Sunday, June 6, 2010

Good wine, good cause at E.B. Foote

Burien, Washington isn't the first town one thinks of when one considers wine making and tasting. But when our friends Noel and Charlene invited us to a tasting at E.B. Foote winery in Burien, having won the same in a charity auction, my Sweetie, the official scorer, and I were game. We came away impressed, and with a case of nice juice.

You probably haven't seen E.B. Foote at your local wine shop or on a restaurant wine list. They only make about 2,000 cases of wine each year, and while a few bottles do go out to local eateries, the majority of sales are right out of their basement facility in Burien. They do online sales as well, and can ship to Washington addresses.

The label of Remembrance
features a photo of Rich
Higginbotham, former co-
owner of E.B. Foote who died
of Alzheimer's in 2008. Half
of the proceeds from sales of
Remembrance go to Alz-
heimer's research.
E.B. Foote makes mostly red wines from grapes grown in and shipped to Burien from the Columbia Valley. One of the white exceptions is "Sweet Sherill," a chardonnay with 2.5 percent residual sugar. Named after E.B. Foote owner and winemaker Sherill Miller. A sweet chardonnay was not planned, just a botched batch, but it caught on and has been a perennial favorite.

We were more attracted to the reds we tasted, particularly the 2006 "Perfect a Trois," a blend of 65 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 percent Merlot, and 10 percent Cab Franc. Yummy.  The 2007 vintage, with a touch more Merlot and a bit less Cab, is called "Remembrance" in honor of Miller's husband, business partner, and co-winemaker Rich Higginbotham, who died of Alzheimer's Disease in 2008. Miller now donates half of all proceeds from Remembrance to Alzheimer's research at the UW. Her story was touching as she told it during a run-down of the wines featured at the tasting.

Also yummy were ETC, a five-red blend that is 63 percent Zinfandel; Rainy Day Red, a blend that's 86 percent Syrah and 14 percent Cab; a delightful, tasty Merlot; and Northwest Duet, a Cab/Merlot blend.

All of E.B. Foote's offerings are under $20. The winery's motto is, "Producing quality wines at an affordable price, because it's not about what it costs, it's about how it tastes." Miller, her small staff, and an army of volunteers deliver on that mission. E.B. Foote also hosts jazz shows and theater events, both paired with wine tasting as well. Check 'em out.

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