I spent 30 hours this past weekend on the road to and from Seattle. The point was to connect with Vincent Wine Company wine buyers up that way, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Along the way I took the opportunity to listen to some music on the drives and visit some wine shops, and one West Seattle music shop, and otherwise enjoy some solo time before the impending harvest.
Out in West Seattle, I visited West Seattle Cellars, a tight little space packed with wine and people on a Saturday afternoon. Nice to see a shop that I'd heard of for many, many years when it was owned by internet wine guy Mattman. Didn't find anything I could live without, but up the street I did luck into exactly what I wanted, a used copy of Elvis Costello's All This Useless Beauty, which I have on vinyl and love but can't easily listen to in the car. Sorry old schoolers. I broke down.
Then to Esquin where I found the first cache of 2005 Clos de la Coulee Serrant for less than $40. I guess Joly wine isn't the rage it used to be? Some other deals in this legendary Seattle store, but nothing I couldn't live without. I did grab a Joly. The up the road to the imposing Safeco Field and Qwest Field complex. And what did I see? Ha.
Look closely. That says "Portland, Oregon...Soccer City USA...2011" which is when the Portland Timbers join MLS. Yup, right in the Sounders' grill. Love it.
And what's this? I can't resist slumming it in the Grocery Outlet. Aside from some more than decent Neil Empson close outs from good Piemontese produces, there's a true GO oddity. The 2002 Jasper Hill Shiraz Georgia's Paddock for $25. Aussie cult wine, in the discount bin essentially. If you're in the area and into that kind of thing, that's a steal. Jasper Hill is one of the great Aussie producers. I grabbed one just to check it out.
Then up to Seattle Wine Storage to drop a magnum for a customer. The guy working there finds out I'm a "winemaker" and thrusts a glass of mystery wine in my face. What is it, he asks. It's hard to read, but I get to gamay. Yes. Beaujolais. Yes. Morgon. Yes. Turns out it's the 2009 Brun Morgon, and he also has the 2009 Brun Brouilly. Both excellent and probably steals for what they cost, but they came from out of state. This guy has a bad impression of the local wine market, for things like this anyway. Fair enough. I'm buying Aussie shiraz, ferchrissakes.
My drops done for today, I stop by Champion Wine to see this Euro-centric shop. It's a little warm inside, as I'd read online. But the selection is nice and I find a bottle of Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Martinenga Camp Gros for a nice price and buy it. Meanwhile I talk with the owner about my project and maybe plant the seed of a future buyer. We'll see.
Then I head down to Pike Place to Pike and Western. Cool to see some Oregon brethren represented but I'm more taken with the latest issue of the Oregon Wine Press that somehow is all over Seattle already. My guy Francois is on the cover. Could have been me. They wanted to feature home winemakers and I was set to be part of the story, but I'm commercial now, so they asked if I knew anyone with a photogenic set up. I know Francois, and there he is on the cover of the October issue. Nice job. Cool to see Vincent Wine Company written up on page 12 though. Check it out. Francois, Jean-Jacques from Pike and Western says hello. Hope to be on the shelf here on day.
Then to the flying fish people in the market. Why? I don't know. They just throw fish and I think it must hurt the quality of the meat, no? I guess I can't help being a tourist.
Great old friends put me up for the night, much to my wife and children's chagrin. They would have liked to be there with me. Next time. There will be a next time.
Late the next morning I set off to lunch with Thad Westhusing of the Beyond the Bottle blog. Thad and his family were terrific hosts for a lovely lunch featuring delicious 2006 Roulot Meursault and a modest bottle of my 2009 Eola-Amity Pinot Noir. The Meursault was excellent, all sea shells and lemons and nerve. My wine was showing nicely, if I may say that. Fragrant, red fruited and spicy, but not wood spicy. Honestly, this was the best showing it's had since bottling. The wine is pretty nice, I won't deny. We said goodbye with talk of connecting down here during harvest, which would be excellent. Thad, I'm holding you to that.
Then I drove east to the burbs across Lake Washington, for some deliveries and a visit to Pete's Wine Cellar in Bellevue. Honestly, not my favorite spot though they had more of that Coulee Serrant for even less than Esquin. I leave without buying, which is good because the point of the trip wasn't to buy wine. No, it was to see the city and its people, then head south to home with the sounds of Chavez Ravine in my ears, long shadows and fading cottonwoods. It's October, we're not yet picking grapes, I'm roadtripping and everything's good.