In the past decade, the northern King County community of Woodinville, Washington, has gone from being home to a small collection of wineries (including the state’s oldest and largest) to developing into an international destination.
These days, Woodinville boasts more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms. Many of them are second tasting rooms for wineries in other regions of Washington (in particular the Walla Walla Valley), and all of them are more than happy to cater to the wine lovers among the 3.6 million residents of the greater Seattle area.
Most of the Woodinville wineries are in two areas: the Hollywood district surrounding Chateau Ste. Michelle and the warehouse district about 10 minutes north of Ste. Michelle. Restaurants and other tourism-based businesses have begun to develop in both areas.
Chateau Ste. Michelle, whose roots go back to 1934, was the first winery in Woodinville when the chateau was built and opened in 1976. A few wineries also began to open there for the next 25 years, but the explosion didn’t begin until a decade ago.
Here are some wines we’ve tasted from wineries with a presence in Woodinville. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant, or contact the wineries directly.
William Church Winery 2014 Viognier, Columbia Valley, $25: Enticing aromas of orange blossom, banana taffy, pineapple and orange oil lead to a delicious entry of white peach, Gala apple and Asian pear. Its clean and bright structure achieves balance. (14.1 percent alcohol)
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2014 Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling, Columbia Valley, $16: Stylish aromas of Asian pear, gooseberry, lime and baking spice are joined by a bit of diesel. There’s a beautifully radiant entry of fresh white peach followed by mouthwatering Key Lime pie and finished with a slice of gooseberry pie. (12.5 percent alcohol)
Armstrong Family Winery 2014 Wild Angels, Columbia Valley, $18: This white blend offers aromas of kiwi fruit, heirloom pear, honeydew melon, starfruit and a touch of minerality. On the palate, the presentation early on is rich and oily with ripe Bartlett pear leading the way into crisp and focused flavors of jicama and starfruit. (14.2 percent alcohol)
Finn Hill Winery 2014 Blondie Rosé of Sangiovese, Red Mountain, $20: This pink wine begins charming your nose with hints of deep cherry, dried strawberry, Red Haven peach and rose petal. Inside, it’s bright and delicious with Rainier cherry, strawberry jam and a follow-through of peach. (13.5 percent alcohol)
Columbia Winery 2012 Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley, $35: This broad-shouldered red opens with aromas of dark cherry, red plums, horehound, anise, toast and tar. On the pour, there’s a smooth stream of blackberry and boysenberry that grows in stature with sandy tannins before a finish of raspberry. (14.3 percent alcohol)
Beaumont Cellars 2013 Cabernet Franc, Ancient Lakes of Columbia Valley, $29: The theme is one of cherry, red currant and blackberry with notes of forest floor and crushed herbs. Juicy acidity and well-managed tannins create a wonderfully long finish. Suggested pairings include robust meats, aged cheeses or flatbreads. (13.5 percent alcohol)
Otis Kenyon Wine 2012 Malbec, Washington, $40: This is a beautifully balanced expression of this red grape from Bordeaux. Aromas of black cherry, black currant, mocha and sweet oak spices continue into the drink that offers mild tannins and pomegranate acidity. A touch of blueberry makes for a great finish. (14.3 percent alcohol)
Doyenne 2012 Signature Syrah, Yakima Valley, $43: This syrah from DeLille Cellars opens with a serious note of cured meat, underlain by subtle blueberry and blackberry notes. On the palate, the berries are joined by plums, dark currants and a refreshing note of orange, likely from the 2 percent viognier blended seamlessly into this smooth drink. (14.4 percent alcohol)
Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, an award-winning news and information company. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.