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Now Is The Time....

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....Time to go hunting. Some people hunt game birds, deer and the like, while others are out there searching for the elusive chanterelle or matsutaki. I prefer hunting for wine bargains.

Fall is a good time to find sales on older wines, as grapes are being crushed to make new wines and wines from previous years are being released. You can have the advantage of buying a wine which has been properly cellared for a couple of years and ready to drink, but which can usually age some more in your cellar. At the same time you will be helping boost the local economy by increasing wine sales, thus keeping winery employees working.

Have you visited the Wenatchee Valley Visitors' Bureau at 5 So. Wenatchee Ave? What? You don't need information about your local area? How about checking out some local wines? Four or more wines are available for tasting every day, with more anticipated. I haven't made it up the hill to Malaga Springs yet - a definite oversight on my part - but did taste their excellent Malbec and Sangiovese at the WVVB.$24.each. And their Viognier is only $14./btl.

More and more, in tasting rooms, we are seeing people who are there because of the information they received at the Visitors' Bureau.

Jones of WA, known for good wine and good prices, has its Cab and Viognier there for $17 each.

Horan Estates has a fine Syrah for $13. and their smooth HVH red blend for $16.

Crayelle Cellars is there, too, with an elegant Syrah @ $25 and a crisp Dry Riesling @ 15. Other Wenatchee Wine Country wines alternate with these, with other varieties to try.

If you haven't been to the Cashmere Mission District, you're missing a treat. Inside the building are four wineries, the Snapdragon Cafe', the soon-to-open Smoke Blossom restaurant, and a distillery, a wine and beer bar, a photographer and a wine barrel furniture & accessories store. All offer friendly ambiance, and the wineries and distillery offer free tastings, all in one location. Save gas! No driving from place to place. Wineries you'll find:

Crayelle Cellars: Craig Mitrakul, talented local winemaker, and wife Danielle offer an award winning Dry Riesling @ $15. or better yet, 2/$25. Craig is noted for his award winning Syrah, too.

Dutch John Winery, now open in its new location in Cashmere's Mission District on Mission Ave., has award winning wines at moderate prices. Chardonnay @ $14.95 Merlot @ $15.95 Cab Sauv @ $16.95 Riverbend Syrah @ $17.95 Great Northern Blend @ $19.95

Horan Estates Winery's winners: Syrah $16.50 HVH Blend @ $20.

Waterville Winery (fun, well-written website, too) http://www.rivercolor.com/wwc/?category_name=wines Off-dry Riesling @$15. Unoaked Chardonnay @ $10. Cab Sauv @ $15. medal winner Very popular wine cooler @ 4 pk/$10. Coming very soon: Dry Tempranillo Rose' @ $12.

Up in Chelan/Manson: I just discovered that Lake Chelan Winery is offering their NV Stormy Mountain Red at a case price of 50% off. Now $144./case. That is a deal. Ends Oct. 31, I believe.

CRSandidge Wines in Manson has some great deals, also. Ray is well-known as one of WA's finest winemakers and his wines are proof of that. 07 Whistle Punk Red $20. 07 Viognier $20 07 Glam Gams Rose' $15 08 Caris Rd Blend $24 04 Whistle Punk Red $18 06 Stone Tree Red $29.00 Note: Ray is making a Syrah Port which he will release Sept. 2012. Details later.

In case you missed Rick Steigmeyer's Oct. 7 blog about good WA wine buys, here's the link: http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/weblogs/winemakers-journal/2011/oct/07/washington-wines-among-best-wine-buys/ Don't miss my comment on it, as it names more local good buys.

Enjoy the weather while it lasts; arm yourself with wallet or purse and get out there to see what else you can discover.

Happy Hunting....!

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