik , 14710 Woodinville-Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville, WA

If you’re looking for a different spin to the red wine & chocolate crazy of Valentine’s Day weekend, try Novelty Hill Januik for their Red Wine & Gourmet Cookie Extravaganza. Pinckney Cook Café (known for its use of specialty Belgium chocolates and all natural and local ingredients) will be providing freshly baked cookies to go with the great wines from Novelty Hill Januik. This event costs $10 per tasting & no RSVP is required.

February 11th (Couple I with Artist Angela Hoskins) & 14th (Nude Male with Artist Sarah Ingersoll), 6:00pm – 9:00pm: Corks and Canvas Couples Paint Party @ Apex at Alder Ridge, 14450 Woodinville-Redmond Rd, Woodinville, WA (Advanced Registration Suggested!)

If you’re looking for something a little more creative, the Corks and Canvas events are your answer.  Sleek, warm wood, sophisticated charm and an amazing assortment of quality wines and gourmet snacks make Apex at Alder Ridge tasting room a perfect place to paint.  They supply the paints, aprons, brushes, canvas, music, and instruction while the winery provides tastings of wine. All you need to do is bring your creative selves. The cost of either event is $45 per person & registration links are embedded above.

I Hate Valentine’s Day & I Want to Rage!

February 14, 11:00am – 5:00pm: I Hate Valentine’s Day Celebration @ Silverlake Winery, 15029 Woodinville-Redmond Rd, Woodinville, WA

For those of you who just love to hate this holiday, Silver Lake Winery has the answer for you with their I Hate Valentine’s Day Celebration. Drink wine and enjoy delicious chocolates to compliment their award-winning dessert wines. If you decide to stay awhile because you “hate” Valentine’s Day, they will encourage a cheese tasting followed up with wine infused desserts. Temptation at it’s finest! Exclusive deals and featured wine for those of you who come in and say “I hate Valentines Day”.

Events For Those Who Want to Hit the Open Road


If you’re like me, sometimes you just need to hit the open road and drive! If this sounds like you, then I have a series of events that you may enjoy.

 February 12, Noon: Valentine’s 5K Fun Run/Walk @ Challenger Ridge Vineyard & Cellars, 43095 Challenger Rd, Concrete, WA 98237

Bring yourself, your best friend, your spouse or your dog! Awards for best costume, couples costume & dog costume Bottle of Mystic Red or Mystic White upon completion of 5K Under 21 gets a t-shirt when finished RSVP to Rachel at 425.422.6988. Cost of this event is $20 per person via RSVP, $25 at the event.

February 13, 4:00pm – 7:00pm: Valentine’s Day Cooking Class with Frank Magnaña @ Windy Point Vineyards, 420 Windy Point Drive, Wapato, WA 98951

Join the winemakers,  Liz, and Mike and create a perfect dinner for two. Chef Magaña leads this special Valentine cooking class where you’ll create appetizers, filet of beef tenderloin & lobster, and a spumoni cheese cake. The cost of this evening is $75 per person and includes wines from Windy Point Vineyards. Call the tasting room at (509) 877-6824 or email to reserve your space.

February 10 – 13, 11:00am – 6:00pm: Valentine’s Day Weekend Open House @ Syncline Wine Cellars, 111 Balch Road, Lyle, WA 98635

Syncline Wine cellars is offering an array of gourmet chocolates from the world’s finest chocolate makers while you savor their fabulous wines. Why not do a wine tour? Be sure to visit the other Lyle Wineries and stay the night at a local Inn (Inn of the White Salmon, The Lyle Hotel and The Celilo Inn).

February 12, 8:00pm – Midnight: Valentine’s Pajama Party @ The Rip Caswell Gallery, 201 W Columbia River Hwy, Troutdale, OR 97060

Yes folks, you read it correct… It’s Pajama Time! Join us on Saturday, February 12th for a truly unique Valentine Pajama Party, hosted at the Rip Caswell Sculpture Gallery to celebrate the LOVE of Fine WINE, Good FRIENDS, Sinfully Delicious CHOCOLATE & CUPCAKES, Stunning JEWELRY, Beautiful MODELS, Celebratory DANCING and so much MORE!

Sleep attire is highly encouraged. Or at least what you’d like people to think you sleep in! At our Valentine Pajama Party, we will take YOU away to the land of slumber WITHOUT the sleep, and allow you to indulge in all that you could ever dream about… perhaps models in boudoir, donning Ali Peret Jewelry Designs… responsive waiters bringing you your next glass while you strike up conversation with a new acquaintance…

Of course there will be delicious wines too. We bring you Phelps Creek Vineyards, Mt. Defiance Wine Company, Viento Wines, and NAKED Winery paired with enticing treats from Missionary Chocolates and Cowgirl Cupcakes.

Last but not least, this is a party, and so there must be dancing, and more dancing.  The rhythm of the night is brought you by Ujjayi Sound System, and no doubt you will want to shake it up a notch.

Don’t miss this exclusive Portland Uncorked event! Don’t feel like driving, take the shuttle from Lloyd’s Center. The shuttle will pick you up from Lloyd’s Center at 8PM and drop you off at Midnight. The cost for the shuttle is $25 for individuals, $20 for couples. There are only 20 seats left for the shuttle. Tickets are only $20 if you pre-pay online NOW, $25 at the door if dressed in pajamas, $35 at the door if not dressed in theme attire (be fun & save money!). You can also email your registration or call Nicole to RSVP at 269-369-3298. We encourage you to bring your friends for a fun night of lounging, socializing and dance.

February 14, 6:00pm: Perfectly Pair Wine Dinner @ The Rip Caswell Gallery, 201 W Columbia River Hwy, Troutdale, OR 97060

Let us pamper you and your favorite friend or sweetheart with a “perfectly paired” gourmet dinner featuring dishes thoughtfully prepared by Chef Michele of Always Perfect Catering to complement the fine wines of Mt. Defiance Wine Company.  Each diner will receive a four-course meal paired with Mt. Defiance Wine Company wines: Hellfire white blend, Annala Vineyard Pinot Gris, Brimstone red blend, Reserve Merlot, a special dessert and fine coffee will finish the evening. Tickets for this event are $75 and you can either email your registration or call Kathy to RSVP at 503-492-2473

February 13, 11:00am – 5:00pm: Toast Your Valentine @ Erath Winery, 9409 NE Worden Hill Road, Dundee, OR 97115

Feel like venturing to the Willamette Valley? Then head down to Erath Winery for their “Toast Your Valentine” celebration. Enjoy a selection of unique wines and chocolates including their 2009 Sweet Harvest Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills). Also enjoy the new release and library vintages of Erath’s La Nuit Magique Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley — French for “the magic night,” this unique cuvée refers to the defining moment when one falls in love with Pinot Noir! The cost of this event is $20, complimentary for Cellar Society wine club members (plus 2 guests). If  you can’t make it to this event, you can also visit the winery on February 11th, 12th, & 14th.

February 12, 11:00am – 5:00pm:, 19960 NE Ribbon Ridge Road, Newberg, OR 97132

Our good friends at Strying Vineyards are opening their doors for an exclusive wine tasting. Enjoy 5 wines from Styring Vineyards including their 2008 Signature Pinot Noir. They will also get a preview of their Syrah Port. Delicious food will be paired with each wine. For entertainment, enjoy music from singer/songwriter Jessica Parsons Taylor from 1pm – 4pm. Let them know Stems and Legs sent you and your tasting is complimentary for you and your guests.

I hope I have provided enough event suggestions to jog your creative minds. Whether you love or hate the holiday, I wish everyone a Happy Valentine’s Day. As for what I’m doing? See this blog post 😉 Perhaps you’ll be adventurous to join me!

Stems and Legs to attend the 2011 Santa Clarita Valley Wine Festival

Stems and Legs to attend the 2011 Santa Clarita Valley Wine Festival 404 288 celo4life

I’m pleased to announce that I will be flying to Valencia, CA to attend the 1st Annual Santa Clarita Valley Wine Festival. Dr. Joel Fisher, mastermind behind the LA Wine Fest, is bringing his expertise an hour north to the Santa Clarita Valley. After much research, I can clearly see that the area is a thriving wine community and the locals are really excited!

In preparation for this event, I will be learning as much as I can about the city and the people who drive the wine community. There is also another specific reason why I’m attending this festival, but I will save that for a future announcement.

I’m really excited for this opportunity and I can’t wait to report about it. For more information on the SCV Wine Fest or to purchase tickets, please visit the SCV Wine Fest website.

Memorial Day weekend trip to the Columbia Gorge (Day 3)

Memorial Day weekend trip to the Columbia Gorge (Day 3) 1280 960 celo4life

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I decided to take my third trip to the Columbia Gorge and also take another look at the Willamette Valley. I was really excited about this visit because it was my first look at the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. I got a late start leaving Seattle and got caught in the usual “look at everyone around you” traffic, but I managed to make it to four really good wineries. Each of the wineries on this trip was unique in their own way and I was really pleased with what’s coming out of the region. The picture above is a shot from the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge. You’ll see these rock formation throughout this region. The Washington side of the Columbia Gorge is like night and day compared to the Oregon side. The climate & terroir is very different from the Oregon side which makes this region very exciting to visit. So without further adieu 🙂

Cor Cellars

Cor Cellars

When I arrived at Cor Cellars, I was greeted by Lana in the tasting room. On this windy day, I was wondering if anyone was going to be coming around the vineyards, but it wasn’t long before a large group of people arrived as I was leaving. Cor Cellars had 5 wines available at the time, but have expanded to 8 wines in their collection. The price points are very approachable and the wines are great for any level of collector. I managed to pick up 3 great wines on my visit and have plans to pick up more in the future!:

Cor Cellars 2009 Alba Cor

Refreshingly different, this wine is made with a nod to the Alsatian wines of northern France. The barrel fermented Gewürztraminer adds spicy honeysuckle and floral spring aromas, while the Pinot Gris contributes vibrant pear and melon, refreshing acidity and structure.

  • Varietals: 54% Pinot Gris / 46% Gewürztraminer
  • Vineyard: Celilo Vineyard
  • Appellation: Columbia Gorge
  • Fermentation: Pinot Gris: Stainless Steel / Gewürztraminer: 100% neutral French oak
  • Time in Barrel: 5 months

Cor Cellars 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

There are no tasting notes available on this wine and I believe it’s because it is sold out. I will contact the winery and see if I can obtain them. One thing to note, they have released a 2009 Old Hwy white wine which is a Sauvignon Blanc blend. I will definitely check this out!

Cor Cellars 2008 Momentum

Black cherry, plum and cassis, with hints of dark chocolate, spice and violets. Starting with a base of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is floral, regal and extensive, we add Merlot for silky texture, Petit Verdot for spice and then finally Malbec for its earthy and expressive personality.

  • Varietals: 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Petit Verdot, 21% Merlot, 21% Malbec
  • Vineyards: McKinley Springs Vineyards / Alder Ridge Vineyards
  • Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills
  • Barrel: 90% French / 10% American (40% new / 60% two-year-old)
  • Time in Barrel: 10 months
  • Bottled: August 2009

Syncline Wine Cellars

Probably one of the more talked about wineries in the Columbia Gorge, Syncline Wine Cellars offers many wines in their collection. Some of their wines are blended with grapes you may or may not be familiar with: Cinsault, Counoise, Carignan just to name a few. I found most of their wines to be light and have a very european feel to them. If you’re looking for wines that you can hold onto or drink immediately, this is the winery for you.

The tasting room is very large and was busy during my visit. I was greeted by Georgia and Sara who were very pleasant and fun to talk to. I had the opportunity of taking home 3 wines on my visit. I would’ve taken home more, but it was only the beginning of my trip 🙂

Syncline Wine Cellars 2009 Rosé

Following our faith in Rhone varietals, this Rosé is in direct response to our fascination with hedonistic country wines. Immediately striking with pale water-melon color, the aromas practically leap from the glass. A medley of different grapes yield a full satisfying dry wine: The Cinsault base gives the unmistakable aroma of rose water and violets, Grenache gives juicy strawberry and musky watermelon rind aromas and flavors, Mourvedre sends its characteristic spice to the mix, Counoise and Carignan bring fresh acidity and ripe berry notes. Finishing completely dry, this is as serious as rosé gets.

Harvest Notes

Appellation: Horse Heaven Hills and Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley
Varietals: 37% Cinsault / 35% Counoise / 12% Grenache / 11% Mourvedre / 5% Carignan

I picked this wine up in my belief that it will develop quite nicely over time. The blend on this wine is unlike anything I have tried or have in my collection. It was a very subtle wine and had a good balance. I’m looking forward to opening this bottle sometime next year or the year after that.

Syncline Wine Cellars 2008 Roussanne

Unfortunately, the tasting notes for the 2008 Roussanne are unavailable, but here are the 2009 tasting notes to give you an idea on the wine. I’ve always enjoyed Roussanne wines from Washington State and this was among my favorites. The nose on this wine was very nice and the flavors came through very nicely. Definitely one for the summer time or to be enjoyed with a nice dinner.

Syncline Wine Cellars 2008 Subduction Red

Long inspired by the wines of the Southern Rhone Valley, this is our answer to a Washington version of a Cotes-du-Rhone Villages wine. Ripe and hedonistic, this wine displays vivid ruby color with varying degrees of purple-black. This is a blend of classic southern French varieties that are unique and expressive on their own; yet each contributes to create a harmonious whole. Bold and seductive, this wine exhibits ripe raspberry, violet and game aromas, with juicy plum flavors. The bright, supple finish and pleasing fruit-filled mouthfeel make Subduction Red adaptable to many foods and occasions.

Harvest Notes

Appellation: Columbia Valley (80%Horse Heaven, 20% Wahluke Slope)
Varietals: 26% Grenache / 25% Syrah / 24% Cinsault / 12% Mourvedre / 9% Counoise / 4% Carignan

This was one of my favorite wines during the tasting. Just look at that blend of varietals above 🙂

Memaloose Winery

Overlooking the Hood River is Memaloose Winery. Driving up to the winery, I noticed the great views of the river and the high winds in the area. It’s very unique and definitely worth the visit. As I was getting out of the car, I was greeted by a curious, 4 legged friend:

Wine dogs are just so entertaining 😉 Inside the winery, I was greeted by Rob who was quite knowledgable about the region and quite friendly. Memaloose had 4 wines at the time and was barrel tasting a 5th wine. Now they carry 6 wines. All their wines have a european feel to them and weren’t high on alcohol volume. I only took one wine home, but I would’ve taken home two if the other one was available at the time:

Memaloose 2008 Rosé of Tempranillo

Unfortunately there are no tasting notes available for this wine. I can tell you that it was a very pleasant rosé that you can enjoy during those summer months. As their tag line suggests, Memaloose wines go well with food.

Domaine Pouillon

My last stop on day one, and my favorite, was Domaine Pouillon. This winery focuses on Rhone style blends. I had the pleasure of hanging out with the winemakers while I listened to some classics on their antique record player. The feel of this winery is very warm & inviting and I highly suggest taking a visit. I tasted through all their wines and I wound up taking these home:

Domaine Pouillon 2008 Deux
Double Gold, Seattle Wine Awards, May 2010

Unfortunately there are no tasting notes for this wine, but here are the stats:

Columbia Valley AVA
Source: Brehm Vineyards & Coyote Canyon Vineyard
57% Chardonnay  43% Viognier
Cases Produced: 199     ABV: 13.8%

This is an excellent wine that you can have with a nice dinner or it can stand alone. I’ll be looking forward to trying out the 2009 vintage in the spring. To give you an idea, here are the tasting notes for the 2009 vintage.

Domaine Pouillon Black Dot

Horse Heaven Hills AVA
Source: McKinley Springs Vineyard & Coyote Canyon Vineyard
35% Grenache 25% Syrah 30% Zinfandel 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Cases Produced: 352 ABV: 14%

“The nose of Black Dot delights with hits of curry spices, licorice, and blueberries. This wine has a balanced tannin structure with an extremely long and nuanced finish of marionberries, anise, and earth.

The blend for Black Dot changes every year. This wine is blended by spirit and flavor, (we’re always trying to recreate the first magical vintage that contained grape varieties that no one can seem remember). An experiment in non-conventional winemaking, Black Dot proudly breaks the rules.”

The first words out of my mouth when I tried this wine were, “DAMN!”  I was really impressed by the flavor of this wine, it was quite unique. This wine has a lot of depth and its worth holding on to.

After a long day of tasting, it was time for me to head back to my hotel and rest up for the Willamette Valley portion of the trip. Overall, it was a great day of wine tasting and I will be looking forward to my next visit on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge.

©2009 Amfek Productions Inc

Stems and Legs officially supports I-1100 over I-1105

Stems and Legs officially supports I-1100 over I-1105 1050 697 celo4life

©2009 Amfek Productions Inc

Before we begin, let’s educate ourselves on these initiatives:

Initiative 1100 text
Initiative 1105 text

In short, both initiatives are about privatizing the liquor stores and altering some of our highly outdated laws in the State of Washington. After reading both initiatives and mulling them over for weeks, we have decided to support I-1100 and not support I-1105. For the most part, both initiatives are quite similar. But there is a glaring problem with I-1105 and that’s on page 1, section 3. In short, it directs the liquor board to report to the legislature on a recommended rate of taxation on liquor. Now, I want you to keep this thought in your mind as you read this 4 page document from the state:

RCW 82.08.105 – Liquor Sales Tax document

After reading this document, do you really trust the liquor board to come back with a fair tax that Washington State citizens should pay on beer, wine, and spirits? I surely do not trust them at all! If you figure that the 51.9% markup is going to be taken out of the equation by I-1100 or I-1105, what do you think the liquor board would do in the case of I-1105? They’ll just take most, if not all, of the markup and add it to the tax. The state is already admitting that the taxes on liquor are the highest out of all of the states and they are purposely marking up liquor to shore up the budget shortfall in our state. With I-1105, they may appear to be losing power, but in reality, they’ll be controlling the show on the back end. These few reasons alone are enough for us not to support I-1105.

Why We’re Supporting I-1100

I-1100 not only would privatize the liquor stores, but it also keeps the current tax in place and eliminates the markup. Now, you may think to yourself, “Wouldn’t the stores just mark up the cost of liquor by the same measure as the state?” The answer to this is no. We will naturally see some markup, but because of increased competition in the market place, the markup will be minimal. We have seen proof of this across many states around the country and we don’t see any reason why this same competitive environment won’t happen here.

If you want to see more reasons why we’re supporting I-1100, take a look at this opinion piece supporting I-1100:

Liquor Privatization Yays and Nays – Seattle Met Magazine

This article offers a decent amount of analysis between the two measures.

What About the No On I-1100 & I-1105 Campaigns???

This is where the fun begins! If you have been following me on ITV Live the DJ Sessions, you may recall what I said the “Vote No” campaigns would do in response to these initiatives. If you didn’t happen to see it, in short, I said they were gonna come up with some ad with a bunch of little kids looking all mesmerized by the new liquor bottles and they were going to somehow have a way to purchase them and have a big raging party! Then you’re gonna see some sappy looking mom looking all distraught because her kid is drunk. This is to intimidate you into believe that the “Vote No” campaigns are all about protecting our children. Think back to the liquor tax document. Do you really think the state is concerned about protecting our kids from alcohol? Now, to be fair, in a way they are. However, their main goal is to sell as much alcohol as possible to close the budget gap! The more control they have, the easier it will be for them to achieve this and make a ton of money along the way.

For your viewing pleasure, here are two sappy ads they came up with that are supposed to make you cry and vote no on both initiatives:

A Mother Speaks Out


A Phone Call


Doesn’t that just make you wanna vote no 😀 ??? When was the last time you were out-of-state and you saw a big huge sign that said, “LIQUOR!!!!!”, just outside of a gas station? I’ve traveled to many states and I have not seen any signs like this. I also have not seen a bunch of crazy kids at gas stations hopping across the hood of  cars in excitement because they got their precious bottle of alcohol! These ads are a bunch of crap that don’t depict reality! You know how most kids get alcohol illegally? Their older relatives, friends, and parents!

Did you also notice the common link on these two commercials that refer to these “stings operations” that prove that 1 out of 4 stores sell alcohol to minors? Do you know what these “stings” entail? The liquor board seeks out people who look like their “of age” to drink alcohol and sends them out to purposely go to stores to try to buy alcohol. The goal is to see if they can catch people in these “gotcha” moments and see if store employees ask for ID and/or can identify a fake ID if they do ask for ID. I have been highly critical of this “gotcha” tactics because it doesn’t prove if a store employee would purposely sell to a minor or if they just made an honest mistake. There are much better methods to prove this and I can tell you that almost everyone follows the law in this state. You’re always going to have bad apples in the bunch regardless if these initiatives pass or not. However, this is not a good enough reason not to vote for I-1100 and it’s a very weak attempt to convince you otherwise. In addition to this, the state makes a ton of money on fines which is another reason why they use these tactics!

Now, let’s watch the EMT ad they came up with which talks about the loss of revenue to state services



This is also another stretch because if you remember, the tax isn’t going anywhere in I-1100. The only thing that’s getting eliminated is the markup. The state uses the tax dollars for the state general fund, including any markup. So please tell me how there is going to be a new $200 million dollar shortfall for fire and police services? With the addition of more accounts and stores across the state, the state stands to gain more in tax revenues than any year prior because of increased access to product. This is also another tactic to get you to vote no that simply is not true. If the state did have a shortfall of $200 million dollars for services, it would be because they created it by allocating money elsewhere.

The final ad I want to show you is the winemaker ad. This has been a huge argument among large and small wineries in this state.



To start off with, I want to let you all know that Darby is a great guy and great winemaker. So, I don’t want anyone to think I’m picking on him as person. I don’t know if he is truly not supporting these initiative or if he was merely asked to help out with the campaign. With that clear, let me provide you with a quote in response to this ad:

“I don’t buy the TV ad that’s been running about how our state winemakers will suffer…that’s a very short-sited argument. What the ad is trying to say without saying it is that wineries fear they will lose shelf space to spirits in the grocery stores…no way…grocery stores are all about the profits and if anything, they will eventually expand shelf space for more wine and spirits. Also our friend Darby in the ad doesn’t even make enough wine to distribute to large chains which is true for over 60% of our wineries…Think about the size of most WA State Liquor store’s Washington wine section – small.”

I decided to test this theory out as I walked through my local liquor store. The Washington Wine section is indeed very small and tends to only carry high production wines. People, I’m going to tell you this right now. When I go out to buy Washington Wine, 95% of it comes directly from the winery itself. I rarely go to the store to buy Washington Wines and that practice will continue. Some of the best Washington Wines , you can only get at the wineries themselves and I don’t see any reason why this will cease to continue if either initiative passes. Further more, if small wineries are concerned about this, they could work together and collectively create new opportunities for themselves. There is no limit or restriction on innovation! So you cannot tell me that there are going to be a bunch of wineries out of business solely because of these initiatives. If anything, it will be due to a lack of marketing, understanding of social media, and the economy.

If you want to see something else that’s odd, take a look at this list of who’s endorsing the no campaign:

Isn’t it a little odd that the Washington Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association is pouring money into defeating these initiatives? Well, if you recall our H.R. 5034 – The Bill of Greed article, you will clearly see that they are trying to defeat this measure because it takes them out of the loop. They are using the same tactics as they are in H.R. 5034 by acting concerned about saving children from underage drinking when they are only concern about protecting their profit margins. Don’t be fooled people!

Can’t We Just Vote for Both If We Can’t Decide Between The Two?

This is the final point I’ll leave you with. You can certainly vote for both initiatives, but you’re not going to like the outcome if both initiatives pass. If both initiatives pass, the issue goes to the state to decide on. From there, the state can pick and choose which parts of both initiatives they like better and then vote on it from there. If it passes with a two-thirds vote, that’s the new law. If not, then it goes to the courts to decide. Think back to the liquor tax document and how I-1105 is written vs I-1100. What parts do you think the state will take the most from? It is my best suggestion that if you cannot decide between the two, choose I-1100 vs I-1105. It’s up to you to do as you please because it is your vote, but that is my best suggestion.

Well, I hope you found this piece to be informative. We shall see how the votes decide in November!

A day at Bartholomew Winery

A day at Bartholomew Winery celo4life

On October 9, 2010, I had the pleasure of touring various wineries throughout the day. My first stop was Bartholomew Winery, where I had the pleasure of pouring for their opening weekend. Bartholomew Winery is an up and coming winery next to the old Rainier Building in the SODO District of Seattle. They feature 4 wines with 2 more soon to be released. In the early stages of existence, Bartholomew Winery is already receiving rave reviews.

As I walked in the door, I was surprised to see Antoine Pin from Parallel Winos Live filming a few segments.  After a few moments of catching up and making fun of DC United (GO SOUNDERS!), I was invited to jump in on the last two segments they filmed. For your viewing pleasure, here is a video review of two wines from Bartholomew Winery.

Bartholomew Winery 2007 Jaxon (Walla Walla Valley)


If you didn’t catch it from the video, this is a 50% Cabernet Sauvignon-%50 Merlot blend.

Bartholomew Winery 2007 Reciprocity (Horse Heaven Hills)


This wine is a 50% Cabernet Sauvignon-%50 Carménère blend

I hope you enjoyed the videos as we will have more on the way!

Bartholomew Winery is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm – 5pm. They also host various events throughout the year which you can find on the Bartholomew Happenings Website. You can also find Bartholomew Winery on Twitter (@BartholomewWine), on Facebook, or on their actual Bartholomew Winery website.

Anam Cara Cellars wine tasting

Anam Cara Cellars wine tasting 975 500 celo4life

On September 16th, I had the pleasure of going to Greenlake Wines & Wine Bar (@grlakewine) for their Thursday wine tasting which featured Anam Cara Cellars. I wasn’t too familiar with Anam Cara Cellars, but I was looking forward to trying their wines. When I arrived at the tasting, I was really impressed by the grape presentation around the table. They brought various wine grapes that are planted in their vineyard  which either had actual names or were designated by numbers. Each had their distinct flavors and characteristics so it was very nice to learn about them.

The tasting featured a selection of four wines from Anam Cara Cellars. For convenience, I have included links to the full tasting notes for all of the wines I tried that night.

Anam Cara Cellars 2008 Estate Riesling

“From our one-acre block of Riesling, this lovely, off-dry wine is immediately reminiscent of bright, golden delicious apples, ripe pears and cantaloupe melon on the palate. Aromas of Meyer lemon, honeysuckle and fresh peaches with quince.

There’s an elegant creaminess in the texture and the fresh acidity inherent in each of our Rieslings creates a fresh, lovely, balanced and softly crisp wine. Wonderful chilled and paired with Fusion cuisine, sushi, fresh crab or fried calamari.”

This is a very pleasant wine to drink. It has a touch of sweetness, but not much. It also has a very nice apple flavor to it, among other fruits mentioned in the tasting notes. I really like this wine and found it very enjoyable. Just like the tasting notes suggest, this will go well with seafood.

Anam Cara Cellars 2007 Nicholas Estates Pinot Noir

“Plum, raspberries and dusty rose petals on the nose blend with pomegranate, tea and toasty spices on the palate. All framed by the vineyard’s signature minerality, silky texture and rich yet soft tannins. The nicely rounded mid-palate rolls lingeringly into the sustained finish.

Continuous attention to the vineyard throughout the growing season and great winemaking has resulted in one of the most elegant Pinot Noirs produced to date from our vineyard.”

The nose on this wine had a lot of earthiness to it, which I like. As I tasted the wine, I found it to have a light taste with a slightly creamy finish. This is a very easy drinking wine and one I would definitely suggest. You can definitely hold onto this wine for a few years if you’re collecting, or you can drink it now.

Anam Cara Cellars 2007 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

“As we learn our vineyard, we have identified sections and rows with Reserve potential. This wine was blended from selected barrels and individual rows bearing only 1.5 tons of grapes to the acre.

Well-received by chefs who recognize the wine’s versatility and ability to enhance rather than overwhelm a dish, this wine’s evolution in the glass is remarkable. Wonderfully delicate, yet layered with flavors and aromas, tones of wild blackberries, plums, red cherries combine with earthy notes of cocoa and dusty sandalwood.”

This was my cellar purchase of the night! The nose was quite surprising to me. It has the usual earthiness you’ll find on pinot noir wines, but this one also has a floral characteristic. As I drank the wine, the first thing I noticed was the spice on the wine. This was a great addition to the overall balance on the wine. If you like your wine to have a lil spice/smokiness to it, then this is a clear winner.

Anam Cara Cellars 2008 Nicholas Estates Gewürztraminer

“From only one acre of Gewürztraminer vines planted on the steepest slope of our vineyard, and next to our single acre of Riesling.

This “ice wine” has opulent aromas of apricot, white flowers and bosc pears which join ripe cantaloupe, warm juicy peaches and tropical fruits on the palate.

The grapes for this wine were commercially frozen in their original Harvest bins for 10 days before delivering to the winery for a slow, gentle crush.

This is a sweet wine, but because of the natural acidity it is fresh and clear with a full, creamy mouthfeel and lingering finish.
Delicious with seasonal desserts such as apple pie, pears, peach cobbler and persimmon pudding.”

This wine has a nice citrus nose to it and was fairly pleasant to drink for a dessert wine. It did come off a little heavy for my liking, but not so much where you can’t enjoy it on its own. My suggestion would be to enjoy this with your favorite dessert.

Overall, Anam Cara Cellars has some great wines and I highly recommend you check them out during the holiday weekends (when most Oregon wineries are open to the public) if you’re around the Portland area. For more information on Anam Cara Cellars, please visit their website:

Announcement: Stems and Legs selects Grand Cru Wine Shop & Bar as their new eastside location

Announcement: Stems and Legs selects Grand Cru Wine Shop & Bar as their new eastside location celo4life


We’re pleased to announce that we have selected Grand Cru Wine Shop & Bar (@GrandCruWine) as our new eastside location for Stems and Legs wine tasting events and various parties. I have had the pleasure of visiting Grand Cru Wine on various occasions and I have received nothing but the best service each time. Grand Cru Wine will be able to solve a few issues we’ve had with our tasting events, including access to buying wine at the event through the wine shop. This will be an excellent fit for us and I really look forward to seeing everything unfold.

We will be releasing further details on future events shortly. We have a lot of work to do between now and the first event, but I believe everyone will be pleased with the change. In the mean time, we will continue our work on selecting a new location for Seattle and possibly adding a south end location for 2011.

If you would like to learn more about Grand Cru Wine Shop & Bar, please visit their website: or follow them on Twitter:

Coming soon to Stems and Legs

Coming soon to Stems and Legs 470 470 celo4life

So it’s been a little while since I’ve had a chance to provide you all with some juicy content, but that’s all about to change. Over the next few weeks, I will be releasing my blog entries on my last few wine trips. You’ll hear all about my first time experience in Leavenworth, the Rogue Blogger tour during the 2010 Wine Blogger Conference, Parts 3 & 4 of my Columbia Gorge experience which includes a new winery that has hit the “cannot endorse” list, my return to the Willamette Valley and my new impressions, my review on the inaugural Gig Harbor Wine & Food Festival with comments from Fabio Viviani and Craig Haselbacher, and our first look into BC wines. There are so many more stories in between all these, but I figured I would give you the bulk of what to look forward to.

On another note, I will also be announcing the upcoming Stems and Legs wine tasting series events and tours for the remainder of the year. There will be some nice changes for you to look forward to so I hope you’ll join us for these future events.

So that’s all for now. I will be sure to keep you all in the loop on any future changes we make. Until then 😉

Announcement: Stems and Legs will be making some changes

Announcement: Stems and Legs will be making some changes celo4life


As some of you know, Stems and Legs was launched in November of 2009 as a wine tasting series. The focus of the series was to promote wines from Washington and around the world to wine enthusiast of all levels. Our first event was an instant success and the series has grown immensely. Shortly after the launch of the wine tasting series, the blog was released and featured some of my writings from past wine tastings and trips. The blog is growing in numbers and has been well received in the community. I couldn’t have predicted a better outcome and I have many people to thank for that. After our last event at The Edgewater Hotel, I realize that some changes need to be made. I reviewed all the comments and here’s some of the changes we’ll be making:

  • After our last Stems and Legs event, there were some issues that were raised in regards to the venue feeling too cramped, the lack of water for wine tasters, not enough space for wineries, lack of light food, etc. I have brought some of these issues up on numerous occasions and have continued to work with the venue. Although we had a nice event, I was not pleased overall. With that said, we will be looking at new venue options. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever host an event at The Edgewater Hotel, but we do need explore all of our options.
  • Many of you wanted to purchase wine at our events and bring it home. We’ve been working on addressing this issue and have come to a solution. We will be working on plans to make this happen and I will keep you posted when we complete our efforts.

While we work to complete the major work on our project, we will be holding off on hosting any new public wine tasting events and will focus on invitation only events. In addition to this, here are some other changes we will be making:

  • The Stems and Legs website will get an overhaul in the coming weeks. We are looking to add more functionality and improving the site design. Some of these changes will be minimal, but will improve the overall experience
  • We will be looking to increase the amount of wine tours on the schedule. We have inquired with a few tour companies and we’re looking to add more guided tour options.
  • We will be looking to teaming up with sommeliers to offer wine classes to our members. These intimate sessions will introduce you to wine and increase your overall knowledge.

We hope these changes improve the Stems and Legs brand and the overall tasting experience at our events. We will make further announcements as they become available.