Friday, October 31, 2008

A Happy Walla Walla Halloween!

My childhood memories of Halloween in Walla Walla are many. Eagerly wanting to visit the haunted houses sponsored by the local Jaycees, but once there wishing I was home safe and sound. I remember placing my hand into a boxes of peeled grapes and cold cooked spaghetti at junior high Halloween parties and screaming! But most of all, I remember Trick 'r Treating.

We lived out in the "sticks" surrounded by onion fields and horses, so there weren't too many houses close by to go Trick 'r Treating. My parents packed us in the car during the chilly fall evenings and off we went to our Grandparent's house on School Avenue (near Leonetti Cellars) where we were paraded up and down School and Bryant Avenues to neighbors and nearby church and garden club friends so they could "ooo and aww" over Grace and Walter's grandchildren.

These Halloween memories got me to thinking about the wine labels from the Walla Walla Valley and how many of them were appropriately themed for Halloween. The best wine labels for Halloween goes to Charles Smith Wines for his Skull Syrah and Old Bones Syrah. Unfortunately these wines sold out - - fast! And it wasn't just about the label, but the coveted content inside the bottles.

Of course, who doesn't love the Sleight of Hand Cellars with their labels of magic and spells offering wines named Spellbinder and Levitation? Names that are very reminiscent of the Great Houdini, who died on Halloween.

Mother Nature plays a part of mystery and magic when the perfect alignment between three celestial bodies makes for a total solar eclipse. The feeling is of awe and yet very eerie. The wine labels from SYZYGY are impressive and reminds us of natural, yet mystical forces beyond a mere mortal.

When Halloween comes around every October, lovers of Walla Walla wines won't have to travel all the way to Transylvania to collect their boo-tiful labels covering their favorite red drink - - the blood of the vine.

B O O!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Helix Merlot - 2005

(In August, I reviewed this wine for the 89 Project blog and had an opportunity to taste it again last night. This wine truly deserves to have another blog - - - an encore!)

There’s a lot of Merlot that comes out of Washington State, and especially Walla Walla. I can remember the day when Walla Walla received all kinds of accolades and high scores for their Merlot. In the mean time, other red grapes from the Walla Walla Valley have appeared: Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Nebbiolo, and Cinsault have taken some of the attention away from our faithful and steady Merlot. It’s been a grape that has not let us down, and when California was talking smack about "merlot is only a blending grape" we proved differently producing a single variety (attn: wine blogging police - or is it "varietal?") wines and have received world acclaim.

Reininger Winery made a smart move creating their second label, Helix, in 2004. (And yes, Helix is a genus of a large air-breathing land snail aka terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusc. And yes, this garden pest also includes the Roman snail and the Burgundy snail. The Burgundy snail is considered the edible snail, but whatever you do - - don't confuse this Bordeaux-style wine with Burgundy - shall we?)

For the Helix label, Reininger sources fruit from the larger Columbia Valley. This allows Reininger to increase production and expand distribution. This also allows the Reininger label to continue to maintain a limited production. The Reininger label is produced with fruit that is sourced from only the Walla Walla Valley. Helix can target a new group of wine lovers while keeping costs down. When I discovered the Helix Merlot - 2005 received a 89 from the Wine Enthusiast, I had to wonder why? Is it because of a second label thinking it should not be as good or is the real problem here - - another Merlot? I also thought about those "pointy people" who walk into a winery or wine store only wanting to buy 90+ scored wine, and often without tasting. What wines do they drink for every day sipping and especially when their pointy-friends are not around? Do they drink costly 90+ scored wines? Perhaps they are secret 89 secret sippers when nobody is looking.

My opinion: this is a Merlot that you could take to a dinner party and still be proud of it at $22. Overall, it is 97% Merlot with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. At the first sip of this dark wine, the taste is full bodied with hints of cherries. It’s a mouthful with just a hint of spice and cedar. This Helix Merlot should definitely paired and enjoyed with foods, such as a native Washington State salmon to grilled vegetables or beef. A pocket full of Hershey kisses works for me (or my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies). This ain't no blending grape. It’s a Merlot that can stand up to the best - - even stand up to a Merlot with 90 or 91 points! Cheers!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cookies Are Not Just For Milk Anymore: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip

This is the time of the year when I turn on the oven and start baking. In fact, just tonight one of my sisters called and asked if I was going to bake her favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and if I would deliver. Last week a co-worker sent an email and asked if I would bring pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to work this week. The answers are: yes, yes and yes.

If you haven't smelled Fall yet, the smell of these cookies baking in the oven will awaken your senses and remind you that Fall is here. It is now! And ya know - - milk isn't the only beverage that pairs great with cookies. So does wine. I discovered a silky Merlot with notes of cocoa and cigar box or a spicy Syrah with mocha and blueberry notes really makes for a perfect pairing with pumpkin and dark chocolate - - especially with the chocolate. And of course, a late harvest wine or even a sparkler will make a happy pairing if you prefer a white wine.

I suppose you could mull the wine if you want, which sometimes can add a bit of warm and rosy cheer, but if you are going for hot spiced wine whatever you do - - DO NOT use wines from Walla Walla! GASP! SHOCK! Clutching my pearls! The horrors and humanity of it all!!! I think most winemakers in the valley would feel verklempt for having their wines abused over heat and then muddled and masked with spices and fruit. That's why my dear, Bacchus invented cheap California and Italian jug wines - - to make hot spiced wine with.

Enjoy my Fall recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are moist and cake-like!

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin (not the pie filling with sugar)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
1 tsp vanilla
1 (6 0z) pkg dark chocolate chips (1 cup)

Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg and pumpkin, mixing thoroughly. Combine flour and next four ingredients adding to pumpkin mixture. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips. If you wish, here is where you may add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans (optional). Drop dough by tablespoons onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 13 minutes. Let set a minute before removing from cookie sheet to cool. Yields about five dozen.

Don't forget the wine or milk!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Investment tip for the day: Drink your profits

By Steve Bjerklie

So the economy’s tanking and even successful investors these days -- both of them -- are looking in their closets and sock drawers for hidden investment opportunities. Investment-minded wine lovers are naturally tempted by the profit possibilities residing cork-down in their cellars.

Understandably so. Wine has a long history as an investment vehicle. Those bottles of Roaring Twenties-era Bordeaux that occasionally show up at auction didn’t survive that era’s excesses because someone forgot they were in the cellar. No, they were secreted away for future sale. Back in 1928 a first-growth Bordeaux might’ve cost no more than several francs; at auction today they bring tens of thousands of dollars (or, even better, euros). The profit can be measured in tens of thousands of percent.

But if you’re thinking you’re sitting on investment gold with your carefully put together collection of fine Washington and/or Oregon and/or California wines, think again. Chances are the only profits you’ll realize are the profits to be gained from enjoying your wines with great friends and fine food.

For one thing, wine-investing is an expensive game -- very expensive. A bottle of $50 or $60 cabernet sauvignon, even from a good vintage and from a well-established, award-winning, high-scoring vintner, will not double or triple in value in 10 or 15 years. Investment-grade wines begin at around $200-$250 a bottle and go up -- way up -- from there, and it’s difficult to sell a quantity smaller than a case of 12 bottles. You’ll need an expendable 10 grand, at the very least, to get into wine as an investment, and that’s money that’s not going to do a thing for you for several years except collect dust. It’s not even tax deductible unless wine-investing is your primary business.

For another thing, only a handful of wines in the world are investment-grade. In France, the regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhone and Champagne each produce only a small handful of wines that are auction-worthy and that will, in time, increase in value. Same thing’s true in California: In contemporary vintages, only wines from Harlan, Screaming Eagle, Colgin, Opus One, Dominus and perhaps two or three other estates will gain value over time (by the way, a single bottle of the most recently released Screaming Eagle, if you can possibly find one, will cost you $750). Among Washington wines, only Quilceda Creek, with a $100-per-bottle starting point, has a track record of building value over time. A good auction market just hasn’t developed yet for the likes of Leonetti, Cayuse and Long Shadows.

But let’s say you’ve got the cash and you were able to buy a case of Petrus or Ch. D’Yquem or Caymus Special Selection for four grand and now you want to lay it away for five or 10 years and then sell for the big money. Where did you buy the wine from? Who did you buy it from? Your investment will have to have perfect provenance, as they say, and don’t count it getting it from an eBay seller. How and where are you going to store your wine? Your hall closet, garage or even your own wine cellar, however fancy, isn’t good enough. You’ll need to keep your investment waiting for its payday in a commercial, climate-controlled cellar that will provide documentation to the buyer -- an additional expense you’ll need to earn back if you’re planning on a profit. And no matter how well your wines are stored, you’re going to lose one or more bottles to corking. That’s the hard fact of life of aging quantities of wine, even (or especially) great wine. Are you ready to lose a few hundred bucks or a couple of thou to bad corks?

Finally, as anyone who invests in collectibles with an intent to sell for profit will tell you, the worst thing you can do is fall in love with your investment. If you love wine, invest in coins or stamps or antique hair pins or old postcards with cows on them. You’ll keep your heart intact when the winning bid is made and your precious possessions become someone else‘s.

Not that loving wine, even expensive, wonderful wine (and Leonetti, Cayuse and Long Shadows, among several other Walla Walla beauties, come immediately to mind), is a bad thing. Love your wine -- and, to borrow a phrase and turn in on its head, drink the profits. Do so with friends, food and gusto, because those are the only profits you’re ever likely to see from investing in wine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wine Spectator - Wine Talk: Drew Bledsoe

Drew Bledsoe, former NFL quarterback grew up in Walla Walla and not too far from the famous Leonetti Cellars. He talks with Robert Taylor of the Wine Spectator from his home in Whitefish, Montana.

Bledsoe tells the Wine Spectator about his football journey, his wine cellar, how he almost became a vineyard owner with famed quarterback Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins and how he came to purchase property, which is now the Flying B Vineyard in the Columbia Valley appellation located at Echo, Oregon.

Bledsoe's Walla Walla vineyard, McQueen, is located in Walla Walla. The majority of the 50 acre vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and five acres of it is Merlot. Chris Figgins of Leonetti is the winemaker for Bledsoe's winery, the Doubleback. Their first bottling will be a Cabernet blend with 2007 fruit.

Read the interview. It's a good read about a "homie" doing well.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Soup Stock - The Safe Stock to Purchase.

The one thing I will never forget from reading about America’s Depression (1920 – 1929), that when it came to alcohol, tobacco, cosmetics and silk hosiery sales, they could not have been better and the other thing I will never forget is that in 1920, women voted for the very first time.

With Wall Street having a brutal time, I keep reminding myself about how alcohol sales remained strong during America’s Depression. Am I delusional to think that today and in the future, wine sales will remain status quo? No, I don’t believe I am delusional or even naive. I think sales in wine and all alcohol products will remain strong, but I also believe that our buying habits will alter a bit.

First of all, let’s get this out of the way - - investing in wine is not the way to go at this time, unless you are an educated oneophile, have invested in the right wines and have all of the proper storage certification. And if you are going to get the high price, guess who you will probably receive it from? Another educated oneophile. So if you think you can get your hands on a bottle of Quilceda Creek or a bottle of Screaming Eagle, toss it in the dark broom closet and in about 10 years - - voila! - - you're going to make a few hundred dollars from that bottle - - you are very wrong. And no, a case of Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet or Merlot that's been in your makeshift wine cellar for ten years will have no return, either. Not all aged wines are going to give you a return. The gains from recent prices of six leading Bordeaux properties have been modest and these are the top of the collectibles (how to invest in wines is another blog - - soon to come from guest blogger). Drink your wines, share them and enjoy them!

At this time, the only stock I would advocate to purchase is soup stock. Having people over for dinner doesn’t mean we always have to have Copper River salmon or filet mignon. Rich and creamy clam chowder, home-made fresh wild mushroom soup or beef bourguignon are soups/stews that can be paired deliciously with an affordable wine. Soups and stews may take a bit of time to prepare from scratch - - but oh so worth the effort. Add a loaf of French-style bread from the local bakery, a green salad and dessert and your guests will be impressed. It's a great way to entertain! Or be very communal by using a raclette grill and/or fondue pot. I love having opportunities to bring out my French raclette grill and what I found it's one of the easiest and affordable ways to entertain - - besides everyone is guaranteed of eating something they like. And dessert is easy - who doesn't like dipping fresh fruit and cake in chocolate fondue?

In spite of the economy, it's even more important that we entertain and especially now that we are heading into winter. While Wall Street is having their woes, we need to take care of ourselves and treat ourselves "nice." And it can still be done affordably. Now is the time to be with friends and family, but we can adjust our way of thinking. This doesn’t mean that we have to stay home all of the time and never go out to our favorite dining places either. Don't totally remove dining-out from your budget! There are several fine dining establishments in Walla Walla where we can still dine by taking advantage of the happy hour and bar menus. Or even just coffee and dessert! You may find you are frequenting your favorite restaurants more often instead of the usual once in awhile expensive full-meal-deal.

The wines we purchase do not always have to be the most expensive. And most important - - when you are serving wines to your guests, be sure to serve the most expensive wine first or second. Serve your best wine at the beginning of your party while your guests still have alive and sharp taste buds. How can you appreciate the best with a tired tongue? You can't.

There are some great wine buys in Walla Walla. From $25 and under you can find tasty cabernets, merlots, whites, roses', and especially the red blends that are often at $20 and under. Soon we will have quite a selection of “Walla Walla produced” affordable wines when Seattle-based Precept Wine Brand's, "Walla Walla Wine Works," located at Highway 12 in the Walla Walla Valley, open's their doors. They will feature affordable wine brands such as Waterbrook (one of the older wineries in the Walla Walla Valley), Pendulum Winery, Shimmer Wines and The Magnificent Wine Company (former labels of Charles Smith, K-Vintners). These are wines that I advocate to use for your everyday sippers aka “heart medicine.” In fact, I advocate that we consider all of the affordable wines from the State of Washington.

Of course, I want you to purchase your great wine buys from Walla Walla Wine Woman, but that isn't always convenient, especially when you are buying dinner and wine at the same market on your way home from work. Local supermarkets and the liquor store has a good selection of Walla Walla and Washington State wines. Remember - great buys of great wines are out there and we don’t have to settle for the Southern 2BuckChuck. Keep our dollars in our Washington State wineries. And in the mean time, keep our fingers crossed and keep thinking - - this too shall pass (the economy). Just think of the stories we can tell our grandchildren. "I remember the day when we only paid $4 for a gallon of gas and..."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Keep It Local! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

That's right - keep it local! While I appreciate the impact of what a larger non-profit can do for the cure of breast cancer and assist in spreading education, the strings of my heart really get tugged when I hear there are dollars being raised for this cause that will actually stay in Walla Walla. When I heard that Isenhower Cellars was directly sponsoring a fundraiser with the proceeds going to St. Mary's Cancer Center, it definitely peeked my interest.

Last year Denise Isenhower's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Denise, along with her two small daughters, Keegan (16 months) and Olivia (3 1/2 years), made three flights on the "red-eye" back to Indianna to help Denise's Mom after the chemo treatments. Denise was also pregnant at the time and during one of the trips, while waiting at the Chicago airport to catch a flight, Denise thought she was having a miscarriage and had to be rushed to the nearest hospital. In the mean time, the good news is Denise's mother is a survivor of breast cancer and in March, after many weeks of bed rest and pre-term labor, Denise delivered daughter Eliana.

As Denise says, "Everyone knows someone who has battled cancer." Denise and even her daughters have had more than their share, as Denise's sister also had two different experiences of skin cancer this past year. The impression of this disease was even left on small Olivia who told many people during their travels "they were going to go help Nana with her chemo because she has cancer." Of course, it was Denise who experienced the looks of sadness from these stranger's faces. Olivia even experienced the hairdresser shaving her "Nana's" head. Olivia liked rubbing her Nana's shaved head and watching Nana trying on the different wigs - - very bittersweet moments.

During this time, Denise was walking with Beth Swanson and other member's of the Mom's Network of Walla Walla on Saturday mornings. From these walks inspiration came to have a Cancer Walk and to sell some "pink." The Second Annual Cancer Walk will take place Saturday, October 25 and many thanks to Isenhower Cellars for sponsoring very pink and very cute caps for $19.50! These caps are the excellent Port Authority brand with the Isenhower logo on the side and an embroidered pink ribbon on the front.

Here is what I like so much about this pink cap fund raiser: for every pink cap sold, $10 will go directly to the St. Mary’s Breast Community Center in Walla Walla for their "Special Needs Fund." This is an "at need" non-judgmental, no paper work required funding for patients. An "at need" example could be a new bra, body lotion or lip balm, or even a taxi-ride home from the hospital - - the kind of needs that many of us take for granted. What's even more important about these proceeds - - all of the money will go directly to cancer patients and not to administrative costs as needed by some of the larger non-profits.

For more information on the Second Annual Mom's Network Breast Cancer Walk, please contact Beth Swanson. Hats may be purchased from Beth, Isenhower Cellars or Me. I will also have the hats available at Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman Wednesday, October 15 from 5:30-7:00 pm. Please also contact me about that event for more information.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wine Blogging Wednesday #50: Which Wine, Which Wilderness?

Or also known as: Wine Blogging Wednesday #50: Which Wine, Which Wilderness for the Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman? Sorry, I had to take advantage of all of the "W's"

My wine blogging friend, Russ Beebee (aka Wine Hiker) at Winehiker Witiculture is the host for WBW #50 this glorious fall month of October. For this significant number 50, Russ has asked his fellow wine bloggers to get outdoors and celebrate the season with a hike 50 miles of our home and finish with a post-picnic and a good bottle of wine.

Sorry Russ, unfortunately, the last few weekends have not allowed me an extra 50 miles, so I made this WBW easy - - so easy it was a walk in the park. Oh wait - -it was a walk in the park - - the grand dame of all Walla Walla parks - - Pioneer Park!

Autumn is my favorite time of the year and especially in Walla Walla. As I tickle through my Rolodex full of memories I have taken many walks through this beautiful 58-acres (and no matter the season, it's always beautiful), since I first learned how to walk. I have looked through the assortment of colored leaves and nuts on the ground left by Mother Nature. I have taken in the silence under an old tree only to hear the cracking of bark from a nearby sycamore. Pioneer Park is home to many of Washington State’s record trees, some planted around the turn of the 20th Century and many recorded as the largest known of their species in the state.

The crowning glory of the park is the gazebo in the center of the park and now a city landmark that was built in 1910 at a cost of $1,250. The land for the park was purchased in 1901 and John C. Olmstead, the architect who was also responsible for the design of New York City’s Central Park, arrived in Walla Walla in 1906 and influenced the designs of Walla Walla’s first city parks. Besides a water fountain, community center, rose garden, playground, whimsical Tom Otterness sculpture and duck ponds, Pioneer Park also has an aviary that is home to approximately 200 exotic birds.

After a walk in the park with Chloe, my four-legged companion, we had our post pic-nic and wine (Chloe had water) at home due to the city codes regarding alcohol - - and besides, rain was on the way. A nosh from an assortment of charcuterie and imported cheese, a few nibbles of pecans with a glaze tasting similiar to pecan pie filling, and crisp bites of juicy Asian pear slices, along with my wine of choice.

100% Cabernet Franc is one of my favorite varietals for rose' and Steve Brooks from Trust Cellars Rose - 2007 has produced such a glorious pink wine. It's a full bodied wine showing flavors of cherry pie and spicy notes of cinnamon. Mmm...like cherry pie out of the oven! The spiciness of the flavors and the cool temperature of the wine was such a perfect match with the selection of salami and cheese and seemed to add a tart, yet extra juicy flavor to my mouthful of crunchy fruit and nuts.

When I asked Steve if he had used the saignee method for his rose production, he looked amusingly shocked and laughed while telling me, "No," his rose' was the real deal! He had deliberately set out to make a rose and did not "bleed" out the juice from a fermenting Cabernet Franc to improve the original red wine. Yup, there's a good reason the name on this bottle of wine is "Trust." And Trust Rose' is a great example that rosados, rosatos, and roses' have caught on and they are no longer the "blush" that we use to know. Even the color of the wine in the glass is elegant, yet showing a bit of whimsy from the label. And no bother, now that summer is behind us, this refreshing bottle of pink will continue be a perfect match for the Thanksgiving turkey - - that is if one can leave it alone until the holidays! Cheers!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Girl Power and the Muleskinner!

Don’t ask why, but for some reason as soon as Autumn begins to tease with a bit of chill in the Walla Walla air, I often think of the Merlot produced in the Walla Walla Valley. It’s like I’m not quite ready to hunker down for the winter and be committed to a stout rich wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon. Instead I am looking for red wine that’s a bit softer, but with just as much flavor.

Last Friday evening was all about "Girl Power!" The Autumn wind and rain moved a few leaves from the trees outside, while inside we moved a few cases of wine around and a few pieces of furniture. Actually, my generous helpers did the bulk of the moving while I kicked a few empty case boxes around and pointed where I wanted pictures hung. But, it was me who ultimately opened a bottle of wine – so that counts for something, right? The wine of choice was a Spring Valley Vineyard Muleskinner 2004 - - a 100% Merlot! Perhaps, this was an appropriate wine for the working evening as after all, the term “muleskinner” is: one who drives mules. No doubt by the end of the evening the team of “Girl Power" movers were feeling as if they were driving one lame mule (moi) - - and a stubborn one at that.

There’s a reason why the winemaker’s of Walla Walla haven't traditionally used Merlot strictly as a blending grape. Merlot, a grape which often takes a back seat to Cabernet Sauvignon, has become one of the popular single red varieties in the valley and one of the reasons is the fruit from the Walla Walla Valley is like no other – complex and rich, with mineral and earth tones visible in the flavors and the nose. Spring Valley Vineyard in Walla Walla County is an excellent example of rich and complex wines from their farm land which dates back to the mid 1800’s. This particular vintage of Spring Valley Muleskinner - 2004, has a few years on it and since that release, Spring Valley has released their 2005 (the winery is sold out of the '04, but email me if you are interested in a bottle or two).

The extra time in the bottle made the tannins slightly visible, while still keeping structure to the wine. The dark plum color and the rich mouth feel had an elegance about it like sipping a black currant cassis aperitif, yet a familiarity as inviting as Grandma’s blackberry pie - from the filling of the dark fruit to the crust reminiscent of the grains of wheat from the past. The sweet finish continued long after our glasses were set down, while we remarked about the complexity of this fine Merlot and smacking our lips. Cheers to Girl Power and the Muleskinner!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Spirits Among Us

Former Walla Walla winemaker, Berle W. "Rusty" Figgins has added a new chapter to his career - from viticulturist to winemaker and now a distiller. Many wine lovers and locals may remember Figgins as one of the first to introduce Syrah to the State of Washington, especially Eastern Washington. From syrah in the vineyard, later Figgins was one of the founders and the winemaker for Glen Fiona Winery in Walla Walla. Glen Fiona is known for producing Rhone-style wines.

After producing wines for North Star in Walla Walla and Cave B Estate Winery located at George, WA, Figgin’s newest project is distilled spirits - - which is a natural progression for those who want to explore beyond fermentation. Thinking beyond wine, the next natural step is to distill brandy, since brandy is distilled directly from wine. Figgins feels there is a place for brandy where ever there is a prosperous wine industry. In the mean time, Figgins has left the winery at George and will operate Dynamic Alambic Artisan Distillers located in Eastern Washington's Grant County at Mattawa.

Future products will include a style of "Limoncello," a lemon digestivo liqueur with Italian roots, and style of "Sambuca," an anise liqueur also with Italian roots. Figgins feels the potential is there to include an apple brandy, like France's Calvados, since Washington is the apple capital of the world. Cheers!