Wild about Windy Point

Somehow we missed Windy Point Vineyards during our two trips to the Yakima Valley this year. We will not miss it the next time — for a number of reasons. First and most importantly, we recently tasted and enjoyed some of their red wines at Vino Bello, and we want to go to the vineyard for more. (Disclosure: My wine writing business, Write for Wine, just started to do some writing for Vino Bello.)

Second, Windy Point Marketing Manager Mike Libbee painted an enticing picture of the amazing tasting room overlooking breathtaking views of the Yakima Valley. Third, Mike told us about Mississippi sawback turtles that are being raised at the vineyard. And the turtles recently had babies! Fourth, Windy Point owners Mike and Liz Stepniewski like to cook, so they designed a professional kitchen as the centerpiece of the tasting room. (Their Web site offers recipes to go with many of their wines.) See the tasting room, views and turtles in these photos on Windy Point’s Web site.

So back to the wine … we liked all four reds that we tasted but, in our opinion, two wines stood above the others: 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2004 !Exclamation Point!, one of the winery’s best-sellers. The 2004 !Exclamation Point! is a rich blend of 60% Cab Franc and 40% Merlot, combining old world structure with new world fruit. The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, which received an “Excellent!” in Wine Press Northwest, was my favorite with its elegant, smooth flavors and earthiness.

Windy Point owners Mike and Liz also have fun with naming their wines — including Windy Point’s 2004 !Exclamation Point!, 2003 Three Points (48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 10% Syrah) and a specialty blend called Windy Point’s Pointless! We’re looking forward to tasting more of them.