In fact, Washington state is up and coming in the world of wine. Grapes are grown everywhere from Bainbridge Island (found right here next to our little peninsula) to eastern Washington. These aren't just any old table wine grapes either, but grapes that are producing 90+ point wines. And apparently, that's saying something!
Chad and I don't consider ourselves all that up to speed in the wine world.... in fact -totally naive- would have perfectly described us... but luckily, that was about to change! Come to find out, our good friend Dale is a member of a bunch of wineries out in Woodinville - and better yet, he was looking for some friends to go out tasting with him! Chad and I just happened to know a couple of people. YAY!
So off to Woodinville we went. Its a small community outside of Edmonds, which is just a short ferry ride from Kitsap. After a little research I found out that Woodinville is home to over 50 wineries! Most of the grapes are not grown on the premises, but a lot of the wine is made there.
Dale had two well known wineries on our agenda - Novelty Hill/Januik and Chateau St. Michelle.
We started at Januik. Our first wine tasting experience. And oh my goodness, not our last! We walked up to this large, modern industrial building, rather plain, but once inside you were greeted by an almost warm, very modern and alive room. There were small tables littering the room, a large bar, viewing windows of the aging rooms and cellar, and a beautiful patio! Dale apparently is a VIP because the second we walked up to the bar, he was asking for someone by name and we had wine in our hands. Since I didn't know the type I wanted, I asked for something sweet and fruity and was given a Reisling. It. Was. Delicious. I have never said that about wine. It was so good, and I lit up so much, that Dale bought us a bottle (apparently it was one of his favorites too!) Chad started out with a Malbec. Ew.... But he liked it, in fact it ended up being his favorite.
During just the four tastes we had, Chad and I noticed something about each other: we have totally opposite taste in wine. He only ordered, room temperature, bitter, dry, red wines. I only ordered, cold, sweet, crisp, white/pink wines. Opposites attract. Obviously.
After getting sufficiently tipsy at Januik, we left for our RESERVATION at Chateau St. Michelle. Right from the start we could tell this was going to be a completely different experience. First off, we drove through a wrought iron gate, rows of grape vines, up to an old style mansion. There were groomed lawns, with huge shade trees and tables - it was beautiful. Again, we were treated as VIPs and were going to go into the "members only" tasting room, but instead were shuttled into a "special" tasting room, where we sat at a huge wood table with six wine glasses sitting in front of us.
Two private servers preceded to pour us (and the other 4 people in the room) 6 different types of wine - one white, four reds and a dessert. The tasting reconfirmed my aversion to reds...I in fact gave my Merlot to Dale... But the white was a wonderfully, oaky Chardonnay and the dessert wine was a Late Harvest Reisling. We all LOVED that one. Sweet raisin flavor. Amazing. Chad's favorite was the Syrah, while the one he deemed "most interesting" was the Mourvedre (it had notes of Herbes de Provence).
As though being pampered that these two, wonderful, wineries wasn't enough, Dale had one more visit up his sleeve - the Red Hook Brewery!!! We didn't do the tour or anything, but I did get a sampler plate of their beers - which I was totally taken aback by how good they were! - and we did eat some delicious food!
Wow, what a wonderful day. Who knew wine was so good and accessible! We can't wait to go back and explore the other wineries and distilleries in the area!