Woodenville WA Wine Country

This week my husband packed me into his suitcase and we headed up to Seattle Washington for business (his) and pleasure (mine).   His company, ZILLOW flew us in for their annual Holiday party.   During the day he went to the office, while I myself got to enjoy the amenities of the wonderful Hotel 1000.

During our stay, we had the opportunity to do some sight seeing. We stumbled across a wonderful area called Woodenville Wine Country,  home to the world renowned Chateau St. Michelle.

Just 30 minutes from Seattle, this wonderful little spot houses more than 50 wineries.  Washington has a wine region that is said to be only second to California in it’s wine volume, and with a latitude similar to that of Burgundy, France,  I would say that Washington is indeed a WINE COUNTRY in it’s own right.  You will find many little clusters of boutique wineries all bundled together in the Woodenville area.

We had lunch at a wonderful spot called THE BARKING FROG located near The Willows Lodge where a very nice gentleman, Jonathan (The Concierge of the lodge) recommended a number of wineries to visit.

With little time we were only able to taste at one place and Mark Ryan Winery was at the top of our list. When you enter this little upbeat space you hear rock music playing in the background.  You’re greeted warmly by a dog named JACK.  There are vintage motorcycles and artwork on the walls, which can be found on several of the wine bottles.

The names of the wines themselves are very interesting like, DEAD HORSE,  LONG HAUL,  WATER WITCH,  WILD EYED Syrah.  I was told that these names were inspired by Mark Ryan on the Long Haul to the Vineyard and back.  (Hence the Name LONG HAUL)  Apart from the Chardonnay and the Syrah, the other wines are all blends.

We had the privilege  of talking with,  Phillip Fromhertz (Business manager/ assistant wine maker) and felt his passion and concern for the labor that goes into the wines.  I can understand why he and  Mark Ryan (Owner/wine maker) are present as they literally have the pleasure of seeing the fruits of their labor as their guests enjoy the wonderful wines they’ve created.

We also had the pleasure of meeting David Gelles, owner of JACK THE DOG, and KLIPSON VINEYARDS, who graciously shared a glass of the wonderful SEMILLION wine, FANCY PANTSwhich is a joint venture between himself and  MARK RYAN. 80% of the grapes in this lovely wine come from KLIPSON VINYARDS.

The Wine I chose to review was the WILD EYED-Syrah. 100% Syrah from three vineyards off of red mountain (Red Mountain Appellation is Washington States smallest viticultural  appellation.) aged 80% in french oak.  I found it to be very bright and explosive in my mouth.    The wild berries and lavender smooth out the edgy tannins nicely.   The smokiness of the coffee and bacon flavors made it rustic and earthy.  This wine is very drinkable now, or will age beautifully for years to come.

Being artists and musicians ourselves, it seemed so fitting that this ONE winery chose US!

Whether you visit Washington or not,  these wines are worth ordering! If you do have the pleasure to come to this wonderful state be sure to visit MARK RYAN WINERY.  You cant go wrong with the warm welcome, generous pours, and the tasty wines.  You can also visit Washingtonwine.org for more info about the Woodenville Wine Country.

Happy Holidays

Cin, Cin, Salute!!!

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The Meritage Resort – Trinitas Wine Cellars

The Meritage Resort – Trinitas Wine Cellars

Yesterday was a ME day. I have been known for having the desire to turn off the rest of the world periodically and focus on my artistic and spiritual side.

I booked a day at the lovely Meritage Resort And Spa in downtown Napa.   There I entered what is the only wine cave that also houses a spa.   It was an absolutely decadent experience.   I was able to go early enough and do some wine tasting at TRINITAS CELLARS before my massage.

I enjoyed the reserve tasting and was pleasantly surprised that all four wines were full of flavor and lived up to their descriptions in the wine notes.  As an artist I love to create my own picture of words,  but in this case chose to use their wine notes as the descriptions were so on point as to what I smelled and tasted in my glass!   Layer upon Layer all of the beautiful notes synergistically became a symphony in my mouth.  These wines spoke musically to me!!


The Latin word for Trinity, is the fundamental principle of Christianity.  It symbolizes Sun, Soil & Humanity, which are the three ingredients evoking the perfect wine.

2009 Proprietors Reserve Chardonnay

“Our 2009 Proprietors Reserve Chardonnay is a blend of our owner and winemakers favorite Chardonnay Barrels of the 2009 Vintage. It is a perfect marriage of high-quality fruit and American wood barrels:  The toast on the barrels is prominent, giving a crème brûlée character to the nose.  Underneath the toast, you get the intense tropical fruit – pear, peach, lemon zest and citrus. The rich mid- palate, explodes with cinnamon toast, cream and butterscotch – which is a contribution to the length of time spent in the oak barrels.”

2008 Pinot Noir Carneros

“Aromatics of candied red fruit, vanilla, mocha, and campfire.  It boasts flavors of baked red apples covered in butter and cinnamon with a rich entry and broad mid palate. The weight of the fore- and mid-palate over shadow the delicate dark chocolate finish which will lengthen with age.”

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

“Grown east of Highway 29 just south of Oakville Cross Road, our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon displays aromatics of spiced plums, black cherry, vanilla and espresso. It has a rich entry reminiscent of chocolate covered cherries. Barrel aged 18 months in 57% new French oak.”

2007 Old Vine Mataro

Mataro, commonly referred to as Mouvèdre is one of our most esoteric varietals. It displays beautiful aromatics of black cherry, cola berry, chocolate, smoke, vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon. The mouth is full of juicy red fruit and its fleshy core carries though the long velvet finish. Dry farmed and meticulously grown by our favorite Oakley growers the Gonsalves family.

I was taken back by the fact that ALL four of these wines were amazing. This is not usual in most of my tasting experiences,  so I had to include each one here.


The star on this day was the 2007 Old Vine Mataro. Mataro, is usually blended with other grapes, but was bottled alone here and I have to say was very surprising.  Medium tannins explode midway then smooth to a nice finish.  I found it very earth forward which I usually don’t prefer, but in this case the rich dark berries and creamy vanilla balance it out nicely.

In addition to the beautiful spa and stellar wines at The Meritage Resort – Trinitas Wine Cellars, there was wonderful art displayed in the cave, and I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Italian artist, Carla Almanza De Quant.  She specializes in 17th Century inspired Venetian Masks and sculpture.

Thank you Jennifer Beasley for your warm hospitality.  My hats off to Winemaker Kevin Mills and Trinitas Winery.  I am inspired by the Art of Wine making and the passion that I felt and tasted in each of these wines.  What a Blessing and a treat!!!

Please visit, you will be glad that you did.

Cin, Cin!, Salute!!!!!

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The Castle Of Love

Recently on a trip to Napa Valley my husband surprised me and took me to the Castillo Di Amorosa.    As we drove up the road I could not believe my eyes.   There right in front of me was a real Castle.   Little did I know that my husband had planned the whole thing days in advance.

He had contacted the castle ahead of time and arranged a private table atop one of the towers with a dozen roses, wine, cheese and candles and it’s where he proposed to me that we get remarried.  It was an amazing day full of romance and the Castle just added to the magic!  (Later I will write in detail of my experience  of  the winery itself.)


The wine that my Husband chose for this wonderful occasion was La Fantasia “FANTASY”   A very fruity Rosé with creamy berry flavors and a slight effervescence.  Not at all like a Champagne.  I wouldn’t even venture to say it is a sparkling wine.    Men,  you will score big points with this one  for a romantic Valentines Day dinner with a few raspberries dropped inside the glass.  It goes well with yummy creamy Brie and Chocolate covered berries.

Cin! Cin!,  Salute!!

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That Dusty Bottle of Wine

The other day I was dusting and I picked up a bottle of wine from our little wine rack and suddenly my husband said to me, “NO!  Don’t dust that!”   “Why?” I asked?  “Because the bottles look better dusty, it makes them look nostalgic.”   he said while laughing.   Well now that kind of set me back a bit,  but hey, if I get to skip dusting a section of my house,  I am all for it.

Late in the evening, I was on Facebook and saw an entry from a friend talking about wine and it got me to thinking about a bottle of wine that had been sitting on the rack for about two years maybe longer.  I went and dusted it off and it turned out to be a 1999  RUMANIEN CASTELU CABERNET SAUVIGNON which is to simply say, it was a bottle of Romanian Cab.  Something that my husband was saving for a  “Special Occasion”   It was a beautiful bottle with a Romanian Crest on it.  It somehow called to me.


We popped it open and I have to say we were quite surprised as to what was inside. The nose was not that of a wine per-se but smelled like a Brandy.  We tasted it and were shocked to find that it didn’t taste at all like a Cab but like a yummy treat that closely resembled a MADEIRA.   It was super sweet with flavors of oak and raisins.   Some Madeira wines are fortified with Brandy and that is what this tasted like.  It was smooth and warm to it’s finish but light enough to actually drink a whole glass of.  It reminded me of our all time favorite Madeira wine from V. Suitui Napa Valley.

I Googled the wine and could not locate it at all.   We could have opened the bottle and it could have been ruined, but it was perfect.  So I am thankful that we got to enjoy it as I have an idea that it was a very rare wine.    I may dig further to find out more about it but so far all the research that I have done has come up empty.  Perhaps I could find a wine collector who may know something of it.  I have saved the empty bottle.   I wanted to share the experience with our friends here.  You never know what treasures you may encounter on your own Wine Journey!!!

Cin Cin!, Salute!

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Rombauer Winery


Deep in the heart of the Napa Wine Country, off the beaten path there lies a treasure, a little piece of Heaven called Rombauer Winery.

Set on a hillside overlooking the Mayacamas Mountain Range, this winery is intimate, quaint, and secluded.   If you love Horticulture, you will find this location to be quite fascinating.   The garden pathways that wind up and down with stairways are covered with many varieties of plants and flowers.

I recall smelling each rosebush as I made my way down the delightful path witnessing beautiful bumble bees dancing happily from flower to flower.  There are interesting pieces of artwork along the way as well.

The sweet homey atmosphere is quite different from the larger wineries that house many tasters at a time and large picnic areas overflowing with people.  While there is no deli there, you are welcome to bring your own picnic which I personally recommend.

Several times daily there is a Wine and Cheese paring where you can get more intimate details of the wines and the winery itself.

Now lets get to the wine review. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Rombauer’s 2008 Zinfandel.   So much so that no other has managed to measure up to it.  From the moment your nose hits the glass you know you have found something quite different!

Amazing to the nose and consistent through to a lingering finish.  Layered with rich dark berry flavors, smooth oak, slight pepper, and soft tannins.  This wine is stellar on so many levels!!

Please do yourself a favor and visit Rombauer Winery. You will not be disappointed by the beauty, the staff, and the evidence that there are still those who take pride in their craft!!  If you’ve experienced this wine or winery, take a moment using our rating system below to give us your rating.

Cin, Cin, Salute!

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Welcome to Wine Valley Review.com.  Your single resource for wine and winery reviews.  Find wine tips, links to great websites, videos, tutorials, wine information, history, and more.   We’re excited to be sharing our journey’s with you, please visit us regularly for updates and useful information.

We welcome your reviews, comments, and “grape ratings” on our reviews of wines and wineries that we’ve chosen to share.

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