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May 17, 2010 09:20 PM

Woodinville - wine tasting & lunch

I will be spending a Saturday in Woodinville near the end of the month. Looking for recommendations for good wineries and also for places to grab a light lunch.

While I like most wines, I would be interested in any places doing more old world style wines, whether with French or Italian varietals, if they exist in this area.

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  1. Just came back from Woodinville, where I stayed at the Willows Lodge. We only made it to a few wineries due to time constraints, but I can recommend Covington Cellars and Efeste. I didn't make it to DeLille, which some friends recommended highly, but I drank some of its wine while in town. DeLIlle would fit the bill as far as the French varietals go.

    For a light lunch, I would recommend the Barking Frog. It's more casual during the day than its dinner service, but the food is excellent. I had one of the best burgers of my life, and my dining companions all enjoyed their lunches as well. They do have salads, so don't be put-off by my burger recommendation.

    I would advise you to avoid Purple Cafe & Wine Bar for any meal. Mediocre food, sub-standard service.

    Have fun!

    Barking Frog
    14580 NE 145th Street, Woodinville, WA 98072

    Purple Cafe & Wine Bar
    14459 Woodinville Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville, WA 98072

    1. Spicygal - Not sure what you mean by French or Italian varietal. As far as I know most wines are made with the same varietals all over the world such as Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, Sangiovese, Malbec, Chardonay, Viognier etc...
      Can you be more specific?
      There are quite a few excellent wineries in Woodinville that I can recommend. Keep in mind that we are in the "New World" and the concept of "terroir" is also applicable with many of the wineries in the States. Also the "Old World" wineries are moving towards a more "New World" style. That's not saying one style is better than the other.

      1. Thanks for the recommendations. I guess I should have been clearer when explaining varietals. Of course many of the classic french wines are made with CabSauv, Merlot, Grenache, Syrah, I was thinking more in terms of varietals not as often seen in American wines but sometimes more often in European wines (France and Italy in particular) - Picpoul Blanc would be a good example for France and Italy, well, there are just so many obscure italian varieties it makes the head spin.

        Tedfood, I'm interested in your recs regardless of Old World v. New World styles as I'm totally unfamiliar with what Woodinville has to offer. THANKS!

        2 Replies
        1. re: spicygal

          Here they are: Betz-outstanding wines from a greta winemaker Bob Betz; Mark Ryan-again robust, complex reds and some whites as well; Matthews; Januik; Baer; Ross Andrew; Bookwalter.

          There are a couple of wineries from Walla Walla/Tri-City that have opened tasting rooms in Woodinville also: Isenhower Cellars-WW
          Gordon Brothers-Tri-City very affordable and delicious wines in the $25 range.
          The others are a bit pricey $30 or more. For me, I love reds, most of these wines are excellent and have aged very well.
          As for Dellile Cellars it's a great winery but hard to get into, by reservation only if you know the owners/winemaker etc since they produced a limited amount of wines. They are opened twice a year for their mailing list customer.
          I would recommend calling the wineries before visiting. Have fun.

          1. re: tedfood

            DeLille has now opened a tasting room called the Carriage House right next to Brian Carter and is open daily 11-4:30. Betz is not open to the public - they have 2 release parties a year but you have to be on their mailing list to buy the wines.

        2. I find the best way to handle lunch is to do a picnic, otherwise you will spend half the time the wineries are open trying to have lunch.

          2 Replies
          1. re: FoodDee

            Thanks to all for the recommendations. I wanted to share my trip report for others on this board.

            Before our excursion out to Woodinville, we'd stopped by Salumi in Seattle for some sandwiches to go. The line out the door was worth it - the sandwiches were very good, and generously sized. We stuck to pretty basic combinations - basic salumi with provolone, soppressatta with mozzarella) but they were enjoyable and filling.

            In Woodinville, we tasted at Chateau Ste. Michelle, Brian Carter and the tasting room for Delille, which is right next to Brian Carter. We were able to eat our sandwiches inside at Chateau Ste. Michelle - it was raining and not conducive to sitting outside, which was a shame because the property is quite nice. The people there were very friendly and welcoming and escorted us into a large room in the back with a few tables where we could spread out and enjoy our sandwiches. On a scale of 1-10, I'd give their wines a 7 - the Merlot that was on their tasting menu was the standout, IMO.

            Next we tasted at Brian Carter and this was by far my favorite place. They had a Rhone-style white, a lovely Sangiovese-based rose, a great "Super Tuscan" style red, a Tempranillo based red blend, a Bordeaux-style red and a fantastic Chateauneuf du Pape-style red. We enjoyed them all, found them well structured, well balanced and food friendly (alcohol levels on all the wines were between 13.5% and 14.1%).

            Delille was our final stop of the day. We enjoyed all the wines, although the ones that really stood out on the tasting menue were all $75/bottle which, for my budget, is pretty darn pricey. As between Delille and Brian Carter, I thought the Brian Carter wines were the better bang for your buck - all were high quality and $30 or less.

            One more thing to report was our dinner in Seattle. My brother and I went to Cascina Spinasse, and really enjoyed it. The service was excellent and the suggested wine pairings with the meal were spot on (we went by the glass). We shared an appetizer - crespelle with ricotta and wild ramps - very good and paired with an Arneis that our server had recommended. I'd heard that their pastas were highly recommended, so I tried the magtaliatte (sp?) with pork braised in milk. The texture of the pasta was fantastic - so light and airy. The meat was also very good and fork tender, but I wish there had been more of a "sauce" aspect to the dish. My brother's dish was the standout - whole trout. It was simply outstanding. Perfectly moist flesh on the inside, perfectly crisped skin on the outside, sitting on a very light, broth-like sauce. Our server told us that the base of the sauce was a simple fish brodo, but the chef added a sweet and sour-type element (I am thinking some sort of vin santo or high quality vinegar) and also some olives and pine nuts.

            309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104

            Cascina Spinasse
            1531 14th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122

            1. re: spicygal

              Spicygal, sounds like you didn't make it to Mark Ryan your last visit. You really should try to get there next visit. Mark's reds are big - very big. Dead Horse and Long Haul were some of his originals. Now he's also putting out Water Witch, Crazy Mary, Wild Eyed and others. The wines are not for the faint of heart and are simply wonderful on a cold winter night sitting around the fireplace. Do try to get there on your next trip to the Seattle area!

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