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Yakima Valley 2011


We were sad to leave the cute little town of Leavenworth, but eager to see what lay ahead.  So … off to the Yakima Valley we headed.

The drive was another beautiful one.  Lots of mountains, river views and windmills paved the way.

Yakima itself is just a city.  A rather dirty city at that.  It was great fun, though, to see the vineyard backdrops as we headed to Rattlesnake Hills AVA.  The main reason we headed to this particular AVA was because of the day.  It was Easter Sunday, and after calling many wineries prior to our visit we found this area to have the most wineries with tasting rooms open on the holiday.

Here we hit Two Mountain Winery, Paradisos del Sol, Wineglass Cellars and Knight Hill.

Brothers, nephews of the original owner, run Two Mountain Winery.  Their wines were good; really good.  Their Chardonnay was full of butterscotch with a hint of banana.  It was really good stuff, if you’re into big Chardonnay.  We bought a bottle!  We loved their reds too: good stuff!

The guys at Two Mountain told us to be sure to check out a winery not far away, but they were closed.  Paradiso del Sol, located just down the road, was open, so we decided to check them out.  This is an interesting place.  Lots of wines and lots of atmosphere!  The wines???  Well, it was difficult to find one to buy.

Next was Wineglass.  This is one of the friendliest wine tasting rooms I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.  David Lowe (owner and winemaker) and his wife Linda are absolutely delightful.  The wines were good too.  Maybe this explains the busy tasting room on Easter Sunday!  David brought us (along with the others tasting) into the barrel room for a taste of his ’09 Cabernet, and it was coming along very nicely.  His Cabs were my favorite.

Our last winery stop of the day was Knight Hill.  It was quite the drive, along a long gravel road, but the payoff was good.  The wines were really good, and so was the view!  They had a beautiful Dry Riesling and a fabulous Mourvedre!

Many people warned us that finding a restaurant open for dinner on a Sunday night in the Yakima Valley was next to impossible.  Boy, they weren’t kidding.  We thought that we’d head to Prosser to check out the area around Merlot Drive, and perhaps grab a bite to eat, but once again they were closed.  We ended up driving all the way to Richland, one of the tri-cities.  There we found a Courtyard Marriott right on the Columbia River.   A short walk away was a great restaurant named Anthony’s.  We had a nice dinner with GREAT service.

The next day was another day planned for golf, but the rain and wind changed those plans.  We instead headed to J. Bookwalter, where we tasted with a very knowledgeable and nice guy named Jared.  They had a white called “Couplet” which was 60% Chard and 40% Viognier.  Wow, was this an interesting wine.  I loved it.  It was a pear in a glass, with some fabulous clove.  The reds were really good too.  My husband’s favorite was the ’08 Protagonist and my favorite was the the Conflict!  Good stuff!  We also stopped back for lunch, which was really yummy, and our server, Majesta, was awesome!  The cool thing is, that they also serve some light fare.  If you get hungry, and need a little noche during tastings, they serve up some fun flatbread and fondue.  Check it out!  They’re also open late some nights and have live music!

We also hit Barnard Griffin.  The wines were pretty good, but the tasting room wasn’t very warm and fuzzy.

Next Stop:  Walla Walla!!!!

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