Jon McDaniel

Welcome to our newest series, The Somm Set. Each month we’ll be sitting down with a guest sommelier and uncovering their guilty pleasures, cellar staples, and everything in between! Follow as they hand-select their favorites from our warehouse, giving you the inside scoop on cellar must-haves!

This month on The Somm Set, we’re excited to feature Jon McDaniel, Master Sommelier. Join us as we explore everything from his passion for wine, favorite wine and food pairing, and his newest endeavors.

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Jon's Favorite Varietal: Grenache
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This week from Jon McDaniel:

Still not drinking Washington? WTF is wrong with you???

I am a sommelier that is always fighting for the little guy, the underappreciated in the wine world. We have already established my love for Grenache – which hopefully you have added some to your cellar and how the Southern Hemisphere is putting some incredible wines into the stratosphere of powerful, collectible red wines. In that mindset, I am excited to bring you another underappreciated mark on the map for beautiful, bold bottles – the intense and rockin reds of Washington State.

Washington has always been an area I look at for incredible values for full-bodied red wines, and this selection I have put together gives you a snapshot of not only one of my favorite winemakers in the world in Christophe Baron but also the incredibly structured and stunning Bordeaux-style bottlings coming from this area. Follow along for some of these Pac-Northwest treats.

Christophe Baron

I always feel like I am really busy. But the more I think about my schedule, and I look at the slate that Christophe Baron, arguably one of the best winemakers on earth, puts together, I just feel lazy. You have probably heard of Cayuse, the textbook example of the potential for Syrah in Washington, but you may not know that Christophe has so many fascinating, unique projects coming from Washington – Hors Categorie, Horsepower Vineyards, No Girls Wines, that your next collector’s tasting or “Stump a Somm” session in your hometown should be with the absolutely spectacular wines that Christophe makes. I especially love the stories that Christophe tells; each of his projects is unique and tells a very distinct tale – so the wines are very different and special, perfect for tasting side by side. Even writing this entry makes me upset with myself that I don’t have more in my own cellar – so come pick some up before I do! P.S. – his Cayuse Tempranillo is B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Cab Is King!

We all love a good Napa Cab or a Left-Bank Bordeaux, but if you are not drinking Washington State Cabernet, combining the intensity of fruit and structure of classic Napa with the earthy, herbaceous notes of Pauillac, then you are missing out, my friends. But I am here to help you find your way. I couldn’t just pick one producer when it comes to how fantastic the Cabs of Washington State are, so here are some iconic producers and a couple of up-and-comers that you need to know and grow in your own collections. Also – see that Merlot in there? Leonetti produces the best Merlot outside of Pomerol. Fact.

Check out all the wines mentioned below!

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