Woodinville Wine Honors (2nd edition)

And a balmy welcome to all you S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) people of the upper Northwest as we open the festivities of this second edition of the Woodinville Wine Honors!

What a year of growth for Woodinville’s wineries/tasting rooms scene! The current total of existing and planned establishments stands at a staggering plus-or-minus 103 winery-name labels. As The Earls sang “Remember Then,” does anyone remember when there were only three? Guerilla trivia question for a 3-pack of Betz 2007 Pere de Famille: in 1988, there were only three wineries in Woodinville…name them.

Like Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” tribute to wine: everyday, Washington wine’s a getting’ closer, they’re coming (to Woodinville) faster than a roller coaster, great eastern Washington wines like yours will surely come my way. We salute those wineries that made the trek over the Cascades to setup shop in the land of two-million wallets and only two Master Sommeliers (boos coming from the Woodinville wineries table).

Time’s up on guerilla trivia. The answer is: Chateau Ste. Michelle, Facelli Winery, and if you had Columbia Winery on your racing sheet, I’m sorry to tell you but you have been eliminated from the race. Please pack your wine glasses and leave. The correct third winery was Haviland Winery. Bonus points if you had Domaine Whittlesey Mark (a sparkling wine producer).

I hear the restless crowd doing a Bobby Lewis (“Tossin’ and Turnin’”) so let’s start handing out the iron pyrite medals…

WAwineman’s blog of the year: K Vintners 2007 El Jefe tempranillo. It wasn’t so much about the wine as it was about the reporting content. If you know anything about wine bloggers, they’re all former pro wrasslers and have the cauliflower palates to prove it.

Honorable mentions from visiting just about every tasting room here:

Davenport Cellars: Jeff and Sheila Jirka’s winery/tasting room is a living model of what it takes for a most gracious and generous couple to start up a winery and do it right. Of course, it helps that the wines have character as each one of their offerings does. “That said,” they hit one out of the park, so to speak, with their 2007 syrah that will not be continued, much to the sadness of syrah-philes.

Convergence Zone Cellars: Scott Michael and Monica Lee Greenberg are not producing a whole lotta wine, but their tireless support of local charities for such a micro-producing winery is a testament to the generosity of these boutique wineries that is evidence of the Seattle-area being recently accorded the “most generous city” in America.

DiStefano Winery: why are your elegant, carefully aged wines still such a secret to most of Woodinville?? Here’s a plug to get more new wine drinkers to visit the winery in the tucked-away northwest corner of Woodinville. Terrific winemaking from Mark Newton and Hillary Sjolund without the wait.

Hestia Cellars: Shannon Jones has brought formidable competition to the malbec scene, so you’d better grab a few bottles from what’s left of the 125 cases produced. Now, we had a deal to keep the price at thirty bucks, Shannon. The other part of the deal was he got front-row tickets from me. What’s this…you’re charging $35 now!? “Supply and demand, you dolt!” shouted Shannon from his front-row seat…twenty tables back.

Isenhower Cellars: Here’s to Brett and Denise, too generous to a fault in a sea of requests for free wine from those scabies-like wine bloggers. Your wines speak for themselves, as do the labels’ stunning artwork.

Matteo Wines: A phat welcome back to Matthew Loso to the Woodinville wine scene! It’s too bad you cannot sing, but then there’s already an overpriced Tenor residing within city limits.

Obelisco Estate: Manny Loya and Stacey Knoles have fascinating stories of their time in the warehouse district that match the equally fascinating trials of the winery AND its most intriguing future that will be eyed by many in the wine industry, at least for the next forty years. Mention their lucky number: 4-oh-four.

And the winners are…

Best place to taste wine in Woodinville: Facelli Winery. Long overdue props!

Rookie of the Year: Amavi/Pepper Bridge tasting room. Not a whole lotta wines, but what’s pouring will knock your wet socks off. The staff is always smiling, very informative, and is home to perhaps, a future Master Sommelier who will swipe Greg Harrington’s record.

Hottest winemaker: Tracy F. of Darby Winery. That smoke is not coming from Darby’s syrahs, guys.

Wine of the Year: Adams Bench 2007 Red Willow Vineyard cabernet sauvignon.

Next up, WAwineman’s awards…

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