I met Catie McIntyre Walker, the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman, online and have been amazed at all she has done when it comes to wine!
“I wanted to learn it all and so I did with more than ten years in wine sales and merchandising and participating in many aspects of winemaking, from grafting Merlot clones on rootstock, planting a row of Merlot in a vineyard, working the autumnal crush, and onto the finished product bottled by hand, as well as working the automated bottling line, ” Catie said.
In 2005, she started blogging about wine at WildWallaWallaWineWoman and she also took on studies in enology/viticulture, eventually graduating from the the Enology/Viticulture Institute of Walla Walla.
After 8 years in working in the tasting room environment, cleaning spit buckets and pouring for the masses, she hung up her corkscrew to pursue writing and open her own wine store, called Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman.
She has also written for other wine, food and lifestyle publications and served as a wine judge for competitions in the Northwest and Idaho. Plus, she speaks at seminars on panels about wine blogging and social media.
I’m lucky to have her here on VineSleuth Uncorked sharing her 5 Wines to Enjoy with us. Pull up a corkscrew and see what she has to suggest…
One white wine under $20 and widely available in the US
- Poet’s Leap Riesling produced by the Long Shadows Consortium in Walla Walla, WA
As a wine blogger who mostly writes about wines from my home state of Washington (that’s not the district full of politicians, but the state of the wild northwest), I try to stay true to my roots. Long Shadows partners with some of the most famous winemakers in the world to produce their one of a kind labels with Washington grown grapes.
In this case, the Poet’s Leap Riesling is inspired by the great rieslings of Germany, but produced with Washington grown riesling by one of Germany’s most highly acclaimed riesling producers, Armin Diel, proprietor of the renowned Schlossgut Diel. The result is a very aromatic wine of fresh peaches and honeysuckles. Crisp acidity, fruit forward and a fresh and clean mineral palate. It is also a riesling that is worthy of age and can be sipped by itself or a perfect pairing with spicy or Asian-influenced meals.
In fact, the recent botrytis version of this wine was recently served at the White House for the President of China.
One red wine under $20 and widely available in the US
- Melange Noir by Waterbrook Winery
Waterbrook Winery is one of the original wineries founded in 1984 in Walla Walla. In the mean time it has grown nationally in production, but still is known for being world class. This is my favorite red (and such a steal at $15). While the percentages may change from vintage to vintage, the many varietals used pretty much stays the same. Here is an example of the 2009: 33% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 11% Malbec, 7% Sangiovese, 11% other varieties >2% each, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Petit Syrah, and Carignane. Whew!
I have been reaching for this wine as a go-to since Waterbrook first began. Easy sippin’.
- Nicolas Feuillate Brut Rosé bubbles
At $40, I am a modest “splurger.” Really, I am. My splurge would be a bottle of perfectly chilled Nicolas Feuillate Brut Rosé bubbles. Oh sure, I could reach out and mention several world class bottles I have tasted that range from well over a $100, but this is my go-to splurge. This French Champagne is a pretty color of copper pink with flavors of fresh berries, yet crisp and perfectly balanced – - and of course the bubbles tickles my nose. It’s just an elegant wine without being pretentious. There are days I crave it.
Two others of your own choosing:
- Walla Walla Vintners Cabernet Franc (Any vintage as I believe I have tasted every year since their first release in 1995.)
Now I am working on the 2010 vintage. Notes of cocoa, licorice, bramble berries really shine through with a creamy finish of milk chocolate and a hint of herbs. I love this wine! I could sip it by itself or pair it with a meal of rich stroganoff with plenty of wild mushrooms – - or even a rich chocolatey dessert. Did I happen to mention I love this wine?
- Campo Vieja Rioja Gran Reserva – 2004
Let’s go “continental” on my last but not least wine choice. I could of course, ramble on and on about the wines of Walla Walla, Washington, but let me choose one from Spain.
I have gotten more people “hooked” on this wine. It’s a complex nose with aromas of black and blue berries and other dark fruit. Smoky! Spicy! Velvety mouth feel with an elegant finish of mocha. It’s a wine that is worthy of aging and a wine that is tasty all by itself or so versatile for food pairing. The 2003 vintage was recently paired with a chorizo and potato soup topped with a red pepper creme fraiche during a wine dinner I hosted. There were “oohs and awwes” around the room about this food and wine pairing.
(Disclosure: Catie owns a retail wine store and sell these wines.)