What’s In A Color?

When doing a wine tasting, the first characteristic that we examine is the color of the wine. Although mere appearances can only tell you so much about a wine’s flavor, these visual cues can hold important and interesting information.

Here are some things to look for on three of our favorite reds: the 2008 Fusion, the 2008 Syrah, and the 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.

Can you spot the differences between these three gorgeous wines?

Five Reasons to Celebrate Washington Wine Month

Walla Faces Estate Vineyard

Walla Faces Estate Vineyard

What will you take home?

What will you take home?

March is Washington Wine Month, a month dedicated to the best of this region’s vineyards, wineries and drinks. But why celebrate Washington Wine Month?

1.  Wine is an important part of Washingtonian agriculture

Wine is the fastest growing agricultural sector of the state, with a 400% increase in the past two decades.

The state has 13 federally defined American Viticultural Areas, and 12 of those 13 are in Eastern Washington. 99% of Washington’s wine grapes are grown east of the Cascades. Thus, Eastern Washington is one of the largest producers of wine in the country.

Cumulatively, the state has over 350 wine grape growers. This wine growth adds up to 43,000 acres. As a result, Washington vineyards produce more wine grapes than any other state in the nation save for California.

2.  Wine is important to Washingtonian history

Wine grapes have been growing in Washington State since 1825. From there, they followed the moving settlers. German and Italian immigrants pioneered early winemaking in the 1860s and 1870s. By 1910, wine grapes were common throughout the entire state.

3.  Washington wines are diverse

Washington wines have huge diversity in both varietals and style. Unlike some areas, which may specialize in only a few varietals, our state offers high quality wine of many types. Whether you love Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling or Syrah and Chardonnay, Washington wineries have many amazing choices of your favorites.

Almost equal amounts of space are dedicated to red and white varietals, offering the maximum amount of choice for consumers.

Washington wineries produce virtually every style of wine. Rosés, sparkling wine, fortified wine and ice wines are all produced here. Furthermore, innovative winemakers in Washington state are eager to try out new techniques or re-introduce more classical methods with a modern twist.

Of the 12 million cases of wine that Washington wineries product annually, there is almost certainly something for everyone.

4.  Wine is an essential part of the Washington economy

Washington State has over 750 wineries, a number that has more than doubled since 2005.

The Washington wine industry employs 30,000 full time workers inside the state. Wine supports everyone from farmers to machinery suppliers to laboratories to retailers. It also serves as a catalyst for other forms of commerce, such as tourism. In Walla Walla, our amazing restaurant scene is supported by tourists who visit to find the perfect Cabernet or Syrah.

According to a 2011 report by the Washington State Wine Commission, our state’s wine has a $14.9 billion annual impact on the US economy.

5.  Washington wines are delicious

Anyone who is familiar with Washington wines knows that there are some damn good wines here. Paul Gregutt, wine writer for both the Seattle Times and the Wine Enthusiast, observes that Washington wines are characterized by their purity, their ripe tannins and their bright acidity.

So, will you celebrate Washington Wine Month with us?

As Washington State Wine Commission president Steve Warner points out, “Washington Wine Month is a time to commemorate the hard work of Washington’s more than 750 wineries and 350 wine grape growers”. This month also allows us to honor Washington’s heritage, economy and agricultural industry… and drink some amazing wines to boot!

Walla Faces encourages you to celebrate Washington wine month by visiting Washington state wineries and vineyards. If you make it to Walla Walla, be sure to visit us too!

A Walla Faces Christmas

Twas some weeks before Christmas, when all through the west
Washingtonians were in a state of unrest
With stockings all hung and trees set out with care
They needed some great gifts to put under there.

The children were happy to eat sugarplums
To play with toy cars and to bang on loud drums
“These kids will have all of the gifts they could want,”
You said with a smile, “But what for my aunt?”

You sip from your glass and your eyes open wide!
An idea arrives that is only upside
This plum-colored vintage has numerous graces
You’ll gift some great wine from where else? Walla Faces!

This surely will cheer your hard-to-please friend
Should you get the Syrah? Or the Cabernet Blend?
For those who drink whites, the Riesling appeals
With a bottle of Ice Wine to sweeten the deal.

If you live north, on the coast, or outside of the state
Grab six bottles online, get a free shipping rate
For those who are Washington’s southeastern legion
We’re hardly a drive! We’re right in your region!

The Tasting Room’s decked out with holiday cheer

With hopes that you’ll drop by and visit us here
With drinks to be drunk and wine gifts to obtain
Stop in one to six at two sixteen East Main.

A Gift From Walla Faces

Holiday Wine Pairings

Holiday Placements

Winter holidays are made better with the perfect bottle of wine! Here are our tips for the perfect Walla Faces wine and food pairings this December. Don’t forget that Walla Faces is offering free shipping on six or more bottles until the end of the year, so it’s the perfect time to take home some holiday wine!

Red Wine

What should I serve with prime rib?
The Walla Faces Syrah has a beautiful white pepper flavor and an earthy boldness that pairs nicely with prime rib. Wine club members should also consider pairing their this luxerixous cut of beef with the Walla Faces Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which has just the right balance of the tannins to be elegant without being too mellow.

What should I serve with a roast lamb?
The Walla Faces Fusion Red, a Cabernet-blend, is so smooth it won’t overpower a cut of lamb. The Fusion is also available in the 2006 vintage in a magnum size, which is perfect for holiday parties.

White Wine

What should I serve with ham?
The Walla Faces Riesling has enough fruity notes to truly enhance the flavor of your holiday ham, especially if it is glazed with succulent honey, which plays off the slight sweetness of the wine.

What should I serve with turkey or goose?
The Walla Faces Riesling is the perfect off-dry, allowing it to complement both white and dark meat, enhancing the complexity of your favorite holiday poultry.

What should I serve with latkes?
The Walla Faces Riesling has stone fruit flavors and a crisp minerality that cuts the grease of a fried latke.

What should I serve with dessert?
The Walla Faces Ice Wine brings a beautiful richness that pairs nicely with not-too-sweet desserts such as pumpkin pie, fruitcake or cheeses. And, of course, ice wine is the perfect dessert all on its own!

Walla Faces at 20Something: The New Vintage

 
On Saturday, November 17th, Walla Faces had the privilege of pouring for a great crowd at 20something: the New Vintage. This walk-and-pour event at Fremont Studios in Seattle allowed us the opportunity to mingle with younger Washington wine lovers as they checked out new wineries, munched on amazing culinary treats, and sipped some fabulous vino!

Will and I are Tasting Room Attendants at the Walla Faces Tasting Room on 216 East Main Street in Walla Walla. We drove all the way up from Walla Walla to Seattle for this event! Armed with our color-coded winery representative passes, we arrived early to set up and chill our Riesling.

Both the Riesling and the Fusion were standouts for the evening! Many people remarked that we were their favorite winery in attendance. I even got the opportunity to meet the head of the Washington Wine Commission! He told me that he loves the 2008 Fusion and enjoys staying the Walla Faces Inns when he is in Walla Walla. That is high praise!

Thanks to everyone who came to this fun evening and supported us! We hope to see your faces at our next pouring event.

Happy Thanksgiving!

At Walla Faces, we love pairing wine with food. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to find that pairings that let both the food and wine truly shine. Here is a glimpse at my Thanksgiving table and the way that I used Walla Faces wine!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope that you did as well. May all your holidays have wonderful food, good company, and excellent wine.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Walla Faces.

A look at the Walla Faces 2012 harvest!

 

The decision about when to harvest is one of the most critical steps in the wine-making process. If you harvest too early, the undeveloped tannins will lead to a grassy flavor and a bitter wine. If you harvest too late, winter weather conditions may destroy the entire crop.

Walla Faces harvests our grapes later in the year than most other wineries, a luxury afforded to small vineyards, to ensure that the grapes have had sufficient time to mature. Our pesticide- and herbicide-free vineyard is 10 acres of juicy Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes, two varietals that take longer to reach the ideal sugar and acid level. For 2012, Walla Faces is also producing a Tempranillo and a Merlot blend that use grapes from other vineyards. Tempranillo, whose name comes for the Spanish word for “early”, matures quickly. Consequentially, our 2012 Tempranillo was well into its time in the barrel by the time we harvested our Cab and Syrah.

This year, we harvested on October 31st and November 1st. In the days preceding harvest, we kept a very close eye on both the ripeness of the grapes, testing them for sugars and acids to ensure a perfect product, and on the weather, waiting for clear skies. On Halloween, we had a perfect storm of beautifully ripened grapes and crisp, dry conditions.

Every year, we assemble a crew that handpicks our grapes off the vines. They move quickly, allowing us to completely harvest our grapes in a mere two days.

When harvest is over, the grapes are immediately taken to be crushed at a crush pad. Unlike table grapes, wine grapes do not last once they have been picked, so they need to be crushed immediately.

If you have a patient palette, be sure to keep an eye out for the 2012 vintages from Walla Faces. It was a perfect harvest, so our wines are sure to be wonderful as well. In the meantime, drop by the Walla Faces Tasting Room at 216 East Main St. and pick up a bottle of the 2008 vintages.

Behind the Scenes at the Walla Faces Wine Club

 

As many of you are already aware, last week Walla Faces was hard at work packing up wine club shipments! It’s always a big endeavor to get wine club shipments out to our wine club members, who live all across the United States. We thought we would show you a little bit of what goes on at wine club shipment time behind the scenes.

This is the first wine club shipment that has included a bottle of Matthew, the 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. This complex, full-bodied wine is made from the free run of the Walla Faces Estate Cabernet grapes and available exclusive to wine club members. We only made 176 cases of the wine! Because this was the first shipment to include a Reserve Cab, we pulled out all the stops. Both Matthew Loso, our winemaker, and Candice Johnson, our artist, signed every single bottle of Reserve Cab! It made for both elegant bottles and very sore hands.

A polished black and white folio gave our wine club members an update on Walla Faces, information on how to best enjoy some of our new wines, and, of course, warm wishes from Rick and Debbie, the owners.

Although we only ship every six months, we spend all year brainstorming on ways to make our wine club even more special. This shipment, we included beautiful handmade glass winestoppers that looked even more stunning against our striking labels.

Bottles With Wine Stoppers

Don’t our Cabernets look beautiful adorned with these wine stoppers? In addition to our Reserve Cabernet, our wine club members received a special early release of the Janice, our Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Janice will be released to the public later this year.

Everything all packed up and ready to go! Each case looks a little difference because we tailor our shipments to your preferences.

It was hard work, but we have finished and gotten our wine club members their packages, save for a few Walla Walla residents who haven’t picked up their shipments in the Walla Faces Tasting Room just yet.

If you are interested in learning more about the Walla Faces wine club, check it out on our website here. Alternatively, if you are in Walla Walla, drop by the Tasting Room at 216 East Main St.! It’s not too late to get some awesome holiday specials available only to wine club members.

October at the Walla Faces Vineyard

Cab_SauvIt’s October and starting to get a little chillier in Walla Walla! Even though many of us are starting to abandon our summer apparel of shorts and tank tops for sweaters and hot beverages, the grapes at the Walla Faces Estate Vineyard are still soaking up the sun.

Leaving the grapes on the vine longer allows for that perfect balance of sugar and acidity. Harvesting too early will mean that there is not enough sugar and too much acid. The resulting wine will lack aroma and will often have a “grassy” flavor. Because our vineyard is a very small 10 acres, we are able to be sensitive to changes in the weather, allowing us to harvest at the perfect time. Often, we hold off on harvesting until November. This year, we anticipate waiting another two to three weeks to harvest, depending on the weather. Harvest typically takes only two to three days of hard work.

rows_of_syrahThe luscious grapes aren’t the only thing vineyard visitors are likely to notice. Ever since the grapes underwent veraison, the process by which grapes turn from green to red, they have been a juicy treat for wandering birds. Consequentially, we use speakers playing a soundtrack of “birds in distress” to ward off hungry pests. Thankfully, even though this is the only pest-control measure we use, we have never had a problem with birds!

The grapes are not just a treat for birds- they are a treat for humans as well! When you bite into one of the Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah grapes growing at the Walla Faces vineyard, you will be surprised by the opulent sweetness. Although the grapes are very sweet now, much of that sugar will be converted to alcohol during fermentation. Wine grapes are also smaller, softer and juicier than table grapes. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes have a subtle hint of cherry with a deep fruitiness, whereas the Syrah taste almost like blueberries. This will contribute to the ultimate flavor of the wine, although these differences are significantly enhanced during the wine-making process.

Both the skin and the seed also hold important clues about the wine. The skins play an important role in the wine, giving it both its color and most of its flavor. Both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have very thick skins, allowing them to be robust, age-worthy wines. The Syrah has slightly thicker skin than the Cab, making the tannins more prominent in that wine.

The seeds help give clues about the ripeness of the grape. As the berries ripen, the prominent seeds inside the grapes change from green to brown. Looking at the seed color is a quick and easy way of assessing ripeness.
DSC01242
Overall, our grapes are coming along very nicely. File this away for future knowledge: 2012 is sure to be an amazing vintage!

All photos in this post were taken Saturday, October 6, 2012 at the Walla Faces Estate Vineyard.

How to Use Walla Faces Wines at Thanksgiving

Many of our customers are already starting to think about bringing Walla Faces wine to their Thanksgiving tables. Here are some tips and tricks for pairing our wine with your favorite dishes:

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing

Wine and Turkey

What are you eating? Turkey, of course!
What should you pair with it? Walla Faces 2010 Riesling
Our Riesling is light, with a beautiful balance of sweetness and dryness to pair perfectly with both white and dark meat. The apricot and honey essence of the wine brings out your favorite autumn-inspired flavors and adds a layer of complexity to a perfectly cooked slice of turkey. (It also goes great with sweet potatoes!)

What are you eating? Herb-infused stuffing
What should you pair with it? Walla Faces 2008 Syrah
Our Syrah is rich and hearty, with a touch of white pepper. Its complexity makes it versatile enough to pair with your family’s favorite stuffing recipe, bringing out the juicy, meaty flavors.

What are you eating? Mashed potatoes and gravy
What should you pair with it? Walla Faces 2008 Fusion
The Cabernet in our smooth, delicious blend complements your savory, homemade gravy without overwhelming the creamy potatoes. Red wine-exclusive drinkers will also love the Fusion paired with turkey.

What are you eating? Pumpkin pie
What should you pair with it? Walla Faces 2008 Ice Wine
Because the Walla Faces Ice Wine manages to stay light, rather than getting too syrupy, it lifts the denseness of the pumpkin pie and highlights the spices. The sweetness parallels the flavors in your pumpkin pie fabulously.