Last weekend, Taste Washington! 2012 had its way with our collective palates in Seattle, bringing together a few hundred of the state’s wineries, along with dozens of restaurants offering tasty morsels as teasers to their styles and wares. We chose for the two-day “regular” ticket option, as three hours a day for two days certainly seemed like a solid way to do things, and provided a good “pace” that didn’t seem rushed.
On Saturday our arrival was easy (read: we didn’t have to fight a line, really), and we headed towards the “back” of the room as to avoid the crowds towards the doorway, which worked out fairly solidly. The room was just the right mix of alphabetically-placed brands mixed together with Washington’s AVAs, making for a fairly easily navigated experience. If you haven’t been to Taste before, you could probably compare it to a business trade show, with a bit more queueing up at each table.
Our first day started off with the Betz Family Winery table, where we had the 2009 Clos de Betz, a Bordeaux blend built with 65% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. That should have told us something, as we ended up sticking with a bit more red on day one than originally intended, but that wasn’t a downer by any means. Saturday was full of a fairly smart crowd that handled themselves well in a room chock full of really fantastic wine at the group’s beck and call, I must add.
More thoughts on Day One as follows:
The evening continued for us with an “afterparty” that included Greg & Stacy Lill pouring DeLille Cellars and O Wines for an enthusiastic crowd of visitors at the building we happen to live at, which made for exactly zero excuse not to attend. But that’s another blog post…
On Sunday, we began the day with a leisurely morning and a lunch at Purple Cafe in downtown Seattle. One Starbucks visit and a downpour later, our Uber delivered us safely to SoDo, and we promptly piled onto the line forming outside of Day Two at Taste.
At a minimum, Day Two seemed far more crowded than Day One, but who’s to say. We beelined to Syncline, as we had heard grand things about the Blanc de Blanc, and contemplated doing a bit more of the white varietals than Saturday, and were not disappointed. The Rose was solid too, and the Mourvedre was worth returning for. Being the in the vicinity of the letters R-S-T had its advantages, too, as we visited with RN74‘s pastry chef, Kim Mahar, who was whipping up miniature beignets (a signature dessert if you haven’t stopped by) that hit the spot, to say the least.
Much like a Sunday in Woodinville, it felt like the day when a lot of the locals and Seattle’s awesome servers and somms were out and about. We spent some great chat time with folks from DeLille, Canlis, RN74, Waterfr…AQUA by El Gaucho, and more. We also scored some super helpful recommendations in the last hour of the event from the always superb and on-point Madeline Puckette of Wine Folly, which you need to be subscribing to if you’re not already.
More thoughts on Day Two as follows:
All in all, a pretty well-planned event. The two-day format was something I was genuinely surprised about, as there was a lot less unfortunate overdoing it than I’d expected to see. That’s not to say that Sunday wasn’t without a few folks who somehow made it past 4pm on their feet, but it was pretty contained all around. It was a great opportunity to be exposed to some wineries and restaurants that we’ve not had a chance to make it to, given the wide range of them available in Seattle, Woodinville and points East. Would definitely do the two-day ticket again next year, and am looking forward to checking off a few more spots from my event program that we didn’t make it to.
I’d love to hear what some of you thought of the event. In the meantime, check out what Sean Sullivan (whose comments about the vineyard/AVA tables I can’t echo enough) and Taryn Miller (who had a bit more Rose than I managed to try) had to say about this year’s event.