Friday, February 27, 2009

Travel Time for Rick and Darcey

Rick and I made a whirlwind trip to the west side last week. We started in Seattle with lunch with our son at one of our favorites, Tom Douglas' Dahlia Lounge. Rick had the crab cakes, which we think are hands down the best around, I had the curried clams – yum – and Sager worked his way through the burger. It was on a trip to Italy a number of years ago with Tom, Peter Dow and Michael Teer that Rick fell in love with Barbera and Dolcetto, then came home and planted those varieties in our Estate Vineyard.

Rick and I followed with a dinner at Volterra that Tamara Donaghy, the proprietor of the downtown Seattle women's clothing store Sway and Cake, purchased at the Seattle Hotel Association's Evening of Hope auction. Chef Don Curtiss and his crew put together a wonderful menu matched to Woodward Canyon wines. My favorite course was the Braised Pork Cheeks and Potato Gnocchi with the 2006 Columbia Valley Merlot. A good time was had by all and a great charity, the Plymouth Housing Group, benefited.

Then the next morning it was on to Moclips on the Washington Coast. As a young child I had spent time there with my parents so it was interesting to go back after so many years. The Ocean Crest Resort sits on a ridge above the ocean with wonderful views – particularly sunsets. The restaurant there produces a regular calendar of winemaker dinners and has an award-winning wine list, primarily NW wines, many of them nicely aged. It is always a surprising treat to find such a wine list in an off-the-beaten-path place.

On our day "off" we drove up to the Quinault Lodge at the edge of the Olympic National Park. After a short hike to see the world's largest spruce, we headed to the lodge for lunch. It is a beautifully maintained 1930's lodge that overlooks the lake. If you have not been there, it is worth the trip. For whatever reason, every time Rick and I have been in the rain forest it has been clear and warm and this was no different.

Then back to the coast for a nice long walk on a sunny beach before the winemaker dinner which was paired with many of our older wines from the Resort's cellar. My favorite course there was the Chocolate Chili with Citrus Pepper Puffs matched with the 2004 Merlot. I have to get that recipe!

It was a long haul home the next day to cloudy and gray Walla Walla, but we had met some nice folks, had plenty of good food and got an invigorating dose of salt air and sunshine so it was well worth it.

Darcey / Woodward Canyon Winery.

Friday, February 20, 2009

End of February Already?!?!?!

Hello from cold and gray Walla Walla Valley. I’m writing this bundled up inside the tasting room in a sweater and my fleece
jacket. I’m soooo ready for spring time! It’s been a long and cold winter and just seems to keep dragging on. And to think on the 2nd Punxsy Phil saw his shadow and so we’re in store for 6 more weeks of winter. But I have some reservations on this prediction. I mean this little groundhog comes out of his burrow to try to predict if we’re going to have a longer winter or an early spring. But with all the people standing around with lights and cameras and everything else it’s no wonder that he ALWAYS sees his shadow! Here’s a fun site I found on the history of Groundhog Day- visit it at if you’re interested in this little guy.

So some fun stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks that some of us here at the winery are involved in. First off is the Oregon Wine Symposium down in Eugene, Oregon. This is our first year attending so we're hoping to learn a lot. It has been years since I’ve been to Eugene. If you know of any hot spots to visit or any cool events going on for Fat Tuesday please feel free to share. I would love to get some ideas of where to visit.

Right after we return from that we’re headed out again for Taste Walla Walla in Portland, which takes place on Monday, March 2nd. This is a great event for those of you who haven't been before. Wineries from all over Walla Walla pack up and head down to Portland to pour in one big area. Great for those of you who haven’t made it over to this side of the state yet, and for those of you who would just like to taste a bit closer to home. Tickets are still available and cost is $65 a piece. There are quite a few wines available to taste so please be safe in getting home from the event. This is such a fun event for wineries and consumers alike. For more information, you can visit The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance website. To order tickets you can either call (503) 226-0973 or visit the Portland Art Museum at Portland Art Museum. We hope to see you all there!

For those of you who haven’t heard, we have released our 2006 “Old Vines” Cabernet. This wine is gorgeous! Rick is really excited about how this wine is showing already. Here’s an excerpt from our tech sheet …

”This 2006 “Old Vines” Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich and complex red wine. It expresses the purity of fully mature cabernet sauvignon fruit that one only can get from 35 year old vines. The Sagemoor Vineyard cabernet truly expresses itself in this vintage. The color is dark red to purple and complex aromas of cherry, leather and smoke develop in the glass. Flavors of ripe black cherries and cassis married with spicy new oak and vanilla coat the mouth. The texture is soft and silky yet there are mature integrated tannins in the rich, long finish. I love the proportion this red wine displays and with proper storage, it should age for ten years easily.” -Rick Small, director of production

If you would like to order some please feel free to either call us at the winery at (509) 525-4129 or order online at

Well I hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday! Even though this would normally be my Monday, I’m taking the weekend off to head out to a friend’s wedding. Here’s to a 10 hour drive for an outdoor wedding at the Oregon Coast. Seriously, who gets married outside at the Oregon Coast in February?!?! If, on Saturday afternoon around 3:00 while you are in your warm and toasty house and you get the urge to have a glass of vino, think of me!

Shari Brumbach / Woodward Canyon Winery