A Conversation with Lobo Hills

I had the opportunity to sit down with local winemaker (and motorcycle aficionado) Tony Dollar and ask him a few questions about his winery, Lobo Hills. Prior to winemaking, Tony had worked in the hospitality/restaurant industry at such places as Canlis. His opening venture into wine was in the winter of 2010 with three wines totaling 234 cases; 2009 Riesling, 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, and a non-vintage Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, Lobo Hills aims to produce almost 1,200 cases thanks to the created fan-base in and around Seattle for their wines.

The aim of Lobo Hills wine is to produce ‘wine for food’, in other words balanced and acidic wines that are drinkable throughout a meal. The winery itself is based out of the Dollars’ home in the Wedgewood neighborhood in North Seattle, and uses minimal intervention in its production techniques. Tony sources his grapes from throughout Eastern Washington: white varietals from around the town of Sunnyside, red varietals from near Benton City, the Red Mountain AVA region, and Wahluke Slope.

Since Lobo Hills wine is made with food in mind, I asked Tony what his favorite food pairings were for the vintages carried here at Portalis:

Right Bank Red Blend: Beef stew, or roasted Portobello mushrooms

Cabernet Sauvignon: Beef Tenderloin

Riesling: Grilled Pork medallions or Lemon roasted chicken

Look for new vintages to arrive in April (among them being a new to the market white blend!)



Viva Italia! Announcing the Launch of Premier Vineyard Tours’ 2012 Season!

Photo © Red Box Pictures

Premier Vineyard Tours was founded in 2009 by one of our esteemed Portalis colleagues Gina Gregory as a way to directly connect the consumer with the producer. Gina began this company with the hope that it would bring people closer to a passionate appreciation for Italian wines, as travelling throughout Italy had done for her. A Premier Vineyard Tour introduces an exclusive and unique experience to directly connect with many family-run vineyards in different regions throughout Italy. Not only is there the chance to meet producers, but the opportunity to experience the harvest, and of course there are many opportunities to enjoy the final products! 

Photo © Red Box Pictures

Now in its fourth year, Premier Vineyard Tours is excited to announce its voyage tour into Piedmont! The tour begins in late May, and will include the famous areas of Barolo, Asti, Barbaresco, Alba & Dogliani. Expect to learn the culture by way of your stomach! This region is not only known for wonderful wines, but also for its lovely truffles! More information and pricing are available on their website here.

Photo © Red Box Pictures

So, what specifically might this fabulous tour include? Experiencing how Barbaresco & Barolo wines are made, eating at Michelin star restaurants surrounded by quintessential examples of rolling vineyard hills and ancient churches, having renowned Italian chefs teaching cooking classes on typically Piedmontese cuisine, and most importantly: many, many wine tastings!
As this tour is close to filling, the next upcoming 2012 tour is headed for another Italian wine region; Tuscany! Expect to visit the picturesque communes of Chianti, Montalcino, and San Gimignano. Many of the vineyards here date back hundreds of years (if not more) and several of the sample itinerary sites mentioned dinners in medieval townships dating back to the 14th century!  Expect tours of wineries, tastings galore, and a Tuscan cooking class!

Photo © Red Box Pictures
 There are only a few spots left in the Piedmont tour, and the Tuscan tour is slowly filling up. Be sure you sign up soon if you want to participate in the 2012 Premier Vineyard Tour Season!

 You can read more about Gina & see past tour photos on the Premier Vineyard Tour website.

Photo © Red Box Pictures

Cheers! Gina