Category: Tasting Notes
Touring Washington wineries doesn’t conjure up images of unadorned warehouses in industrial South Seattle—unless you’re Seattleite Tom Wolken. Wolken, a casual wine connoisseur, was tired of either taking the long drive to Walla Walla or battling traffic to Woodinville every time he wanted to taste wine where it was made, or purchase bottles directly from the producer. When he found that four artisan wineries—Cadence Winery, Fall Line Winery, Nota Bene Cellars and OS Winery—were producing delicious handcrafted wines in South Seattle, he knew he wouldn’t be traveling east again anytime soon.
With a little prodding from customers like Wolken, the four Georgetown-based wineries joined together in 2006, forming South Seattle Artisan Wineries (SSAW; ssaw.info/) to raise awareness about Seattle wineries and coordinate tasting hours. Fall Line Winery owner Tim Sorenson (who may have to quit his day job as a professor of economics at Seattle University if his wines keep growing in popularity) says the four wineries have a lot in common: The owners are also the winemakers (and janitors, bottle washers, delivery people and accountants), and they’re all very hands-on in the wine-making process. Two of the four wineries—Fall Line and Cadence—make only Cabernet/Merlot Bordeaux-style blends, but all use grapes showcasing the state’s finest vineyards—including Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval. Plus, their wineries are located just minutes apart. Sorenson adds, “People are looking for an alternative to driving a long distance to taste wines.” And for people like Wolken, who calls himself the default expert on South Seattle wineries, SSAW is a boutique alternative to the big boys—unique, small-production wines poured by the makers themselves.
If you go:
Tasting room hours are by appointment only, but call ahead, and the winemakers will be glad to accommodate you.
Cadence Winery: 9320 15th Ave. S, Unit CF; 206.381.9507; cadencewinery.com
Fall Line Winery: 6122 Sixth Ave. S; 206.768.9463; falllinewinery.com
Nota Bene Cellars: 9320 15th Ave. S, Unit CC; 206.459.3185; notabenecellars.com
OS Winery: 1501 S 92nd Place, Suite B; 206.243.3427; oswinery.com
Yemaya’s Wine Picks:
Nota Bene Cellars 2004 Abbinare, Washington state, $27
Some of the state’s finest grapes, including those from the legendary Ciel du Cheval Vineyard, are united in this well-balanced Bordeaux-style blend called Abbinare—an Italian word meaning “link together.” Winemaker Tim Narby takes care aging his wines, using only new oak barrels, which is obvious in the Abbinare’s complex nose and Old World character. Enjoy its deep garnet color and floral perfume accented with stewed black fruits and baking spices. On the palate, this Merlot-driven wine displays harmony between its fruit, acidity and soft, ripe tannins.
Pairs with: Roast duck with huckleberry demi-glace.
OS Winery 2004 BSH, Columbia Valley, $35
Intense aromas of leather, eucalyptus and toasted oak emerge from this Cabernet-based Bordeaux blend that winemaker Bill Owen says is his most masculine-style wine. The voluptuous mouthfeel—something OS wines are known for—fills the palate with flavors of black currant, boysenberry and chocolate, combined with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. This provocative wine craves food that is equally bold and expressive.
Pairs with: Grilled lamb chops and garlic mashed potatoes.
Fall Line Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columb