Heading to Walla Walla this weekend for Holiday Barrel Tasting, snow forecasts be damned.
I've always loved trying wine in its earliest stages. It's a sneak preview of the wonderful things to come. But this fall, I'm particularly pumped because I've been following one wine at Northstar that I think has the potential to be a true superstar.
I've been chronicling the story of the Big Dipper since last summer, when winemaker David "Merf" Merfeld put nearly 300 miles on his pickup showing me some of his favorite vineyards. That journey reminded me how vast and how beautiful this state's wine country is. I know it's often compared with France, given our shared latitude. And many of the sites reminded me of vineyards I saw in Bordeaux, which is cool because Merf's definitely got an Old World state-of-mind about crafting the Big Dipper. He wants to make a wine that will age. A noble aspiration in our instant gratification wine-drinking world.
We won't get a sneak peek at Big Dipper this weekend. I'm bummed, but it's understandable. There's a limited amount of wine from various vineyards tagged for Big Dipper and Merf needs every drop for blending purposes. But super tasters will get to sample sips from other wines produced this year, which should give a good indication the direction they're headed. Can't wait! Will I see you there?
Along with barrel tasting, there's going to be live music Saturday and Sunday, tasting of older wines and a selection of cheese to sample. Find me there on Saturday afternoon and whisper "Big Dipper" in my ear and I'll buy you a drink!