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.
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 PANTS” which 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.
Cin, Cin, Salute!!!