Refresh Yourself 2016

It is a new year! Time for new beginnings?  Sometimes it is time to do what you really wanted to do in the first place!  Following a passion takes a lot of dedication.  Just like going to the gym, practicing guitar, and creating new works of art– the only way to make it happen is to physically manifest it!

If your passion is to learn more about wine, here are the tools to cementing the abyss of wine information by creating a more educated you in 2016!

Tasting and Tasting GroupsWalk the Talk–  Actually see it, smell it, sip it, spit it… and repeat.  And don’t forget to write it down! Focus on the fruit, wood, earth, acidity and body of the wine.  It’s all there, but if you don’t keep tasting wine, you won’t find it.  Seek out tastings- at your local wine shop, winery or join tasting groups.  We feature wine tastings (free) Wed-Friday nights from 5- 7pm AND Sat and Sundays from 12pm -4pm. Jens and I have a wealth of information to share with you- for free.  Check our schedule here >>

You can also form your own tasting groups- just be careful to keep changing it up and make it blind so you are not biased.  Call us if you would like us to set up blind tasting wines for you.  Or if you like blind tastings, our Thursday tastings are blind- be prepared to think!
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Wine Club –  Busy schedule?  That happens, but it doesn’t have to restrict you.  Join a wine club that offers a diverse selection of wines from around the world so that you are out of your element.  Many local wine shops have wine club programs.  Our clubs >> at Portalis focus on education and diversifying your collection.   Wines from around the world, with exceptional value as well as classic styles- Jens is keen on providing these for all of our guests.

Books — Read and visualize it.  The perspective and voice of one wine professional is different to another.  Invest in some solid works, and continue to read new works.  Here’s a short list:

  • Hugh Johnson and Janic Robsinson- The World Atlas of Wine
  • Jancis Robinson- Wine Grapes
  • Madeline Puckett and Justin Hammack– Wine Folly: The Essential Guide to Wine
  • Karen MacNeil- The Wine Bible
  • There are several more if you want an formal list, I can compile one for you.

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Maps, maps and more maps–  Speaking of visualizing it- sometimes it being there is really what allows it all to sink in.  Read the maps, check out the rivers, mountains, terrain… and the stories of the winemakers. In somm school, I drew every single map with notes on the environment so that I could memorize the diversity in which each region provides the varietals.

Apps–  ahhh… technology.  A blessing, a useful tool and a wealth of information; however, be wary of validity and choose what best suits your needs for retaining information!  Here’s a listing and a few links for descriptions on each!

  • Hello Vino
  • Wine Spectator- Wine Ratings
  • Vivino
  • WSET Wine Game
  • Delectable wine
  • Drync
  • Plonk
  • More >>   |  More II >>

Wine Shop Classes  | Education—   And there’s nothing like the tried and true- class room style education!  Not only do local wine shops offer classes, but there are several certified programs in the area for more advanced studies:

Seattle Wine Shops that Offer Classes

Formal Education –  Time for a new path?  Perhaps you are ready to commit to this vast world of knowledge and ever changing details?  Consider the following groups:

For an entertaining definition of what’s what, Wine Folly >>

Have more questions?  You can find us in the shop from 11-7pm Tuesday  thru Saturday, Sundays till 5pm.

Happy New Year!
Jaci Kajfas, Sommelier &
Portalis Wine Shop Manager



Naughty or Nice… Our Pick List 2015

Naughty or Nice… Our Pick List 2015

Tis the Season! If we handed Santa our list of wines, first he would laugh and double check that we are not on the “Naughty” List!  Enjoy!

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  • Capitello Sauvignon Blanc (OR) — Zesty!  Lychee, passion fruit, citrus and minerality.  — Julie
  • Ashan Cellars  Kestral Vineyard Chardonnay (WA) – Toasty oak with cooked golden apples, caramel and exotic spices.  French oak-new and neutral.  –Jaci
  • Brickhouse Select Pinot Noir (OR) –  Beautiful and Biodynamic! — Jens
  • Wish Wine Co. Pinot Noir (CA) — A spicy Damsel is what this Pinot is:  aromas of rose petals and lilacs, tart cranberry and wild strawberry with rich Rainier cherries, soft earth, and subtle peppercorn.  –Jaci
  • Isenhower Holiday Paintbrush  (WA) — Another Everything But The Kitchen Sink blend by Brett Isenhower!  How does he do it? Dark ruby red bing cherries, river rock, baking spices and soft earth.  –Jaci
  • Reininger “Helix” Pomatia (WA) —  Primarily Merlot with a touch of Syrah, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, and a kiss of Petit Verdot.  Rich dark cherry, dried plum, black currant with subtle herbs, black olive  and oak.  –Julie
  • Cadence  CODA (WA) — Cabernet franc, Cabernet sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot |  Bright raspberries, warm summer cherries, baking spices and cedar undertones.  Supple, plush and silky. –Jaci
  • Sleight of Hand Spellbinder (WA) Beautiful cassis, summer blackberry cobbler, river rock, pencil shavings.   Aromatic and definitive. –Jaci

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Big, Bold, Brash

  • Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon (WA) — Summer blackberry cobbler tango’ing with Asian spice, figs, cedar and fun.  — Julie
  • Nottola Vino Nobile Riserva (IT) – The real king in Tuscany! –Jens
  • Le Mourre Chateauneuf du Pape (FR) – Recently had the pleasure of retasting this wine. 100% Grenache. Great earth. A little spice. Killer! — Jens
  • B. Leighton Grenache (WA) – Not your normal Grenache. Powerful. Vibrant dark fruit. Kind of smoky. Long finish. — Jens
  • Buty Rediviva of the Stones (WA) — Vivid. Black raspberry, black cherries, black berry, currants with black olive, wood smoke, baking spices and hints of pepper. –Julie
  • Turley Old Vine Zinfandel (CA)  — Can a Zin be elegant?  I guess so!  Jammy blackberries, black cherry, briary wild berry, cedar smoke, peppercorn and anise. –Jaci
  • Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon (CA) — Hint of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Layers of  dark cherry, boysenberry, blackcurrant, blackberry and black fig mingle with cedar, cassis and dark chocolate.–Julie
  • Coral Red (WA) — Rhone varietals in Washington = Depth, rich cherry and currants mingling with spice and sagebrush.  Mmmm. — Jaci


Classic Old World

  • Jacques Lassaigne Vignes de Montgueux Brut Blanc de Blanc (FR) — Diamonds are a girls best friend?  Not this girl!  Here’s my glass.  — Jaci
  • Cave de Bissey Cremant (FR) — Delicate bubbles with warm toasty notes of apple, quince, stone fruits & white flowers. Cheers! –Julie
  • Craggy Range Te Muna Road Sauvignon Blanc (NZ) —  Well-integrated acidity with juicy gooseberry on the mid-palate. Mildly herbaceous. –Jens
  • Bodegas Rauda Reserva (SP)– Older now. More settled.  — Jens
  • Pelassa Barolo (IT) –  Hedonistic.  Cured fruits, leather and character! — Jens
  • Burgum Novum Lagrein Riserva (IT) – Unknown grape. Vibrant fruit. Rocky minerality. Smooth in the middle.   Crazy-good & interesting wine. — Jens
  • Domaine de Nalys Cuvee Reserve (FR) — Sweet black fruit, cassis, dried herbs, with spice and floral notes. Corpulent with a long finish. –Jens
  • La Croix Dillanges Saint-Julien (FR) —  Complex, elegant, appealing personality. Dark fruit with earthy undertones. –Jens
  • Fleur du Grand Port Pauillac (FR) – Left Bank (so, Cab driven). Super complex. Memorable finish. — Jens
  • Dead Arm Shiraz (AU) –  Intense just like its name!   — Julie


Talk of the Table

  • Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvee (FR) — Brioche with summer peach- orchard goodness mingled with bright citrus and subtle red currant aromas.  — Jaci
  • Weingut Prechtl Gruner Veltliner Reserve Leitstall von Molasse (AT) — Delicately nutty, soft ripe yellow apple, some biscuit, herbs & spices. Wonderful, full-bodied white. Great gift!  –Julie
  • La Colline aux Princes Sancerre Rose  (FR) — Fabulous nose: raspberry, blackberry & black cherry. Lively acidity. Fresh. Long finish. Love this wine!  –Julie
  • La Puerta Reserva (AR) – Several years ago this wine was BIG. It has settled down. Smoother. More sophisticated but still decadent.  — Jens
  • Ashborne Red Blend (SA) – Pinotage blend, so smoky. Full-bodied, peppery. Voluminous. Hollering for a flank steak! — Jens
  • Flying Dreams Tempranillo (WA) —   Exotic and spicy.  Dark and mysterious.  Sounds like my kind of wine!  — Jaci
  • Maison Paul Reitz Volnay (FR) — Huge, masculine type of Pinot Noir with densely packed dark cherry, cassis fruit. –Jens
  • Quilceda Creek Red Wine (WA) — Classy, harmonious character. Juicy, black fruits, licorice, some spice. Outstanding depth. –Jens
  • Smith Woodhouse 2000 Colheita Tawny (PT) — Harvested in 2000, this single vintage tawny exudes gingerbread, mace, praline-hazelnuts, dates, burnt sugar, toffee and light citrus.  –Jaci

These wines are available in shop and on line.  Please note that shipping is best to do earlier than later!

Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!

Jens, Julie and Jaci

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