Back in December of 2008 Rand Sealey launched Review of Washington Wines, an on-line site that publishes monthly newsletters focused on Washington wine. Sealey brings to the site over 40 years of experience in the wine industry, most notably as owner of Seattle’s Esquin Wine Merchants from 1969 to 1997.
The monthly newsletter is broken down in to several sections including profiles, features, and lists of highly recommended wines and best buys. The profile pieces contain a short paragraph about a person or winery followed by a review of recent releases. May’s profile was on Walla Walla Vintners. The feature pieces look at an event or occasion, such as the Taste of Washington or spring in Walla Walla, and review five to six wines. The list of “Highly Recommended Wines” contains two to four high scoring wines. May’s list includes Syncline’s 2007 Columbia Valley Syrah and Betz Family Winery’s 2006 Clos de Betz. The “Best Buys” section contains five or more wines with high quality to price ratios. Examples from May include the 2008 Kung Fu Girl Riesling and 2007 Fidelitas M100.
Sealey rates his wines on a 20 point scale with half point increments (18, 18.5, etc). While 100 point addicts may wonder why he doesn’t multiply by five, this scoring system is common. Sealey only includes wines in his review that score 18 points or higher.
Review of Washington Wines’ newsletters are easy to read and are laid out along a single page with links allowing readers to jump forward to a particular section. Sealey includes a picture or two in each newsletter to add a bit of color. Long-time recipients of Esquin’s monthly flier will recognize Sealey’s engaging writing style.
Review of Washington Wines is a pay-for site that costs $20 annually. While not free, it’s less than you spend for lattes every week. A free issue is available on-line with registration.