I arrived on Thursday night and kicked off Friday with Amy, Mike, Nate & Colin. Thanks to Mike's influence things may have gotten a bit carried away, but I had a great time with great friends and that night really set the tone for the rest of my summer. By the time Sunday rolled around Mom, Jenny, Jodie and Dave had to head back to Boise, but I wasn't taking the redeye until Monday night. After a great brunch they hit the road and I met up with my good friend Jen for some Washington wine tasting.
Jen is a wine club member at Chateau Ste. Michelle so that was our first stop since she needed to pick up their monthly selections. We tasted 2 or 3 wines that she was getting then headed over the the regular tasting room for standard tasting. For $10 you had your choice of 4 wines from a list of 8, a bit steep compared to Virginia, but it was a well established vineyard and we ended up getting ours for free since Jen was a member. When we started Jen made sure to note that it was in fact my birthday (hers was the following weekend) and they added a bit of bubbly to the tasting. The wines were pretty good and we ended up walking out with several. Chateau Ste. Michelle was very large, the tasting room wound around and was half gift shop half wine bar. Outside the grounds were very expansive and great for picnicking.
After this tasting we perused the free tasting cards Jen had picked up at the Taste of Seattle and the one our waitress had given me at brunch. It turned out all of the tasting rooms were in the same industrial business park in Woodinville. The first sight of said tasting rooms was a definite turn off, but once inside each was very unique. It turns out that most of the wine grown in Washington is in the Columbia river valley, no big surprise there. Many of the vintners purchase grapes from several different growers and blend their wines. Very different than Virginia, as some vintners will buy their grapes from one other vineyard, yet each winery is set in the middle of the their own vineyards which is one of the reasons I enjoy visiting them so much.
Our first stop was Kestrel Vintners, the tasting room was light and airy, not at all what we expected coming in and their furniture was made from old barrels. Next up Patterson Cellars, I remember thinking the wines there were not too impressive, but I was also very distracted by the large, green four-leaf clover tattoo on the chest of our middle aged server. After that we stumbled to Woods Lake Winery, I don't remember this one at all and the only reason I have added it is because I still have a bottle of their 2007 Cabernet Franc on my shelf compliments of Jen. The last stop was Barrage Cellars and I do remember slipping into this one just before closing. We had a great time chatting up the owner, checking out their cork border in the bathroom and trying wines they brought in from other wineries. While chatting and sipping at Barrage with an adorable little old lady who was clearly a regular we asked about where to go for dinner. This lady was too cute and not only instructed us to go to Russell's , she acted as our personal guide and lead us all the way there! With no corking fee and the most amazing lobster bisque and filet minion it was so worth it. I highly recommend it to anyone in the area. Suburb!
I still have my 2008 Cab Franc from Barrage and also made it home with a bottle of Ste Chapelle Huckleberry wine from Idaho thanks to Mom. Many people think Washington is all about the Riesling and while they have a lot of that, one could tell from my weighted suitcase they have a lot of the Cabernet Franc as well. The next time I'm in Washington I would love to get out to the actual vineyards throughout the Columbia & Yakima Valley; perhaps that means I'll have to plan a week long trip meandering that great state, stopping to see old friends and catching a football game while I'm there.
**Update 8/18/11, upon further inspection of the Woodslake wine I found that it is actually a Patterson Cellar wine, not sure how they go together, but that would be why I don't remember that winery at all.
|Having a great time with Jen!|
|Another PNW gem|