Here’s a fact that may surprise you: Washington State is the second largest premium wine producer in the United States. We have 750-plus wineries, more than 350 wine grape growers and 13 American Viticultural Areas (or AVAs in wine speak).
When it comes to what’s in our glasses, the major white grape varietal players include Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Viognier.
With all of this great vino, Seattle visitors want to know where to procure a glass of something local. Here are four of my favorite places to imbibe:
Proprietors Soni Dave and Henri Schock run this charming tasting bar and wine shop in the Madrona neighborhood. Dave brings her eye for design to the cozy space, while Schock brings encyclopedic wine knowledge. In warmer months, the intimate patio, strung with twinkling lights, begs to be enjoyed with friends and a crisp decanter of rosé. Pair a glass of local wine from Matthews Estate such as a 2010 Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc with a plate of artisanal cheese or charcuterie handpicked by Schock — Bottlehouse’s head cheesemonger.
It’s hard to decide what is more impressive — the downtown bistro’s spiraling wine tower or its wine list featuring more than 80 glass and 600 bottle selections. Get to know Washington wines with a flight focused on local labels (think Tempus Cellars’ Evergreen Vineyard Riesling from Columbia Valley and Maison Bleue Au Contraire French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay from Yakima Valley) served alongside a menu that celebrates Pacific Northwest ingredients such as smoked salmon served crostini style and Dungeness crab cake.
While the emphasis at this Michael Mina-owned restaurant (Mina grew up in Ellensburg, Washington) is decidedly on Burgundian wines, Washington-made wines are well represented, especially local rising stars such as Maurice Cellars’ Malbec and Efestē’s Evergreen Riesling. The space is sleek and the train station-style wine board, displaying the wines as if they were departures and arrivals, is a sexy way to showcase the daily offerings. Be sure to check out RN74’s Saturdays with the Sommeliers series that runs through June. RN74’s sommelier team leads each session as they provide lectures and tastings. The April 20 event will feature “The Other Cabernet (Franc)” while the May 18 affair will cover the growing Greek wine industry.
Want to learn more about Washington wines? Swing by The Tasting Room on Post Alley for one-ounce tastes, glass pours and wine flights from Washington’s first cooperative tasting room. Some of the state’s most celebrated vineyards are featured here including Camaraderie Cellars and Latitude 46 North. Local charcuterie from Salumi (owned by Mario Batali’s father, Armandino) and cheeses, including nearby Beecher’s Handmade Cheese rounds out the delicious sipping experience.
For more information on Washington State wines, local events and our wine regions, visit the Washington State Wine Commission website.
Photos courtesy RN74