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Woodinville, WA 2011

The first day of our ten day journey through Washington Wine Country found us in Woodinville, a suburb of Seattle.  There are many tasting rooms here (due to the close proximity to Seattle’s wine loving population), but only some have their actual wine making facilities here.  Most of the vineyards are located east of the Cascade mountains, which we will be visiting later this week.  On this day we visited DeLille, Mark Ryan, Ross Andrew and Januik/Novelty Hill wineries.

My favorite of the bunch was Mark Ryan.  The wines were great, and so was the delightful gal in the tasting room, Kyra.  She was really fun and great, but also knew a lot about the wines.  We especially loved all of the Bordeaux blends, as well as the Syrah.  While there, a nice guy showed up with his dog.  This “nice guy” turned out to be Jerry of Guardian Cellars.  We would have loved to have tried his wines as well, but he’s sold out!  Guess he’s doing something right too.  I’ll be sure to check him out next vintage!

Ross Andrew (tasting room next door to Mark Ryan) also did a bang-up job.  His 2008 Boushe Vineyard Syrah was really tasty, with black fruit and some bacon fat on the palate and a nice long velvety finish.

There aren’t a lot of lodging options right in Woodinville.  We stayed at the Willows Lodge in one of their suites, which was off the charts amazing.  It was truly one of the best rooms in which I’ve ever stayed, and I’ve stayed in some really cool rooms.  (We did a last minute upgrade for only $30!)  Their restaurant (Barking Frog) was packed and we hadn’t made reservations.  The bar was packed too, so we ordered room service instead (which was also from the Barking Frog) and it was awesome!

The next day we had lunch at Purple, a great restaurant with a fabulous wine list and Jeff (our server) was beyond great.  They have wonderful food and great wines by the glass.

After lunch I really wanted to taste at Sparkman, but we were about 45 minutes early.  They open at 1pm and we needed to head to our next destination, so we decided to save Sparkman for our next visit to Woodinville.

Next stop:  Leavenworth!



My April Wine of the Month

Pride Mountain 
Cabernet Sauvignon

The Wine – This is a truly lovely full-bodied wine.  The color is a dark ruby.  On the nose there is currant, cherry and, believe it or not, a vanilla milkshake.  I know that sounds as if it may be over oaked, but it really isn’t.  On the palate there is licorice and the currant, along with some blackberry.  I found the tannins to be evident, but not overpowering.  The wine is very drinkable now, although one should decant it for at least an hour.  With time, this wine will become even better.  I rate this wine 91 points.

82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot
50% Napa / 50% Sonoma

My Experiences Visiting The Winery – This is one of my favorite wineries in California, not only because of the wines, but also because of the tasting experience.  When you go deep into the caves, you’ll get some fabulous barrel tastings.  This isn’t the typical “tour”.  This is a very special tasting.  On one of our visits we were shown the actual county line that separates Sonoma from Napa.  We also had the opportunity to see the Wine Maker, Sally Johnson, doing “her thing” during harvest.

An appointment is needed for a tasting here.

The Journey – Pride Mountain Vineyards is on Spring Mountain.  The Napa and Sonoma county lines are literally on their property.  You need to drive some beautifully curvy mountain roads to get there, but it’s worth it for many reasons.  When you get to the winery, the views are magnificent, and so are the wines!

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