Thursday, September 29, 2011

Washington Wine Industry Loses a Pioneer

 You won’t read about M. Taylor Moore (aka Mike Moore) in any of those slick rags about the Washington wine scene. (Well, you might now as a footnote -an obituary.) In fact, his winery is not even listed on the Washington Wine Commission official web site. Mike died September 27, 2011 at age 55. Mike will be missed.

I could tell you lots of stories about Mike, having known him since the inception of Bonair Winery in 1985. But now is not the time to share those stories. These are the stories that make Washington wine interesting, unlike stories about the latest rock star who appears in every glossy publication with the same boring story about handcrafting ultra premium parkerized wine (and who often goes quietly out of business a few years later.)

I got to know Mike because in the old days, everyone (like the owners and winemakers) participated in every event and we being Bonair were always between Blackwood Canyon and Bookwalter in alphabetical order.

I also got to know his wife and father-in-law. His father-in-law was a set painter for the MacGyver TV series which was filmed in British Columbia. They were regulars at Bonair on their way to Blackwood Canyon.

Mike’s 1986 Pinnacle was his first claim to fame. Later, his chardonnay was declared best in the state by none other than Robert Parker. Mike told me he sold out the day of the announcement.

Mike strived to make wines in the old-world style. I find them reminiscent of the wines of Jura; perhaps a style he admired.

People would ask me if they should visit Blackwood Canyon. I always said definitely yes, but be prepared to stay a minimum of three hours. I  thought their visit would be much more memorable than a visit to a corporate-owned tasting room with polite women who announce, “This is a nice white wine.”

So, I propose a toast to M. Taylor Moore – and to all the forgotten pioneers of the Washington wine industry. May they live forever in our hearts and minds!

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