Washington vs. California Wineries part 1

Ok, first of all.. I am slightly biased, since I live in Washington and a supporter of local businesses. However, in recent years it seems I have made more trips to California wine country than to Washington wine country. Really, I am just a fan of wine – California, Washington, Oregon, France, etc. Good wine is good wine.  There are some California wines that are so delicious, goose bumps run up and down my arms, than there are Washington wines that blow me away. No matter what region you are a fan of, you must visit wineries. You gain a whole new perspective on your favorite wines. The best thing about visiting wineries, is the history you receive. You learn all sorts of fun facts about that specific winery, as well as tasting wines you cannot find in your local grocery store. Plus, you spend all day tasting wine. How fun is that!

I want to tell you my top favorite wineries (as of this moment), but there are still thousands more that I have not been too. Since this is my blog however, I am going to let you in on some wineries you probably have not heard of and must check out. I will divide this into two parts. Washington is first, then California (within the next week). I know you are all busy, with short attention spans, so I didn’t want to make this a long, drawn out blog.

A few Washington wine facts:

In Washington, there are over 500 wineries and is the second largest producer of wine in the US (can you guess who is first). Washington wines really started to take off in the early 1980’s – and the quality rivals many California and Old World wines. Washington has 11 wine regions within the state. Northwest, Olympic Peninsula, Puget Sound/Woodinville, Southwest, North Central, Yakima, Red Mountain, Horse Heaven Hills, Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Spokane.

So, now you have an extremely brief history  – now here is the fun part, 5  wineries you must visit – According to Carolyn!

1. Tefft Cellars, Woodinville/Outlook

Outlook: 1302 Independence Road, Outlook WA 98938

www.tefftcellars.com

Woodinville:  16110 Woodinville Redmond Rd, Woodinville WA

 My first visit to Tefft was 6 years ago in Outlook, WA. I was impressed by their wines. Not my favorite, but consistent and nice. The winery itself is beautiful. They also have a Guest House you can rent. A couple of years ago, they opened a tasting room in Woodinville. Which is a spacious, Italian-themed room, which you can also rent for private parties. They don’t charge a tasting fee, and want you lounge in their over sized couches, while tasting anywhere between 5-10 wines. They really make you feel special and don’t rush you. I have to add that the quality of their wine has increased and is closely becoming a favorite of mine.

2.) Windy Point Vineyards, Wapato

420 Windy Point Drive, Wapato WA 98951

www.windypointvineyards.com

View, View, View!! Holy cow, Windy Point has an amazing location on top of a hilltop in Wapato, where you gaze upon Yakima Valley, orchards and Cascade mountains. Plus, they make some fabulous Syrah’s and Cab Franc’s (first place I ever had a Cab Franc). It is a little off the main road, but worth taking this detour for the view and outstanding wines.

3.) Pontin del Roza, Prosser

35502 North Hinzerling Road, Prosser WA 99350

509-786-4449 (no website)

For me, this winery is similar to those wineries I visited in France – Family run, vines in their backyard, tastings in their home (well, a trailer next to their home), with cats, dogs and various other animals running around. They are very welcoming with picnic facilities available for you. Nothing fancy, but a family feel attraction. Pontin wine has to be one of my favorite’s from Washington, and priced right as well.

4.) DeLille Cellars, Woodinville

14421 Woodinville-Redmond Road, Woodinville, WA 98072 (this is for their tasting room)

http://www.delillecellars.com/index.cfm

DeLille Cellars, hands down, makes top-notch wines. Although, you pay the price for top-notch wines. If you cannot afford a DeLille wine, you at least need to visit the tasting room. As you taste it, you can feel the hard work and passion they put into their wines. Most of DeLille’s grapes come from Red Mountain (not all however).  Red Mountain is known for killer Cabs.

5.) Wineglass Cellars, Zillah

260 North Bonair Road, Zillah WA 98953

www.wineglasscellars.com

So, I saved the best for last. My most favorite winery (and wine for that matter). You must bring a picnic to this tasting, you will be here for a while (unless you come on one of their pizza nights, then they will supply you with plenty of pizza). You may also want to think about biking to this winery, as the website gives you directions on a bike loop! Biking, driving, running, however you get to Wineglass, there is not a bad wine in the bunch.  I cannot even begin to tell you a favorite, I love them all (which I why I belong to their wine club!)

I am not trying to be exclusive;  there are many wineries I have enjoyed visiting, and more I dream of seeing – and will someday. These 5 stand out in my mind as wineries worth the trip. Do you have a favorite Washington winery? Let me know!

Happy Trails!!

ps – some of my facts came from the book Wine Trails of Washington by Steve Roberts

New Holiday on February 14

I am not a fan of Valentines day. I actually find it the most pointless day. It is a throw-it-in-your face day if you are single or an I am disapointed in you day if you are married/dating. We all know this is just a Hallmark holiday, yet we still fall for this need to be romantic, buy a gift, pass out candy (that we don’t need) day. I would like to change this day. My challenge to you, fellow novices, is not to fall for this silly holiday by purchasing a gift for your loved one, but treat them to a FABULOUS bottle of wine. Or for all the single ladies or men, no need to stress over this pointless day – treat yourself to a wonderful bottle of wine. I am turning February 14th into Wine Day – anyone else in on this with me??

I would like to recommend some of my most favorite wines that will leave you feeling happy. I will have a wine in almost every price range. Take notes, grab a bottle (or two) and enjoy!

DeLille Cellars D2 (Columbia Valley) – around $32.00 – you can find this at local grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Ballard Market, Greenwood Market and most local wine shops.  This wine is worth the price, hands down. If you feel the need to splurge on this day, splurge on this wine!!

Wineglass Cellars Zinfandel 2007 (Yakima Valley) around $22.00 – if you are out of WA state, this will be a challenge for you to find For those in WA,  check your local wine shops, however I have seen it in Whole Foods, Ballard Market and QFC. Check Winecellars website, it tells you the places where their wines are sold. www.wineglasscellars.com This Zin is dark, rich, chocolately and heavenly. If you can find it, grab as many bottles as you can find. It is amazing!

FYI to my out-of-state novices, if you are looking to join a wine club for WA wines, Wineglass Cellars will not let you down. I belong to their wine club and I have NEVER been disappointed with any of their wines.

Stump Jump Vintage 2008 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre (South Australian)  around $11.00- I have mentioned this wine on many occasions, but I have talked about their pure Shiraz. This blend is also a very nice wine – and a little fruitier. For the price, you cannot beat this wine!! It tastes delicious. This wine is pretty easy to find – Costco, Whole Foods, many large grocery store chains and local wine stores.

Rigoloccio Rosato (Italian – Tuscan region)- $9.75. This Rose is refreshing and romantic. A Rose doesn’t have to be saved for summer time. This wine is perfect for any occasion. I have only seen it at West Seattle cellars, but take the name into your favorite wine store and I am sure they can find it for you.

Guenoc – 2007 Petite Sirah (California). Is around $8.00- good wine for a “can’t beat” price. I have seen it at Trader Joes, West Seattle Cellars and a few chain grocery stores.

 

My recommendation list could go on for days, I have so many favorites… however these 5 wines I think are perfect for this Wine Day holiday. They will compliment almost any meal you cook and will taste divine with chocolate. Please don’t look at February 14th as another annoying, stupid, marketing holiday. Look at it as a day to explore and try new wines. Remember this is now Wine Day!

Happy Wine Day!!

wineries, wineries, wineries….

Just beginning our day at DeLille

I love wineries! Which makes sense because I love wine.  I love wineries because it gives you such an insight to their wines. Some wineries, like their wines, are over priced and pretentious. Some wineries take the time to get to know you, as you them, and let you absorb the wines at your own pace. Then there are those who get you in and out as fast as possible , cheap service and probably cheap tasting wine – like a fast food restaurant. Horrible food, but it fills you up quickly. I obviously prefer the second, but sadly have experienced the other types as well. 

I am not going to get into all the wineries I have been too. I am not here to bash wineries (or their wines) either. I would like to tell you about the wineries I explored yesterday and the wine (and one particular winery) I feel you should invest in!   

Yesterday was a marvelous day! We set out on an adventure of exploring local wineries. Our wine tasting group included, my husband, brother, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, mom and myself. And since going to the Eastern side of Washington was not a possibility, we decided to check out Woodinville. Now, Woodinville is notorious for two of the biggest wineries in Washington, Columbia and Chateau St Michelle ( honestly are far from my favorite) – but did you know there are 45 wineries/tasting rooms in Woodinville? I didn’t, but now I do. I mean, this is a wine lovers paradise. But, since we had little one in tow (yes friends, it is possible to wine taste with a baby,  some wineries more welcoming than others. Just be mindful – swish, swirl and spit!) we had to limit the number we visited. 

Stop #1 DeLille Cellars

Ok, I have had one of their most popular wines called D2. FABULOUS wine! My brother-in-law Michael introduced me to this little piece of Heaven and have been in love with ever since. Just one slight problem, the price. DeLille’s wines over priced (for us novices who don’t have unlimited funds). The taste of their wines impressed me, but  turned off by the price. Nothing under $35.00. If you are in the mood to splurge, I will tell you the two wines I found the most delightful. 

2006 Doyenne Signature Syrah – $34.00 – A very rich wine with a taste of berry and spice. Not my favorite Syrah, but seductive on the palate. 

2007 DeLille Cellars D2 – $35.00 – Like I said a little piece of Heaven. The taste is of plums, cherries, vanilla and little spice. It is a smooth wine and goes down very easily. One of my top 10 favorites.   

Stop#2 Tefft Cellars 

 

This winery just opened a tasting room in Woodinville. Their original winery is located in Outlook, WA – a suburb of Yakima. I have been to the Outlook winery twice and enjoy their nicely priced wine. Out of the three I visited yesterday, this winery by far had the best service, class, atmosphere, price and wine. All 6 of us walked into this well designed wine cellar with lush chairs, couches and friendly smiles, in awe. We sat back and enjoyed our tasting of 14 wines (I did not taste all 14, I apologize) – for about an hour and a half. We had the full attention of the owner and his knowledge and enthusiasm for his wines was inspiring. I enjoyed so many of Tefft’s wines (and bought) – but I will give you a couple of the wines I recommend the most. I HIGHLY recommend visiting this winery as well! 

Viognier: Light, crisp, sweet, and citrus fruit taste. Very enjoyable. Most people think you can only drink white wine in the summer, but not true. This wine would taste wonderful anytime of the year. A great price of only $16.00 

Villa Toscana: A classic Chianti – everyday table wine. Bold smell, yet a light pepper and cherry taste. $18.00 

2006 Merlot: All 6 of this agreed this was a tasty wine. Very spicy and earthy. $23.00 

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon: a smokey Cab – at first taste is dry, then ends with a sweet finish (weird I know, but once you taste it you will understand). Very powerful, but extremely yummy. Splurge on this! $28.00 

They also have three ports that were a hit with our group ( I did not taste). You are able to find Tefft wines in local grocery stores, as well as Trader Joes and Whole Foods. 

Stop #3 Facelli Winery 

 

I have to say I was a little disappointed with this winery. Facelli was the third winery to open in Woodinville. You can only purchase their wines from the winery. I would recommend one wine from Facelli: 

 2008 Lemberger – It has a light taste with a smooth finish – tastes of plums, cherries and raspberries. $17.99 

For those interested in learning more about Woodniville wineries, you should explore the Passport to Woodinville April 17th and 18th. Check out their website! http://www.woodinvillewinecountry.com/index.cfm 

If you attend this, let me know what your favorite wineries are! 

Happy wine touring!

Tasting Break

Sometimes, you just need to take a break. Tonight is that night. I am sorry to say, no new wines to taste tonight. Stay tuned for tomorrow though. We are heading out to Woodinville for some tastings. We are planning to hit three or four wineries. Wineries on our to-do list include:

DeLille Cellars

Facelli Winery

Covington Cellars

Efeste Wine Cellars

I can’t wait to try wines and share them with you!