wine stained lips…

I recently attended the 21st Annual Auction of Washington Wines. A 3-day event held at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, WA, it benefited the Seattle Children’s Hospital. It started with a picnic on Thursday afternoon and concluded with the formal gala auction dinner. After the final tally, it raised $2.25 million for uncompensated care the hospital provides annually.

Not only were there wines from Washington, the picnic also featured great food prepared by local chefs from the area’s best restaurants. Some of the standouts were the seared ahi, grilled lamb, and the fresh shucked oysters. I filled up on these tasty treats that I hardly had enough room for the brownies! As for the real reason I was there, I tried a few merlots and pinots, and a couple of chards. It was a blistery day with temps in the high 90’s and when the humidity became unbearable, I drank some rosés to cool off. And it worked.

The best part of the picnic, at least for me, were the “carnival” games. For $10.00 per, you can try your luck at either the ring toss or the Wheel of Wine. Since all proceeds go toward a really good cause—and you win prizes such as wines and other cool stuff, I only felt obliged to part with my cash.

This year’s haul included bottles like Northstar Merlot 2003 and Kestrel Syrah 2002. Although not as celebrated as their Merlot 2005, it rocked nonetheless.  With a velvety tannin structure and big fruity flavor, it was definitely my favorite of the lot. As with most things in life, the good must come with the bad, and for me they were the icewine and the mead. Eesh…

Overall, I took home 12 bottles and a couple of books—an autographed copy of Washington Wine Trails and The Essential Guide to Washington Wine and Wineries.

And I still had money left over for gas…

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