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WHO Knows? God Only Knows!!!

My husband and I have a wine problem! Okay, that’s not what I mean! We have a problem figuring out which wine to open at night. One of us, usually me, goes into the cellar and starts perusing our list! Do we want white, red or rosé? Do we want a Pinot, Cab, Tempranillo, Syrah? Do we want Old World or New World? Last night it was his turn, and once again it was a struggle. What wine should we open??? We only knew that we wanted something good. God only knows! That gave me an idea! Let’s open the God Only Knows!!!!

Cayuse is a great winery out of Washington’s Walla Walla Valley. I’ve been on their waiting list for YEARS and still haven’t struck gold by being promoted to the actual list. Luckily there’s a wine store a couple hours away that has some in stock from time to time, so I have a couple of their wines in our cellar.

Cayuse’s founder Christophe Baron is originally from the Champagne region in France. His family owns the Champagne house Baron Albert and has worked the land there since 1677. He fell in love with the wines of Burgundy and had plans of opening a winery in Oregon to focus on the Burgundian varietals. After doing an internship in Walla Walla Washington, however, he discovered a vineyard that reminded him of the Rhone Valley in his home country of France. Being unable to resist this unique terroir of softball sized stones, reminiscent of the Southern Rhone, Monsieur Baron set up shop in Washington State!

Cayuse produces several wines, but the God Only Knows is considered a Grenache, as it contains at least 75% Grenache which is needed in order to label it Grenache! The other 25%? God only knows!!!!! That’s from where the clever name comes.

The 2012 Cayuse God Only Knows Armada Vineyard is a fabulous wine. It has lots of Old World “funk”, which I love. It has lots of black olive, which I also love! There’s also lovely rose petals and cherry on the nose. The palate has the olive, black cherry and some great minerality. The finish is long and lovely.

This bottle shouldn’t have been opened yet. I messed up! We should have waited a few more years, but it was still delicious. It’s only going to get better with more time in the bottle. I’m going to get online and try to hunt some more down for my cellar!

If you’d like to check out Cayuse Vineyards, and perhaps get on their massively long waiting list, check them out here:


With What Wine do YOU Decorate?

I’m a little crazy about Christmas. My husband and I absolutely love the holidays and we decorate our house from top to bottom. We love to relish in the festivities of December and the holiday season.

After bringing up all of the boxes of decorations, we pick out a gem of a wine to enjoy while beginning the long (but fun!) process of turning our Florida home into a winter wonderland.

This year we chose a bottle of 2007 L’Ecole No. 41 Perigee, which we bought at the winery almost six years ago.

Just outside of Walla Walla, Washington is a small town called Lowden, and this is where L’Ecole No. 41 is located. The winery is housed in an adorable French schoolhouse, with the tasting room in a former classroom. The wines being offered for tasting each day are cleverly displayed on an old-fashioned chalkboard.

The ’07 Perigee consists of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc … and it’s drinking beautifully right now. The nose has raspberry, mocha and violets. The palate is very complex and well balanced, with both red and black fruit, a touch of vanilla and clove, some baking spices and lush, soft tannins. The finish goes on and on and on. I’m in love with this wine!!!

The 2007 L’Ecole No. 41 Perigee was a great way to START our holidays! I’m looking forward to what the rest of the season has in store for us!

Gramercy Cellars’ “The Third Man” Is a Winner

I love the state of Washington, and I also love their wines.

A few years back my husband and I made a 10-day journey throughout the state’s wine regions.  We started in Woodinville at the many tasting rooms scattered around the cute suburb of Seattle. Next we headed to Leavenworth, a wonderful little Bavarian town set in the Cascade Mountains, also full of tasting rooms. From there we ventured to Yakima and then finally on to Walla Walla. We obviously tasted a lot of wines along the way and I fell in love with many of them.

I’ve been back to the land of Washington wines quite a few times since that visit and have discovered some new gems, one of them being Gramercy Cellars.

Founded in 2005 by Master Sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife Pam, Gramercy Cellars focuses on wines made in the Rhone and Bordeaux styles. France’s Rhone Valley is perhaps my favorite wine region of all, and who doesn’t love Bordeaux? Washington is great for both, and I’ve never had a Gramercy Cellar wine that I didn’t like!

The other night my husband and I opened a 2009 “The Third Man” from Gramercy. A blend of 50% Grenache, 28% Syrah and 22% Mourvedre, (all varietals that perform very well in Washington) this is a fabulous wine! On the nose are lavender, tobacco, garrigue, mocha and dark fruit. The palate has loads of lush fruit, and yet is oh so complex. There’s also tomato, spice, soft tannins and the finish goes on and on and on. I sure do wish we had some more of the ’09 in our cellar.

I’ve tasted with Greg a few times now. He’s full of lots of knowledge, yet humble as can be! So … with wine this great and a nice guy to boot, I can’t recommend these wines enough.

Check out Gramercy Cellars here:

My October Wine of the Month

Sleight of Hand Cellars 

2008 The Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon

Columbia Valley

I’ve visited Washington several times now. It’s a beautiful part of our country, with some wonderful wines being made in several different locations. One of these areas is Walla Walla, a delightful town surrounded by the beautiful Blue Mountains.  There are a lot of great wineries and vineyards located here in this well-respected region. One winery that is hard to forget is Sleight of Hand.

The Wine – Ruby red in color, this aromatic wine has black currant, licorice, fig and a touch of roasted meat on the nose. On the palate are the black currant, black raspberry and a smooth velvety finish. This well-balanced Cab is blended with 8% Syrah and saw 60% new oak, but you’d never know it. This wine is singing right now and I wish that I has a case left in my cellar!

My Experience Visiting the Winery – My husband and I had no expectations upon arriving at Sleight of Hand for a tasting. My stepson is a magician, so we were intrigued by the name.  Little did we know we were walking into a REALLY fun experience. As soon as we entered the tasting room the co-owner and winemaker, Trey, greeted us with a question: “What do you want to hear?”  I was a little confused until I saw the row of albums he had lining the back wall. I suggested Bryan Ferry, and by gosh if he didn’t have some Roxy Music!  So he put on the album, (yes, VINYL!!!) and we started tasting.

The Journey – Sleight of Hand Cellars is located in a beautiful area of Walla Walla with open areas of vineyards and beautiful views. I can’t help but think that it may be similar to Napa Valley many, many years ago. Their original tasting room had been in the quaint downtown area of the city, but had just moved into the beautiful current location when we visited in 2011.

If you’re looking for some “magical” wines, check out Sleight of Hand Cellars in Walla Walla! We fell in love with many of them, and they all have magic themed names!!!

Visit their website at:



Woodinville, WA 2011

The first day of our ten day journey through Washington Wine Country found us in Woodinville, a suburb of Seattle.  There are many tasting rooms here (due to the close proximity to Seattle’s wine loving population), but only some have their actual wine making facilities here.  Most of the vineyards are located east of the Cascade mountains, which we will be visiting later this week.  On this day we visited DeLille, Mark Ryan, Ross Andrew and Januik/Novelty Hill wineries.

My favorite of the bunch was Mark Ryan.  The wines were great, and so was the delightful gal in the tasting room, Kyra.  She was really fun and great, but also knew a lot about the wines.  We especially loved all of the Bordeaux blends, as well as the Syrah.  While there, a nice guy showed up with his dog.  This “nice guy” turned out to be Jerry of Guardian Cellars.  We would have loved to have tried his wines as well, but he’s sold out!  Guess he’s doing something right too.  I’ll be sure to check him out next vintage!

Ross Andrew (tasting room next door to Mark Ryan) also did a bang-up job.  His 2008 Boushe Vineyard Syrah was really tasty, with black fruit and some bacon fat on the palate and a nice long velvety finish.

There aren’t a lot of lodging options right in Woodinville.  We stayed at the Willows Lodge in one of their suites, which was off the charts amazing.  It was truly one of the best rooms in which I’ve ever stayed, and I’ve stayed in some really cool rooms.  (We did a last minute upgrade for only $30!)  Their restaurant (Barking Frog) was packed and we hadn’t made reservations.  The bar was packed too, so we ordered room service instead (which was also from the Barking Frog) and it was awesome!

The next day we had lunch at Purple, a great restaurant with a fabulous wine list and Jeff (our server) was beyond great.  They have wonderful food and great wines by the glass.

After lunch I really wanted to taste at Sparkman, but we were about 45 minutes early.  They open at 1pm and we needed to head to our next destination, so we decided to save Sparkman for our next visit to Woodinville.

Next stop:  Leavenworth!



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