Day 2: Vineyards
After a perfect brunch at Bacon & Eggs (not complete without mimosas) it was time to tour the estate vineyards. This time we were accompanied by a local couple, one of which is in the industry and hooked it up. We stayed within the Walla Walla AVA during the tour, although many of the wineries have estates in neighboring AVAs like the Columbia Valley and Red Mountain.
The tasting room at Tranche was located right inside the fermentation room which was exciting for someone who doesn't know much about the process of wine. It was an intimate spot to be able to see the winemakers hard at work. This was also the first spot where I realized that Cabernet Franc may be my new favorite varietal. Walla Walla AVA produces a lot of cab francs and holy shit I did not know what I was missing out on. Any time I go to buy a WA wine I'll be looking for a cab franc from now on.
Flying Trout/Watters/21 Grams
These are all labels running under Tero Estates. But we visiting the Flying Trout tasting room. Named after one of the winemakers, Ashley Trout, who specializes in Malbecs by taking regular trips down to Argentina (what a dream, right?). Needless to say the Malbec was fantastic. And this is coming from someone who doesn't particularly take to Malbecs. The small tasting room was located in the packaging/distribution area of the winery, making it feel like we were really a part of the process.
A more traditional look and feel of what I thought a tasting room is like. The classic Mediterranean architecture and styling made me feel like I was back in Napa. Except instead of drinking Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, I was obsessing over the Cab Franc and Syrah. A beautiful garden and patio under the Indian Summer sun was just heaven. Just thinking about this place has me regretting that I didn't buy a bottle there.
Sleight of Hand
A neighbor of Saviah, we just walked to this tasting room. Now if Charles Smith is the millennial punk, then Sleight of Hand is the OG New York punk. Vinyl records adorned the walls while classics were spun on the record player. The merch even adapted the font from legendary punk venue CBGB. The name of the winery is an homage to the Houdini era of magicians as all the labels were in the old school magic show art style. The vibe of the place was awesome but the wine itself was a bit of a let down. However, it was worth the trip in.
The final stop in the trip is off the country highway in an old schoolhouse turned winery. The school was established in 1870 but rebuilt to the current structure in 1915 until it was converted for wine purposes in 1983. This charming estate and tasting room was not complete without a swing set and a chalkboard bar to doodle while you sip. Books lined the walls next to the bottles of wine; the perfect pair if I'd ever seen one. And did I mention the Syrah? I didn't even like Syrah before this trip but I couldn't leave without a bottle to split with my best friend during the holidays.
If you're a lover of craft beer but are getting tired of the scene, try your palate at wine. It's all the same principles of tasting, flavor profiles, and ultimately crafting a complex and delicious drink. Now I know drinking good wine can feel a little pretentious but let's get real, how many hipster-bros have you heard in taprooms that are overly pompous about their home brew? Changing up your scene is refreshing and much needed every once in while.
If drinking craft beer in Seattle is a golden afternoon with your witty best friend, then drinking cab francs in Walla Walla is like an intimate lover who knows your soul. I recommend opening up your palate and your heart to a great wine every now and then. You won't regret it.