On a recent visit to Walla Walla, I spent a most glorious afternoon at Caprio Cellars in the pastoral Southside district of Walla Walla Valley. I have no idea why this incredible tasting experience has been flying under the radar and I hadn’t heard of it until recently. Caprio Cellars should be high up on any Washington wine and food lover’s list of places to visit. Read on to learn why.
Welcome to Caprio Cellars
As we pull up to the gated property, the hubby announces our arrival via intercom as I wonder what could possibly be in store for us. Perhaps this special entry is part of why this estate is such a secret. Then, something fantastic happens. Continue reading “Visit Caprio Cellars”
It is my mission to get wineries on social media and a bottle of wine on every dinner table. I am excited to announce that this quest is one step closer to being realized! A group of over 20 wineries has reached out to me to help take their social media to the next level. Read on and get to know Seattle Urban Wineries.
According to a Wine Spectator article, Résonance , Maison Louis Jadot’s first winery outside of Burgundy, was due to open its visitor center this summer. That meant it would be open in time for my most recent road trip to Oregon Wine Country. The Résonance website didn’t yet have information about visiting the property. However, the Oregon winery’s social media feeds made mention of wine and food experiences. Be still my heart!
An email inquiry resulted in a timely reply from Karen Kissane, Hospitality Manager, with a couple of options.
Wine and Food Experiences at Résonance
Vineyard Tour & Seated Tasting
$45/person, $30 with membership
Enjoy a glass of Résonance Rosé as we explore our Certified Organic estate vineyard. We will finish with a curated flight of four wines accompanied with a local cheese plate.
Please allow for 60 minutes for the experience. Tastings are $45 per person and hosted daily at 11am and 3pm, weather permitting and by reservation only. 48-hour advance notice required.
What Grows Together, Goes Together
Terrior Provisions Tasting – $75/person, $45 with membership
This unique terrior tasting highlights 6 single vineyard wines, both current and past vintages, along with locally sourced seasonal provisions representing a sense of place.
This immersive seated experience is hosted in the communal, yet intimate setting of our Résonance Room.
Please allow 90 minutes for the experience. Tastings are $75 per person and hosted Wednesdays-Sundays at 11am, by reservation only. 48-hour advance notice required.
Based on anticipated arrival time, I scheduled the Vineyard Tour & Seated Tasting for my husband and myself.
Arriving at Résonance
Although we visit Carlton annually, our time is usually spent in the small yet significant core area of the town within the well-respected Yamhill-Carlton American Viticultural Area. Résonance is about five minutes west of that district. The drive offers an idyllic scene that initially provides a sense of calm. Then, heading up the hillside to the property, that peaceful feeling transforms into one of anticipation.
When wine and food loving friends come to Seattle for a visit, I want to send them to my favorite places. For that reason, I’ve compiled a short list of recommendations for wining, dining, and a bit of exploring around town.
This cozy restaurant is known far and wide for its brunch specialty, the Dutch Baby. Made to order in either a savory or sweet version, it is presented in a darling single serve portion cast iron pan. Or come here for a delectable dinner prepared with seasonal ingredients. In either case, make reservations at this popular destination in advance or risk being turned away at the door.
If it’s still too early for an adult beverage after fueling up, head to nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center. Awaken your senses walking among towering sculptures crafted by famed glass blower, Dale Chihuly. The vividly colored floral garden is in bloom year round.
Wine Tasting in Seattle
The greater Seattle area offers more than 170 nearby tasting rooms. That includes Woodinville Wine Country, about 40 minutes from Seattle. In the city itself, there is a burgeoning urban wine scene that is not to be missed!
3901 First Avenue South Seattle, WA 98134 Hours for businesses in this enclave vary by day and season. Just a few miles south of downtown Seattle, go to experience top wines from some of Washington State’s acclaimed producers in an industrial setting.
Check hours in advance. As of this writing nine businesses offer wine tasting. There is also a brewery and a pizzeria.
Popular Walla Walla based wineries such as Rôtie Cellars have set up shop in this cluster of tasting rooms. In fact, Kerloo Cellars now calls this location home. Even Woodinville based Patterson Cellars has an outpost here with chocolate and wine pairings on offer.
Start at Nine Hats for satisfying value wines in a playful setting (seriously, the place is decorated with vintage toys!). This brand is the entry level offshoot of ultra- premium Long Shadows Vintners. Afterwards, head to their neighboring pizza joint, Nine Pies for a bite to eat.
307 Occidental Ave S Seattle, WA 98104 Open Daily, 12pm – 6pm Go to experience your choice of tasting menu highlighting three different Pacific Northwest wineries.
Wine lovers seeking a moment of luxury in Seattle must visit The Estates Wine Room in historic Pioneer Square. With three wineries represented in one tasting room, there is something for everyone. Walla Walla based Seven Hills Winery, Horse Heaven Hills based Double Canyon, and Willamette Valley based Archery Summit offer a range from bold and classic Bordeaux varieties, to polished Pinot Noir. Gourmet nibbles are typically available as an add-on. They use appropriate glassware, too!
4pm-midnight M-S Go to truly feel like you’re on vacation and enjoy wine by the glass or bottle, and have a bite to eat.
This intimate space with its cane bistro chairs and chalk board menus conveys the ambience of a neighborhood French bistro. With the majority of wines available by the glass, I usually begin with Crémant, and then move onto Chablis or Cru Beaujolais. For dinner order the always perfectly cooked Poisson en Papillote (fish baked in parchment on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes), and a selection of French cheese. Alternatively, indulge in one of their signature charcuterie plates.
Washington Wine Month
March is the perfect month for wine lovers to visit Seattle! After all, it’s Taste Washington Wine Month with a variety of promotions, including winemaker dinners, discounts at local wineries and restaurants, special tasting events and more. It all leads up to Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single-region wine and food festival, March 28-31 in Seattle. The 22nd annual Taste Washington features more than 235 wineries, 65 restaurants, and some of the nation’s most-talented chefs at a series of events throughout the weekend.
Prosser is about a three and a half hour drive from Seattle. With vineyards, a number of tasting rooms, the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center, and nearby Red Mountain it’s well worth the drive for wine lovers. Plus, it’s on the way to Walla Walla. In fact, if Walla Walla is your final destination, you owe it to yourself to stop in Prosser along the way. On Merlot Drive at the entrance to the Prosser Vintner’s Village, is the spacious County Line Tasting Room featuring 2Dor Wines. This summer we accepted an invitation to visit and enjoy a hosted lunch on the patio. Boy, are we glad that we did! If you like a swoon worthy story, food, and wine then pour yourself a glass to sip on while I reveal this gem of a place.
County Line Tasting Room
Sean Tudor grew up in the Yakima Valley across the county line from Robert Smasne. It only seems fitting that the two jointly purchased a winery (the former Olsen Estates) and now operate it as the County Line Tasting Room. Winemaking is done on site by Smasne for his own label as well as 2Dor Wines. This means that guests can taste wine from both brands while visiting. They may also get to meet Sean’s wife, Libbey, who was busy overseeing guests in the tasting room during our visit.
Back in the day, Libbey’s grandfather planted some of the vines at Otis Vineyard. Today, the Tudor family owns that historic vineyard which is home to some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon vines in Washington State. Cue the music! Sean even proposed to Libbey in that vineyard. Then the couple got married there. How sentimental is that?
If you’re not choked up enough already, get a tissue because there is a bit of a sad story here. Back in the 1970’s Sean’s grandfather intended to plant 600 acres of wine grapes. Unfortunately, an untimely heart attack led to his passing before that happened.
Regardless, Sean grew up around farming when his parents took over the land. At the age of 18, he attended the Walla Walla Community College viticulture program. Ironically, Sean didn’t even like the taste of wine at the time. The driving force was his vision to take over the farm and get into viticulture. Today that dream is being realized with 2Dor Wines.
Tasting 2Dor Wines
All of the wines crafted under the 2Dor Wines label are estate grown. In other words, the family owns and oversees the vineyards producing the grapes for their wine. Estate wineries aren’t abundant in Washington State, so you know they’re serious about this. As their web site says:
“Owning the vineyard, caring for the vine, nurturing the grape, harvest, pressing, fermenting, aging and bottling is up to us and no one else. It’s our hands and hearts that we put into each and every bottle of wine.”
On the day of our visit we were treated to sips of a number of the estate grown 2Dor Wines. The 2016 Viognier expressed fruity notes of pineapple. The 2Dor MRV Blend (that’s Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier) captivated me with its lush mouth feel. It’s as though the wine was made to pair perfectly with summer and seafood. Refreshing Rosé of Sangiovese came across as dry with notes of summer strawberries. The 2Dor Wines Red Blend composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Syrah was dominated by pleasant floral notes from the Malbec. The elegant Cabernet Franc expressed the classic pyrazine (bell pepper) character of the variety yet let notes of blackberry and tayberry shine through.
I am surprised by what a great value the 2Dor wines are at $15-45 a bottle! In fact, we purchased some taking home the MRV Blend, Rosé, Red Blend, and Cabernet Franc.
Eat it Up
The County Line Tasting Room has a kitchen. With a killer chef. OMG the food is incredibly fresh and tasty! It pairs beautifully with the wines.
As we sat down to our hosted lunch, Sean asked if he could order the tuna crudo for us. Whaaaaat, there’s tuna crudo in Prosser? I have to admit, I had my doubts, but Sean assured us the dish is his favorite. The bite size pieces of tuna were fresh and delicate, while rich in flavor.
We also gobbled down every last refreshing drop of gazpacho, a hearty BLT on artisan bread, and a satisfying shrimp risotto. Everything was delectable!
Had we known that Chef Kyle Hunter previously worked for Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas, we probably wouldn’t have been so surprised. One might think perhaps this talented chef might grow wary of life in Prosser, outside of a big city. In fact, the opposite is true. Originally from the area, he went to Seattle long enough to get some valued experience. Then he returned home with a new skill set eager to enhance the quality of life east of the mountains.
The experience at County Line Tasting Room and the 2Dor Wines are not to be missed! I can’t wait to visit again this fall when the seasonal menu will likely incorporate Gala and Honeycrisp apples from the Tudors’ farm.
Visit County Line Tasting Room at 500 Merlot Dr, Prosser, WA 99350.
VinoSocial Savvy Tip: if the patio is open during your visit, take advantage of the opportunity!
Update: as of October 2018 food service is on hiatus for the season.