Love wine? Then mark your calendars for next fall’s Catch the Crush weekend in the Yakima Valley. Our group of seniors was on a mission during Catch the Crush: to sample as many wineries as we could in a day. The outcome? Eleven amazing wineries to explore, all new to us! But this year’s Crush featured 43 Yakima Valley Wineries, so we’re going back next year to complete our mission.
Our first stop was Paradisos del Sol. We were met by two huge male turkeys that immediately fanned out and strutted their stuff for us. Entering the funky winery with its glowing glass fences, we met the winemaker/owner, who was clearly delighted to tell us about his wine. A micro selection of foods came with each wine, something no other winery did that day. Our favorites of the day were the Rosé Paradiso, a dry, barrel-fermented rosé that would be perfect on warm days; the surprising Riesling which offered just a touch of sweetness, without being remotely cloying, and would go perfectly with fish tacos, fresh ceviche, or sushi; and the simple presentation of Sangiovese, an easy, everyday wine to accompany pizza or chips and salsa. My favorite wine was over my self-imposed price limit, but it was stellar: a delicate, yet bold, white Sève, which the winemaker said was excellent with Thai food. We tried it with just a tiny sample of peanut sauce, and it was amazing. ParadisosdelSol.com
This winery stunned us with every wine being top-notch. This is an estate winery, meaning all grapes are grown on-site. The 2014 merlot was very smooth with a luscious aroma and flavors of ripe red fruits and a touch of vanilla, the perfect pairing for seared venison. Their 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon was distinctive and much more balanced than some we have tried. It has a great dark berry—think currants—flavor, with a wonderful smoothness and a terrific finish. Finally, the 2014 Reserve Cabernet Franc, while more than we normally pay for a wine, was outstanding, so we couldn’t resist buying a bottle to open on a special occasion. It was bright, for lack of a better word, not heavy, but with a lovely, full-mouth feel, having a touch of vanilla and a hint of oak. The ambiance of this winery was terrific as well: lots of people, lots of dogs, lots of laughter, and knowledgable servers. twomountainwinery.com
Treveri was our last stop of the day, and what a finale that made! This is Washington’s only producer of sparkling wines, which is what wines made outside of the Champagne region of France must be called. The winery is gorgeous, with tiered seating outside and plenty of room inside around tables of varying sizes, plus a bar area and lovely fireplace for colder days. My favorite was the Blanc de Blanc Noir, a sparkling wine made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes, which was amazing. It was light and bubbly but still had staying power, with a lovely pear flavor enhancing the wine. While many sparkling wines are injected with carbonation to get bubbles, Trevari uses the classic method de champagne, putting still wine into bottles with yeast and sugar, which naturally creates lovely bubbles that are smaller than bubbles used in the injection method. Frankly, I find that makes for a more enjoyable wine. Their Blanc de Blanc Brut was also wonderful, with lots of lively, little bubbles, enlivening the mouth feel and offering a green apple tartness to it with a cool, crisp finish. All of Treveri’s sparkling wines are modestly priced, so you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy them. There’s really no reason to buy more expensive sparkling wine when this winery produces lovely wine at an every-day price. But a reasonable price does not mean a lesser wine: Trevari sparkling wines have been served at White House State Department functions. The winery also hosts evening events throughout the year—for card parties and chess groups, for example—so be sure to check their website. trevericellars.com MSN