Bordeaux Comes to Seattle

November 3, 2014

A little known fact is that Bordeaux and Seattle share similar climates: annual rainfall, proximity to the ocean that minimizes hard winter freezes and a mild autumn. However, a well-known fact is that coffee shops - not vineyards - rule in Seattle. But today I was focused on that other favorite beverage of my fellow Seattleites – wine!

The fine vineyards of the Bordeaux region in southwest France were a topic and one of the highlights of the International Food Blogger Conference of 2014 in Seattle. Regina (Reggie) Daigneault of The Northwest Wine Academy presented us with an entertaining and tasteful hour and twenty minute segment. We enjoyed learning about the rich terroir of the Bordeaux region and how the climate, geography and geology interplay for the resultant world class wines.

After this discussion we were ready to do some tasting. To enhance the experience we broke into teams to identify the tastes and bouquet of each wine. Hard work for sure – but someone’s got to do it! We tasted three reds and three whites. Well, sadly I did a poor job on our competition but I did redeem myself in identifying my favorite wine: Chateau Beaumont Cru Bourgeois. The magic of this wine, which is 55%-Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, is a soft taste that was balanced and mellow. This wine is from the Haut-Medoc AOC (Appelllation d’Orgine Controlee). Surprisingly we have the Dutch to thank in part for this fine wine. The Haut-Medoc region used to be salt marshes used for grazing in the 1600’s. The Dutch changed this when they drained the marshes and planted vineyards to provide the British with alternatives to Portuguese wine. Sorry Portugal, the Dutch did a wonderful deed.

The highlight of the program was finding that Bordeaux does live in Seattle. Reggie offers the French Wine Scholar Study & Certificate Program. She is one of eight instructors at the Northwest Wine Academy, located at South Seattle College.

Finally, I would be remiss in not mentioning winemaker Peter Bos, one of the instructors at the Institute. By the way, Peter has worked with many prestigious winemakers in Washington State and has made some award winning wines at the College.

Now I have two places to visit, South Seattle College to sample the Institute’s wine and Bordeaux. While in Bordeaux, along with visiting the wineries my wife insists on visiting the spa hotel, Les Sources de Caudalie which is on the grounds of the Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte Vineyard. The spa uses byproducts of the wine making process, grape seed derivatives. These seeds are supposed to reverse the effect of time on the body’s cells. Sounds like an all-around healthy trip!

About our guest contributors:
Michael Fagin is a freelance travel writer who has traveled across Canada and visited all the major Canadian wine regions. Mr. Fagin is currently touring the Pacific Northwest enjoying the wine country, dining, and hiking the region. While he is not writing Mr. Fagin is a weather forecaster  for West Coast Weather, LLC forecasting weather for the West Coast of the US as well as on an international basis. Mr. Fagin has a weekly hiking and weather segment every Tuesday morning on KUOW FM Seattle.

His wife Elizabeth Fagin, also a travel writer, is co-author of this article.

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