Woodinville for wine AND whiskey

Woodinville is not just for wine.  In the countryside 30 minutes outside Seattle, known for the many wineries such as Chateau St. Michelle, there are indeed a great number of places to sip the vino.  However, don’t overlook the Woodinville Whiskey Co.  Get yourself a designated driver, then sip, shot and repeat.  Which is exactly what I did recently when Thom and I joined friends for a day of tasting wine AND whiskey.

First stop was Novelty Hill/Januik winery where we found a gorgeous facility with loads of outdoor space to enjoy your wine tasting.  With healthy pours of a tasting of any 4 (including $65/bottle wine) for $12, I started with Januik 2014 Columbia Valley Merlot (which I ended up buying a bottle to take home) followed by two King Cabs and finishing with their Syrah.  All very good and enjoyed with the company of our friends, Kurt and Ernie, who invited us along so we could be initiated in the ways of Woodinville.

Enjoying a short drive in Sexy Best with Thom as the designated driver, we stopped by Chateau St. Michelle just so I could see the beautiful grounds but it was too busy to wade through the crowd for a tasting.  I can see why people love coming here-gorgeous lawn where you are encouraged to buy a bottle and picnic with your family.  I haven’t ever attended one of their outdoor concerts but definitely hope to in the future now that we have a car and get around outside the city.

Nearby, Woodinville Whiskey Co was next on the tasting tour.  Learning about their varieties of whiskey,  Melissa explained how they use ingredients from the Pacific Northwest to produce their award-winning booze.  Ernie and Kurt are whiskey experts so they guided me, the whiskey virgin, through how to properly “smell” each tasting and savor the differences between each type.   Sweet and soft, I took home a bottle of the Straight American Whiskey AND their maple syrup aged in whiskey barrels.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven when they poured us each a shot of syrup with a vodka chaser.  My Belgium waffles (Trader Joe’s) that I love will only be better with this liquid gold on top that costs $20 a bottle and is well worth it.  So.  Good.

All in all, a successful day finally visiting the Woodinville area I had heard so much about but had never had the time to enjoy.  Thankful that Thom was at the wheel, we put the top down and let the sun shine down upon us while I slipped in a quick nap on the way home from our wine and whiskey tasting.  Can’t wait to try the other 130+ wineries and tasting rooms there.  So much wine, so little time!

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My designated driver looking good in Sexy Beast

 

Fried Dough & Vino=Happy Saturday

Malasada French Toast..dripping with bacon infused salted toffee syrup.  Holy. Moly.  Brunch at Super Six in Columbia City was just the ticket for a rainy Seattle day sugar high.  Thom opted for the Hawaiian Loco Moco–a big ol’ bowl filled with rice, brown gravy, beef patty and topped with two fried eggs.  Or, as it should be called, the Widow Maker.  Today was an anomaly in our usually healthy diet and boy was it tasty!  The owner was giving out hot Malasada donuts on our way out.  We didn’t want to be rude so we accepted them with a smile.  Now that’s world class customer service-free donuts!

After seeking out the Green Eileen store that sells returns/seconds of the really well-made Eileen Fisher line at a huge discount (score!), we meandered down Rainier Avenue and checked out this cool neighborhood just south of Seattle.  This is where the hipsters live in more affordable digs.  On the main drag is the Columbia City Theater that we’ve been to and enjoyed the intimate concert atmosphere.  We’re so excited to see our new fav, Foy Vance, there in September.  This Irish lad will, I predict, explode as a superstar with his new album and tour.  Ed Sheeran just signed him as his first artist on his new label so he will have good direction.  Who doesn’t love that adorable ginger Ed?

But, back to our wonderful day exploring south Seattle in the Sexy Beast, top up unfortunately due to rain/cold.  Still, we enjoyed the ride very much in our cozy BMW cockpit.  After the yummy brunch, we slid on over to the edge of Boeing Field where Charles Smith of Walla Walla winery fame has his new tasting room.  After sugar-laden carbs, bring on the vino!   Jet City was packed with wine affectionados tasting and communing.  I chose the $10 tasting flight of 8 wines that are more modestly priced ($70 and under per bottle) vs. the $20 tasting flight of more expensive wines.  I have a hard time recognizing the value of a $70+ bottle of wine over a $20 bottle-all wine is good to me (even two buck chuck from Trader Joes) so my palate must not be too discerning.

Now, I’ve been happily drinking their Boom Boom syrah for years so it felt good to branch out and sample some other Charles Smith originals.  Thom, my designated driver, made fun of the interesting ad copy extolling the virtues of each wine on the tasting sheet including somewhat dubious details of the soil that created these wines including the usual fruits but also:  pipe tobacco, fresh bread, lemon curd, crushed granite, and dried hanging meat    Yeah.  Right. Who cares though because by the end of the 8 tastes, I was ready to buy a few bottles for home consumption and head on home to take a nap.  Ahhh….Saturdays are wonderful!