With over 40 wineries participating in the Woodinville Passport Weekend, there is a lot to see, do, hear and taste. Here are some of my highlights to give you ideas for your own passport adventures.
Woodinville Wine Country is changing and those changes are reflected in Woodinville Passport. People like the new and shiny so the newer tasting rooms tended to be more crowded than some of the tried and true Woodinville wineries. The exception to that rule was the main warehouse district. I didn’t go there until shortly before 4pm and at that time the fire lanes were lined with limos and tour buses. Golf carts shuttled participants between the building complexes. The line for Patterson Cellars extended across the parking lot. Although some wineries had long lines, most wineries only had short lines or none at all.
The 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay from Airfield Estates is crisp with bright fruit aromas and flavors. Tropical fruit, pear and citrus on the nose. The palate is tart apple with a squeeze of lemon. The body is more substantial than I normally associate with unoaked chardonnay. Well balanced and well priced at $12/bottle. Marcus Miller, wine maker, was also pouring his 2008 Spitfire as enticement to join their wine club. This super Tuscan blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot has notes of tart cherry, freshly turned sod and a whiff of smoke. On the palate, it is rich with juicy bing cherry, black plum and spice. It has a sturdy tannin structure to support the fruit but doesn’t kidnap the tongue and hold it hostage.
Irlandés Winery Reserve Syrah is a deep inky purple Washington Syrah. Dense dark fruits like cassis, black plum and blackberry seduce the nose of this wine. Jerky and a bit of tar complete the aroma profile. On the palate, the fruit is concentrated plum but this isn’t a fruit bomb. The fruit is grounded in supporting wood notes and braced with medium acidity. This is a meaty Syrah that you can chew on for a bit and really savor before kicking back and enjoying the long and smooth finish.
Most wineries are offering special passport weekend sales on cases, wine sets and/or releases. Two deals particularly caught my eye. DesVoigne Cellars released two value wines this weekend. The Groove is their new Washington wine red blend, composed predominantly of Pepper Bridge Merlot. The Menina Flor is Viognier blended and balanced with Rousanne. Barrel fermented, this wine has character and creamy smoothness but still shows some restraint. Both of these quality wines are available for $20/bottle or $200/case.
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery Columbia Valley Riesling is off dry with a some nice spice on the nose and the palate. Fruit forward but balanced with minerality and refreshing acidity. This Riesling is great for patio sipping and for summer pairings. Best yet, this weekend, this Washington Riesling is only $60/case!
Covington Cellars and II Vintners are barrel tasting this weekend. Covington Cellars crafted two barrels of Barbera, you can taste it directly from the barrel and order futures of this wine for $29. II Vintners is barrel tasting their Zinfandel. This Washington wine is a tasty blend of Zinfandel, Primotivo and Petit Syrah. Futures of this wine are only $20.
One of the things that I like best about Hestia Cellars releases is that they usually provide Salumi salami. The Molé salami was fantastic with their new Meritage. Covington Cellars always pairs tasty bites with their releases. My favorite was their new Josie Rosé paired with seafood croquette with a Thai chili sauce. Northwest Totem Cellars Syrah was fantastic paired with their famous vegetarian paté. At Brian Carter Cellars, they were pairing their Super Tuscan blend Tuttorosso with meatballs from Cafe Veloce.
If you want to look up what others are saying about Woodinville Passport, search on the Twitter hashtag for Woodinville Passport #woodpass