Washington Wines: A Welcome Addition to San Diego Stores
Monday afternoon, vendors, restaurant owners, media personnel, and connoisseurs gathered at Coasterra to taste from the “wonderful world of Washington State wine”. The event, held at one of the Cohn group’s most prestigious restaurants, brought in over 60 wineries for the San Diego market to taste.
Unlike California wines destinations, which are accessible for many travelers in the Napa Valley, Washington wines are a bit far out of reach. Two to four hours east of Seattle, the stories of these wines have to travel to be heard. So travel they did, lining up their finest concoctions to make their names known to the San Diego market.
So what’s different about Washington wines?
In the words of Washington Wine Org., “the global positioning of Washington State allows for Varietal typicity and pure fruit flavors, which are the hallmarks of Washington State wine.”
Due to the valley climate where most of these grapes are harvested, the area tends to stay warm and dry. The Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges protect the valleys from the cold, wet weather, providing the perfect temperatures for a predictable flavor profile to be created.
The 2015 Grape Crush Report noted that Washington State is America’s 2nd largest wine-producing region, with an almost equal production of white to red. In total, there are over 900 wineries throughout the state.
Featured Washington Wineries
Columbia Winery is the oldest in Washington. It was birthed in the 60’s by a handful of University of Washington professors, and has taken many forms to get to where it is today. They currently have a tasting room in Woodinville, wine-country closest to Seattle inhabitants.
Their 2014 Chardonnay is bright with notes of vanilla oak and a hint of tropical fruits. It can be found at grocery stores throughout San Diego.
Their Composition Red Blend is a mixture of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Both bottles run $14 each.
Nine Hats Wines
Nine Hates Wines launched in 2007 as an extension, of sorts, of Long Shadow Winery. Under the Long Shadow name, a red blend was created from declassified barrels, and after its success, Nine Hats now stands as its own brand. My personal favorite from the whole event, was Nine Hat’s Rose from Pinot Gris called Julia’s Dazzle. Named after the founder’s granddaughter, this fruity, flavorful, strawberry-melon wine is unlike any other. It sells within 6 months of production, making it impossible to find if you aren’t ready for its release. The bottle runs at $20.
Lauren Ashton Cellars
Winemaker Kit A. Singh has been practicing dentistry for over 20 years, and after many conversations with his friends and colleagues, realized he also had a passion for wine. In early 2000’s, Kit began taking winemaking classes at UC Davis and in 2009 created his own label. The name comes from a combination of his children’s names, with labels portraying images from his wife’s hometown of Estonia. His collection includes one of a few Roussanne found in the whole state. It’s flavor profile is linked to tea, with flavors of chamomile, lemon, and honeysuckle. Singh recommends that the wine be paired with scallops, a great idea for your next dinner party. The bottle sells for $21.
Owen Roe Winery
Abbot’s Table Red Blend by Owen Roe has well-balanced notes of fruit and acidity. The representative noted that it’s price point keeps it from being a juggernaut, but it a treat to bring to any dinner party. Dark cherry, spice, blackberry, tobacco, vanilla–this complex flavor profile produces a full flavoring and has been produced for over ten years now. Each bottle sells at $24.
Interested in trying some of these wines yourself? Try ordering a bottle through their website (or looking for it at your favorite wine depot). Request your favorites at your local San Diego stomping grounds, and allow the bold flavors of Washington State wines to whet your palate.
Washington wines are now available at Ralphs, The Cohn Restaurant Group (Blue Point, Island Prime, 333 Pacific, Vintana, Sea180), San Diego Wine Co., Marina Kitchen at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, Costco, Stake Chophouse & Bar, and Mess Hall.