Tag Archive | Lemberger

Olympic Cellars Winery

After our disappointing trip up to Hurricane Ridge, and having the skies open up in a deluge, Jon and I decided to head back to the hotel for the evening.  On our drive out to Port Angeles, I had seen a winery along the main road, housed in a large historic barn.  I had been thinking that they would be closed by the time we returned from our hike, but with the weather changing our plans, we now had a chance to stop!

Olympic Cellars Winery was founded in 1979, making it the 15th winery founded in Washington State, and the first on the Olympic Peninsula.  I hadn’t realized that there had been wineries on the peninsula so long, but I wasn’t really paying much attention to wine when I was a kid on a family trip to Port Townsend.  The barn that the winery is housed in is 121 years old, and the ladies who own the winery have a lot of pride in the history of the land and the building.  The tasting bar where you sample the wine is also over 100 years old.

Olympic Cellars Winery makes its home in a 121 year old barn

Olympic Cellars Winery makes its home in a 121 year old barn

When we stopped by, it was about 30 minutes before they closed, and the rain had let up so it was mostly just a light sprinkle.  We headed in and were the only ones there.  I apologize for not taking any photos, but imagine a large old barn with a beautiful, dark wood, antique tasting bar.  The rest of the tasting room is an amazingly well stocked, wine themed gift shop.  They have all sorts of wine items and novelty gifts for the wine lover in your life.  They also sell some gift items in their online store, but that is only a fraction of the items that they have in their tasting room.

Olympic Cellars Winery produces three labels, their popular everyday “Working Girl” series, the Olympic Cellars label, which has 5 varietal wines, and the Dungeness label, their artist label series wines.  For your tasting fee, you get to sample 5 wines of your choice.

I hadn’t really planned on tasting that afternoon, so I didn’t take any notes, but we really enjoyed their Cabernet Franc (the 2009 won Best in Show at the Denver International Wine Competition), and the Dungeness Red, which is made with Lemberger grapes.  Neither of us was a fan of their Chardonnay, but I can’t remember what it was about it that didn’t appeal to me.

Overall, the visit was pleasant; my only criticism would be that our server that day didn’t offer up any information about the winery, its history, the winemakers or the wines we were sampling.  If I haven’t been someplace before, I like to hear about the winery; I want to know what I’m drinking and how it was made!  Where do you source your grapes, why is the winery in this location?  Give me something…  So, this lack of conversation made for some awkward long silences when you are the only people in the tasting room.

The bell they use to ring in the harvest is over 100 years old!

The bell they use to ring in the harvest is over 100 years old!

All in all, worth a trip, but you might make sure to bring a friend who likes to talk…

Woodinville Warehouses hold neat surprises.

Facelli Winery was another stop on our September day trip to the Woodinville warehouse district.  This was my pick, and I chose them because they specialize in the harder to find Italian varietals.  I’m intrigued by wines that you don’t see often, and Facelli has a Barbera and a Lemberger.   They said a Dolcetto is in the works.

Facelli is family owned and operated, and the family is serving in the tasting room.  They make many different varietals, and are really friendly.  You can see the pride that they have in their wines.  I picked up several, because they have some truly unique wines.

Anton Ville is a small winery with only five wines.  Their white, called Harmony, is a Viognier and Riesling blend, which is light and fruity summer white.  At $15, it is also very affordable.  They do a great job with their reds as well.  They offer a Merlot, a Cab. Sauvignon, a Cab. Franc, and a Merlot based blend.  The wines are much more refined than I would expect from a startup winery.  The reds have been aged for a long time, with the 2005 vintage currently selling.  I’ll be looking forward to seeing what else they put out.

Guardian Cellars was certainly the standout for the day.  The vibe in their tasting room is young and hip, and they have their walls covered in concert posters from bands that Jon likes.  They have good music playing, and they make you feel welcome.  They offer a Sauvignon Blanc, called Angel, and a Cabernet Sauvignon.  They also offer several blends, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc.  One word about their wines: Excellent!  Strong, oakey, Cabernets are not my style, but Guardian Cellars wines are so balanced that they appeal to a variety of palates.  We are lucky enough that our local wine store carries Guardian Cellars wines, and we have purchased several.  We will certainly visit again.