I've been hoping to attend one of the monthly Woodinville Warehouse Wineries District 3rd Thursday Wine Walk events since they started several months (years?) ago. The stars appear to be aligning, and I'm planning to go tomorrow. [update: I went today ... details below]
Although the event runs from 4-8pm, and there are only about 20 wineries, I probably won't get to all the participating wineries. Also, the $20 admission ticket includes only [1-ounce] 15 pours, further promoting a more focused exploration. So I assembled a list, searched for their web sites, and found most of their addresses and a list of the wines they produce. In case this information is useful to others, I figured I'd post the info here, along with specific wines I'm hoping to taste (in italics). If I do make it to the event, I'll update this post with some of the highlights. [Update - highlights now added.]
Having attended the event, I'll update the items below with specific impressions of some of the wines and wineries, but first I'll share a few general observations.
- I estimate the ratio of women to men to have been approximately 3:1.
- There were lots of dogs there (this month's theme was "Bottles and Dogs").
- Unlike some of the large-scale wine tasting events I've written about previously (e.g., the 2009 Zinfandel Festival and 2008 Zinfandel Festival at Fort Mason in San Francisco), I didn't find any new outstanding wines for low prices, i.e., having a high quality-price ratio (QPR). There were a few very good wines, but they were not inexpensive. Note that subtlety is often lost on me - in all dimensions of life - and so "good" to me, in the context of wine, typically means big, bold, viscous ("chewy") reds.
- Most of the participating wineries offer only a small selection of their wines - for a ticket - during the event, similar to Passport to Woodinville (a much larger-scale, and frankly, overwhelming, event I haven't attended in many years).
- My favorite winery / tasting room - in fact, the only one I'll probably go back to - was Bunnell Family Cellar. I include a more thorough review below.
- Unfortunately, although I'd listed it as a "definitely go here", I did not make it to Vortex Cellars, so will plan to visit that during a separate visit (perhaps before/after my anticipated return visit to Bunnell Family Cellar in the near future).
- The most exciting discovery of the evening was not a winery, but a distillery: Project V Distillery and Sausage Company. I didn't find their regular Single Silo Vodka (80 proof, $38), served at the front bar, anything to write home - or in this blog - about, but heading into the backroom, I found their Distiller's Cut (100 proof, $51) to be outstanding, and the Double Silo (160 proof, $83) was an amazing full-body experience: powerful aroma, fully coating my tongue with a strong alcoholic taste, and yet not burning by the time it reached my throat. I have to admit to being a bit self-conscious about my preference for higher alcohol wines, beers and spirits; it's not that I'm looking for quicker or higher levels of intoxication, but given my unawareness and unresponsiveness to subtlety [in flavors], I find the stronger flavor of higher alcohol drinks generally much preferable. In any case, I bought a bottle of the 100 proof and 160 proof vodkas (these were my only purchases of the night). They also have a Chai Infusion, which is interesting, but I'm not much of a Chai aficionado ... I imagine this might be appealing to anyone who is.
Now I'll update a few of my earlier entries for individual Woodinville Warehouse District Wineries below.
Red Sky Winery
19495 144th Ave NE, Suite B210
Bordeaux & Rhone red & white blends & varietals
Serendipity (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend)
Impressions: 2 tickets are required for Serendipity of the Cabernet Franc; I did not try either of these. I tried the Syrah, which was pretty good, but at $30/bottle, didn't seem to have a high QPR.
19501 144th Ave NE, Suite A-500
Bordeaux red blends
Escape (51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot)
Good, relatively inexpensive ($20), but only medium-bodied.
19501 144th Ave NE, Suite B600
Bordeaux red & white blends & varietals
RHD (53% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot)
Continuity (54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot)
Good, but both are medium-bodied.
Eye of the Needle Winery (Seattle PI review)
no web site, no address found
Bordeaux & Italian blends
Little Itally (Sangiovese/Barbera-dominated blend)
Eye (Bordeaux blend)
Eye of the Needle acts as a négociant: they produce wines by blending wines leftover from other wineries' bottlings. I was told they shipped 5000 cases of wine last month, they've been in business for over 4 years, the tasting room has only been open for 4 months, and their web site will be coming online soon. All their wines are $11/bottle, and have a pretty good QPR ... but are medium-bodied.
19501 144th Ave. NE, Suite D-700
kegs only; Bordeaux & Rhone red & white blends & varietals
Bordeaux Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon 36%, Merlot 24%, Petite Verdot 16%, Malbec 12%, Cabernet Franc 12%)
Syrah/Mourvedre (Syrah 56%, Mourvedre 44%)
There was too large a crowd of people and dogs around when I stopped by, so I didn't sample their wares.
Amelia Bleu Winery
no address found
Red blend, Barbera & Riesling
Riverenza (no description found)
The Riverenza is a Barbera-based blend, but rather medium-bodied.
19501 144th Avenue NE, D500-A
Rhone red & white blends *** definitely going here
CM2 (Cinsault 75% and Mourvedra 25%)
Syrah (with 5% Viognier)
How did I miss this place?! They were on my "definite" list, and I didn't see their sign. Next time ... or perhaps a separate trip (they are open Saturdays 12-5).
Dirty Bucket Brewery
19151 144th Ave NE, Suite 101
They only serve pints, no growlers, on Thursdays ... and never serve their Imperial beers (the only ones I like) in growlers :(
Project V Distillery
19495 144th Ave. NE, #A-130
Highly recommended; see notes above.
19501 144th Ave NE, B400
Bordeaux blends & varietals
Pasion (48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Syrah, 4% Merlot) was my favorite wine of the night. However, at $38 / bottle, it's a bit above my comfort threshold.
19501 144th Avenue NE, D-600
Bordeaux & Rhone red & white blends
The Syrah Sirah blend was pretty good, but at $25, didn't quite pass my threshold.
Michael Fiorentino Cellars
19501 144th Ave NE, Suite C1200
Bordeaux, Rhone, Italian & Spanish red & white blends & varietals *** definitely going here
Monastrell a.k.a. Mourvedre
Fusione (Merlot and Sangiovese "super-Tuscan")
They didn't offer any of the wines I was intereste in tasting; however, the Miscoloto (Granache, Tempranillo & Syrah), at $21/bottle, offers a pretty good QPR.
Bunnell Family Cellar
19501 144th Avenue NE, Building C
Rhone red & white blends & varietals *** definitely going here
As I anticipated, given my love of Rhone reds, this was my favorite tasting room in the complex. Their Lia - a Mourvedre-dominant southern Rhone blend - was my second favorite wine of the night, and is on sale this month for $24 (regularly $34), making it [currently] the best bang for the buck among the wines I tried. Rochelle (the pourer on duty when I arrived) also offered me a taste of the SoRhoMoJo (another southern Rhone, only available on tap), which was, although a bit softer, was my third favorite wine of the evening. The tasting room offers most of their wines in 3 oz, 6 oz and [of course] by the bottle, making this [probably] the most appealing to Amy (who prefers larger glasses of fewer wines rather than many small sips). They have a few wines that are currently only available in kegs (like the SoRhoMoJo), but they anticipate offering [wine] growlers in the near future. The Woodinville tasting room is not listed on the web site, but I'll update this when I find out what hours they are open. We will surely visit this again ... probably this month.
19495 144th Ave NE, B205
Bordeaux & Rhone red blends & varietals
18800 142nd Ave NE, 5B
Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sangiovese
Convergence Zone Cellars
18800 142nd Ave NE, 5B
Bordeaux red & white blends
19495 144th Ave NE A-120
Bordeaux red & white varietals
19495 144th Ave. NE, Suite B240
Bordeaux, Rhone, German & Italian red & white blends & varietals
19495 144th Avenue NE, Suite B240
Bordeaux & Rhone red & white blends & varietals
The Smasne Zinfandel was my fourth favorite wine of the night. It was encouraging to find another Washington Zinfandel I like (the Thurston Wolfe "Howling Wolfe" is the only other one I can think of), but at $34/bottle, it doesn't pass my QPR threshold.
19501 144th Avenue NE
[web site seems to be parked]
Barrage Cellars impressed me with the most creative wine labels I saw all night. Their Rose has a wine label with an ampersand in the middle of the label, enabling the buyer to fill in something on both sides prior to giving the wine to someone (or, perhaps a couple) as a gift. An ingenious wedding / anniversary gift. Their Riesling has a blank label with an exclamation point in the lower right, also offering intriguing opportunities for personalizing a bottle of wine as a gift.
19495 144th Ave. NE, A-115
Bordeaux red blend & varietals, Riesling