Happy New Year! As we begin 2020, it’s time for our annual Favorite Washington Wineries List for the previous year. The way to get on our list is fairly simple. Above all, wineries must offer great juice and good people who provide an excellent wine experience.
Perhaps we had fun or learned something in a tasting room, a wine shop tasting, or at a wine event. Maybe someone from a winery sent us a personal note or wine samples. Likewise, we were occasionally invited to an incredible winery party.
Most noteworthy, the people who made our experience special are the winemakers, the tasting room staff, and the amazing workers in the vineyards where it all begins.
Oh summer! The time of crisp white wine or refreshing rosé during sultry warm afternoons or evenings on the deck or patio, or at the lake, ocean or pool. The time of rich reds at barbecues with family and friends. And the wines that pair well with a celebratory toast to Independence Day.
Here are some of our favorite whites and rosés to sip with a summer salad, or seafood such as prawns, scallops, sushi, crab or halibut. Or you can simply drink pink without food, watching the sunset reflected in its pretty color. In addition, here are some beautiful reds to pour at your BBQ.
There are so many wonderful wines to explore this summer. But we had to keep our lists short. As a result, these represent only wines that we have tasted in recent months, either at tasting rooms, events or in samples sent to us by wineries. Specifically, these wines are from Washington state, Oregon, California, New Zealand and Italy.
Thousands of people participated in the annual celebration of the excellent juice made in this state — at the Grand Tasting, educational seminars, lunches on local farms, and at restaurants, wineries, hotels and retailers that offered special deals and promotions throughout the month.
But we hope that people did more than taste the fine wine of Washington. We hope they appreciated it, and the hard work by people in our state’s wine industry – from farmers to vineyard managers to those in the production facilities, winemakers, distributors, marketing specialists, tasting room staff and more.
In particular, we applaud the workers in the vineyard who toil over the grapes and the terroir, the winemakers who balance creativity and science in every barrel and bottle, and their families who support this extreme effort.
We definitely appreciated every taste that was poured for us at the Grand Tasting.
And there were some delicious bites too. Our favorite was these amazing Salted Caramel Fudge Brownies from Blazing Bagels. (Their bagels were mouth-watering too, of course!)
We also enjoyed seafood from Anthony’s Pier 66, Ivar’s, Ray’s Boathouse and The Crab Pot. We munched on a lot of crab cakes this year!
Here are some of our favorite wines, in alphabetical order:
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Quarry Butte Red Bordeaux Blend ($26)
Ambassador Wines of Washington 2013 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($38)
Andrew Will 2013 Champoux Vineyard Red Blend ($74)
Avennia 2015 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc ($28)
Barrage Cellars 2012 “Cease and Desist” Cabernet Franc ($35)
Barrister Winery 2013 Cabernet Franc ($31), pictured left with Petit Verdot & Barrister’s Block
Bartholomew Winery 2014 Tannat ($32)
Betz Family Winery 2013 Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)
Boudreaux Cellars 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($115); winemaker Rob Newsom and his daughter Keely are pictured below
Canvasback 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($40)
Cooper Wine Company 2014 L’inizio Bordeaux Blend, Red Mountain ($55)
We had a wonderful time at the Grand Tasting at Seattle Wine and Food Experience (SWFE) — great wine, tasty bites and good conversations. If you missed it this year, be sure to mark your calendar now to check it out in 2017!
Of the wineries that were new on our list, Ambassador Wines was our favorite. Plenipotentiary Cab Sauv is a rich, robust delight from Red Mountain; according to the tasting notes: “Deep dark chocolate cherry, blackberry jam, toast and finishes off with vanilla sweetness and spice. The mouth explodes with dark fruit flavors, a rich and full mid-palate and a nice lingering vanilla, blackberry and spice finish. The tannins meld nicely with the acid and to create a nice enticing finish begging you to take another sip.” We are looking forward to visiting their tasting room in Woodinville to try some of their other wines.
Here is the list of our other favorites that we tasted at SWFE (in alphabetical order):
Alexandria Nicole Cellars 2014 Jet Black Syrah (new release)
Brian Carter Cellars 2010 Solesce
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2013 Tenet The Pundit Syrah
Double Canyon 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon
Guardian Cellars 2013 Chalk Line
Mercer Estates 2011 Ode to Brothers GSM
Three Rivers Winery 2013 River’s Red Wine (a unique blend of Sangiovese, Malbec, Syrah, Merlot and Cab Sauv)
Watermill Winery 2012 Cabernet Franc
Wilridge Winery 2013 Estate Melange Noir Red Blend (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cab Sauv, Malbec and Petit Verdot)
The Woodhouse Wine Estates 2012 Darighe
We also enjoyed some tasty treats from these restaurants: Duke’s Seafood and Chowder House, Anthony’s Budd’s Broiler, Chinoise Cafe, The Kitchen by Delicatus, Macrina Bakery and Delicious Health Cultered Cashew Cremes.
We can sum up our experience at SWFE in one word: Delicious!