Hart Davis Hart Auctions at TRU

It's a beautiful dining room loaded with beatiful paintings, bottles of wine going for thousands of dollars, clients trying fabulous wines and a premium buffet, the sound of the gavel and another fine lot is sold!  It's Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. live auction at TRU Restaurant.

The auctions are held eight times per year and feature the most sought after wines in the world: grower Champagne, Premier Cru Burgundy, growth Bordeaux, Châteauneuf du Pape, California cult wines, Italian Barolo, Brunello and Super Tuscans, along with Australian small batch.  They're all sold in lots, normally half or full cases, from reputable cellars to live bidders from around the globe.  Large format (1.5 liters and above) and single bottles are also sold.  Call for their catalog (312.482.9996) to start targeting what you'd like early.

As far as my experience went, it was a great!  To attend the auction itself is free, and you can sign up early to get your credit info on file.  TRU wine director Chad Ellegood was passing out some great glasses of wine from Bordeaux and a '95 white burgundy, plus I was set up for the lunch buffet, which costs $75.  It was an awesome spread which included a large selection of seafood like crab legs, jumbo shrimp, raw oysters, octopus and roasted halibut, along with premium cheeses, beef tartare, sliced veal, beet salad and crepes.  Everything was outstanding, and I couldn't figure out if I wanted to go back for seconds or grab some dessert!

The auction turned out to be a huge success for sellers, bidders and the auction house.  All in all, over $4.4 million dollars changed hands, and 99.9% of all lots were sold!  So many items fetched alot more than expected, like 12 packs of Chateau Lafite Rothschild selling for $45k, Chateau Petrus selling between $33k-45k and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (DRC) for $33k-35k.  Many other great wines were selling good like Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, Clarendon Hills Astralis Syrah, Sassacaia, Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino and Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon.

Next auction takes place May 8, so make your reservations, get your catalogs and hope to see you at TRU!

Washington Wine Country

Washington is so diverse, it's hard to believe you can fit it all in one state!  You have rain forests, beaches and cliffs in the west, mountain ranges in the middle, and desert-like conditions in the east.  Over 60% of the population lives in or near Seattle, with the rest around larger cities like Spokane, Tacoma, and agrarian epicenters.  Washington is a leading state for agriculture in the US and third in liters of wine produced per year, only behind California and New York.

Washington contains ten American Viticultural Areas (AVA), which are regions where the grapes grown are influenced by certain climates and geographic features.  Nine of the ten are east of the Cascade Mountains and produce 99% of the state's wine grapes.  The largest is the Columbia Valley AVA, which covers about one third of the state and is shared with Oregon.  Seven different AVAs are contained within Columbia Valley: Horse Heaven Hills AVA, Lake Chelan AVA, Rattlesnake Hills AVA, Snipes Mountain AVA, Wahluke Slope AVA, Walla Walla Valley AVA, and Yakima Valley AVA, with a few more awaiting acceptance.  The Columbia Valley was accepted as an AVA first, and each of these areas were discovered to contain unique features separating them from one another.

Columbia Gorge AVA is just west of the Columbia Valley and also runs into Oregon.  It is the most diverse of all and is known as a "world of wine in 40 miles".  On the other side of the Cascades, surrounding Seattle, is the Puget Sound AVA.  Only 1% of all wine grapes are planted here, but the state's largest wineries call this home, such as Chateau Ste. Michelle, Andrew Will, Betz Family, Cadence, and Quilceda Creek.

Look for upcoming posts with the spotlight on each of these regions!