Yakima Valley, WA
When the pressures of life demand some downtime and you don’t have a vacation on the horizon, we suggest a weekend road trip to Yakima Valley wine country. Here you will sample what is sure to become among the elite wine regions here in Washington State.
As California transplants we have soft spot for golden hills scattered with orchards, groves and vineyards. Valleys that wind endlessly through gorgeous back country which seems to transport you miles from civilization. That euphoric feeling of stumbling on a “hidden gem” tasting room tucked in such obscurity that it was surly undiscovered until your arrival. And the destination wineries perched on bluffs with cinematic views ideal for sampling an array of whites, reds and rosé. If Walla Walla is Napa 15 years ago, then Yakima Valley would be Paso Robles 20 years ago. Well, at least that’s our opinion – here are a few photos to judge for yourself!
It’s always fun to stop in Roslyn, Washington. We chose to have a burger & a beer at The Brick – those of you that watched Northern Exposure will recognize this now semi-famous eatery and bar. We did particularly enjoy watching two minors turned away at the door. We like “adults only”!
One of our first wineries on the circuit – Wilridge Winery – nestled in the newly ordained Naches Heights AVA. While the region was only recently recognized, this winery has been busy producing great vino for over 20 years. The 1900’s era farmhouse tasting room has the perfect balance of nostalgia and charm which was ideal for setting our weekend into motion. We walked out with a pair of fantastic 2011 Viogniers along with 2006 Merlot. Highly recommended.Front view of the 1900’s era farmhouse tasting room at WilridgeView from Wilridge WineryOur second stop was one of our all-time favorite wine tasting experiences. Now I wouldn’t say it was the wine itself that warrants such a claim, rather the immaculate grounds and facility that can be only described as a wine-lovers paradise. Jen and I spent multiple hours just soaking it up!Walkway up to the tasting room at NHV Winery.Great view of the pond situated in the center of these estate.Cascading waterfall leading into the pond. Tables surround this fantastic oasis!Vineyards at the NHV Estate WineryThe next day we wound our way deeper into the valley (Rattlesnake Hills), selecting a good mix of wineries to gain a feel for what the area has to offer.
A few parting shots!Somewhere (can’t remember) in the Rattlesnake Hills AVAGotta love a good ol’ brass tacks bar – North Bend Bar & Grill was the last stop on this fantastic trip!
- Cultura – first on the list was this very small producer with fantastic reviews. We loved his down-to-earth approach to winemaking. Cultura does not distribute and they sell out quickly, so our recommendation is to visit their site and see if you can score a bottle of their Cab or Merlot. Dee-lish-ous!
- Portteus – next we wanted to visit the winery that was the first to begin producing red wine in the Yakima Valley. They are also one of the largest producers in the area. We were lukewarm on this particular winery. Tasting room was unimpressive and the wine was fair. I personally felt it had an overwhelming “farm” taste, strong hay notes that just seemed overpowering.
- Dineen Vineyards – this winery is perched on a bluff with fantastic views. The wine was also quite good – a little on the pricey side, but nothing outrageous. Definitely a good stop on a nice sunny day!
August 4, 2012 / The Vintage Gourmet / 0
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