Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Tasting Washington State Wines at the Tasting Room in Seattle, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller in the Tasting Room in Seattle

Unlike in other parts of the world, tasting rooms are very popular and widespread in the United States. Typically, they are open from 9 am to 5 pm (and not in the evening), you do not have to make an appointment, they charge for the tasting, they do not serve food and you can buy the wines there. Often, the tasting rooms are dissociated from the winery and in a close-by town or on a main road. In Germany, France or Italy, for example, these kind of easy tasting opportunities are rare to find.

The Tasting Room in Seattle is a blend of a typical American tasting room and a wine bar.

The Tasting Room in Seattle

There are 2 "Tasting Rooms" in Washington State, one in Yakima and one in Saettle.

The Place 

The Tasting Room in Seattle is a typical wine bar, open at night, where you can hang around with a glass of wine and eat some food, right in the heart of Pike Place Market, at the copper topped tasting bar or outside at a table on quaint Post Alley or inside at a table.

The Wines

It has some elements of a tasting room insofar as the Tasting Room only serves the wines of a group of Washington State winemaker. Wines are served by the ounze, half glass, full glass, carafe, bottle and to go.

The Tasting Room Winemakers

Camaraderie Cellars: Owned by Don and Vicki Corson who have made the Olympic Peninsula their home since 1990. Whenever we are at a wine festival we are often asked "Why Port Angeles?" Making wine in Port Angeles does seem a bit out of the ordinary since it is located on the "wet" west side of the Cascade Mountains and the grapes are from vineyards on the "dry" east side. But our answer is that although the winery is some distance from the grapes, ocean breezes from the Strait of Juan de Fuca make the Olympic Peninsula an ideal place for making wine. Besides Camaraderie Cellar's location, it's wines are distinctive for their pedigree. We are fortunate to have long-term relationships with Fred Artz at Artz Vineyards on Red Mountain, and Paul Champoux at Mercer Ranch. These vineyards are regularly mentioned as among Washington's best, a tribute to Fred and Paul's passion for excellence, a passion Camaraderie Cellars happens to share.

Picture: Seattle

Harlequin was founded in 1999 by Robert Goodfriend. The small, family owned winery located in Touchet (Walla Walla Valley), works with the best vineyards and growers in Washington and Oregon State to designate individual vineyard rows which are specifically assigned to Harlequin. Robert maintains complete control over yield, canopy management, irrigation and picking decisions. Winemaking at Harlequin is very hands-on and intensive. Reds are fermented in small, one-ton fermentors and punched down by hand. Ageing occurs in the best oak from the best coopers.

Picture: The First Starbuck's in the World, close to the Tasting Room in Seattle

Latitude 46° North falls just south of the town of Walla Walla, Washington, and runs through the great viticultural regions of our state. The blending of wine from great sites, coupled with meticulous winemaking, creates wines of added complexity and nuance. We produce wine in the purest expression of Washington State winegrowing. Latitude 46° N Winery is a small winery owned by four families. Old World methods combined with New World fruit are the ideals of winemaking that we have based our foundation on. We currently produce a dry Gewurztraminer from the Columbia River Gorge, Syrah and Grenache blends from various Columbia Valley Vineyards, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and our Flagship blend of Washington State Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah: The Vindication. The Vineyards used to create the wines of Latitude 46º N are grown, under our supervision, through long-term contracts with managers we consider friends. There may be grapes from 8-10 different Vineyards in one season. We prefer to buy fruit by the actual row of vines, than by the ton. This method provides extensive opportunities to adapt the microclimate of the fruit to our desired endpoint. We will harvest at the optimum level of flavor, not sugar. Our Vineyard Managers give amazing amounts of tolerance to our requests and desires. The harvest time at the winery is an exciting period. Each lot of grapes is fermented separately. Reds are fermented in small ¾ ton fermenters and punched down by hand. These wines are pressed gently with a membrane press at the peak of flavor and tannin maturation. Barrels are selected for specifically complementing varieties and Vineyards. White wines are fermented in neutral barrels to promote slight oxidative fermentation, without oak flavor addition. Blending is an exercise taken very seriously. Complexity, seamlessness and sheer intensity are the intentions behind the blended wines of Latitude 46º N. pride that we put into our winegrowing is echoed in the bottle, and in your glass.

Picture: The Tasting Room Seattle

Mountain Dome Winery is truly a family owned and operated winery. The Manz family started their winery in September of 1984 and have built their geodesic dome and 15,500 square foot winery by themselves. After spending a few years developing the desired style of sparkling wine, the family decided the 1988 vintage would be the first commercial release. A friend suggest that the winery, built on snowy, tree covered mountain top, reminded him of a gnome village and created the Gnome label for Mountain Dome's Non-Vintage. Mountain Dome has grown from a family obsession into an award winning winery, producing more than 3,000 cases a year. The winery is located on an 85 acre forest in the foothills of Mount Spokane. The three Manz children have grown up working in the winery. The oldest son, Erik, is now the winemaker.

Picture: The Tasting Room in Seattle

Naches Heights Vineyard is perched on the southwest plateau high above the beautiful Naches Valley. This area was formed one million years ago when a lava flow poured in from the Goat Rocks Wilderness area to the west. Soils then formed on this plateau, consisting of wind blown loess known as Tieton loam. Our elevation at NHV - up at 1780 Feet - places us as one of the highest elevated vineyards in the state. The high elevation (closer to the sun) combined with the rich volcanic soil creates unique growing conditions for our wine grapes. With farming in the Cline family's blood for 68 years, the NHV site has been in Cline stewardship for 44 years. Our love for the land and our environment translated a past orchard life of plums, apricots and apples into a happy, healthy vineyard – your palate will approve of our attention to detail in the growing of wine grapes on this sunny, volcanic site. Naches Heights Vineyard currently produces five grape varietals: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Tempranillo and Syrah.

Picture: The Tasting Room in Seattle

Seattle's "Micro" Winery Founded in 1988 by husband and wife duo, Paul Beveridge and Lysle Wilhelmi, Wirlidge Winery specializes in hand-crafted wines made from select single vineyard sites in Washington State. This family-owned winery is located in the historic Madrona neighborhood of Seattle. The company's goal is to find the best vineyard sites in Washington State and hand-make the wines to bring out the unique characteristic of each vineyard's terroir. Grapes are picked in the Yakima, Red Mountian, and Walla Walla appellations and are crushed, pressed and aged in new French oak barrels at the Seattle neighborhood winery. Visit the newly planted biodynamic vineyard in Yakima, WA - just 2 short hours from Seattle. Over 20 grape varieties are planted from the famous wine regions in Europe including France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. Wilridge is a small, family winery run in the European tradition. Owners Lysle Wilhelmi and Paul Beveridge live near the winery in the Madrona neighborhood of Seattle with their two sons, Mack and Liam. Paul's parents , Bob and Berta Beveridge, live in the apartment above the winery. Wine making at Wilridge is a family and neighborhood affair, with relatives and friends pitching in. Paul is winemaker, Lysle is in charge of sales, Mack and Liam handle barrel washing and grampa provides "quality control sampling". The plan is to stay small and focused on quality, like many of the small wineries in Europe. There are no employees and volunteers that want to "get their feet wet" are welcome to help during harvest and bottling.

Picture: The Tasting Room in Seattle

Wineglass Cellars was founded in 1994 by David and Linda Lowe. Our first crush was 1994 and the following May we opened for sales and tasting. David grew up in a small town in Eastern Oregon and Linda grew up in the Yakima Valley. We both wanted the small town life for our two sons Steven and Patrick. We also enjoyed a love of wine from touring the Oregon wine country over many years and, starting in the mid ‘80s, touring the Yakima Valley wine country. Our desire for country life when combined with our love of wine made for a perfect "escape from the big city (Seattle)" plan. In the winter of 1993 we moved onto the three acres we presently live on. The following year we purchased a horse barn from a neighbor which is now Wineglass Cellars Winery and Tasting Room. The philosophy of wine making at Wineglass Cellars is hands on. We keep production small and quality very high. This enables us to closely control the quality from vintage crush to labeling of the bottles. Wineglass Cellars only buys the highest quality grapes from the Yakima Valley, and California to produce its wines. When we talk of hand crafted wines we mean it! This is also cause for lots of tired days during crush and press. The emphasis at Wineglass Cellars is on red wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley rounds out our current offerings. Wineglass Cellars is a small winery producing 2500 cases per year. The winery is located in the Yakima Valley. Our cozy tasting room has a lovely view of the surrounding apple orchards of Zillah, Washington.

Picture: The Tasting Room in Seattle

The Food

The Tasting Room offers some Tapas type food, including a Cheese Sampler and a Salumi Cured Meat Sampler, both for US$ 9.

Tasting Room Hours 

Sunday - Thuraday : Noon - 8pm Friday & Saturday : Noon - 10pm

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