Sleight of Hand Wine Tasting with owner Trey Busch

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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Bring water, bring wine, boy! Bring flowering garlands to me! Yes, bring them, so that I may try a bout with love. ~Anacreon

We are in love with the great wines of Washington state and this tasting with our good friend Trey Busch is becoming an annual event here at the Wine Watch with the wines of Sleight of Hand Cellars.

The first people who planted grapes in Washington were the German and Italian immigrants and that was around 1825.

Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington state’s Founding Winery, with some of the oldest and most acclaimed vineyards in the Columbia Valley.

Built on the 1912 estate owned by Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson, the winery’s roots date back to the Repeal of Prohibition, when the Pommerelle Wine Company and the National Wine Company were formed.  They merged in 1954 to form American Wine Growers. In 1967, American Wine Growers began a new line of premium vinifera wines called “Ste. Michelle Vintners” under the direction of legendary California winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff.

Ste. Michelle Vintners planted its first vines at Cold Creek Vineyard in Eastern Washington in 1972. Cold Creek remains one of the oldest and most renowned vineyards in the state. Ste. Michelle Vintners now own more than 3,500 prime vineyard acres in the Columbia Valley.

Some of the other founding fathers of the Washington state wine industry are- Leonetti Cellars, Woodward Canyon and Quilceda Creek.  These three producers are the first “cult wines” from Washington state and basically the second round of producers to move in.

Leonetti Cellar, which was bonded in 1977 by Founders Gary and Nancy Figgins, started as Gary’s vision to make world-class wines in Walla Walla has turned out to be a true American success story. Today, Leonetti Cellar produces some of the most sought-after wines not only from Washington state but in the world.

Woodward Canyon Winery was one of the first two wineries to help put the Walla Walla Valley on Washington State's wine map.  From its first powerful 1981 cabernet sauvignon to the new releases today they have been among this state's top producers and we have actually have some of these wines in our tasting tonight!

Founded in 1979, Quilceda Creek has had an unbroken string of highly-rated vintages that has led Robert Parker Jr. to name it Washington State’s premier Cabernet Sauvignon producer with five vintages receiving (100 points) from Robert Parker Jr.'s The Wine Advocate, this is the mosxt sought after collectible.  Although we are not showing any Quilceda Creek this evening we do have several vintages available for sale after the notice of this tasting we have a list of all the Washington state wines in the store.

The industry and been expanding rapidly, Washington is the second largest wine producing state with just over 500 wineries in 2007.  Just a few short years later, today there are over 850 with the giant Chateau St. Michelle leading the way in terms of size.  The proliferation of small producers is incredible and we found a few new ones on our travels to Washington State and met Trey Bush at the Auction of Washington State Wines held at Chateau St. Michelle and have been big fans of their style of winemaking and the fun atmosphere at the wineries tasting room. 

Join us as we welcome Trey to South Florida for a tasting of the new releases from Sleight of Hand and hear from the horses’ mouth the story of this small winery focusing on some of the top vineyards in the Columbia Valley.  Toni Lampasone will be making a special menu to accompany the tasting wines and the fee for this tasting is $95 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail

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Sleight of Hand Tasting with Special Guest Trey Busch at WWWB
Tuesday, February 5th
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2016 Sleight of Hand Riesling The Magician Columbia Valley
Price: $22.50    Your Price: $19.80
Bright, crisp and juicy are the hallmarks of this Riesling, full of green apple and pear notes, juicy minerality and refreshing citrus notes. The subtle sweetness is perfectly balanced by the acids, and if ever there were a perfect wine for spicy foods, this is the one!

Image result for Sleight of Hand The Enchantress Chardonnay Yakima Valley 2015
2016 Sleight of Hand Chardonnay Enchantress Columbia Valley
Price: $30.00    Your Price: $26.40
From 30 plus year old vines, this Chardonnay offers a brilliant gold color and enticing aromas of Bosc pear, white peach and citrus, with scents of pear blossoms, acacia flowers and wet stone. The flavors are true to variety, with notes of peach stone, grape skin and Missoula Flood minerals. The creamy textured (from partial malolactic) back reveals sensations of pêche and poire liqueurs, hazelnuts, and bright fruit acids, followed by a deliciously ripe finish.

Image result for Sleight of Hand Conjurer Red Blend Columbia Valley 2015
2016 Sleight of Hand Conjurer Red Blend
Price: $30.00    Your Price: $26.40
Hailing mostly from Sleight of Hand's estate block at Red Mountain Vineyard and Phinny Hill Vineyard (Elene’s Block), this wine shows tremendous weight, a beautiful, round black and red fruit flavor profile, and intense concentration from the warm 2015 vintage. With generous fruit aromatics and herbal notes, and an undertone of savory baking spices, this Bordeaux-style blend will age gracefully, but is approachable and ready for full enjoyment now.
Blend: 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot


Image result for Sleight of Hand The Archimage Red Blend Columbia Valley 2013
2014 Sleight of Hand Archimage Red Blend
Price: $52.50    Your Price: $46.20
The result of meticulous growers and a dedicated winemaking team. Aged for 20 months in 40% new French oak, it is in-tensely colored, and greets you with opulent aromas of Asian spices, red fruits, licorice, and dried herbs, all enveloped in subtle oak aromas. The beautiful red fruit flavors of bing cherry and mixed berry from the Merlot marry beautifully with the herb, pepper, and spice of the Cabernet Franc, finishing on the palate with notes of dark chocolate and coffee that linger expressively for an extended period. While characteristically approachable already, this wine has the well-integrated tannins and excellent acidity to cellar well. Drink now through 2025.


Image result for Sleight of Hand The Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2013
2014 Sleight of Hand Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $52.50    Your Price: $46.20
(93 Points)  A blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot, the 2014 The Illusionist is a gorgeously pure, elegant beauty that offers terrific notes of cassis, leafy herbs, earth and lead pencil shavings. Medium to full-bodied, with terrific fruit intensity, polished tannin and a great finish, give bottles a year in the cellar and enjoy over the following 7-8 years. It's slightly more streamlined than I remember from barrel, but I like its length, and if it fills out with bottle age, it should get closer to that barrel score.   Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 
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2015 Sleight of Hand Levitation Syrah Columbia Valley
Price: $49.50    Your Price: $43.56

(93 Points) The 2015 Levitation Syrah is 100% Syrah from two stellar vineyards. It is 70% Lewis Vineyard, in the Yakima Valley AVA, and 30% Les Collines Vineyard, in the Walla Walla AVA. Aged for 16 months in all French oak (20% new French oak), the final blend includes about 30% whole cluster, foot-stomped bunches. The resulting wine is exotic and aromatic. Dark-purple/magenta in color, it is full of pungent wild redraspberry and blackberry aromas and flavors, hints of caramel, bright floral notes, savory herbal and pepper undertones, perfectly integrated fine-grained tannins, and fresh acidity. The finish is persistent and lengthy, and this wine should age beautifully for the next 10-12 years. #85 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2018

 2013 Sleight of Hand Levitation Syrah Columbia Valley Magnum
Price: $120.00    Your Price: $105.60
Our 2013 Levitation Syrah is a blend of Lewis Vineyard, Les Collines Vineyard, and Stoney Vine Vineyard (our Estate vineyard located in the Rocks of Milton Freewater). Only 10% new French oak was used, and the final blend is composed of almost 50% whole cluster. The resulting wine is exotic and aromatic, full of dark red and purple fruits like plums and brambly blackberries, savory undertones of fresh game, perfectly integrated tannins, and fresh acidity. The finish is persistent and lengthy, and this wine should age beautifully for the next 10-12 years. We hope that you share this wine with your friends and family and celebrate the joy of life like we do every day here at Sleight of Hand Cellars! Cheers!

Selection of Charcuterie and Cheese
Sea Scallop Carpaccio with Ciacci Piccolomini Olive Oil, fresh green apple, candied Lime and Lime Aioli
Venison Chop with Lingonberry Demi and Sweet potato Au Gratin
Bittersweet Chocolate Tart with dark chocolate sauce

 The price of this event is $95 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail

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Serious wines without the serious attitudes...

Sleight of Hand Cellars was founded in 2007 by Trey Busch and Jerry and Sandy Solomon. Our only goal from the outset has been to make world class wines while having the most fun that is legally possible. Our love of great wines from around the world, and our love of music, have inspired our vision and growth and have helped us reach a customer base that has the same passions as we do.

The winery has been open for less than ten years, but in that time Sleight of Hand Cellars has been named one of "The Next Generation" of up and coming wineries in Washington State, as well as one of "The Next Cult Wineries" by Seattle Magazine. In addition, we have been featured in Wine Spectator magazine and had numerous wines in various of the industry’s “Top 100” lists.

Most recently, the Wine Advocate had this to say about our wines: “While I've always loved the wines from these guys, they've hit a new level recently, and the wines are now up there with the crème’ de la crème’ of the state (and beyond).”

These and other accolades forced our hand, and in 2011 the winery moved from a storefront location to its current property in southern Walla Walla where we continue to focus on the goal of making wines that compete with the best in the world, from a combination of Estate vineyards and non-estate vineyards in some of the top vineyard sites in Washington State. Upon acquiring our current property, the winery built a tasting room and production facility, and in 2014 we broke ground on a second barrel room to handle not only our increasing production levels, but also to allow us more space for more "toys" in keeping with our philosophy that every year offers an opportunity to make even better wines. In 2015, we crushed 150 tons of fruit, and we expect to bottle close to 9,000 cases of wine—which maxes out our current facility. With the increase in production, and our love for sharing our wines, in mid-2016 we began work on a tasting room in the SODO area of Seattle, which opened in August 2016.
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Our tasting rooms are something everyone who loves wine and music should experience at least once (and hopefully often). We have over 2,000 albums from a wide range of musical genre, with turntables spinning vinyl in both of our tasting rooms as well in our new Wine Club Lounge at our Walla Walla property. Our love of ALL music inspires the wines we make (the production facility always has music—usually Seattle’s KEXP radio station--playing) as well as our marketing approach to reach our customers (we have the best winery t-shirts in the business). And our wine club, The Wine Illusionist Society, gets to enjoy our collaboration with one of our favorite music labels, Sub Pop Records in Seattle, because with each shipment we send them the latest and greatest songs on Sub Pop via digital download!

Great wine, great music, and lots of fun—that’s our recipe for the Sleight of Hand lifestyle.

Blue Mountain Vineyard

Blue Mountain Vineyard was established in 2000 in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The original plantings were just under 40 acres. We work with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot from this vineyard. In 2014 we planted an 8 acre Estate block of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Dubbed the "Binaural Block", it will surely be the basis for our flagship blend, The Archimage.

The well drained soils are primarily loess and silty loam and are very deep. This site sees average rainfall of 14-16 inches per year. It is a cooler site for the valley, one of the last sites to be picked in Walla Walla for us. That extended hang time provides for intense flavors true to varietal.

French Creek Vineyard

French Creek Vineyard was established in 1980 with the planting of 10 acres of Wente Clone Chardonnay. We contract 2 acres every year, and those grapes go into The Enchantress. This vineyard sits at the top of a gentle south facing slope, and is planted in wind blown loess with a thick layer of caliche that sits on fractured basalt. One of the coolest geological features is a Missoula flood erratic that sits just below the vineyard in a pasture. An iceberg floated down stream during one of the Missoula flood events and deposited its contents on this site 10-15,000 years ago!

Les Collines Vineyard

Les Collines Vineyard is located on the Eastern slopes of the Walla Walla Valley, in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. It is a cooler site in the valley and receives more moisture as well. We have 2 blocks of Syrah that we source from Les Collines, both of which usually end up in the Levitation Syrah. Block 23 is lower in the vineyard, with very deep loess soils, and typically sets a tiny crop. It is planted to the traditional VSP trellising. Block 50 is higher up the hill, and has a modified, minimally pruned sprawl canopy very unique to Walla Walla. We always pick the blocks separately and use quite a bit of whole cluster (100% with the Block 50). It is also one of the prettiest sites in the valley.

Lewis Vineyard

Lewis Vineyard is located on the northern slopes of the Yakima Valley. We have a 3 acre block of Syrah that we have been working with since 2007 (and Trey has worked with this vineyard since 2000). It produces a gorgeous, red fruit (think fresh raspberries and cherries) slathered Syrah that is one of the main components of the Levitation Syrah. It is a cooler site, and always retains amazing acidity year in and year out. In its very best years it adds a layer of bacon fat complexity to it's fruit driven style. The vineyard is planted in very deep loam soils, with great drainage for moisture and root establishment. We typically pick this vineyard in mid October.

Red Mountain Vineyard

Red Mountain Vineyard is located within the Red Mountain AVA, one of Washington State's warmest AVAs. It is known for producing big, structured red wines with copious amounts of tannin, minerality, and fresh red fruits. We source 6 acres of fruit from this vineyard, established in the mid 1990's. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot are all sourced to go into our flagship Cabernet, The Illusionist, as well as our flagship blend, The Archimage. As mentioned before, this site is one of the warmest that we work with. The soils are a complex mix of Missoula flood deposits, wind blown loess, and caliche.

Seven Hills Vineyard

Seven Hills Vineyard is located on the southern edge of the Walla Walla Valley AVA. It is one of the oldest vineyards in the valley, and is responsible for growing some of the best grapes as well. We source Merlot that goes into The Archimage from Seven Hills. The vineyard is managed by Sadie Drury, a rock star viticulturist. The soils are deep, wind blown loess, have great drainage, and allow for Sadie and her team to dial in the water and nutrient programs for our block.

Stoney Vine Vineyard

Stoney Vine Vineyard is our Estate Vineyard located in the Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA. It is an 18.5 acre planting of Syrah (3 clones). We produce The Psychedelic Syrah from this remarkable site. The vineyard is growing in the ancient Walla Walla River bed, which is made up predominantly of basalt cobbles that were washed down out of the Blue Mountains over thousands and thousands of years. As the river shifted, it left these cobbles (100-300 feet deep in certain areas) deposited within the valley. This area has been growing tree fruits since the first settlers came into the valley in the 1800's, as well as grapes. The first commercial plantings of grapes were established in the late 1990's, and now this area is one of the most desirable places in Walla Walla.

The wines that come off of Stoney Vine Vineyard are very savory, with notes of game, olives, iodine, minerality, and plums. Perfectly suited for Syrah, we use some of it for The Levitation, and our best barrels go into The Psychedelic.

Upland Vineyard

Upland Vineyard is essentially a monopole, its own vineyard within the Snipes Mountain AVA. Todd Newhouse farms this unique vineyard site for our Grenache that goes into The Sorceress. The block where the Grenache is farmed is planted on a fairly steep incline, on a south facing slope. The soils consist of a combination of the ancient Columbia River cobbles and wind blown loess and loam. Driving into the vineyard, you pass dramatic road cuts that highlight the river cobbles, soils that were dramatically shifted upwards by tectonic activity hundreds of thousands of years ago. Upland sits on this anticline, basking in the sun. It is one of the warmest AVAs in Washington State, perfectly suited for Grenache.

Ziggy Stardust Vineyard

Ziggy Stardust Vineyard is our newest acquisition to our portfolio of vineyards. It is located up the North Fork of the Walla Walla River, and is a true microclimate in the Walla Walla Valley. It sees very different weather patterns than the majority of the valley. More rain, extreme heat, but moderated highs and lows, it has more frost free days than the rest of Walla Walla. Planted to Syrah, Grenache, and tiny amount of Marsanne, this extremely steep, rocky vineyard is planted at meter by meter spacing. which is roughly 4200 plants for just one acre of grapes. The vines and posts had to be jackhammered into the pure, fractured basalt just to be established! Our first crop will be in 2016.