Sunday, April 28, 2013

Washington Wine Wanderings

We were driving away from Spokane on I-90 West well before noon, and cut off onto #395, a beautiful four-lane highway that allowed us to drive toward one of the most significant winery regions in Washington State.It was wine-tasting time.

The first winery we stopped in at was Bookwalter. We ended up taking a couple of cases along with us, including a house wine that averages out to about $10 a bottle by the case.

Bookwalter shares tiny Tulip Lane with several other wineries, and we also tasted wines next door at Barnard Griffin, and another tiny winery at the end of the road, Tagaris. There we made our buy of the day, a case of Chateau Clonk de Plonk on sale for $5 a bottle by the case. By this point, we decided it was prudent to get some food on our stomachs, so we enjoyed a Greek Salad and Gyro combo while continuing to taste.

We just had to make a stop at Hamilton Cellars, where we tasted some wine and bought surprise presents for Kathy's brothers, the Hamilton boys.  If you're encouraged by all this to start your own winery, it's time to read about the travails of this branch of the Hamiltons as they tried to start their winery while dealing with government bureaucracies here. It would be enough to drive you to drink.

We hit one more small winery to conclude the afternoon, thanks to the recommendation of young Brendan Kelly at Bookwalter, our suave wine pourer. It was Tapteil Winery, where Brendan's mother presides over the tasting room.

We also chatted with the winemaker and owner, Larry Pearson, who was offering a fascinating barrel-tasting comparison of wine being aged in old and new oak wine barrels. He had worked in Tanzania and it was fun to talk about the wines of South Africa.
Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

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