To start this years tour, we tried a new-to-us wine area in Washington. Woodinville is home to many winery tasting rooms from throughout Washington state which otherwise wouldn’t have many visitors due to their remote locations. Some wineries have tasting rooms here and in Walla Walla. A few also have tasting rooms here and in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. We focused on a few heavy hitters that you can’t visit elsewhere. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Force Majeure: 13 planted estate acres on Red Mountain plus sourcing grapes from Ciel du Cheval to makeViognier, Rhone and Bordeaux reds. The Collaboration series wines are outstanding examples of bottles to cellar a few years. Built to last, I recommend the Collaboration Cabernet Sauvignon and Collaboration IV (a Right-bank blend).
- Lauren Ashton: Met with winemaker Kit Singh as he poured through his portfolio. Great Roussanne! I wish more wine makers chose to make wine from this grape. Kit does it right with bright honeysuckle and a hint of asiago cheese. We bought it along with the Cuvee Mirabelle, a southern Rhone style blend GSM. A must see when visiting Woodinville.
- Sparkman: Large portfolio of 18 or more different wines. Not afraid to try about anything, I noted most anything growing in Washington is likely to end up in one of these wines. The best of the lot was the Ruckus (Cab/Syrah) and L’Autre Pinot Noir (Temperance Hill, OR).
- JM Cellars: easily the nicest tasting room in the area. Great location in old wooded area with trails and interesting trees and landscaping. Delicious red blend (Margaret’s Vineyard Estate Red) and Syrah from 2012.
- Januik/Novelty Hill: Very polished tasting room with great grounds. We had lunch here along with full pours of Januik favorites Petit Verdot and Roussanne. Ciel du Cheval Cab was quite good also. Stop and have a brick oven pizza here out on the patio – nice!
I recommend two days here, perhaps more if you plan to take in some Seattle sights and craft beer tasting. There are 100 or so tasting rooms here, not counting beer or the interesting Woodinville Whisky Company near Januik.
Interesting side note on Woodinville Whisky Company. We were sitting at Januik enjoying lunch and decided to look up what Woodinville Whiskey Co was all about. (They were across the street.) Their home page says “Kentucky, Meet Washington”. Being from the Commonwealth, we thought we should stop and check them out. Yes you can make Bourbon outside of Kentucky and call it Bourbon. They are still in the early years of start-up (founded 2010). We were tasting bourbon aged in small 8 gallon barrels. The bourbon aged in standard 55 gallon barrels still had a few years left before they would be ready. These two friends from Washington who decided to open a distillery are lucky enough to have as a friend and mentor, David Pickerell, former master distiller of Maker’s Mark.