Tag Archives: Eagle Harbor Wine Company

Babies at wine tastings? Yes please!

Brynn writes:

Since having my son four months ago I’ve made a point of not letting the little guy slow me down. That doesn’t mean I haven’t spent time at home cuddling, playing and enjoying these early months where he thinks his mom and dad are the coolest people around (I know this won’t last forever), but when the chance arises to get out of the house for something fun, I typically won’t turn down the invitation.

That was the case Labor Day weekend. My best friend Michelle flew all the way from Maui to meet the little guy, and of course hang out with her bestie of 16  years. Not wanting to deal with the Seattle craziness, we opted to stay in Kitsap. Instead of hanging around our house all weekend I suggested we head to Bainbridge Island to take advantage of the winemaker open houses and try some wine.

Since Daddy worked Saturday, there was no leaving the baby at home. So we packed up the little guy and hit the dusty trail. We had so much fun we returned Sunday, this time with Daddy in tow. The baby handled his first wine tasting like a pro, hardly making any fuss, and the wines we tried were superb. (As you can see below, he enjoyed his time at Eleven Winery Saturday).

I know we just devoted several weeks of our “What we’re drinking” posts to the Bainbridge wineries, but there were some new releases this weekend that were too good not to mention.

They are, in no particular order:

Rolling Bay Winery’s 2011 Fusion. This wine is a blend of 75 percent chardonnay, 25 percent pinot gris. Winemaker Alphonse de Klerk sources all of the grapes for his wines from Snipes Mountain in Eastern Washington. This white blend is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, which allows the mingling of citrus and tart fruit flavors of the chardonnay and pinot gris to stand out. The winery showcased its Fusion white wine blend in 2007 and de Klerk has made it ever since, thanks to its popularity among his winery’s followers. It was a great wine to start our tasting with Saturday, and paired nicely with the mini cubes of white aged cheddar we sampled.

The Fusion is a great choice to sip in the sun while sitting at one of the tables de Klerk has positioned in the gardens surrounding the winery’s cozy tasting room. We loved the setting — especially the peekaboo views of Murden Cove, and the foliage. Apparently so does Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, which recently named Rolling Bay’s tasting room its “Best Essence of Puget Sound.”

Eleven Winery had a couple of wines that stuck with us after we left. While we enjoyed everything we tasted, we especially liked the 2011 La Primavera, a rosé, and the 2011 Angelica, a white port made from pinot grigio.

The Primavera was wonderful — made just the way I like it: dry. Winemaker Matt Albee blends all of the red grapes he sources for his other wines to make this delightfully light rosé. The Angelica port was a great surprise too. It’s not everyday you see a white port; most well-known ports are made from red grapes, but there is such thing as white port wine. This wine offered a delicate balance between the citrus flavors of the pinot grigio grapes and sweetness.

Eagle Harbor Wine Company’s 2009 Viognier. Winemaker Hugh Remash doesn’t offer this wine as a part of his five wines available for tasting, but we lucked out Sunday. Remash described the wine to us, saying he doesn’t filter or fine the wine, so it appears cloudy because of the sediment that stays in the bottle. This can be unappealing to some, which is one reason why Remash doesn’t taste people on it. As Michelle debated whether she wanted to buy a wine she hadn’t tried, Remash went into the back and brought out a bottle of his precious viognier. Saying he planned to open some for dinner guests that night anyway, Remash poured us a sip.

Oh my what a treat. This was hands down my favorite white wine we tried at his winery Sunday — Remash’s Goldfinch sits high on my list of favorite wines, so this is an impressive feat. The viognier grapes come from Remash’s block at Dwelly Vineyard in Walla Walla. While Remash warned the wine might be cloudy, it poured nicely. Floral and tropical notes filled our noses and then our mouths. The full mouthfeel of the wine was exactly what I love about oaked white wines, but by no means does oak overpower this wine — it adds weight, but doesn’t detract from the delicate characteristics of the viognier grape.

Amelia Wynn Winery’s 2011 Riesling is the wine I ended with Sunday while at the Island Vintners tasting room in Winslow. Since we got a late start on the day, 5 p.m. came upon us fast — that’s when the wineries close their doors to tasters. So we headed to the tasting room, which was open later. We ran through the list of Amelia Wynn winemaker Paul Bianchi’s white wines, including his chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and Riesling. Bianchi added all of these this year after seeing the high demand for white wines from visitors to the tasting room.

The 2011 Riesling was just released. It’s a refreshing wine, and a perfect match for some of the warmer afternoons we’ve been having recently. The color is a pale, barely visible yellow, and the slight sweetness of the grape is met with the balance of tart citrus flavors, leaving your mouth feeling refreshed sip after sip.

What we’re drinking: Bainbridge’s Eagle Harbor Wine Co.

Brynn writes:

Eagle Harbor Wine Company’s 2011 Goldfinch is one of Brynn’s favorite white wines by Bainbirdge winemaker Hugh Remash. He changes the blend depending on harvest (in 2010 it was 60 percent Viognier, 40 percent Chardonnay).

This wine offers a nice balance of weight and acidity. It’s medium-bodied, which allows it to pair nicely with a full meal; but it’s also one that would go well with a simple cheese platter.

The Viognier is evident on the nose, offering floral notes with a touch of pear. These hints of honeysuckle carry through the wine, which is a blend of  Viognier (37 percent), Chardonnay (33 percent) and Roussanne (30 percent).  The Roussanne and Chardonnay bring the acidity and weight to the glass.

Remash gets his grapes from Walla Walla and has a French-influenced winemaking style. The wine retails for $18.50.

*This is part of a series of reviews of Bainbridge Island wines recently tried at the Bainbridge Uncorked event, which featured the island’s winemakers.

Bainbridge wineries recognized at Seattle Wine Awards

Brynn writes:

I was recently contacted by Jim Wilford, winemaker of Fletcher Bay Winery on Bainbridge Island, who let me know that a number of the island winemakers did quite well in the recent Seattle Wine Awards, announced May 21. As the winemakers’ put it: “the small wineries of Bainbridge Island took home a disproportionately large share of the medals.”

Here’s the information from the Winery Alliance of Bainbridge Island’s website:

Amelia Wynn Winery

DOUBLE GOLD 2009 Amelia Wynn Winery Cuvée, Columbia Valley

DOUBLE GOLD 2009 Amelia Wynn Winery Sangiovese, Red Mountain

Eagle Harbor Wine Company

SILVER 2008 Eagle Harbor Wine Co. Eagle Harbor Wine Co. “Raptor” Cabernet, Walla Walla

Eleven Winery

DOUBLE GOLD 2009 Eleven Winery La Ronde, Washington State

DOUBLE GOLD 2009 Eleven Winery Malbec, Horse Heaven Hills

DOUBLE GOLD 2009 Eleven Winery Sweet Sarah, Washington State

BRONZE 2010 Eleven Winery Roussanne, Yakima Valley

Rolling Bay Winery

SILVER 2009 Rolling Bay Winery Cuvée Aldaro, Snipes Mountain

BRONZE 2009 Rolling Bay Winery Syrah, Snipes Mountain

While he wasn’t listed in the Seattle Wine Awards, Wilford’s winemaking skills were recently honored at the New York International Wine Competition, where his wines were judged against others from around the world.

Here’s how he did:

Fletcher Bay Winery

SILVER 2011 Pinot Grigio

BRONZE 2010 Battle Point Red

Taste Washington winery list released

Brynn writes:

Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Washington Wine Commission released the list of the 200 wineries that will be pouring at this year’s Taste Washington event. In most cases the wineries list the wines they’ll be pouring.

Like last year, the selection is overwhelming. I’ve read about many of the wineries that will be there, but haven’t tasted half of them. There’s also some favorites on the list that I’d like to visit, largely because I know I won’t be disappointed.

But when facing a daunting task of trying to decide which wine will make it into my mouth for a quick swirl before being discarded in a strategically placed spittoon, I try to remind myself my “must taste” list should be dominated by wineries I’ve never tired before, mainly so I get the chance to expand my wine experience.

While perusing the list two wineries caught my eye. That’s because they’re Kitsap County wineries. Eagle Harbor Wine Company and Eleven Winery will each have tables at the event. Last year we saw Eagle Harbor winemaker Hugh Remash at the event, but I don’t remember if he was pouring, or there as an attendee. Regardless, it’s great to see at least two of the Bainbridge Island-based wineries represented at this big event.

According to the list, Eagle Harbor will be pouring its 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla ($33); 2008 Red Blend, Walla Walla ($30); and 2008 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla ($40).

Eleven will be pouring its 2009 La Ronde Red Blend, Washington State ($33); 2010 Viognier, Yakima Valley ($24); and 2010 Port Pinot Gris, Washington State ($15).

Time to meet the Bainbridge winemakers, again

Brynn writes:

I feel like I’m experiencing a little deja vu, it wasn’t that long ago I was telling you all about the upcoming Bainbridge Island winemakers weekend.

Well guess what? If you couldn’t make it last time, you’re getting another chance this weekend. The winemakers will open their doors again Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. (Don’t worry if you can’t make this one either, there’s more events planned for May, June, July, August and September).

Here’s the list of wineries participating, and here’s the website to get the map so you can find your way around the island.

Mary and I will be making our stops on Sunday with Food Life blogger Angela Dice, so say hello if you see us.

Cheers!

Meet the Winemakers Weekend on Bainbridge

It’s time again for the “Meet the Winemakers” weekend on Bainbridge Island.

Seven of the eight wineries on the island open their doors this weekend for people to stop by and taste what they’ve been up to. Six of these wineries use grapes grown in Eastern Washington, while Perennial Vintners grows its grapes on island. (The eighth winery, Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery, also grows on island, but it doesn’t participate in the same weekend tasting event as the other wineries).

Here’s the details of this weekend’s event:

Since the wineries are small and owner-operated, they are only all open for tasting at the wineries on select weekends — including this Saturday and Sunday. Hours are 12 to 5 p.m., and tasting fees range from free to a few dollars.

Note for groups & tours: the wineries are all very intimate and cannot accommodate large groups or buses (all the better for the rest of you!). If you are a group of more than 6 people, you must call ahead to make arrangements in advance.

For those who can’t make the weekend, but want to try the wines another time, two of the wineries, Eagle Harbor Wine Company and Eleven Winery, operate tasting rooms that are walking distance to the ferry terminal. They feature their respective wines and are open throughout the year. (Eleven also has a location in downtown Poulsbo).

Amelia Wynn Winery’s wines are featured at Harbor Square Wine Shop daily, along with several other wines. These are available for tasting. For hours and information, contact the individual wineries.