On Sunday in the Kitsap Life section our getaways feature this
month is going to be on Woodinville, written by your’s truly.
It’s fitting that my last Kitsap Life story would be on Western
Washington’s wine country. (Yes, you read that correctly, my last
story. My last day at the Sun will be Oct. 29.)
This post isn’t about my departure, it’s about all the great
wineries you can experience with a short jaunt across the water
(Puget Sound and Lake Washington) by exploring Woodinville.
I remember when Woodinville was known as the home to Chateau
Ste. Michelle, Columbia Winery and Red Hook Brewery. Now it’s home
to more than 80 wineries and a number of great restaurants. It
really does make a great day trip from Seattle, and it’s a heck of
a lot easier to get to Woodinville to go wine tasting than it is to
drive across the mountains to Eastern Washington.
A month or so ago my husband and I found ourselves with a rare
day off together and a babysitter eager to watch the kid (thanks
grandma!) so we decided we’d take advantage of our good fortune and
do a little wine tasting. With 80+ wineries to choose from it was a
little daunting to figure out where we were going to go, but I just
hopped online and started looking at the different wineries listed
under the Woodinville Wine Country website.
(Also look at the Warehouse District
winery website when planning your trip because there
are some great wineries in that area too.) Within an hour I had our
Woodinville wine tour mapped out.
Here’s the list I created:
- Airfield Estates
- Alexandria Nicole Cellars
- Dusted Valley
- Otis Kenyon
- Ross Andrew Winery
I didn’t expect us to make it to every winery, but I wanted a
couple “fall backs” in case we went somewhere and it was busy. (Or
if we really did make it through our top picks quickly, we’d have
somewhere to go.) We ended up visiting (in this order): Ross
Andrew, J.Bookwalter, Alexandria Nicole, Airfield Estates.
By the last winery we were maxed out and ready to head across
the street to Purple
Cafe and Wine Bar, where we had an excellent
If you’re planning a trip to Woodinville, do your homework
before you go so you have a rough idea of what you want to see, but
also know that once you get there there are so many wineries you
can easily change your mind and pop into any storefront and likely
have a great experience.
Of the wineries we visited, Alexandria Nicole is one not to be
missed. The atmosphere is great and so are the people pouring
wines. Plus their wines (in my opinion) are fantastic. We loved
their 2012 Shepherd’s Mark, a blend of 65 percent
Roussanne, 20 percent Marsanne and 15 percent Viognier. This wine
won a gold medal at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
and a double gold at the 2013 Seattle Wine Awards. This wine has
notes of pineapple, pear, citrus and peach and the floral
characteristics of Viognier come through on the nose. ($24)
The 2010 a Squared Cabernet Sauvignon was also
good with its dark fruit flavors and hints of vanilla on the
finish. This is a great fall/winter wine and would pair well with
heavier meals like roasts and lamb. The blend is 86 percent cab, 6
percent cab franc, 6 percent malbec and 2 percent petit verdot.
I also loved J.Bookwalter’s Chardonnay, which had
just the right balance of weight from its fermentation in barrels
and stainless steel. The wine had aromas of pear and honeydew with
a slightly nutty hint on the finish. This was a creamy wine that I
am kicking myself for not purchasing while we were there.
I was excited to try Ross
Andrew because I had not heard of this winery before,
which is hard to believe because the winemaker has been in the
business for a long time and studied under one of the best in the
industry, Master of Wine Bob Betz. The tasting room was recently
remodeled and is done in a minimalist, modern style. It’s in the
same building complex as Pepper Bridge/Amavi Cellars, Mark Ryan and
J.Bookwalter, and right across the parking lot from Alexandria
Nicole. If you plan on heading to Woodinville you could spend your
afternoon just cruising between these wineries without even having
to move your car.
We enjoyed the 2011 Meadow White Wine (so much
so we bought a bottle) and the 2012 Meadow Rose
(again we bought a bottle). The Rose is the first Washington Rose
I’ve tried that reminds me of the Provincial style Roses I drank
while in France. It’s dry with a crisp finish. The white wine would
be a perfect pair with crab, scallops or white fish. Both wines
If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Woodinville, check
out my story in Sunday’s paper (or online). Now’s a good time to
head over there because they’ve finished the craziness of crush and
the craziness of the holidays hasn’t picked up yet.
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