Five Wine and Food Pairings to Celebrate Spring

The arrival of spring means the release of new wines, the anticipation of warm evenings on the patio sipping rosé, and preparation for grilling season.

At EFESTĒ, our Wine Club spring release selections include the latest vintages of the Syrahs, Riesling, and the highly anticipated Estate Rosé. Here are some fun suggestions for pairing the wines with the food and holidays of spring.

Jolie Bouche Syrah (Boushey Vineyards, Yakima Valley)
Each sip of this vibrant red wine conjures up images of the Mediterranean in the form of cured meat, roasted olives, and crushed herbs. A successful pairing is as simple as matching the wine with food that mirrors those flavors. Plan your next dinner party around this easy yet impressive one dish meal.
The pairing: Tarragon Chicken

Eléni Syrah (Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley AVA)
This concentrated red wine offers an intense freshly ground espresso bean note that adds massive appeal. On the palate, the wine is full and complete, possessing soft, yet present tannins backed by trademark minerality. An opulent wine like Eléni is perfect for holiday celebrations such as Easter and Mother’s Day so turn to an equally impressive dish that can feed a crowd such as this one from the American Lamb Board.
The pairing: Celebration Leg of Lamb Continue reading

Karen MacNeil and Peter Devison Examine Sauvignon Blanc

The email subject line read, “Sample request for Karen MacNeil”. A winemaker is always having his product tasted and judged by critics and wine drinkers. Nevertheless, to have it assessed by the author of “The Wine Bible” – the single best selling wine book in the United States mind you – is no small thing. What would she think? Then consider that she would be coming up to Seattle in March to lead a seminar during Taste Washington and that the wine may be included in the event. To be among her choices would speak volumes. But weeks went by without any such confirmation.

Fast forward two months. It arrived, an email with the subject line, “Karen MacNeil has chosen your wine!” What does that feel like? According to our winemaker, Peter Devison, “It’s like having someone finally understand the language you’re speaking.”


Early on, fans of Washington wine purchased every last ticket for that seminar, “Up Close with Karen MacNeil: What Makes Great Washington Wine Great?” Then, in front of a full house, Karen said of the Feral:

“This wine might well set a new course for American Sauvignon Blanc.”

Validation! Especially knowing that she didn’t just make the statement on a whim. Before the seminar, Karen had done her homework and connected with Peter in order to learn more about the Feral Sauvignon Blanc, its origins, and his winemaking style. Here’s the exchange that took place.

Karen: How do YOU describe the flavor of your Feral sauvignon blanc?
Peter: This sauvignon blanc is completely soil driven in its flavor/aroma profile. The high calcium carbonate of ‘Caliche’ allows the fruit and resulting wine to retain a natural acidity and minerality not found anywhere outside the AVA of Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley. Due to this almost saline-type minerality and high acidity in the wine, stainless steel and commercial yeast can make the wine ultra-lean and void of texture. To add body and complexity I press the fruit straight to neutral French oak and ferment natively. I find this approach paired with aging on the lees and regular stirring adds much more complexity and richness to the wine creating balance. This may be at the detriment to fruity type aromas, but what we gain is a true expression of the soil and growing area: a wine with subtle, yet integrated varietal aromas (yellow grapefruit, peach, grass) lifted by an intense minerality – you can almost smell the chalky/crushed oyster shells. The palate possesses both a richness and a laser focused acidity. An inviting tension in the wine caused by a slight level of phenolics (tannins) adds another dimension to this wine. It’s a white wine to be tasted at cellar temperature and not chilled.

Karen: Can you tell me a bit about the vineyard? What does it look like?
Peter: The vineyard is located in the Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley AVA, almost the geographic center of Washington, and runs north-south along the Columbia River. Evergreen runs from 1,100-1,300 feet above sea level. The Sauvignon Blanc block sits at 1,250 feet. Overlooking the water, it slopes gently to the north and this paired with the soil type, elevation and proximity to the water allows it to act as a cool growing site. The top parent material for the soil is a mix of fractured basalt and the calcium-rich ‘caliche’. The latter can also be found as white, chalky rocks ranging in size from pea-sized pebbles to large stones throughout the topsoil as well. With an annual rainfall that averages less than 8” a year, most falling in the spring and winter, vigor is perfectly controlled via irrigation. I work closely with grower Ryan Flanagan to achieve the canopy size we like for my sauvignon blanc: medium-large shoots and leaf surface with partial fruit coverage to minimize overripe flavors and retain acidity and freshness.

Karen: Please tell me about the vines–how old are they? Anything especially visual about them?
Peter: The vines are in their 17th year and spaced 8’ x 6’, standard VSP (vertical shoot position) and spur pruned. Pretty standard stuff.

Karen: Was there a model in your mind when you made this wine?
Peter: Although I am inspired by the more traditional style of Sancerre, I don’t shoot to emulate this style of wine, but do believe there is an old world minerality and flintiness that reminds me of them. My model is to let this incredibly unique terroir express itself by doing as little as possible.

Karen: How do you describe your winery’s style in general?
Peter: I like to think of my style as slightly reductive and traditional. I focus on maintaining the primary aspect of the fruit by reducing its exposure to oxygen throughout elevage, and aging extensively on the gross lees. This can create wines that are dramatic and temperamental . They seem to respond greatly to changes (i.e. temperature, air, mechanical movement, glass shape, etc.). This can be both great and confusing. The wines can vary bottle to bottle depending on the environment, but when they hit their stride, they completely over deliver.

Karen: Is there a circumstance or a person this wine is most suited to?
Peter: I refer to Feral as a foodie wine. People that gravitate to adventuresome cuisine and dining usually have the similar affinity for great wines of the world and will probably see the Loire-type charm in this wine. This wine was built for shellfish (Pacific Northwest oysters and Feral are a staple in our house). Again, I’d stress that it is not a wine to over-chill, much like the great whites of the world.

Karen: Why are you making wine in Washington as opposed to anywhere else in the world?
Peter: In 2004 I arrived here by sheer happenstance. Destined for Portugal, I abruptly changed my plans to work locally so that I could attend my only sister’s wedding which occurred during the harvest. As a former wine steward and server in Vancouver, B.C., I had the pleasure of tasting a vertical of Quilceda Creek and was blown away at the immense palate weight and varietal correctness of these wines. When I was offered an assistant winemaking position in Chelan, I thought I’d try it out. From there I discovered how undiscovered Washington wine was. But the potential for greatness was enormous. The growing regions, climate, control over vine growth and health were outstanding. I fell in love with this place and have never left. Being part of something so young and so promising is thrilling.

Winemaker Notes: Spring 2017 Wine Club Release

EFESTE Winemaker Peter Devison checking on Angela’s Vineyard, Red Mountain

Dear EFESTĒ Family, Friends, and Wine Club Members:

For those of you who are new to our family – welcome! For those who’ve been with us a while, thank you for your continued support of our Washington winery. I’m thrilled that we have such a great Wine Club and enjoy the many chances I get to meet with our local members throughout the year. For our members living out of town, my only opportunity to communicate with you is by means of the wines. Pressure on!

Another harvest behind us, the 2016 vintage marks number twelve for EFESTE. Whereas 2015 was the hottest on record, 2016 brought a warm and early spring followed by a moderate growing season which cooled things down. This resulted in a beautiful ripening period that was temperate and long. We brought in all of our fruit healthy and ripe, picking more fruit off of our Red Mountain estate vineyards than ever. The initial evaluation of the vintage hints at wines with bright fruit and classic structure. The Cabernets are fantastic, reminding me of the 2008s, whereas the Rhône varieties are a combination of a primary mix of sweet red/black fruits, savory herbs, and briny olive just the way I like them.

Springtime means the release of Syrahs and our newly bottled white wines. 2014 was considered a great vintage and the Syrahs are no exception. All three – Eléni, Jolie Bouche, and Ceidleigh – have distinctly different profiles as a result of vineyard location, yet all possess concentration and finesse. The Evergreen Riesling is always long to come around. This makes sense given the soil composition of the vineyard and the hallmark traits of the variety. 2015 was no exception and only now is beginning to crack its shell to reveal itself. My advice is to tuck it away for a while and enjoy the 2014, which is drinking beautifully,  throughout the summer. For the first time since we introduced ‘Sauvage’ I decided with the 2015 vintage to add Semillon (31%) to the Sauvignon Blanc and make it a true Bordeaux style white blend. It also went through partial malolactic fermentation and has a higher than normal percentage of new French oak (50%). This wine will age! The 2016 Feral and Estate Rosé are also included in this release. For the first time since 2011, the Sauvignon Blanc developed flavors ahead of sugars allowing for an intensely flavored wine with a modest 12.50% alcohol. Continuing the success we’ve had with the 2015 Rosé, the ‘16 was crafted in the same fashion and looks to be as good or better – just in time for nicer weather!

I am excited for you to try these wines, which are a culmination of my ever-maturing palate and what I’ve come to learn and love throughout my tenure here at EFESTĒ.

As always, to be well is to eat and drink well. Cheers!

Peter Devison
EFESTĒ Winemaker

THE RELEASES

2013 Tough Guy Red Blend (Klipsun Vineyards, Red Mountain)
Dark and concentrated ruby-red in color, the Tough Guy comes out swinging with primary aromas of cassis, dark cherry and plum, blueberry compote, licorice, and baking spices. There are also nuanced scents of cured meat, toasted grains, and scorched earth. Full and concentrated with present, but polished tannins, flavors of blackberry, cherry, and toasted oak emerge with time in the glass. The finish is elegant and lengthy.

2014 Jolie Bouche Syrah (Boushey Vineyards, Yakima Valley)
Vibrant, youthful purple in color, the ‘14 opens aromatically with cured meat, roasted olives, smoked orange zest, dark black fruits, licorice, and purple flowers (violets). These are balanced by mineral notes of fresh rain off the pavement (petrichor) and iron shavings. Polished and defined, the palate is like silk, possessing finely integrated tannins and backed by a brilliant minerality highlighting the trademarks of this excellent vineyard site. Flavors of juicy blackberry, ripe plum, crushed herbs (amaro), and grilled meat persist throughout the well-defined palate.

2014 Ceidleigh Syrah (Red Mountain AVA)
Saturated, vibrant purple in color with lifted aromas of eucalyptus, rose petal, blackberry extract, and pomegranate. This is met with subtle shades of tar, olive tapenade, black pepper, cardamom, smoked vanilla and pain grille. Light on its feet and well-shaped it exhibits an intense purity of fruit and focused minerality, then with time fleshing out beautifully and revealing flavors of dried black currants, black cherry, salted chocolate and olive. The saline-type acidity keeps this wine honest and provides lift to the backbone of dusty tannins. Young indeed, this will need to be decanted before enjoying.

2014 Eléni Syrah (Red Willow Vineyard, Yakima Valley AVA)
Saturated ruby/purple color, the 2014 vintage of this wine is a knockout! The nose explodes with aromas of purple/black fruits including dried dates, black cherry, and blueberry, in addition to fresh herbs, licorice, campfire, and grilled olive. There is also an intense freshly ground espresso bean note that adds massive appeal. The palate is full and complete, possessing soft, yet present tannins backed by trademark minerality and grapefruit pith-type finish. This wine is young and concentrated! A decant before enjoying helps tremendously.

2015 Sauvage Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (Boushey Vineyard, Yakima Valley AVA)
A straw yellow color hints at the warmth of the growing season, partial malolactic fermentation, and the higher percent of new oak in this bottling. Round, bright, and balanced this is not a wine to serve cold, as it can definitely hide its charm! As it warms to cellar temperature (55-58 degrees) it opens up with aromas of ripe peaches, lemon cream, almond shortbread, and flint. These are backed by nuances of honey flower, citrus oil, and toasty oak. The palate is texturally round and full, yet it possesses a precise vein of acidity that stretches from attack to finish driving fruit and highlighting freshness as the finish trails off gently. Flavors of mandarin orange, ripe lime, and yellow apple are evident throughout.

2015 Evergreen Riesling (Evergreen Vineyard, Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA)
The somewhat riper shape for this vineyard gives the 2015 immediate appeal, displaying a fruit-driven nose of lychee nut, white peach, and spiced apple. The classical citrus-type components are definitely there showcasing distinctive orange blossom, lemon curd, bergamot, and vitamin-C tablet (grapefruit pith finish). The palate is classically framed for a drier style. Ripe phenolics and just a hint of residual sugar give it weight, polished richness, and just a hint of grip on the finish. This wine will develop nicely in the next few years by gaining that classic petrol/mineral note we Riesling fans crave and be perfectly balanced with the still-to-develop fruit profile.

2016 Feral Sauvignon Blanc (Evergreen Vineyard, Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley AVA)
Pale straw yellow/silver in color, the wine opens up with clean cut aromas of white peach and nectarine, yellow grapefruit, passionfruit seed, oyster shell, flint, citrus blossom and pea shoots. One can almost smell and taste the calcium/chalky soils it is grown on! Although delicate and restrained it retains varietal aroma and complexity without being overly grassy. The palate is light-to-medium bodied and refreshing with sustained citrus flavors of lime and grapefruit supported by an almost salty structure allowing it to echo/pair well with briny shellfish like oysters. This is a definite summer dinner wine and will open up even more with 2-3 months in the bottle.

2016 Oldfield Estate Rosé (EFESTĒ Estate, Yakima Valley)
Pale salmon/rose gold in color, this vintage has piercing aromas of garden fresh strawberries, pink grapefruit, and spring flowers, backed by nuances of dried herbs, lees, and crushed rock. The palate is textured and rich with a persistent vein of acidity adding brightness and bringing life to the flavors of ripe peach, grapefruit, orange oil, and herbs. The talc-like finish adds structure and complexity, bringing everything together as it lingers impressively.

Rockin’ Sips Supporters and Donations for 2017

Rockin’ Sips is a fun event with a serious story behind it and the goal of raising funds for the Washington/Alaska Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We are so grateful to be part of such a generous community, as the success of this event depends on the support of local businesses, friends, and Wine Club members in and near Woodinville Wine Country. We raise our glasses to all who are helping us create more stories of survival.

In order to maximize fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the businesses listed here have made generous donations. Please return the favor and show your support of their kindness with shout outs on social media and by giving them your business.

Tickets for the drawing will be available for purchase – and items on display in the tasting room – starting the weekend of February 18, and through the Rockin’ Sips event.

Note: this list is still being refined and updated.

Drawing Prizes

Item 1
Wine with Benefits
Winner gets to live the life of an EFESTĒ Wine Club member. Includes a fantastic case of library wine selections and attendance for 2 at one of the Spring 2016 Wine Club parties.
Value $615
– Thank you EFESTĒ Family

Item 2
3 Liter Tough Guy
Value $375
– Thank you EFESTĒ Family

Item 3
Magnum Mania
Value $265
Magnum of William Church Cabernet Sauvignon
Magnum of William Church 2 Spires
Magnum 2013 Amavi Syrah Walla Walla Valley
– Thank you William Church Winery, Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars

Item 4
Dreaming of Woodinville Wine Country
Value $515
Memories of Woodinville Retail Collection
2 Passports to Woodinville Wine Country – your ticket to 60+ Woodinville tasting rooms
20 Corners Brewing Gift Card
Purple Cafe and Wine Bar Gift Card
Barrel Stave Platter
– Thank you Woodinville Wine Country, Stuart Butler of Butler Seattle, 20 Corners Brewing, Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, and Greg Poulsen

Item 5
Romance in Kirkland Getaway
Overnight Stay at Heathman Hotel with complimentary valet parking. Shuttle to and from Woodinville Wine Country available.
Gift card to BeachHouse bar + grill.
– Thank you Heathman Hotel Kirkland

Item 6
Sip, Savor, and Sleep
Value $700
Enjoy a luxurious overnight Stay at Willows Lodge and decadent dining at Barking Frog.
– Thank you Willows Lodge and Barking Frog!

Item 7
Dinner and a Detail
Value $465
Redmond Auto Spa Full Service Detail
Kingsgate Car Wash
Gift Card to Thai Ginger Restaurant

Item 8
Kenneth Cole Women’s Leather Bag
Value $475
– Thank you Alicia Molitor and Kenneth Cole

Item 9
TV Fan with a Plan
Value $331
Signed Script from Criminal Minds
EFESTE Game of Rhones wine set for Game of Thrones fans
– Thank you Vernon Cheek and CBS and EFESTĒ Family

Item 10
Spa/Beauty Package
Value: $360
Beehive Salon (an Aveda Salon) Gift Certificate for salon/spa services
Gift Card for Envy on Alki Skin Boutique
Seattle Suntan
– Thank you Beehive Salon and Shannon West

Many thanks to our wonderful sponsors

Ann Molitor and Zuri Hector
Michael and Ellenore Angelidis
Teresa Lawrenson

Cheers to our in-kind donors and supporters

True Fabrications
20 Corners Brewing
Pepper Bridge Winery and Amavi Cellars
William Church Winery
Willows Lodge, Barking Frog, and Bobby Moore
The Beehive Salon
Purple Café and Wine Bar
Butler Transportation
Green Apple Events & Catering
The Heathman Hotel Kirkland
Sip Northwest
Washington State Wine and Beer
Woodinville Wine Country
Woodinville Wine Update

Press Release: EFESTĒ Steps Up Fundraising

Woodinville, January 26, 2017 –

EFESTĒ hosts its largest event of the year, Rockin’ Sips, on Saturday, February 25. For this popular fundraiser attracting 300 guests annually, the winery’s cellar transforms into a stage for premier party band, Soul Siren. Guests at the event will enjoy premium wines from EFESTĒ, Pepper Bridge and William Church Wineries, and refreshing microbrews from Woodinville newcomer 20 Corners Brewing.

This 21 and older event is $55 per person and takes place at EFESTĒ on Saturday, February 25th from 5-8pm. Tickets and the Tough Guy wine can be reserved online at shop.efeste.com. Proceeds from each benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

A popular highlight of the event includes a drawing featuring fantastic prizes from the wineries and other compassionate businesses such as Beehive Salon and Purple Café and Wine Bar.

Joe Taylor, youngest son of winery owners Kevin and Angela Taylor and grandson to Daniel ‘Big Papa’ and Helen Ferrelli, was diagnosed with Leukemia at age five. Following this experience, the family established Rockin’ Sips and Tough Guy wine to celebrate Joe’s successful treatment and to contribute to more stories of survival. Proceeds from both the event and the wine benefit the Washington/Alaska chapter of LLS. Through these fundraising catalysts, and with the support of the community, over $114,000 has been raised for LLS to date via the winery.

Angela says of Joe, “We continue to be thankful for his health as well as the amazing and unique person he’s become. He’s proud of that Tough Guy bottle of wine.” That gratitude has EFESTĒ taking its fundraising for the cause to the next level this year by sponsoring The Big Climb Seattle which takes place on March 26, 2017.

About EFESTĒ:

EFESTĒ, pronounced F-S-T was founded on the Ferrelli family tradition of winemaking. Founded in 2005, EFESTĒ has amassed an impressive list of accolades, including Wine Enthusiast Top 100 in 2015 and 2014 and Wine Spectator Top 100 in 2011 and 2008. The winery and tasting room are located in Woodinville, WA just 2 blocks north of the Warehouse District at 19730 144th Ave NE.

Please visit https://efeste.com/events/ for event information and updates. Follow EFESTĒ on Instagram: @efestewines, Facebook: efestewinery, Twitter: @efeste and the conversation at #rockinsips. Hi definition images are available for media upon request. Email info@efeste.com.

EFESTĒ: A Woodinville Winery Rooted in Family Tradition

The winery traces its roots back to before Angela and Kevin Taylor were born. It goes back to Prohibition, when the production and sale of wine was illegal.

Russell “Big Papa” Salvatore Ferrelli

Prohibition did not prevent Russel “Big Papa” Ferrelli, Daniel’s grandfather, from making wine. With dogged determination, a family trait that has served them well over generations, the Ferrellis made and sold jug wine out of the basement of their Chicago brownstone during the Great Depression just to get by.

The Ferrellis’ nearly century old family tradition would collide with Kevin’s ambitious and entrepreneurial ethos. The resulting chemistry would birth EFESTĒ. The Taylors would also give birth to two active boys, Joe and Paul.

The Taylor Family at EFESTE’s Prohibition Party: Paul, Angela, Joe, and Kevin

Kevin and Angela met as childhood neighbors, later dating in high school. During their courtship, Kevin gained an interest in his future father-in-law’s family tradition of making wine. They would meet trains as they arrived from California in order to pick up Zinfandel grapes, and use Daniel’s father’s old wine press.

Before he knew it, Kevin was accompanying Daniel to The Italian Club of Seattle, where a yearly winemaking contest was held. “Dan and I never won, and to this day we’re convinced that the contest was fixed,” Kevin jokes. “When we started out in the garage we had Dan’s grandfather’s hand crank crusher and wine press. Each year we refined it a little more and bought new equipment.”

The high school sweethearts would marry in 1996. With the entrepreneurial Taylor on board, the family tradition of making wine accelerated. By 2001 Daniel and Kevin were bottling and labeling their wines with state-of-the-art equipment.

Kevin recalls prioritizing the acquisition of great Washington fruit to build a strong foundation for the winery. “When we started out, it was important to us to purchase the highest quality fruit that we could. We were fortunate to get contracts on some of the oldest vines in Washington. Since that time we’ve purchased and planted three vineyards, two on Red Mountain and one in the Yakima Valley. Our goal is to incorporate all of our estate fruit into the business. This summer we released Oldfield Estate Rosé, our first 100% estate wine.” Continue reading

Surviving Leukemia: a Tough Guy’s Story

Winemaking is a Ferrelli family tradition, dating back generations to before some of its founders were born. Giving back and taking care of the community has also been part of the Ferrelli family tradition.

The Ferrellis and Taylors at EFESTĒ

In 2005, Helen and Daniel Ferrelli founded EFESTĒ, a winery in Woodinville, along with their daughter Angela Taylor, son-in-law Kevin Taylor, and a family friend. Their idea to make 2 barrels of wine based on the Ferrelli annual tradition of winemaking has since evolved into a family label.

In 2007, just as EFESTĒ was releasing its first wines from the 2005 vintage, the lives of its founders would be rocked, and winemaking and charity would take on a more personal and heightened turn. The Taylors’ youngest son, Joe, was diagnosed with Leukemia at age five.

Helen “Eléni” Ferrelli and young Joe “Tough Guy” Taylor

The Taylors would find a symbiotic relationship between their caring and passion for their children and wine. To borrow from Dickens, it was simultaneously the best and worst of times for the Taylors and Ferrellis.

“The minute we released our wine was the time (Joe) was diagnosed,” Angela recalls. “It was an incredible vortex of emotions.”

It was the youngest Taylor, Joe, whose fearlessness in facing Leukemia, would be the rock the family leaned on. Joe’s fight against Leukemia was the inspiration for the Taylors’ and Ferrellis’ civic and charitable work. Their winery has been the vessel to deliver much of their charity.

EFESTĒ donates a portion of proceeds from the sale of their “Tough Guy” red wine, named after Joe for the nickname he earned during his fight against Leukemia. The first vintage of “Tough Guy” was 2008.

Stylistically, the wine “Tough Guy” is an expression of Joe’s disposition. The wine is a muscular blend with firm tannins classic to its fruit source, Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain. EFESTĒ produces less than 200 cases of the “Tough Guy” red wine retailing for $55 a bottle.

Daniel and Helen Ferrelli with grandson Joe Taylor at Rockin’ Sips

EFESTĒ also hosts Rockin’ Sips every February. The winery has raised over $114,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since the inception of Rockin’ Sips and the sale of “Tough Guy”.

“It’s really rewarding to share the winery through the causes we’re passionate about,” Angela said.

After three and a half years of treatment, Joe’s Leukemia has been in remission since 2011 and he is thriving.

“Joe is a happy and healthy kid,” Angela said. “When someone goes through so much at a young age, it’s fitting that they gain strength and perspective far beyond their years. We continue to be thankful for his health as well as the amazing and unique person he’s become. He’s proud of that Tough Guy bottle of wine.”

This is a portion of an article written by Chris Nishiwaki that was originally published in The Points Living. We thank Chris and the publisher for helping us shed more light on fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a cause very near and dear to us at EFESTĒ.