We just got back from a whirlwind tour of WA wine country – 15 wineries in three days. The highlights included Caprio Cellars, Saviah Cellars, Devison Vintners, L’Ecole 41, Upchurch Vineyard, Fidelitas and Va Piano Vineyards. We also spent time at Reynvaan, Prospice, Rasa Vineyards, The Walls, Gramercy Cellars, Mercer, Valdemar and Maison Bleue. Moreover, the food was excellent and the sunsets divine. Read on for an overview of our tour of WA wine country. And come back throughout the weeks ahead for more details.
We recently attended a grand tasting at the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival, and had a fantastic time. This year’s focus was on France, with 42 wineries representing the country’s diverse wine regions. In total, 162 wineries from 16 countries poured at 57 events over the eight-day festival. Consequently, about 1,450 wines were shared with 25,000 participants.
Meanwhile, the International Festival Tasting Room formed the heart of the event, where some 780 wines were available for sampling at the grand tastings. Read on for some favorites.
Last week, we had the honor of visiting Red Willow Vineyard and spending an afternoon with the incredible Sauer family, Washington wine royalty.
We toured part of the vineyard with Mike, Karen and their son, Jon, and later were joined by Jon’s wonderful wife Kelly and their five lovely children. In this photo, (from left) Jon, Karen and Mike stand in front of old signs of grapes planted at Red Willow. Of note, the sign for the 1986 Syrah represents the first grape planted in Washington state.
During our visit, Mike told us about the harvest, which was almost but not quite over. He also discussed his clone project, and we tasted three wines made from some of those clones.
Although we spent time with Mike and Karen at a wine event in 2017, we hadn’t been to Red Willow in nine years. It was an amazing experience.
Wind Rose Cellars is a boutique winery in Sequim, Washington, owned by husband-and-wife team, David Volmut and Jennifer States. Their focus is to make top-quality, food-driven wine from Italian varieties grown here — including Barbera, Primitivo, Pinot Grigio, Orange Muscat and the rare-in-Washington Dolcetto and Nebbiolo.
We recently sampled two bottles of their latest releases.
Wind Rose 2013 Primitivo ($25)
Sourced from Stonetree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, this is an expressive Primitivo that has both structure and depth. It is blended with a small amount of Barbera to bring some acidity to the wine for aging and finish.
The nose is pretty, with notes of strawberry, lilacs and herbs, moving on to flavors of tart cherries, strawberries and blackberries, with hints of cocoa in the finish. Pair it with grilled meats, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna or other tomato-based dishes.
It came as no surprise that this tasty wine took home a bronze at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Even the label on the bottle is beautiful.
Wind Rose 2014 Omaggio Barbera ($33)
Wind Rose Cellars produced this lovely 100% Barbera with grapes sourced from Red Heaven Vineyard on Red Mountain. Crisp and fruit-forward, the Omaggio Barbera has simple flavors, structure and depth; it is approachable now but will become better with age.
With aromas of mocha, coffee and cherries, this Barbera opens to flavors of fruit, caramel and espresso, with a lingering finish. The Omaggio will pair well with grilled meats, chicken parmesan, pizza, pasta or even grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup.
Samples provided by Wind Rose Cellars.
While Wind Rose Cellars’ speciality is Italian wines, they also make small batches of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Grenache, sourced from Red Mountain, Wahluke Slope and Yakima Valley.
If you’re ever on the Olympic peninsula, stop by their tasting room, which becomes a wine bar in the evenings, and features live music on Friday and Saturday nights. As a result, Wind Rose Cellars is said to have the best nightlife in Sequim.
Margot and Dave