A couple weekends ago, I headed out to Woodinville for a little tasting and art viewing. Even though Hubs & I remodeled our house almost 3 years ago, there are a few blank spaces on my walls that I still need to fill. And what better to put on them than a beautiful Northwest wine scene by one of my favorite Washington wine industry people – the fabulously talented Richard Duval. Northwest Cellars in Kirkland was hosting a showing of his work through the month, so I talked a couple of the ladies into coming with me on a mini roadtrip.
Richard met us at the tasting room and gabbed with us for a bit about his art. His work encompasses everything from quiet scenes of dormant vines resting during a snowfall, to an insanely colorful harvest moon over vineyards, to artsy shots of wine mid-pour on its way into an empty glass. He also does a ton of marketing and promotional shoots for local wineries, wine events – like this shot of some beautiful ladies at the Auction of Washington Wines this past summer. 🙂
Richard is EVERYWHERE! I couldn’t believe it when he told me he’s only been doing this for 5 years! I met him at Cooper winery in the Fall of 2014 and have constantly run into him at wine shindigs since then. For only being involved in the industry for 5 years, he certainly seems to know everyone (hello?! Bob Betz was at his birthday party!).
Richard was so gracious to my friends– the sweet & sassy Stacy and the plucky & passionate Caroline. He’s incredibly likeable and friendly, and that goes a long way. There are a lot of talented people out there, but if others don’t want to be around you or engage with you, you’re going to struggle with being successful. I will always remember Reggie’s advice regarding our small Washington wine industry when I had my first wine class with her a few years ago: BE NICE. Richard goes beyond this, plus he’s seriously talented. See for yourself!
The owner of Northwest Cellars, Bob Delf, has clearly taken Reggie’s advice. His wines are excellent crowd pleasers (and at his prices, you can stock up for crowds!) and he himself is a gem to talk to. Northwest Cellars hosts numerous charity events in their tasting room – many of them dog related, benefiting Seattle Humane Society, Old Dog Haven or other local rescue organizations. They also continually support various local artists & musicians. I love that about them – being so involved in the Northwest community. My favorite wines of Bob’s that I tasted (and purchased!) were the Sonatina (80% Roussanne, 20% Viognier) which was crisp with flavors of peaches and apples, and his Carménère that showed tons of black pepper and black fruits.
Next we were off to Woodinville. My case of Mourvèdre from W.T. Vintners (which I “won” at the Auction of Washington Wines over the summer) was ready for me to pick up, so we swung by there first. The tasting room was empty when we arrived, but buzzing when we left so we unfortunately didn’t have much opportunity to talk with the tasting room gal. However, we were introduced to their new Raconteur label. These wines are blends from multiple vineyards as opposed to single vineyard, single varietal like W.T. Vintners’ other wines. And they’re also about half the price.
I picked up the Raconteur white blend (75% Chenin Blanc, 25% Grüner Veltliner) which was full of lively citrus and peach flavors with a minerally finish. These new labels are eye-catching graphics of black and white with touches of red and will definitely stand out on retail shelves. The W.T. label, however, needs a bit of an update. Particularly on the Mourvèdre . It’s awfully busy and difficult to read what’s in the bottle . . . and especially the fantastic vineyard (Boushey!) it comes from!
Last, but most certainly not least, we headed to Savage Grace. The winemaker, Michael Savage, was there and remembered us from the Auction of Washington Wines (. . . is that good or bad?) so we chatted him up a bit. His wines are delicate and often more herbal and earthy than fruity – not your typical Washington wine. Michael’s face and whole demeanor light up when he talks about his craft. 🙂
Like his next door neighbor W.T. Vintners, he produces wines that are single varietal from a single vineyard. We tasted two awesome Cabernet Sauvignons – one from Seven Mile Vineyard and one from Red Willow. The former was lighter in body with bright acidity and flavors of herbal cherries (Luden’s cough drops, anyone?) I preferred the Red Willow Cab that had more earth and tobacco notes. But both were delicious in their own way and beautifully balanced.
The other wines in Michael’s lineup were standouts as well. He let us try his Grüner Veltliner which is going to be released in the Spring. “Holy Yum!” were my extensive tasting notes on that one. Côt (what they call the Malbec grape in the Loire Valley) was super herbal like Loire wine typically can be. The off-dry Riesling was zippy and citrusy. His website is tailor made for corkdorks because he includes all sorts of fascinating facts about the wine: when the grapes were picked and at which brix level, soil, slope aspect, fermentation vessel, oak program, etc. And, his labels are awesome – like a crayola crayon box for adults.
So many amazing winemakers in Woodinville, and so little time. But with it being only 30 minutes away, I really have no excuse for not visiting more often. I’m sensing a New Years’ Resolution coming on . . . stay tuned!!