David LeClaire’s annual “Bags & Bottles” event was held March 14 at the Westin, and brought together 32 Washington wineries, along with Washington firefighters and hundreds of donated handbags for auction, in a benefit for Gilda’s Club of Seattle. David LeClaire’s events typically feature the smaller producers of Washington State, so it is always an excellent opportunity to try wines that are less commonly available in retail shops. It’s also great to be able to purchase wines directly from the Wine Store area at the event.
Although I did not try all the wines (there were at least 100!), the standouts of the white wines included the Rotie Cellars “Southern Way” blend of Viognier/Roussanne, the Olsen Estate “Blanc de Couteaux” Roussanne/Viognier/Marsanne, and the 2008 Sojen Cellars “Olive’s White” blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Semillon. Most improved has to go to Naches Heights Vineyards; viticulturist extraordinaire Phil Cline’s wines have historically been made sweeter than I prefer, but I was delighted at the balanced acidity and just off-dry style of both his 2009 Pinot Gris and 2009 Riesling. Standouts of the reds included the 2007 Covington Cellars Sangiovese, which is a medium-bodied Italian-styled version, the 2006 Wilridge Nebbiolo di Klipsun, and the smooth-and-spicy 2007 Smasne Cellars “County Line” Syrah/Malbec/Carmenere.
Other highlights included artisan chocolates and ice cream, and a live auction featuring donated celebrity handbags. The food wasn’t very good for a David LeClaire event, though – just a few kinds of mini pizzas under the heat lamp. Oh well. I’m still looking forward to “Sips & Shoes” in November!