A friend posted about orange wine on Instagram saying she hates to do so because the term leads many to ask her if it’s made from oranges. Sure, it’s not your garden variety wine but it’s been made for thousands of years. Perhaps we need to talk about orange wine?
I remember when I had my first orange wine from Washington. Gah! It was not for me. You know how when you make a cup of tea and accidentally let it steep too long and the aromatics are like *kapow*? Then, each sip leaves you with kitty cat tongue. Yeah, that’s what it was like. Subsequently, I tried one from another producer. Hmmm, better I thought. Then, I had the good fortune to travel to Slovenia and experience orange wine the way it was meant to be. There it is typically crafted from the Rebula grape, often spending months in large vessels. It was just right! Food friendly, too.
As winemakers here in the United States gain more experience crafting orange wines, I’m finding more to my taste. Here are some recent highlights from Washington state and beyond.
Did you know that the Georgetown neighborhood is part of Seattle’s current urban wine scene?
As a volunteer board member for Seattle Urban Wineries I’ve enjoyed traversing across town and exploring the different neighborhoods in which the wineries and tasting rooms are located. My latest day trip took me to this historic area where the town’s first railroad began, Rainier beer originated, and the city’s first municipal airport opened. Discover why this neighborhood is a terrific destination to explore Seattle’s charming architecture of a bygone era while taking in some wine tasting and craveable food in my latest article for Explore Washington State.
If you’re part of the “Anything But Chardonnay” crowd, grab a glass and take a journey through an exotic landscape filled with flourishing blossoms and their enticing perfume, along with captivating textures. Close your eyes, tip your head back, then surrender to the bright flavors swirling around. Without further ado, here are seventeen of Washington’s white wines for the adventurous along with some reliable producers.
There’s a winemaker in Woodinville who says, “Not all damsels are in distress.” That vintner is Mari Womak of Damsel Cellars. For nearly two years I’ve had the great pleasure of working with her. The truth is, a lot of winemakers relish days hiding out in the cellar. However, that’s not the case with Mari. In fact, keeping up with Damsel Cellars and all that Mari is doing can be a challenge.
Regardless, she’s still accessible to Damsel’s wine club and consumers. Perhaps that’s the secret to her success. Somehow, Mari knows how to make serious wine yet keep the tasting experience fun and engaging. It’s not about ego or being a “rockstar winemaker.” However, a rockstar partnership is indeed part of the story. Here’s a glimpse at what is keeping Damsel Cellars so busy besides her fantastic vino (pro tip: her Mourvedre is particularly spectacular). If you’re a fan of supporting small locally owned businesses, take a look and plan to rescue some wine!
Hint: read all the way to the bottom for a giveaway alert!
I still recall my first encounter with Elsom Cellars wine years ago. It was a malbec, and a distinctive one at that. It exuded a spicy, black pepper nuance. Is there a spice more popular than pepper? It adds abundant flavor to life. As do the wines coming out of this woman led business.
While Malbec is still considered the signature variety of Elsom Cellars, the winery is about so much more than that. Especially to me personally. I am a member of the board of Seattle Urban Wineries as a result of Winemaker Rebecca Weber’s outreach. Even if it weren’t for that, I find it admirable that the people behind the brand create such a welcoming space and foster community. They also have much to offer wine loving consumers such as a one-of-a-kind urban tasting experience on the outdoor patio, an indoor space available for private events, and a diverse range of tantalizing wines that even includes a vermouth. There are also bottles that give back to the community.
Meet The Keeper
Elsom Cellars recently scored a collaboration with celebrated Seattle Sounders goalkeeper, Stefan Frei. The wine project, aptly named The Keeper, benefits youth sports programs through Washington Youth Soccer. The bottle is adorned with label artwork created by Frei, a two-time MLS Cup champion and an avid artist.