We split up our winery visits over two days, Friday and Sunday. Unfortunately, this meant we missed a few that were only open on Saturday, so I have them on the list for next time. All the wineries in this area have a tasting fee between $5 and $10, but everyone refunds this fee if you purchase wine. Of course, this meant that we bought at least one bottle at each place! Sharing tastings with your significant other was happily encouraged by all the tasting rooms pourers.
Brian Carter Cellars—Our first stop on the trip, these wines were interesting as they had red blends based on the styles of different regions in Italy and France. Eric thought the whites were pretty good, but we both thought the Italian-style red was the winner here. The woman behind the counter made several good recommendations for other nearby wineries to try.
Purchased: 2006 “Tuttorosso” Sangiovese / Cab. Sauvignon / Syrah (1)
The tasting rooms for the next three are all in the same area behind the Historic Schoolhouse. It’s a converted garage with tables and artwork and all the areas had a TV (with the Seattle-Chicago football game playing on Sunday).
J. Bookwalter—Our second stop on Friday, we really enjoyed the tasting room, hostess and wine here (as you can see by the amount of wine we bought). We tried six wines, 2 whites and 4 reds, with some interesting varietal blending going on.
Purchased: 2007 “Conflict” Merlot / Cab. Sauvignon / Malbec / Cab. Franc / Petit Verdot (2); 2009 “Tercet” Rousanne/Marsanne/Viognier (2); 2009 “Anecdote” Riesling (1)
Mark Ryan Winery—Our starting point on Sunday. When we arrived just after noon, Stan was just opening up the reds and directed us to Joan for the two whites, a Viognier and Chardonnay. I thought the Viognier had more complexity and creaminess, so we picked up a bottle there. All the reds were lovely, drinkable now but clearly ready for a bit more cellaring too. The reds ranged in price from $32 to $95, which was a little steep for bulk purchasing :) Apparently, the two most popular red blends were sold out, so we’ll have to come back another time. Stan made a great host and we shared many stories of the endless politeness of Seattle folk compared to transplanted New Yorkers. Eric didn’t disagree.
Purchased: 2008 Viognier (1); 2008 “The Dissident” Cab. Sauvignon / Syrah / Merlot (1)
Ross Andrew Winery—Kiersten gave us a lovely wine tasting on two whites and two reds. This place sources grapes from Oregon so it was no surprise that we really enjoyed the Pinot Gris and white blend. The winemaker releases wines when he thinks they are ready to drink, an approach we appreciate, so both reds were very approachable and drinkable now.
Purchased: 2009 Pinot Gris (1); 2006 Syrah / Cab. Sauvignon (1)
JM Cellars—Though on our list last year, we never made it, so when it was recommended to us for both the wine and the setting we made it our next stop. The large tasting room is the ground floor of a lovely modern-ish house (the owner’s parents live upstairs). In addition to the eight-plus wines available for tasting, you could snack on salami, cheese and crackers and take a short stroll to a small lake on the property. I thought the Syrah was the best value of the reds we tried here.
Purchased: 2008 Syrah (1)
Gordon Brothers Cellars—In general, we thought the wines here (especially the reds) were a little young to be tasted. Plus, for some reason they weren’t pouring the entry level wines, although you could purchase a glass if you wished.
Purchased: 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (1)
Covington Cellars—This tasting room was a bit hard to find as it’s tucked away at the end of a row of warehouse space, but once inside I can see why someone would want to have an event here. Not to mention that the wine was great. We had already filled up our 12 bottle shipper, so thankfully, they generously gave us a six-bottle shipper with our wine purchase. Eric did the standard tasting flight, 2 whites, a rose and the dessert wine, and I got the reserve tasting flight of all reds—the only one we didn’t split on the whole trip. Eric really enjoyed the Rose and Viognier and the Super Tuscan won out for me again.
Purchased: 2009 Josie Rose (2); 2009 Viognier (2); 2007 “Prima Miscela” Sangiovese / Cab. Sauvignon / Cab. Franc (1); 2007 Sangiovese (1)
As usual, we had a great time wine tasting in the Woodinville area, and we can’t wait for a next trip back!