A co-worker asked me if I was "a wino." I replied with "I am into wine." He then caught me calling Pinot Noir a finicky grape because it's thin skin is a push-over to any weather changes- becoming more of a gamble depending on the year. But when they do it well, you'll know. And when it was an average year, you'll know that too. He corrected me and said "Noelle, anyone who calls a grape finicky..." OK I get your point.
Of all the wine we've tasted in the Northwest, we're a little partial to Washington grapes. Granted, I know that good Oregonians are supposed to stand up for their Pinot Noir, but it's been just so hit and miss for us.
Our anniversary day celebration included shopping together for our fabulous meal that night, exploring a few new wineries and then a movie while opening our long awaited '93 Cab. See post on that later.
We received an incredible deal at the Rusty Grape Vineyard including tasting, grounds tour, signature glasses and a cheese plate. We had been to Battleground, Washington once before- not a whole lot to it, rather spread out- very country like. We were going in with low expectations.
It was raining, of course, but there was something inviting about the grounds. Not much going on from the parking lot, but plenty of cars for a rainy winter day. We had to have stumbled onto something. And we did.
The tasting quarters were dark and Tuscan like, very European. It almost seemed like a small venue, but still very warm.
There were several winery dogs roaming. For me, this is a great sign. Every good winery has a winery dog. :-) This one had three: a lovable Akita/Lab/German Shepard mix and two Dachshunds who ruled the roost.
|"River" the winery watch dog and crumb getter|
We started with our spread of salami and sharp white cheddar (Tillamook of course) with our Rose' of Sangiovese grapes. It had a surprising full finish. We knew the rest had to be good.
I could tell you about each of the reds, but really you should just go and taste there. We loved the Syrah that chewed with coffee and pepper. And their Cab/Merlot blend was SPLENDID, having been aged in French Oak for three and a half years- always a good sign. Who needs Pinot when Washington gives you full bodied reds with enough punch to invite the California relatives for a visit?
I also loved the resourceful creativity.
|Barrel display and corks bridging the door way.|
|got a hole in the ground? cement and corks ought to do!|
We loved meeting Gigi, a California native herself who has fallen in love with the area. We can't wait to return to sample more wine (free tasting on most days!) and try their wood fired pizza and listen to live music!
Check out Rusty Grape online here