Fidelitas Wines has opened a new tasting room in Woodinville and owner/winemaker Charlie Hoppes will be on-hand every Saturday in August to welcome guests and pour wine.
Fidelitas’ Western Washington tasting room is centrally located in the heart of Woodinville Wine Country’s tourist district at 14467 Woodinville-Redmond Road, close to the Hollywood Schoolhouse.
The tasting room will be open from noon to 6 p.m. daily; the $10 tasting fee is refundable with a wine purchase.
"Our wines are now almost exclusively grown on Red Mountain," explains Hoppes, "and our daily tastings will give guests the opportunity to learn more about this incredible appellation and the diversity of its vineyards."
Hoppes crushed his first grapes in Washington in 1988 and is one of the most acclaimed winemakers in the state.
Recent awards include recognition as "Winemaker of the Year" in the August 2013 issue of Seattle Magazine.
For more information, visit fidelitaswines.com or Facebook.com/FidelitasWines.
As the number of tasting rooms and wineries in Woodinville continues to grow, a few wineries from outside of the state are starting to realize that Woodinville is the place to be for their tasting rooms. One of these is Lachini Vineyards (www.lachinivineyards.com), which specializes in Pinot Noir grown in Oregon.
Ron and Marianne Lachini have a 45-acre vineyard just outside of Newberg, Oregon where they grow and make premium Pinot Noir. In 1997, they moved to Oregon from Northern California where they bought their vineyard. Their passion then, as it is today, is to grow the grapes on their estate to make premium Pinot Noir. In 2001 they had their first limited vintage.
Caryn Wheat, their tasting room enthusiast, poured us several vintages of their Pinot. She was very helpful in explaining all the wines she poured while giving us a brief background of the winery and vineyard. The different Pinots we tried highlighted the different clones of grapes from the Oregon estate, with some being more feminine and some more masculine in character, as Caryn explained.
The 2007 Lachini Family Estate Pinot was exceptional, with hints of smoke, earthy tones and spice. This particular Pinot received 93 points from Wine Enthusiast. After tasting several Cabs that day (yes, we know we should try the Pinots before the Cab) this Pinot was actually refreshing to try as one can easily tell the difference of the light side of a Pinot from the big fruit of the heavier Cabs. Caryn told us some funny stories of Washington wine enthusiasts claiming not to like Pinots, who after trying those from Lachini ended up buying multiple bottles.
We also had a chance to try the 2010 Family Estate Pinot which was every bit as enjoyable as the 2007. They also poured a 2010 La Cruz Vineyard Pinot. They contracted those grapes from that vineyard near Petaluma, California. Needless to say everything we tasted made it worth the stop. What was a first for us was trying a Pinot Noir Port, which we normally find too sweet and syrupy. This one was neither and was so good we ended up buying a bottle of this perfect dessert wine. Guess we are also a couple of Washington wine enthusiasts who continue to be proven wrong with our wine stereotypes.
The tasting room is located in the Hollywood Vineyards Center near the main roundabout in the tourist district at 14455 ‘A’ Woodinvill- Redmond Road, Woodinville. It features roll- up garage doors, concrete floors and two levels of tasting room luxury, decorated with wood trim and a very unique wooden bar. It is a great place for an event – which Ron and Marianne occasionally host onsite. We heard stories of the most recent event, featuring Pinot, Pigs, and Poker. We think we might have to attend that one next year.
Tasting room hours are Thursday 2-6:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday noon - 7:30 p.m. and Sunday noon -5:30 p.m. Their wines run mostly in the $40-$60 range with the Port at $32.
On a nice day, we made the trek to the Olympic Peninsula to check out some of the wineries on the other side of Puget Sound. We came across an interesting winery just south of Discovery Bay called Eaglemount (www.eaglemountwinery.com).
Unlike Woodinville wineries, Eaglemount’s tasting room is located right at a working farm which was started on an 1883 homestead. The winery is somewhat difficult to find and includes a mile-long drive on an old dirt road before arriving at the tasting room and farm.
The homestead tradition is continued by harvesting variety apples from the old orchard to make apple cider. All ciders are made from certified organic or sustainably produced apples, pears and other fruits and don’t contain sulfites.
We entered the tasting room, located in an old house, and were greeted by Piper Corbett who convinced us we needed to taste both the ciders and the wines. The tasting room is decorated as an old traditional farmhouse. It almost seems to be frozen in time, reminding us of what life was like over 100 years ago.
We started our tasting with three of the seven available ciders. The first was the homestead dry, made from heirloom apples. We were pleasantly surprised at the subtle taste, as we were expecting cider to be much sweeter. Next was the quince cider, a curiously aromatic one-of-a kind cider. But the most unique cider we tried was the Boot Brawl, which is hopped with Washington state Cascade hops. It was an interesting cross between a cider and a beer. We’ve never tasted anything like it.
But this is a wine column, so we also tried the Eaglemount wines, which were added in 2006. Grapes for the wines come from small vineyards in Eastern Washington. This is due to the fact that the climate on the Olympic Peninsula, much like Woodinville, is not really great for growing quality wine grapes. Washington state is really interesting in that 99 percent of all wine grapes are grown in Eastern Washington, but a significant number of wineries are located in Western Washington. We don’t know of any other area of the world that trucks so many grapes over a mountain range to bring them to production wineries.
We started with the Eaglemount red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. It was both earthy and woody in taste. The Cabernet Sauvignon was our favorite – a traditional Washington Cab – fruit forward and rich in taste. This wine won a silver medal in the Sunset International competition.
Eaglemount is located at 2350 Eaglemount Road, Port Townsend Wash. Tasting room hours are Thursday-Monday from 12 to 5 or by appointment. Wine prices range from $20 to $40.
On one of our recent trips to the Tourist District, we stumbled upon Trust Cellars (www.trustcellars.com) and decided to give it a try. Trust is yet another example of a great Eastern Washington winery opening a tasting room in Woodinville.
At the time we didn’t know much about them and were pleasantly surprised.
The Trust tasting room is located near the Purple Café in Woodinville where we met Terry Christiani, one of the most knowledgable tasting room managers we have ever met.
Terry started us off with the 2011 Riesling from Columbia Valley. As we started our tasting, we asked for tasting notes and found out that Steve, the winemaker, doesn’t believe in them. We couldn’t agree more.
It has always seemed strange to the Winers that so many people let others tell them what they should be tasting in wine.
We remind readers that you are the only one with your particular palette and are therefore uniquely qualified to judge the taste of wine on your palette.
We applaud Steve’s stance on the topic of tasting notes.
As we moved onto the reds, Terry told us some other interesting stories about Steve, who was a television producer for CNN on the East Coast in his past career.
In 2005, Steve had a mid-life crisis (not our words!) and decided to move with his family to Walla Walla, Wash., to make wine, which he knew nothing about.
Washington has been benefitting from his wines ever since.
We contrasted two different Syrahs from Trust, namely the 2008 Syrah from Columbia Valley and the 2010 Syrah from Walla Walla.
This was a great demonstration of the different AVAs, with the Columbia Valley proving to be more about earth and spice and Walla Walla being more about fruit and pepper.
This was a true reminder of how great the Syrah grape is in Washington state — a grape that very well may be the grape of Washington’s future.
The highlight of the tasting was a 2010 "Mystery" Syrah from the Columbia Valley. Not even Terry could tell us about it as Steve insisted in making it a mystery to all of Trust’s employees.
This wine had a distinct nose to it — a subtle "grassy" and "barnyard" nose.
We rated it the highest on the day.
While we did try some of the other wines from Trust, we highly recommend the Syrahs.
Trust also makes a very nice red blend called t.a.t.t. (tried and true table wine), which we would also highly recommend in the value category if you are looking for a good overall red table wine.
The tasting room is located at 14469 Woodinville-Redmond Rd. and tasting room hours are: 1 - 6 p.m. Friday & Saturday, Sunday 1-5 p.m.
Did you know we now have Oregon wineries right here in Woodinville? If not, let us introduce you to one of them — Zerba Cellars (www.zerbacellars.com).
Even though the Zerba vineyards are located in the Walla Walla Valley, this valley transcends the Washington-Oregon border, and the Zerba vineyards are all located south of the border, officially making Zerba an Oregon winery.
The Jon Cockburn Ranch Vineyard is located in the southeast corner of the valley, in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. Dad’s Vineyard is located in the “Touchet Beds,” near the state line, and the Winesap Road Vineyard is located in the rocky floodplain of the Walla Walla River.
Zerba Cellars is the product of Cecil and Marilyn Zerba, whose family’s roots can be traced to the Walla Walla Valley back as far as the 1850s. When Cecil and Marilyn were married in September 1981, they established Zerba Gardens, a local nursery producing quality plants and produce. Over the next 20 years, Zerba Gardens grew into one of the valley’s most successful and trusted local nurseries. In 2001 Cecil and Marilyn Zerba left the nursery business and founded Winesap Vineyards. The vineyards are all certified sustainable by LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), IOBC (International Organization for Biological Control) and Salmon Safe.
Greeting us was Mike who poured us two whites and three reds. The standout in the white category was the 2001 Rousanne which was nicely balanced. Two of the red wines stood out for us — the 2008 Merlot and the 2008 Syrah. The Merlot (which contains 20% Cab) showcases grapes from the ancient rocky floodplain of the Walla Walla River and from the valley hillsides. It has an exotic nose featuring mint, red cherries, anise and hints of earthiness and light tobacco. The Syrah was fruit-forward with a nice finish.
We ended our tasting with a bonus wine (Mike must have liked us) — a late harvest red blend of 67% Syrah, 33% Barbera, and a kiss of 2008 Semillon Ice Wine. This was almost like drinking a light Port wine and made for a really interesting close to our tasting. It is apparent to us why Zerba was named 2011 Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest and why a friend of ours insisted that we had to try it.
Most Zerba wines are in the $20-$30 price range, with our favorite Merlot and Syrah being $30. The tasting room is located at the Apple Farm development on the northwest corner of the main roundabout in the Woodinville Tourist District.
They are open from 12-5 p.m. on Sunday – Tuesday and 11-6 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday.