The 2009 Saint Nicholas Day Open House in Woodinville was held December 5th and 6th. Thirty-three wineries were pouring Washington wine in almost as many locations scattered throughout Woodinville. For two days winemakers and staff poured for both wine novices and enophiles, all the while smiling and talking. Bean and I joined the fun on Sunday visiting 9 of the 33 participating wineries.
Columbia Winery served as the location to pick up your wine glass and passport so that was our starting point. If you have not visited Columbia Winery this year stop by. The tasting room was remodeled and now includes a lovely open fireplace with seating circling the stonework. Part of the merchandise area is a standing bar for ordering flatbread pizzas made on site. Club members now have their own tasting room. Overall, the new public tasting room at Columbia Winery felt warm and welcoming,its a nice improvement.
Back to the wine — People queued up and precisely at 11 a.m. the wine began to pour.
We were given small booklets called ‘passports’ that served as our ticket for tasting at the wineries. It contained a page for each winery, with winery contact information, and room to take notes or more likely, room for the winery staff member to place a stamp or initials. For me, the stamp received at Columbia Winery set the tone – the stone chapel at Red Willow Vineyards. The stones used to build the chapel were found in the Red Willow vineyards. The stucture is surrounded by Syrah and Viognier vines. The stamp said to me
“Taste some Washington wine and you will see that Washington wine is here to stay, permanent like stone.”
From Columbia Winery, we ventured to Hollywood Hills Vineyards tasting room and met Steven Snyder, the winemaker and co-owner with his wife, Becky. Part of their tasting lineup was their 2007 Red Mountain Mouvedre. MMMmmmmm. They also poured a 2007 Mouvedre & Syrah blend for us called DIst 83, also delicious. Precious little was made of the blend so the one taste is all we will probably enjoy of that vintage.
From there we ventured to Northwest Totem Cellars pouring at the Hollywood Schoolhouse. Salish is their white blend of Riesling and Viognier with a touch of residual sugar well-balanced by the acid. The nose was very, very enjoyable and we were able to discern the aromas from both varietals. A bottle of the Salish came home with me to share with family who requested to learn more about white wines but not chardonnay. For me, the other standout at Totem Cellars was the Late Harvest Viognier. Let it set for a year or two and it will be more golden and more delicious.
Our third stop targeted four wineries next to each other – Covington Cellars, Two Vintners (a second label for Covington Cellars), Hestia Cellars and Stevens Winery. Next time you are at Covington Cellars be sure to taste their second label, Two Vintners. This is a great chance to taste well made wines but in done in two different styles. Hestia Cellars is a winery to watch. Their reserve Merlot was delightful. I will also return to Stevens Winery to not only taste the wine but to see what new art Tim Stevens has created. Tim’s art shows up on the wine labels, the walls of the winery and the winery lighting.
Our final stop was a new tasting room pouring wines from two eastern Washington wineries, Masison Bleue and Isenhower Cellars. A long time fan of Isenhower Cellars volunteering for the weekend event answered our questions and told us more about the wines, the growth of the wineries. This new tasting room is very close to Silvery Lake Winery and across the road from Januik/Novelty Hill winery making it very convenient to visit again next time I am in Woodinville.
Every time I opened the passport to receive another stamp from another winery I saw the stone chapel stamp. Oh, if I were only lucky enough to be surrounded by Syrah and Viognier vines like the chapel. Wait! I am! I live in Washington.