Category Archives: good

The Good Stuff

Treveri Cellars – Yakima

Well kids, this is a place that does it right.  Treveri Cellars, outside of Yakima WA.  They make enjoyable and very affordable sparkling wines.

Treveri Cellars

Why do I say these gals and guys do it right? This place is a dang fine time.

Ok, it’s true, this isn’t a great photo, but their building and tasting room will surprise you by having a German twist instead of a French twist like you’d expect.

There’s no charge for the tasting flight, but as you can get into one of their bottles of bubbly for only $15 so you might as well go for the full meal deal. Speaking of which – the food is good. We quite enjoyed their sausage plate.

It was a bit breezy out and October. Hey, guess what?  They keep a basket of blankets around so you can stay comfortable while enjoying the outdoors.

The staff was great too. Here’s our server, a gent who goes by the nom de guerre of “Dr. Bubbles”. Appropriate! He made sure we had a warm welcome and everyone there did a lovely job taking care of us and the other customers.

Four thumbs up!

Owen Roe Winery, out by Yakima

If you’re a fan of this blog (and I know I am) you may have read out post about Col Solare which we visited earlier on this same day.  Here we are at Owen Roe Winery, out near Yakima, WA.  As you can see, it’s another dang beautiful place.

Owen Roe Winery

So, why bring up Col Solare? Well, we felt it had no personality.  Not true here, look to the right as you walk in the front door and you’ll see stuff like this:

That isn’t to say the place isn’t professional with a nicely polished experience that anyone could enjoy, here we are doing just that.

It’s just a friendlier place a person can feel comfortable in.

If I recall correctly they had a sheet of paper on the door to the winery office totaling up the harvest volume and I believe it came to something like 520 tons of grapes. That’s twice what we did at Torii Mor last year, and just looking at all the barreling down they did here makes my arms itch.

Owen Roe Winery

And they have a Pinzgauer!


Aluvé Winery

Today’s Most Interesting Story Award goes to Aluvé Winery.  Please say hello to Kelly and JJ:

Kelly and JJ served our country in the Air Force piloting the gas tankers in the sky and F-16’s.

Aluvé Winery

As of fall, 2018 you won’t be much impressed rolling up to their facility after being at Walla Walla Vintners, but after walking up the stairs to their kitchen tasting room the warmth of their welcome will more than make up for the fancy stuff we all enjoy elsewhere.

JJ tells us they are working on a more formal building for the wine tasting theater stuff frequent visitors to this blog knows I go on about… by the time you read this, you may have missed out on visiting with JJ and Kelly in their kitchen. Get on it people!

Regular visitors to this font of our wisdom, such as it is, will know that we are students of the perception and experience of visiting these places. Any number of other outlets will tell you what you should believe tastes good and will give you numbers and whatnot etc etc. Instead, we are here to tell you what’s likely to make you feel good.

What delivers the experience of feeling loved, fulfilled and part of the universe?  It’s so much more than the fermented juice in the bottle.  Comments?

àMaurice Cellars

Winning the award for most spirited Tasting Room Associates is àMaurice Cellars.

As you can see, we are suffering horribly here.

àMaurice Cellars

Are their wines good? Yes, yes they are.  What’s more important?  Your authors could relax and take in the view, contemplating synergy and their friendly staff enjoyed leaving the shady tasting room to deliver a sip of our next tasting.

So, the kids were a lot of fun, definitely the highlight of our visit here.  (HINT: got a tasting room?  Keep your Associates chipper!)  In the “small town” vein, the gent with the golden hair says he was a server at a group dinner we enjoyed Thursday evening.  Just goes to show what it takes to make a life in this world.

Since we have to back up our reputation for not pulling punches on this blog, for my winery picnic money, I would absolutely choose Walla Walla Vintners as a place to sit and enjoy, which is only walking distance away.  Sorry, that place was frickin’ Winery Disneyland(tm) when we were there.

Meanwhile, there’s really no way around it. Those of us of a certain age can’t hear the name “Maurice” without this earworm.  It’s worse for Joyce and I because we bought a Ford Explorer from good friends who they’d named “Maurice”.

Somehow, when it came down to it, I wasn’t able to determine the “Maurice” angle here.  Pretty sure it doesn’t have anything to do with Space Cowboys.

Walla Walla Vintners

Wow, talk about a perfect afternoon.  What is there even to say about the wines at Walla Walla Vintners that wouldn’t be overshadowed by the sheer beauty of a perfectly crisp October afternoon sandwiched between the visual joy of mountains, vineyard, winery…

Walla Walla Vintners

Makes you just want to roll it up in a warm burrito and snuggle with it all.

Winery dog, OF COURSE.

On the right you can see two kids coloring in the sun.

Ok, I left out the photos of the smiling winery crew cheerfully punching down and forking casks back and forth because it makes my palms itchy since working a harvest season last year.  After that, it’s hard to sit down when others are doing work.

One thing you may notice about experiencing the Walla Walla region, is they are fond of breadsticks as tasting room palate cleansers, which is great as they are delish and fun.  WWV shared with us their secret: Safeway Select is the best.   Slightly salty and a touch of butter, I’d have to agree.  They got the yum.


Mark Ryan Winery

When in Walla Walla, do as the visitors to Walla Walla do – drop in on the Mark Ryan Winery tasting room.

Will you enjoy the wines here? I think so. What I think is most interesting is the message the visual design of space sends. It’s decorated with prints of Grunge and 90’s era Indie Rock posters of Seattle bands.  Why do I think that’s interesting?

This stuff was supposed to be transgressive!  We were bitter Gen-X’rs, punk rock souls railing against a world we didn’t fit into and didn’t seem to want us.  I assure you, we were not drinking fine wine.

And so, our past identities are recycled and fed back to us as a luxury consumer product.

Keep hitting the “random comic” button on Cat and Girl and eventually you’ll find something that explains exactly what I mean.

Hey! We ran into Mike and Liz!  Cool!

Drink up, big boy.

Mark Ryan Winery


Basel Cellars – Walla Walla, WA

After visiting the Figgins vineyard, our rag-tag caravan hoofed it into Basel Cellars.

As you can see, they have a stunning building.  They also had a fabulous spread of snacks out, that we fell upon like a plague of locusts.  In fact, the food was so good I don’t remember a dang thing about the wine.

They’ve got a lot of room, bring a few dozen friends!

They also have a sense of humor, as you can see below, as found above the john:

Figgins / Leonetti – Walla Walla, WA

Man, that Figgins Family knows how to keep busy.

We were part of a caravan of forlorn business people from the rainy side of the Cascades looking for a day free from conference calls, meetings and emails at least for one day. Yes, we were tourists in Walla Walla, WA.

First stop, the vineyard for Figgins Wine. There we were met by winemaker Chris Figgins, a gentle soul who introduced us to his family’s story, starting with an Italian immigrant Grandfather making wine in his dirt-floor basement, then his father starting Leonetti Cellar, and now his own efforts.

Chris laid down some interesting infos on us, things I had not personally known. The soil of the rolling hills of the Walla Walla area – turns out it’s wind-blown silt from the ice-age Missoula Floods, making for a uniquely consistent soil for agriculture. Also, the area has no Phylloxera, meaning they don’t have to graft the grape they want on Phylloxera-resistant rootstock, it’s all the same grape from top to bottom.

Chris spoke at length about the work they put into choosing the site and planning out each block with altitude, climate and solar exposure in mind.  Rainfall increases as you get closer to the Blue Mountains.  Chris tells us they get 22 inches or rain, just at the point where they have to do a small amount of irrigation, giving them control over how much water their fruit gets.

And of course, it’s a beautiful location.

So here’s your wine marketing challenge: get to the point where you only sell wine to people on your current customer list.  Want the wine?  Want to taste it?  Want to see a bottle of it?  Don’t go to Fred Meyer.  They don’t have a tasting room either.

So, I’m not going to tell you anything further about their wine. You’ll have to get on the list.

BiaCraft Artisan Ales, Ho Chi Mihn City

“But this is a wine blog!” you may say.  But it’s not really.  It’s a beverage blog… but it’s more than that.  It’s an experience blog.  Sure, once and a while you’ll get a beverage that’s authentically bad-tasting, but mostly “taste” is what you like, and that’s subjective.   We like to write about what it’s like and sometimes what it means.

BiaCraft Artisan Ales

Friendly staff, when I stepped out of the cab in a downpour I was greeted by a smiling young lady with a very large umbrella.

They seem to have turned to South Park for inspiration on anything with a name here.

  • Itty Bitty Chicken Titties = grilled chicken breast
  • Don’t F*ck With Me Pale Ale (they sold out of this)
  • No Cookie No Nookie Oreo Cream Stout
  • F*cking Liar India Summer Ale (medium body, some hints of spices, refreshing)
  • The Jonah Falcondog Foursome = meter long hot dog “done four ways” (whatever that means)

I managed to order the least healty meal I’ve had not only in Vietnam, but the least healthy thing I’ve eaten in months.  Grilled sausage and french fries.  The french fries were pretty damn good, especially for a country that has no business growing potatos.  My “Beef Injection Sausage” (300g southern spiced link, says the menu) came quite pink in the middle still, which is not generally how you want sausage, so using Google Translate I sent it back.  The waitron came back from the kitchen and told me the Chef thought it was cooked correctly, but they could cook it a few more minutes for me.  When it returned, as far as I could tell it hadn’t been heated by anything more serious than the cook’s explitives about damn customers and I decided to give up and eat it.  This place servers lots of westerners and seems to have a good rep.

If I die, tell my wife I love her.

This place is known for it’s wide selection of local craft brews, of which there are a surprisingly large selection.  If you’re missing the USA they even have beer from (one of my former clients) Rogue Ales and Anderson Valley.  Also, fine brews from France, Australia, Japan and a couple other far-away places.

The BiaCraft brews are light compared to what we drink back in the Pacific Northwest, but pretty much every beer is light compared to what we drink in the land where hops are grown.  That said, this Wildberry Wheat could duke it out with any craft beer anywhere for flavor and quality.

After so many decades of war (kicked out the French, kicked out the yanks, then fought off the Cambodians and the Chinese) and it’s clear they are very hungry to join the modern world.  I get the sense that they are looking at Singapore, Japan, etc and thinking we want what you have!

Ask your server for more information.  Or Don’t.  Whatever.