Wine Tasting Tonight

Hello Wine Lovers,

Please join Unique Wine Company’s Matthew McKinnon and me for a wine tasting tonight from 4 to 6pm here @ Cordata.  Here’s the lineup:

1) Milbrandt Chardonnay Traditions 2012 ($10.95)

2) Zestos Garnacha Old Vines 2012 ($8.99)

3) San Felice Chianti Classico 2010 ($14.95)

4) Milbrandt Syrah The Estates 2010 ($21.95)

Nov. 15, 2013 Tasting

See you tonight.


Holiday Wine Pairing Event

There’s still time to sign-up for my Holiday wine pairing event:


Join Thistle Winemaker Jon Jennison, Noble Wines sales rep and certified wine educator Laurent Martel, Vinum Importing sales rep Tony Vernon, and me for this fun and enlightening evening of wine and food pairing. Sara Young, prepared foods merchandiser extraordinaire, will be serving delicious samples of classic Thanksgiving/Holiday foods prepared by our in-house deli. All foods sampled will be available for purchase starting Monday November 18th @ both Co-op locales.

We’ll have over fifteen eclectic wines to taste including a gorgeous Champagne, an exceptional Oregon Pinot Noir, and a delectable Sauternes. This is going to be fun, so don’t miss out.

Ginkgo Forest Winery Tasting

Hello Wine Lovers,

Nancy Lane of Ginkgo Forest Winery will be pouring a few of their estate grown reds tomorrow from 4 to 6pm.  The vineyard is located in Washington’s prestigious Wahluke Slope AVA: .   Come by for a taste and say hello to Nancy.  I’ll think you’ll understand why I selected these bold reds to grace our shelves.




Rosé Redux Sale

Hello Wine Lovers,

The good news is we had record rosé sales this year at the Co-op.  The bad news is our normally sunny September turned damp and cold too early, leaving us with a small surplus of top quality rosés.  Back to the good news: all remaining rosé inventory will be 15% off during the week of October 28th through November 3rd here at Cordata. Remember, rosés are not just fair weather wines, they are versatile food wines that can be consumed during every season of the year.  In fact, this would be a great opportunity to stock up for the coming season as rosé makes a great companion to holiday feasts.  Who wouldn’t like a little sunshine in a glass during the extended nighttime that is winter in the Northwest?

Rose Display

Wine Terroirs Of The Yakima Valley

The following is a description of my upcoming educational tasting lifted from the pages of Co-op Commmunity News:

Instructor Spotlight

On May 9, Tim Johnson, wine steward at the Cordata store presents “Wine Terroirs of the Yakima Valley.” In addition to a thoughtful analysis of the topic, this class will include wine tasting and a spread of appetizers, courtesy of the Co-op Deli. 

This will be Tim’s first time leading a Co-op class, but he’s well prepared for the task. Tim has managed the Cordata wine department since the Cordata store opened, after having assisted wine manager Vic Hubbard at the downtown store for several years prior to that. 

“I started to really get interested in wine around [the year] 2000,” says Tim. “I cut my teeth on Washington wines, particularly merlot and riesling. But the universe that is wine demands exploration, so my wine tastes have evolved, and continue to do so.” Anyone who has read the descriptive tags in the Cordata wine department knows that Tim is a master at discerning the subtle components of a given wine’s taste and bouquet. “Fortunately,” says Tim, “I was blessed, some fellow tasters say cursed, with pronounced sense memory; making the journey of tasting endlessly fascinating.”

As for the class topic, “terroir,” says Tim, “is a somewhat enigmatic term that can be loosely translated as ‘sense of place.’ In the wine world, it’s a set of unique characteristics found in site-specific wines imparted by the topography, geology, climate, and even surrounding flora of that particular area.” 

Three guest winemakers from the Yakima region will be on hand to talk about their wines and to pour samples: Matthew Rawn of the Two Mountain Winery from Yakima’s Rattlesnake Hills sub-region; Christian Grieb, assistant winemaker at Treveri Cellars, which is Yakima Valley’s sparkling wine specialist; and Scott Southard of Southard Winery, the maker of Tim’s favorite Washington white wine of 2012.

The class runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the Roots Room at the Cordata store. You must be at least 21 years old to attend.

Only six more spaces are available. You can sign-up by following the link. Hope to see you there.

Wine Scores with a Grain of Salt

Perusing the shelves in the Cordata wine aisle you’ve probably noticed myriad shelf-talkers describing the qualities of the associated bottles on the shelf. Many are reviews from various wine publications (ascribing points as a reference to quality) and numerous others are my own impressions of a given wine. The reason is two-fold: 1) It gives my customers a way to choose a wine based on qualities that appeal to them; helping them hone-in when wading through a sea of bottles, and 2) frankly, high scores sell wine. If I had my druthers, the wine shelves would be the exclusive domain of talkers written by yours truly. Unfortunately, that is extremely time-consuming and, realistically, many customers rely on scores to help them decide.

For the American wine press, reviews based on a 100 point rating scale is standard protocol. Think of your school grading system: A = 90 to 100 points, B = 80 to 89, etcetera. Generally, any wine scoring less than 75 points is considered a flunking grade by wine critique standards. In fact, many publications will not post scores lower than 75. On the flip side, a mark of C or D in school, while maybe not exceptional, is still a passing grade. School grades are usually based on predetermined criteria. Many wine “grades” are…well…based on the subjective opinion of a single critic. What time of day did the critic taste the wine (wine tastes different in the morning than it does in the evening)? How many wines did the critic taste before tasting that particular wine (is the critic suffering from palate fatigue)? How old is the wine when tasted? Was it just bottled? Many wines may be going through an awkward stage when originally tasted and could, with a little bottle age, blossom into something quite wonderful. What kind/style of wine does that critic really like (do they like red better than white, fuller rather than lighter, rustic as opposed to modern style)? Was it tasted blind to prevent predetermined prejudices? Do wines from the most World’s most prestigious wine regions undergo more stringent criticism? Is a 90 point $10 wine really better than an 89 point $50 wine? Does a publication’s advertisers influence, directly or indirectly, the reviews of said advertiser’s product? How does the wine taste with food (critical tastings are undertaken sans food)? Why does one critic give a particular wine 82 points and another critic rate the same wine 91? It happens all the time. The list of questions goes on and on, reinforcing the fallibility of subjectivity.

From my anecdotal observations most consumers, who depend on the point system, think anything under 85 points is not worth their time. This, by default, eliminates a wide swath of seriously delicious wines. In my opinion, if your going to rely solely on scores to determine which wines you buy then at least find out which critics most closely reflect your tastes. Am I a fan of scoring wine? From a wine retailer’s perspective, it’s more complicated than that. I’m here to sell wine. Good scores help. In fact, there are a few critics that I agree with fairly regularly. However, I’ve come across innumerable wines that have been either scored very low or have never been reviewed that are wonderful. I’ve also found a few dogs that have been rated very highly.

I’m not trying to knock critics or the point system. These critics are professionals and are extremely knowledgeable about the world of wine. They have a lot to offer and I enjoy reading their informative, eloquent, and sometimes entertaining reviews. The point system is one critical tool used to evaluate a wine’s perceived quality. That’s what humans do…we compare or classify to make sense of the world. I’m just suggesting that my customers ignore the score on occasion, and try something new and different.

It’s All New to Me

Hello Cordata Co-op wine fans. This is my first ever blog post, so bare with me. With the Rootstock blog I hope to pass on to my loyal customers information about exciting new arrivals to the wine department, crazy deals (i.e. closeouts/special purchases), upcoming wine events, what has caught my attention in the world of wine, a little wine education, wines that I just plain love, and maybe a few stream of consciousness meanderings with some wine-related content. Hang in there while I work through some of the initial challenges and we’ll have fun and informative adventure in wine together.