I just love the Friday Winespeed email. If you subscribe, you already know how interesting and informative the email and website are to us ordinary wine drinkers.
Washington state has ten times the number of wineries they had in 2000. The Yakima Valley, an American Viticultural Area established in 1983, was the first AVA in Washington State. It’s more than 600,000 acres in size and is located about 155 miles southeast of Seattle on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain range. The AVA is best known for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay and several prominent Washington vineyards are located here including Boushey, Ciel du Cheval and Olsen. The Columbia Valley AVA and the Walla Walla AVA were both created in 1984, a year after the Yakima AVA. And the Snake River AVA, created in 2007, is not in Washington. It straddles Oregon and Idaho.
Would you believe that Washington is the second-largest wine producing state in the U.S. There are over 1,000 wineries making over 17 million cases of wine, contributing more than $8 billion in economic impact within the state. On average, Washington State adds 4 new wineries per month. I thought it would be Oregon!
The area is also known for those produce. Walla Walla in southeastern Washington is perhaps the only wine region in the world that is renowned for both its delicious red wines and its delicious, jumbo-size sweet onions—about 19.5 million pounds (9 million kilograms) of which are harvested each year. Like the Vidalia ones from Georgia and the Maui ones from Hawaii, Walla Walla onions are low in sulfur (the compound that makes you cry) and so sweet they can be eaten out of hand, as you would an apple. I thought it was hops!
Do you know what a urinal is? Just kidding. The difference in temperature between the warmest part of the day and the coolest part of the night. A large diurnal temperature fluctuation is ideal for grapes since it allows the sugars to ripen during the heat of the day while the natural acids are preserved thanks to the coolness of the night. Washington state has one of the largest diurnal fluctuations of any wine region, often with daytime highs around 92o F and nighttime lows of 45 o F.
One of the best wine experiences was a farm to table dinner with Jackie Cross (Douglas) at their Prosser Farm location in central Washington. We enjoyed a gourmet meal by Dev Patel, and several Washington state wines. Highly recommended once they start up again.
On the other hand, what is flor? While flor does mean “flower” in Spanish, with regard to Sherry, it refers to the thin layer of native yeast cells that are allowed to “bloom” on top of manzanilla and fino Sherries as they age in casks. Flor acts to prevent oxidation and also contributes a unique tanginess to the wine. In the production of most wines around the world, as the contents of barrels slowly evaporate throughout the aging process, barrels are kept topped up with wine in order to minimize the contact the wine has with air and avoid spoilage organisms. Two traditional practices are necessary to support the development of flor. Firstly, barrels are only filled to four-fifths of their capacity. Secondly, the solera principle of blending various ages of wines is essential, as the regular addition of new wine supplements the transfer of nutrients and keeps the flor thriving. In case the flor dies off (either naturally or intentionally), the sherry will have air contact and is then classified as an Amontillado, will undergo an additional fortification, and continue aging in an oxidative way.
And a bit about wine scores: