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Leavenworth, WA 2011

The drive from Woodinville to Leavenworth via Hwy 2 was beautiful.  The roads were windy and mostly 2 lanes, with patches of snow in late April.  The views were stunning.

We arrived in the adorable Bavarian town of Leavenworth and went directly to the little downtown area on Front Street.  This quant stretch of shops and wine tasting rooms proved to be the perfect spot to spend an afternoon or even an entire weekend.

Leavenworth and the surrounding areas have about 15 wineries.  Some of them grow their grapes nearby, while others have them trucked in from Yakima Valley and Walla Walla.

We decided to start off with a bang and hit the tasting rooms.  We tasted at Boudreaux Cellars (in their new tasting room that just opened on April 1st), Ryan Patrick and Kestrel Vintners.

Our first stop was Boudreaux, which definitely set the bar high for tasting in this small town.  Jennifer was pouring, and she was a delight.  We felt very well taken care of as she poured and shared stories of the winery, including the origin of the name.  Owner and winemaker Rob Newsom, originally from Louisiana, worked for years with Leonetti.   The large number of guys named Rob made it essential to hand out some nicknames, and because of his Cajun roots Newsom was given “Boudreaux” in honor of the infamous Cajun folklore character.  When Rob decided to start making his own wines, the winery name was an obvious one!  And the wines?   Ahhhhh … they are wonderful.  I especially loved the ’06 Merlot, which has violets and cinnamon on the nose and lovely smooth tannins on the palate, and the ’06 Cabernet Sauvignon with its smoky nose and fabulously long finish.

Our next stop was Ryan Patrick, where they had a nice little red blend called “Rock Island” that doesn’t break the bank.  Toni was pouring and she was very nice.

Our last wine stop that day was Kestler Vintners.  Their wine production is done in Yakima Valley, but they have a nice tasting room in Leavenworth.  I was actually pleasantly surprised at their wines.  I’ve had their “Lady In Red” line in the past and haven’t been thrilled with them.  We tasted a great 2007 Co-ferment Syrah.  They’ve blended 7% Viognier with 93% Syrah (done in Rhone style) which adds a nice floral aspect to the nose with violet and lavender, and there is a spice and mocha on the palate.  They also have a nice basic Cabernet Sauvignon at the $20 price point.

We then headed to Cheesemongers, a wonderful cheese shop where we got to try lots of samples.  It was a hard decision of what to buy, but we ended up with 3 to take back to our B&B.

We stayed at Abendblume Pension, in their Tannenbaum suite.  We had two fireplaces, one gas and one wood burning, a beautiful view and a very comfy bed.  The breakfasts were to die for and on Easter Sunday we were delighted to be entertained by the owner’s father playing his alpine horn.

The next day we golfed at a wonderful mountain golf course with spectacular views at every turn.  The Leavenworth Golf Club isn’t a difficult course; and can be enjoyed by players of all levels.

Next Stop:  Yakima Valley

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