Well folks, I finally made it out to the beautiful Washington Wine Country. I can tell you that it most definitely did not disappoint. Our group went everywhere from Col Solare to Northstar, then off to Canoe Ridge Winery then Columbia Crest Winery, finishing with Chateau Ste. Michelle. No matter where we went the wines were excellent. I have to say though; my favorite place to visit was Northstar. I would like to give you a taste of my journey through the joy that was Northstar Winery.
Northstar is named after none other than the North Star that has sat perched in the sky for centuries. The name is apt, as Northstar Merlot is certainly a showcase of what a world class Merlot can deliver. Northstar was outstanding, showing some of the best Merlot I have ever tasted. The vines are nestled upon the sunny, southern slopes in the Walla Walla AVA where the soil is made up of rich deposits from volcanic ash and silt from the huge flood from centuries ago. The grapes are hand- picked at the peak time of ripeness and sorted to perfection. The juice is fermented and stored in new French and new American oak barrels for 14 to 16 months and then aged in the bottle for at least another year. These combined efforts make Northstar an exceptional Merlot, ready to enjoy now or lay down in your cellar for years to come. While I was there I had the wonderful experience of blending my own wine. I created a wine that was a blend of Columbia Valley Merlot, Walla Walla Merlot and Red Mountain Petite Verdot. It was absolutely delicious; jammy and full-bodied with dark fruits and hints of chocolate with a silky finish.
After blending our wines, we visited the gift shop where we saw the most beautiful artwork created out of the foil bottle tops from Northstar’s very own wines. We then enjoyed lunch on the sunny patio, with a breathtaking view. We were served one of the most artisanal chicken salads I have ever had. It had everything from Brussels sprouts to berries, as well as Asian dressing that was out of this world, which was topped with a cracker-like baked parmesan cheese that just completed this dish. As our meal came to an end we were served an array of cheeses, followed by a cheesecake with a heavenly blueberry sauce. The best example of wining and dining I have been offered at a winery in some time.
After Northstar we visited Canoe Ridge Winery, Colombia Crest winery and took a short plane to Seattle where we finished our tour at the beautiful Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. Making a stop at Pike’s Place was an enjoyable event, complete with fish tossing and a beautiful market tour. We ended our trip with a VIP reception, as well as a VIP pass to the summer concert series to see none other than Earth, Wind and Fire. ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, along with Southern Wine and Spirits and Chateau Ste. Michelle have supplied me with another great wine adventure for the books!
Carol, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Celebration Specialist – Crystal River