Monthly Archives:June 2017

2015 Escape to Walla Walla Red Blend 24 Jun

Washington Wine Awards 2017 results and write up

Maryhill Winery rosé rises to top of Washington State Wine Competition

By on June 23, 2017

GRANDVIEW, Wash. — Maryhill Winery, a destination for Columbia Gorge travelers, dominated the 34th annual Washington State Wine Competition with a showing of 15 gold medals that included seven best of class awards, best white wine and best of show for its 2016 Rosé of Sangiovese….

Wineries earning two gold medals included Adamant Cellars in Walla Walla, Balboa Winery in Walla Walla, DeLille Cellars in Woodinville, Drink Washington State/Eternal Wines of Walla Walla, Jones of Washington in Quincy, Kiona Vineyards and Winery on Red Mountain, Saviah Cellars in Walla Walla, Thurston Wolfe in Prosser, Tsillan Cellars in Chelan and Westport Winery in Aberdeen.

See the complete and original write up here

Our 2015 Drink Washington State Escape to Walla Walla Red Blend wins gold!

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22 Jun

A Visit to Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State

The complete article is found here.

By Dan Clarke

In the matter of tasting wines, the bell curve comes to mind.

In my own version of this theory, about 90% of what you taste is just . . . wine.

Certainly, some examples are better than others, but this large category doesn’t lend itself to instant judgements. Enough concentration is necessary to analyze and rate these wines to nearly rob any pleasure from the exercise. It’s easier on the fringes, where maybe 5% of what you taste is lousy and another 5% really lights up your day. A wine from that latter category led to my meeting Brad Binko.

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4 Jun

THE HARDEST-WORKING MAN IN WINE! INTERVIEW WITH BRAD BINKO OF ETERNAL WINES & DRINK WASHINGTON STATE (PART THREE)

Brad Binko only just started his winery, Eternal Wines in 2014, but he already has a second label, Drink Washington State Wines.  Stop by his tasting room in downtown Walla Walla at 9 South 1st Avenue (just a couple of doors down from Sweet Basil Pizza) to taste his dazzling array of whites and reds. Brad will be pouring his wines at CBRC Tennis in Richland, WA on June 9th and at the Grand Syrah Tasting in Walla Walla on June 16th. Don’t miss out on his fabulous winemaker dinner at the Point Casino in Kingston, WA on September 21st.  To read Part One of this interview, click here. Part Two can be found here. 

WALLA WALLA WINE LIMO: Can you talk about the unique community among winemakers and the wineries here in Walla Walla?

BRAD BINKO: It’s unreal. It’s amazing. So supportive. It’s awesome. It’s unlike any other community ever. It really is. If you need something or you have a question, you can ask people and they’ll give you an honest answer. That just doesn’t happen in other communities. You don’t see the CEO of McDonalds asking the CEO of Burger King how to make burgers (laughs).

WWWL: And it doesn’t seem like they have that kind of community in other wine regions. People elsewhere would be like, “He’s my competitor, I can’t help him!”

BRAD: That’s because it’s not competitive in a cutthroat kind of way. Sure, there’s a certain competitiveness which comes with wanting to make the best wine.

WWWL: You of course want to get better scores, better reviews than your buddies.

BRAD: Sure, but if you’re making good wine, I’ll support you. I don’t care if the wine got an 88 or a 94. It doesn’t matter to me. If you’re a good person and you’re making good wine I’ll support it.

WWWL: Talk about the wines you like to drink when you’re not at work. What’s in your wine cellar?

BRAD: Most of my cellar is early 2000s Napa Cabs. That’s kind of what I’ve been getting into lately. They don’t suck (laughs).

WWWL: What producers?

BRAD: I’m a big fan of Arrowood. Nickel and Nickel is good. I like the Robert Sinskey wines. Old school producer, those are good values. I’ve also got a couple of old ones from Dominus, a couple hundred pointers that I’m sitting on, waiting for the right time to open them.

WWWL: 100 pointers!

BRAD: 100 point wines, yes. I mean, what does 100 point wine taste like?

WWWL: Well, that’s a perfect score, so the wine should be perfect I guess! My problem with wines over a certain price point is that there’s just too much room to be disappointed. For that kind of money I want the wine to wash my car, do the dishes…the expectations are so high.

BRAD: Sure, the wine should also give you a massage and put you to bed! I hear ya.

WWWL: Tell us about some of your current releases. They’re not distributed, right?

BRAD: I’m self-distributed actually. That means I’m making every contact myself, hand-delivering every case of wine personally. That’s what keeps me on the road so often. Trips to Seattle, Spokane and all over the state.

WWWL: You’re the hardest working guy in wine!

BRAD: (laughs) I’ll take that. Maybe I should start marketing that
catchphrase! (laughs).

WWWL: So with the self-distribution it’s not exactly what one would call “widely distributed” I suppose.

BRAD: True. There’s literally like a place in Renton and a place in Everett and a place in Kent that you can find my wine.

WWWL: You’ve got a white wine, a Roussanne, that sells for $40! That’s pretty unique. You don’t see many whites in that price range. But it’s selling well.

BRAD: The Roussanne does well. It got great scores, it’s won awards. It’s been a good wine for me. It sells mostly at the tasting room. I babysat that wine for two years – nobody babysits a white wine for two years! That just doesn’t happen. I get excited doing different things, trying new things.

WWWL:So when you say you “babysat” the wine you mean that you refined it, made changes to it to get it to where it’s how you wanted it?

BRAD: That’s right. It spent two years in the barrel. Every month I top my wines, sometimes every two weeks in the offseason. When I do that, I stir the barrels and the lees get stirred up. It creates a bigger, broader mouth feel.

WWWL: And eventually it tasted like you had envisioned?

BRAD: It’s a fun transformation, it really is. At first it tastes vibrant and fresh and spicy, kind a racy wine. And over time it mellows and it gets these big broad, nutty characteristics. “Oh hello, you’re so much more than I thought you could be”. It’s a fun wine.

WWWL: That’s a good story. Have you had a wine where you made a lot of changes and no matter what you did, you just couldn’t get it right?

BRAD: For sure. I had that happen with my Red Mountain Cab. It was a wine that I had a battle with I guess. It was the most expensive fruit I had bought and I had a vision for what it could be. But it just wasn’t turning out like that by itself, so the fruit ended up going into my Rocketman Red. It ended up working out fine, but I had to blend it with some other things. So the Rocketman Red ended up being a better value than I had planned, but that’s OK.

WWWL: With all the wines you make, you’re sourcing grapes from many many vineyards. What kind of research goes into deciding where you’re gonna buy your grapes from?

BRAD: Honestly, it’s a lot of tasting wine. It’s about tasting wine from that wineyard, cause if you taste wine from that vineyard and it’s big and bold and tannic and you’re trying to make a fruit-forward “finesse wine” maybe you’re looking in the wrong place (laughs). It’s just not gonna work. But seriously, you’ve gotta taste the wine, you’ve gotta taste the soil.

WWWL: It helps that you’ve got a sophisticated palette, you’ve tasted a lot of really good wine.

BRAD: Definitely. That helps a lot. Sometimes I’ll brainstorm, taste the wine and if I know who made it, I might get in touch and talk to them and ask them about the grapes from certain years, find out what they liked and what they didn’t like. I’ll try to find out as much as I can before I start making the wine because once you start making the wine it’s on a path and you want it to stay on that path as long as possible.

WWW: So when you’re talking to the people from a particular vineyard and they’re asking a certain price for their grapes, how do you know that that’s a good value? How did you learn whether or not buying particular grapes is a good deal?

BRAD: Experience and tasting the wine. It really comes down to tasting the wine from winemakers you trust, ones that you respect and you can understand what they’re doing. It all really comes down to tasting the wine. It’s as simple as that. If you’re tasting a lot of Red Mountain Cabernet and it’s tasting really good to you, well guess what, don’t go to Snipes Mountain for Cabernet, go to Red Mountain!

WWWL: Tell us about your Carmenere.

BRAD: It’s a fun wine. I had noticed that people in Walla Walla were really loving Carmenere and loving different varietals. One of the most unique things about Walla Walla is that t’s not just about Cab, Merlot and Syrah. Those are great, but the wine buyers and drinkers in Walla Walla want something different, they want to taste something new. Carmenere is a great grape. It’s food-friendly and it’s got a great story behind it. It does well in Walla Walla. There’s just a handful of producers that are bottling single vineyard Carmenere in Walla Walla. I’m enjoying seeing that and I wanted to be part of it.

WWWL: The problem I’ve always had with Carmernere is that they’re all $45+ and to me it’s not such an approachable wine right off the bat. It seems like more of an acquired taste – and it’s hard to acquire that taste when the entry-level wines of that varietal are that expensive. But your Drink Washington State Carmenere is just $26. At that price point, it was a lot easier for me to develop a taste for it.

BRAD: That’s cool. That’s the great thing about the Drink Washington State wines. Even though it’s bigger production, I’m gonna do some smaller lots of different things and people like that. I like that. I don’t think I’d be happy if I didn’t make each wine varietal at least once.

WWWL: There’s an interesting story behind your Rocketman Red. You picked all that fruit yourself, right?

BRAD: Yes, me and a few buddies from the EV program went out and picked the fruit ourselves. Typically I’d buy the fruit and I’d pick it up after it had already been picked. But all the grapes that went into that bottling of the Rocketman Red, we went out to the vineyards and picked ourselves.

WWWL: So how would you know which grapes to pick and which ones not to pick?

BRAD: That’s something you learn in the wine program. We were taught what to pick and what not to pick, how to identify diseases and such. Going out and picking the grapes ourselves was not only fun, but part of the learning curve.

WWWL: Kind of like a class trip!

BRAD: (laughs) Yup. We went up to Gamache Vineyard, about an hour and a half from here and loaded up three truckloads.

WWWL: So there’s no wine you won’t make?

BRAD: Well…

WWWL: So when’s your White Zinfandel coming out?

BRAD: I can guarantee I won’t be making White Zinfandel! Barbera and Pinot Grigio are two others I probably won’t make. Too acidy to me. But you never know. I had a customer once who all he drank was White Zinfandel. I tried as hard as I could to get him into other wines, whites, reds, everything, but it didn’t work. That’s when I realized that some people just don’t want to be saved!

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1 Jun

Wines of the Week – Eternal Wines, Eternal Patience and Eternal Sunshine from Walla Walla, Washington

Wines of the Week – Eternal Wines, Eternal Patience and Eternal Sunshine from Walla Walla, Washington

photo


Planning a trip to Walla Walla? Eternal Wines must be on your itinerary. 

Over the last year, I have come to know winemaker Brad Binko of Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State. He is talented, friendly and supremely dedicated to Washington wine. You can taste the passion in every bottle of wine Brad makes.

Last month I visited with Brad in his downtown Walla Walla tasting room. Located on 1st Avenue, half a block from Main Street, and two doors down from a tasty cupcake bakery. Easy to find, and full of delicious wines and light. You can’t miss visiting this cool space.

photo
Brad Binko, Eternal Wines, pouring rose’ for guests.

Mr. Binko has a full set of wines available to taste and purchase at his tasting room. I’ll get into more detail about Brad and some of his other wines in a future post. When you drop by his tasting room, tell him Wild 4 Washington Wine sent you. Check out their website as they host special tastings and sometimes have live music.

Today, I’m Strongly Recommending two limited production, varietal specific white wines. The 2014 Eternal Patience Roussanne and 2015 Eternal Sunshine Viognier. Both stunners. These wines were fantastic alone and wonderful paired with food. I had to remind myself to take notes, I was so enamored of both wines.

Eternal Wines
9 S. 1st Ave
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Open for tastings 7 days a week Sun- Weds 12-7pm Thurs-Sat 12-8pm
May be different hours during winter months (Dec-Feb)

phone: 509-240-6258

photo

Eternal Patience 2014 Roussanne 2014 Walla Walla Valley AVA

Color: Straw, golden highlights.
Nose: Toasty, honeydew melon, light orange blossom, creme brule’.
Palate: Orange zest, melon, almond, medium-light on the palate, fresh, textured on the cheeks, tingle on the lips, quite pretty medium-short finish with melon ball, almond and tart orange. Put me in the mind for Sunday brunch with eggs Benedict. Like.

Day two: Toasted sesame seed with honey, ripe peach skin, lemon custard, river rock, hazelnut on the nose. Yum! Creamy delicious, delicate hazelnut, filled with lemon buttercream, fresh spike mid-palate, stone fruit with river rock into the tingly finish. Well done. Screamed for lobster and king crab or fried trout. Pretty darn good alone too. Big like.

Thoughts: I don’t consider myself an expert on Roussanne. Most of the Roussanne I drink is in blends with Marsanne and or Viognier. This is a standout expression of the variety and a must try for anyone curious about 100% Roussanne. Well done Mr. Binko. This bad boy is ready to drink now and over the next 5 years.
Strongly Recommended. 

photo
Eternal Patience Roussanne with fried pork chop.



Blend: 100% Roussanne
AVA: Walla Walla Valley
Aged 2 years in French oak on original lees
Production 80 cases
SRP: $40
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Sample provided by winery

photo

Eternal Sunshine 2015 Viognier Walla Walla Valley

Nose: Fresh, river rock, toast, washed peach, honey on the nose.
Palate: Stone fruit, ripe peach to orange marmalade, enjoyable weight, tartness under tongue, orange emphasis on the fresh finish. Lovely. Delicious paired with broiled halibut. So. My. Speed.

Day two: Comparable to day one. Acid more present, melon-orange, fresh tingle on finish. Delicious drinking wine.

Day three: Stone fruit, melon, orange, touch of nuttiness. Drank.

Thoughts: This was my style of Viognier. If you don’t know Washington Viognier, you must seek out this wine. Drink alone or serve with seafood, pork, baked chicken, Asian cuisine, or a plate of cheese and crackers. Well done Brad. Almost forgot to take tasting notes I was so engrossed in this wine and the food pairing.
Strongly Recommended.

photo
Eternal Sunshine Viognier with broiled halibut and peas.



Blend: 100% Viognier
AVA: Walla Walla Valley
Aged in French oak for 12 months.
Production 30 cases
SRP: $35
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Sample provided by winery

Stay tuned. I hope to have more time and energy to start catching up on wine reviews. More to share about Eternal Wines and Brad Binko soon.

photo
Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State.

*Related post: June 14, 2016 Eternal Wines First Releases.

Cheers!

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1 Jun

Wines of the Week – Eternal Wines, Eternal Patience and Eternal Sunshine from Walla Walla, Washington

Wines of the Week – Eternal Wines, Eternal Patience and Eternal Sunshine from Walla Walla, Washington

photo


Planning a trip to Walla Walla? Eternal Wines must be on your itinerary. 

Over the last year, I have come to know winemaker Brad Binko of Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State. He is talented, friendly and supremely dedicated to Washington wine. You can taste the passion in every bottle of wine Brad makes.

Last month I visited with Brad in his downtown Walla Walla tasting room. Located on 1st Avenue, half a block from Main Street, and two doors down from a tasty cupcake bakery. Easy to find, and full of delicious wines and light. You can’t miss visiting this cool space.

photo
Brad Binko, Eternal Wines, pouring rose’ for guests.

Mr. Binko has a full set of wines available to taste and purchase at his tasting room. I’ll get into more detail about Brad and some of his other wines in a future post. When you drop by his tasting room, tell him Wild 4 Washington Wine sent you. Check out their website as they host special tastings and sometimes have live music.

Today, I’m Strongly Recommending two limited production, varietal specific white wines. The 2014 Eternal Patience Roussanne and 2015 Eternal Sunshine Viognier. Both stunners. These wines were fantastic alone and wonderful paired with food. I had to remind myself to take notes, I was so enamored of both wines.

Eternal Wines
9 S. 1st Ave
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Open for tastings 7 days a week Sun- Weds 12-7pm Thurs-Sat 12-8pm
May be different hours during winter months (Dec-Feb)

phone: 509-240-6258

photo

Eternal Patience 2014 Roussanne 2014 Walla Walla Valley AVA

Color: Straw, golden highlights.
Nose: Toasty, honeydew melon, light orange blossom, creme brule’.
Palate: Orange zest, melon, almond, medium-light on the palate, fresh, textured on the cheeks, tingle on the lips, quite pretty medium-short finish with melon ball, almond and tart orange. Put me in the mind for Sunday brunch with eggs Benedict. Like.

Day two: Toasted sesame seed with honey, ripe peach skin, lemon custard, river rock, hazelnut on the nose. Yum! Creamy delicious, delicate hazelnut, filled with lemon buttercream, fresh spike mid-palate, stone fruit with river rock into the tingly finish. Well done. Screamed for lobster and king crab or fried trout. Pretty darn good alone too. Big like.

Thoughts: I don’t consider myself an expert on Roussanne. Most of the Roussanne I drink is in blends with Marsanne and or Viognier. This is a standout expression of the variety and a must try for anyone curious about 100% Roussanne. Well done Mr. Binko. This bad boy is ready to drink now and over the next 5 years.
Strongly Recommended. 

photo
Eternal Patience Roussanne with fried pork chop.



Blend: 100% Roussanne
AVA: Walla Walla Valley
Aged 2 years in French oak on original lees
Production 80 cases
SRP: $40
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Sample provided by winery

photo

Eternal Sunshine 2015 Viognier Walla Walla Valley

Nose: Fresh, river rock, toast, washed peach, honey on the nose.
Palate: Stone fruit, ripe peach to orange marmalade, enjoyable weight, tartness under tongue, orange emphasis on the fresh finish. Lovely. Delicious paired with broiled halibut. So. My. Speed.

Day two: Comparable to day one. Acid more present, melon-orange, fresh tingle on finish. Delicious drinking wine.

Day three: Stone fruit, melon, orange, touch of nuttiness. Drank.

Thoughts: This was my style of Viognier. If you don’t know Washington Viognier, you must seek out this wine. Drink alone or serve with seafood, pork, baked chicken, Asian cuisine, or a plate of cheese and crackers. Well done Brad. Almost forgot to take tasting notes I was so engrossed in this wine and the food pairing.
Strongly Recommended.

photo
Eternal Sunshine Viognier with broiled halibut and peas.



Blend: 100% Viognier
AVA: Walla Walla Valley
Aged in French oak for 12 months.
Production 30 cases
SRP: $35
ABV: 14.5%
Closure: Natural Cork
Sample provided by winery

Stay tuned. I hope to have more time and energy to start catching up on wine reviews. More to share about Eternal Wines and Brad Binko soon.

photo
Eternal Wines and Drink Washington State.

*Related post: June 14, 2016 Eternal Wines First Releases.

Cheers!

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