Vortex Cellars quietly began life in July, 2010 by Redmond (Ames Lake) owners Edward Andrew (37) and Nichole Christine Wicklein (34). Ed, a deeply proud WSU grad (who isn’t???) in civil engineering and beer brewing (btw, still not an official major but you know, everyone at WSU minors in beer brewing!)… hence the Vortex reference, sharpened his wine chops over at the Northwest Wine Academy in 2007 and attended online classes with UC-Davis while Nichole works as a mental health counselor at Ahimsa Counseling Services. Hey Nichole– you should sponsor that Wine Bloggers Conference thing because 100% of the attendants qualify for your services. As you know, wine bloggers are deeply addicted to: bad writing, unearned narcissism, mooching free wines, and superficial relationships. If there’s anyone that could use a mental health boost, it’s a wine blogger.
Back to the winery, Ed tends to lean on French (non-Bordeaux) and Spanish tendencies as evidenced by his first wine, a 2008 blend of touriga and cabernet franc. Wild, dude. His current lineup spots seven wines, ranging from $15-24, with his most curious wine being a blend of cinsault and mourvedre. No cabs or merlots as there are plenty of that around the neighborhood.
The winery is located in the D-wing of the warehouse district, across Sparkman Cellars. You’ll know it’s their tasting room by the artful oddities co-mingling amongst the barrels.
Tasted at 48-61 degrees on the IR temp gun. Color: deep magenta with the classic blue on swirl. Nose: blueberries, blackberries, smoked cherries. Mouthfeel: light-bodied but alcohol-sting. Tail trail: 6 seconds. Flavors: tobacco leaf, blue plum, nutmeg, vanilla bean. Food pairing was meat pizza and dry coppa. Refrescante!
Alcohol: 14.3%. Rattlesnake Hills AVA. Funky label texture. Power: 3/5. Balance: 2/5. Depth: 2/5. Finesse: 2/5. Rated: 89. Value: $20. Paid: $25. Music pairing: “Shooting Star” by Owl City. This is WAwineman… uncorked, uneducated but not uncouth.