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A Local Favorite: Cougar Crest Winery & Viognier

Happy Tuesday, my fellow wine enthusiasts! It dawned on me earlier as I was enjoying the glory of a winery giving me kudos on a review written on them recently, that come Monday, I need to put on my ‘Graduate Student’ hat, and set to a lesser priority this blog. My thoughts as of this point is that I’ll move my writings to Sundays, rather than Wednesdays. I’m rarely on time with the blog anyway, who will really notice a day change?  But we will see, I will likely try to write throughout the week.  Rest assured wine will be had with homework! But knowing the time to dedicate to my love of wine writing is nearing a sharp decline, I opted to take the time tonight to write on the fabulous experience had over the weekend.  I am pleased to bring you Cougar Crest Winery.

Located here in Spokane, it is one of 21 local wineries in the state of Washington I can actually visit without making hotel arrangements.  Always a big plus for any wine enthusiast.  This past Sunday another local winery, Lone Canary, was hosting a wine ’2012 Election Party’.  This is one election party anyone regardless of politics can truly enjoy.  As it happened to be, I still held some wine tasting tickets to Cougar Crest, and so my hubby and I, along with two dear friends, opted to stop here first before heading on to Lone Canary.

Cougar Crest is a family owned estate vineyard located in the heart of Walla Walla Valley.  Offering countless varietals (I really have no idea how many, nor did I ask.  Many were offered, though!), and just as many awards, both white and red, dry or sweet, they are sure to have something to tickle your palate. The majority of their wine prices fall outside the realm of “Under $20″ this blog focuses on. But I will state, they are priced well. I believe most reds averaged about $35-$40, though some do go a bit higher.  Their Malbec was superb at $32, and the fantastic Tempranillo well-deserving the same $32. We were offered four separate Syrah wines, each very distinct in flavor profiles, yet with a consistency tying them all to Cougar Crest, and all very good.

For the sake of this blog, however, “Under $20″ is where I’ll stay. As a self-proclaimed wine enthusiast, I opted to try the one white I still regarded as “off limits”: Viognier.
Like a Sauvignon Blanc, I tend to find Viognier as too dry for my palate. And like the Sauvignon Blanc, I have found several that I greatly enjoy.  Cougar Crest boasts the Viognier to be the signature white wine, the only white grape grown in their estate vineyards.  I like that passion.  It pays off well.

On the nose is a bright acidity, chalk full of melon, pear, and orange blossom. The sip is dry, yet followed with mouthwatering flavors of peach, pear and pineapple. Crisp and light with a lingering honey-like finish; even my “I hate white wine” husband agreed it would be a refreshing summer wine. I highly recommend trying the 2009 Viognier by Cougar Crest Winery. Priced well at only $20, you are best to find this wine online at http://www.cougarcrestwinery.com, if you are not located in the Spokane area.  Please note though, while this wine is available online, I noticed many of their other wines are not.  Should you find yourself in Spokane, stop by the Cougar Crest wine room!

My rating of Cougar Crest’s signature 2009 Viognier:  ★★★★ Great Wine!

My original intent tonight was to also write on the red blend Dedication Six, Non-Vintage (NV).  Well priced at $20, this wine is a dry red, yet very smooth with nice tannins.  Unfortunately, these were all the notes I put down while tasting.  Ample tasting notes on the Malbec, Tempranillo and a few others, yet lacking on the one I intended to review.  Oh well, another time.  We bought a glass of the Dedication 6, as well as a bottle.

On a final note, our overall experience at Cougar Crest Winery was nothing short of fantastic.  Sam, our sommelier for the night, was fun and provided some great conversation as well as excellent knowledge on the Cougar Crest label.  This winery is the first to provide a $40 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that I would love to purchase.  Someday… after grad school is done I suppose.  Or, more likely, as a Christmas present to myself.  I am still trying to check off stopping by all of Spokane’s wine gems,  but many others in the area would agree Cougar Crest is one of the top.

Have you tried this wine before?  Please share your experience in the comments below!

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