One of my favorite aspects of traveling is wine touring. Any country, any state, and even any nearby city. I enjoy the change of scenery and climate, tasting room atmosphere, and of course the wines. To me, part of traveling is tasting the flavors of place. So when we spent 48 Sleepless Hours in Seattle before our Alaskan cruise on Princess out of Seattle (to be published soon), we had to visit the local Pacific Northwest wineries. I scheduled a small group tour via Viator, which was locally operated by Evergreen Escapes. Our tour guide Emily picked us up at our hotel along the Seattle Waterfront, had our day planned with visits and reservations, and drove us about 40 minutes east of Seattle to Woodinville. As much as I love trip planning, it was really nice to let her do all the research and planning for us in advance. All of the tastings that day were private, intimate, and so welcoming (and included in the price of the tour).
Our first stop was Lauren Ashton Cellars, a small upscale boutique winery that was classicly decorated and dog friendly (always a plus). This was the perfect introduction to the area’s wine country, and a perfect start to our day.
We tasted six wines: 2014 Riesling, 2015 Rose, 2011 Reserve Syrah, 2012 Malbec, 2012 Cuvee Estelle, and 2012 Cuvee Arlette. Everything was lovely. We bought a bottle of the 2015 Rose to take on the cruise ship.
I had always heard the Pacific Northwest was the rainiest region of the United States, so I wasn’t surprised that it was raining that day. That only added to the charm of the area, and made the peonies and roses at the winery that much more striking.
Our next stop was Celaeno Winery, a quaint winery in a small warehouse. The tasting room was in the barrel/tank room, which created a casual and endearing atmosphere. There we had charcuterie provided by our tour guide to accompany the wine tasting.
We tasted four wines: 2013 Road to Hell Viognier, 2010 Pinot Noir, 2010 Both Barrels Syrah, and 2009 Both Barrels Syrah. We bought a bottle of 2013 Road to Hell Viognier and a bottle of 2009 Both Barrels Syrah to take on the cruise ship.
Our next stop was Kestrel Vintners in the warehouse district of Woodinville. This trendy but down to earth winery was very spacious, warm, casual and comfortable. I loved the label design and clever logo.
We tasted five wines: 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, 2014 Chardonnay, 2011 Mourvedre, 2012 Malbec, and 2011 Signature Series Old Vine Merlot. We bought a bottle of the 2011 Mourvedre to drink at the hotel that night.
While we were at Kestrel, John Patterson, winemaker and owner of Patterson Cellars came in to invite us to his winery also located in the warehouse district. Who are we to say no to an unscheduled stop at another winery? So we joined John for a tasting at Patterson Cellars in the tank room. His winery was hopping with activity, but we were hosted by the man himself, so we did not have to fight the crowd or wait for tastings.
We tasted more wines than I was able to write down or take pictures of. Everything was so good. Knowing we could only bring a few bottles aboard the cruise ship, we bought a bottle of our favorite Patterson wine: 2013 Late Harvest Roussanne. I was intrigued by the idea of these wineries being clustered together in the space of a city block. And was surprised to find wine vines growing in the parking lot. It wasn’t just all the wine I drank…I had found a happy place here.