Woodinville, located in a peaceful valley 30 minutes northeast of Seattle, is a crossroads where the fruit of Eastern Washington meet the vintners, chefs and flavors of the Pacific Northwest. Here’s the second installment from our recent visit.
Woodinville’s Warehouse Winery District
The Efestē tasting room is a few blocks north of the main Warehouse District action and their tasting room is a spacious affair with a long tasting bar, tables and retail area. There is also a barrel room which they use for wine club activities.
We began tasting with the 2013 Evergreen Riesling from the Ancient Lakes AVA. This has peach and tangerine flavors with a slight pop of sweetness.
There are no bad wines at Efestē, but two are standouts. The 2012 Upright Merlot reveals the greatness that is possible with Washington State Merlot. The grapes are from the Klipsun Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA and the wine is satin smooth, but with a complex mix of tannins and dark fruit. We favored the 2012 Nana Bordeaux Blend (45% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon) over the 100% Cab 2012 Big Poppa for its bright currant flavors and layers of spice.
A lively buzz livened the tasting room, which is decorated with a rock and roll theme. Although we tend to focus on the Washington State reds, there are some exceptional whites as well. Gorman offers a pair of Chardonnay, the 2013 Ashan Cellars Ceillo Chardonnay is fermented in mostly neutral oak, allowing the citrus flavors to shine. The 2013 Ashan Cellars Kestrel Chardonnay uses 100% new French oak for a rich full feel.
Gorman Winery has a full slate of superb wines, but we did have a couple of favorites. The 2012 Pixie Syrah from Red Mountain is smoky with deep raspberry and dark fruit flavor. The 2013 Bully Cabernet is also from Red Mountain and has rich, bold fruit. Green Dragon favored this as more accessible than the Syrah.
A mechanical engineer, Steve started as a “garagiste” winemaker after being offered a job in Woodinville. His focus is on wines with character, the ability to age and the intent that they will be enjoyed around the dinner table. Check, check and check!
Our top pick was the 2011 Monolith, a 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Malbec blend. It won us over with its playful mix of cherry, blackberry and white pepper flavors. We purchased a bottle for $38. Elevation is a fun, family operation with wines that deliver in terms of value and quality.
More in our next installment!