One of the perks to living in the PNW is the bountiful amount of exceptional quality wine in our own backyard. Since Washington is a relatively young wine region, the prices are still budget friendly while quality and age-worthiness reigns supreme. The gems of the state lie in the climate, the unique geology and the down-to-earth winemakers bringing their passions to life.
Life is an Offering
Vital Wines is the brainchild of pioneer and winemaker, Ashley Trout. The wine is 100% nonprofit, with the proceeds all directly going back into the vineyard workers of Walla Walla. Every grape, barrel and bottle are donated from the community of winemakers. The 2021 The Given pairs exceptionally well with butternut squash soup & freshly baked sourdough bread. Add a salad of butter lettuce, chevre and fresh herbs like basil and dill to bring it all full circle. The Given is the red blend that keeps giving and is featured in The Enlightened & The Triple Zen wine club for the fall season.
Ice dams into a dam good wine
Ashley Trout’s main label is the monochrome beauty that is Brook & Bull Cellars out of Walla Walla. The stormy label says it all without saying a word.
In the case of Washington’s terroir, it is the loess aka the windblown silt and sand caused from repeated flooding of ice age dams more than 15,000 years ago.
The defining feature of Washington viticulture is this very glacial activity that left behind deposits of deep, low- nutrient and well-drained soils. Quality grapes yield quality wines.
Being named “the Malbec Queen”, Ashley has been a mover and shaker in Washington for over two decades. Find Brook & Bull 2020 Cabernet Franc in The Grateful Reds club for fall because it has the WOW factor. Flavors of boysenberry jam, orange peel, fresh cut cedar; this Cabernet Franc is ready to pair with steak fajita night or a decadent lasagna with crispy garlic bread. It would also be a terrific wine on the Thanksgiving table.
The Power of Place
In the case of Alveare Winery, it’s Samantha that makes the wine and her husband Kent that keeps the bees. Hence the realistic bee gracing the label of this single vineyard wine from Rattlesnake Hills in the Yakima Valley AVA. Find Alveare (also called Orenda Winery) nestled right over in Carnation in what was once a historic farmhouse and now a modern-day winery.
The 2021 Bee & Barrel is a balanced blend of 30% Cabernet Franc, 25% Malbec, 25% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a terrific food wine because it has spice, soothing tannins, and plentiful blue and black fruit. Pair Bee & Barrel to a grass-fed burger or Bolognese.
It’s the people behind the labels, working with the land and alchemizing its expression to create art and an offering. The women winemakers of Washington are creating exceptional wines that don’t fit the mold. Make space on your table for more giving, service and creating beauty with this one, precious life.