Tag Archives: Bainbridge Island Wines

Wine Touring on Bainbridge Island

The seven wineries of the Bainbridge Alliance were open for a special Art among the Barrels last weekend.

So the Blind Wine Gang took advantage of the opportunity to taste Island wines at a few of the wineries. It had been a while and the weather was very nice – cool and almost raining. Perfect wine tasting weather, not too hot, not too cold.

Our first winery was Victor Alexander on Island Center Way. DSC00809Owner winemaker Charlie Merrill literally has a garagiste winery. Charlie poured the Blind Wine Gang his 2011 Sémillon and 3 rosés from three different barrels. The barrel tasting was immensely popular. To taste the same grape, from the same vineyard, but resting in different barrels was real education. The final blend, just before bottling, will be of all three barrels. It’s really very interesting to taste the different nuances the barrels played in this wine.

Next, we visited Amelia Wynn Winery and we’re grateful for the escort to the winery. It is not easy if you don’t know Bainbridge like a native. We were greeted by owner winemaker, Paul Bianchi who had taken a break from his other duties to grill up pizza. The garden party featured a full line up of whites, a rosés and three reds to pair with the  pizza hot off the grill.    pizza

Not only can Paul grill up a savory pizza but he can also ferment some wicked good wines. A wonderful 2012 Chard, a 2012 Roussane and a beautiful 2013 Viognier with a fragrance that would make one swoon.

The 2011 Sangiovese oozed cherries in the nose, across the palate and in the long finish. Very smooth and perfect with the grilled pizza that I slathered with a bit of blue cheese. Yum! Next was a 2011 Walla Walla Merlot, a Double Gold & Best of Class Merlot. It was near perfect.

The final wine on the list was the 2011 Syrah, which many in our group loved. I did too but couldn’t get the Merlot off my mind….

Our next stop was Rolling Bay Winery with an abbreviated group – some had to run off to an engagement at Bloedel and some had a date with a crab pot.

Rolling Bay’s signature wine is Manitou Red. It’s a blend of 4 red grape varieties and eminently drinkable with all types of hearty fare. Their Fusion is a blend of mostly Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Grigio. A good summer quaffer. The 2011 Cab from a difficult year was ready to drink but I thought the 2013 Cab out of barrel was ready to drink also. I could have tasted a case of that one and still asked for more.

Tasting with friends is an education. Seeing the different palates, likes and dislikes and whose palate is alighned with mine. Fortunately, the one friend I taste with the most has a plate that is very similar to mine.

The next Washington wine tasting. the Kitsap Wine Festival happens on Saturday, August 9th at Harborside Fountain Park. This celebration of food and wine on Bremerton’s scenic waterfront, benefits Harrison Medical Center Foundation.

Here’s a link to the wineries that will be pouring at the Festival.

Memorial Day wine tastings of award-winning wines

Brynn writes:

From Bainbridge to Belfair, a number of Kitsap’s wineries are open this weekend for people to taste some great wine and enjoy good company.

Here’s an added bonus, a number of the Bainbridge Island wineries and Belfair’s Mosquito Fleet Winery were recently recognized by the Seattle Wine Awards.

The Bainbridge wineries will be open all weekend, some even on Monday, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information or to see a map of where they are located visit bainbridgewineries.com.

Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair will be open Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. (and will continue to be open Saturdays from now until September). Sunday the winery will be open for its annual Spring Barrel Tasting event from noon to 4 p.m. Five wines will be offered and several barrels of the 2011 wines will be tapped. Winemaker Brian Petersen will be there to talk about changes from barrel to barrel and vineyard to vineyard. Pizza, cheeses and chocolates will also be served.

To attend the Sunday tasting, reserve your spot through the winery’s website, www.mosquitofleetwinery.com, or by calling the winemaker at 360-710 0855.

Here’s a list of the local 2013 Seattle Wine Award winners:

Amelia Wynn
  • Gold: Viognier; Columbia Valley Cuvée; Red Mountain Sangiovese
  • Silver: Rose

Eagle Harbor Wine Co.

  • Gold: Raptor


  • Double Gold: Sweet Sarah dessert wine; Malbec
  • Gold: Viognier; La Ronde
  • Silver: Angelica dessert wine

Mosquito Fleet Winery (Belfair)

  • Double Gold: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gold: Cabernet Franc; Petit Verdot
  • Bronze: Griffersen Reserve (port); Meritage;

Perennial Vintners

  • Bronze: Frambelle Raspberry
Rolling Bay Winery
  • Double Gold:Cabernet Sauvignon

Harvest Events Planned For The Weekend

Looking for some wine-themed reasons to drive around the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas this weekend? You’re in luck.

As was previously reported, the six of the eight wineries on Bainbridge Island will be open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. A map of the various locations can be found at the Wine Alliance of Bainbridge Island website. The website also has phone numbers for the seven wineries, and links to the websites for those that have them.

The Olympic Peninsula Wineries Association is also hosting an event the same weekend. The theme of the weekend is “Drink in the Bounty of our Harvest.” The event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will also be a wine themed scavenger hunt, a first for the annual event.

Here’s what the press release says about what wine enthusiasts of all levels can expect from the weekend:

Locally made wines, including new releases, will be paired with harvest inspired appetizers. Hard ciders will be available at Finnriver Farm and Eaglemount. And it’s B.Y.O.G. (bring your own glass) again this year! Last fall’s inaugural B.Y.O.G. tour proved so much fun – and so many unique and extraordinary glasses were shared – that the wineries are bringing it back!

The event is $25, and is a self-guided tour. Tickets can be paid online in advance, or purchased at the door. The cost includes complimentary wine tastings and appetizers at each winery. A tasting fee of $5 per winery applies to visitors without a ticket.

Featured wineries include:

Finnriver Farm, Chimacum
A 33-acre organic family farm and artisan Cidery. Sparkling hard ciders, including Finnriver’s handcrafted champagne-style cider and apple-blueberry cider, will be available for sampling. Harvest-themed sweet treats include pumpkin-rum cookies.

FairWinds Winery, Port Townsend
FairWinds’ Gewürztraminer will be paired with home-grown gourmet stuffed potatoes, while home-grown squash will be made into a dip served on pita chips and paired with the only Mead produced on the Olympic Peninsula. In addition, FairWinds will feature its traditional hot spiced Lemberger wine.

Sorensen Cellars, Port Townsend
Fall harvest treats from the Quimper Peninsula will be paired with Sorensen’s hearty red wines. Case specials will be available throughout the weekend.

Eaglemount Wine & Cider, Port Townsend
Apples from Eaglemount’s homestead orchard will be featured with a new wine release.

Olympic Cellars, Port Angeles
Olympic Cellars will open its cellar – the heart of its 120-year-old working barn that is home to the winery. Harvest treats include pumpkin soup with roasted pumpkin seeds served with Mt. Townsend’s Fromage Blanc; Pane d’Amore Miche bread made with Nash’s organic grains and served with Olympic Cellars Chardonnay Butter; a wine and cheese pairing featuring Mt. Townsend Creamery’s artisan cheeses; hot mulled Lemberger wine; and harvest fresh surprises throughout Olympic Cellars’ cornucopia table. Featured wines include the newly released 2007 Cabernet Franc from Boushey Vineyard and the ever-popular Cranberry Jubilee, the perfect wine for the holiday table. Also, featured will be the 2007 Neuharth Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon, released in 2009 to commemorate the winery’s 30th anniversary, and considered by winemaker Benoit Murat to be his best wine made at Olympic Cellars.

Camaraderie Cellars, Port Angeles

Camaraderie Cellars’ gardens will be open and a harvest display set up in the newly completed arbor area. Inside the tasting room, savory bites of pate, sausages, and local breads will complement a range of red wines perfectly suited for cold autumn nights and hearty fare. Special pricing will enhance holiday shopping.

Harbinger Winery, Port Angeles
To celebrate the end of harvest Harbinger Winery & Brew House will be sipping on its latest release of Cranberry Bliss while sampling chanterelle and butternut squash bisque. Freshly baked pumpkin bread with several festive local artisan butter spreads from Golden Glen Creamery will be available as well. Another new release poured for the tour will be Harbinger’s 2008 Menagerie, a blend of Merlot, Grenache and Syrah. (100 percent of the profits from this wine go to the Olympic Peninsula Humane Society). Guests can also sample the 2007 Columbia Valley Syrah, 2008 Viognier, and the 2009 “Bone Dry” Rose.

(A note for beer lovers: Harbinger’s Brew House Ratz have also been creative in their beer-making endeavors; stop by to check out the surprises they’ve concocted).

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org, or call 800-785-5495.

For information about bed and breakfasts on the Olympic Peninsula, visit www.opbba.com. The Bainbridge Island Lodging Association has a complete list of bed and breakfasts, as well as other lodging information, on its website.

If I didn’t have to work this weekend, my plan would be to do the Bainbridge wine tour one day and the Olympic Peninsula tour the next.

Bainbridge Wines Bring Big Surprises

For those of you who missed it, last weekend was the Bainbridge Island Wine Weekend, where local Bainbridge Island, North Kitsap, Whidbey Island and San Juan Island winemakers and their wines were on display.

And I have to say, what I tasted more than exceeded my expectations.

I went there knowing virtually nothing about the types of wine being made on the island. I’m not going to lie, I had some fears about what I would be tasting — think rhubarb, strawberry and raspberry.

Silly Brynn, little did I know the winemakers are getting some pretty fantastic grapes from Eastern Washington, and honestly growing some delicious varietals on the island — including the rare Melon de Bourgogne, and a tasty Semillon.

Before we go any further, a little background on the Melon de Bourgogne. Winemaker Mike Lempriere, who owns Perennial Vitners, has the rare varietal.

His vines have quite the history. As he explained, the grape was originally growing, mislabeled, in California. The growers got rid of the vines, pulling them in the early 1960s, and giving some of the vines to UC Davis. The school cleaned up the vines, and sold them to a vineyard in Oregon, still mislabeled as Pinot Blanc.

Eventually the vines were brought to Washington to the Washington State University Irrigated Agricultural Research Extension Center. Lempriere got the vines from where they were planted in Prosser, Wash., and brought them to Bainbridge Island where he was the first to plant Melon west of the Cascades.

If you want to read more about the grape, or its history, Lempriere has set up a website, found here.

Back to the evening…

Part of Friday’s event was dedicated to food that paired well with the wine. One of the stops for the evening was all about shellfish and the Bainbridge (and San Juan and Whidbey) Island white wines.

Not only were the wines local, the shellfish were from close to home as well. The oysters hailed from as far away as Canada, but some of the best tasting slurps of the night came from oysters harvested off Dyes Inlet on the Chico shores and the Bloedel Reserve off Bainbridge Island.

Diners were able to pair a 2008 Madeline Angevine from San Juan Vineyards (estate grown), a 2007 Madeline Angevine from Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery (we didn’t get to taste this because it wasn’t there when we arrived), a 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from Eleven Winery (Bainbridge), the 2008 Melon de Bourgogne from above, a 2009 Semillon from Victor Alexander Winery (Bainbridge), and a 2009 Siegerebee from Whidbey Island Winery.

After making a sufficient mess, while all the while trying to politely slurp the raw oysters from the half-shell, we decided it was time to head off to Docs for the Syrah and Sliders part of the evening. (While the name is catchy, there were actually only two full Syrahs available for tasting. Fresh off a tour of the Rhone Valley in France, Brynn was perfectly happy to sample the non-Syrah reds.)

The varying sliders from Docs were to be paired with the following reds (starting with the two Syrahs):

A 2007 Patine Vineyards Syrah from Eagle Harbor Wine Company, a 2008 Syrah from Eleven, a 2007 Merlot from Victor Alexander, a 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Fletcher Bay Winery, a 2006 Stillwater Creek Cabernet Sauvignon from Liberty Bay Cellars (located across Agate Pass from Bainbridge), and a 2007 Manitou Red from Rolling Bay Winery, which was a blend of 50 percent Cabernet, 50 percent Merlot and a dollop of Syrah.

Going off topic for a minute, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the one odd ball of the bunch for the evening. Well, he wasn’t an oddball per se, but his beverage was the oddball because it didn’t come from grapes. Instead it came from grain — organic grain at that.

Bainbridge Organic Distillers showcased their vodka for the evening at the press event and the oyster and shellfish pairing. They are the first distillery in the state to be USDA certified organic vodka, gin and whiskey.

Brynn’s not one for hard alcohol, especially hard alcohol without anything to blend, and thus dull the taste. However, a small sip of the vodka produced the same reaction as a sip of vodka from any well-known large-scale producer. Which should be seen as a good sign. Mary on the other hand, enjoyed her slightly larger sip. The vodka was well made, according to Mary’s palate.

Through the course of the evening we had a chance to chat with some of the winemakers. They shared they’re getting ready for crush any day now. We hope to be able to attend at least a couple of the crushes and share the experience with you. We also hope to continue making connections with the Bainbridge Island winemakers, so you can learn more about what the local wine community is doing close to home.