This past weekend marked the annual Tri-Cities Wine Festival in Kennewick Washington. For those who aren’t too familiar with WA – the Tri-Cities area lies near the heart of the Columbia Valley AVA – it’s in easy driving distance of popular places like Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills and the Yakima Valley. The Tri-Cities wine society helps organize and put on this even which is essentially like a micro-Taste Washington event.
It’s setup with leading wineries from the greater Washington area as well as local food vendors – your price into the Grand Tasting event also includes whatever food is being served.
From my perspective, there was definitely an older-generation crowd at this event. Sure there were some younger folks as well but I think most of them either work for or have ties to the industry. I’m not sure how many of them were just simply drawn to attend – even thought I think all ages should be attending functions like this.
A few days before the Grand Tasting, there is a judging that takes place for any of the wines submitted – this year there was over four hundred wines to go through so the judges had their collective hands-full. It seemed to me, however, that pretty much every wine submitted got at least a bronze as the medals were being handed out like candy (I could be wrong on this) – tons of bronze medals and silvers with even fewer gold medals being awarded.
The surprise of the entire evening – to me any many others I know – was the fact that the 2008 Russel Creek Sangiovese won “best of show”. I suppose if you’re into over-extracted, over-oaked fruit-bombs than perhaps it’s your style of wine but not mine and many other wine drinkers I know of. One could almost hear a collective “WTF?!” when this wine was announced as “best of show” – perhaps many of the wine judges have that oak-bomb-lovin’ palate – who knows?
Overall, however, the event was fun and a great way for people in that part of the State to taste a bunch of different wines. A few of my personal favorite wines of the night were:
- Pacific Rim Sparkling
- Tsillan Dry Gewvurtztraminer
- Saint Laurent 2007 Cab
- Smasne Cellars Carmenere
- Cavu Barbera
- Pontin Del Roza Vino da Tavola
On the web: http://www.tricitieswinefestival.com