Sunday, October 13, 2013

Fall Trip to Woodinville in the Sammamish River Valley

Somehow I ended up in the Warehouse District of Woodinville.  How did I get here?  It happened to be a Saturday that found me with nothing urgent on the calendar for the next two weeks.  My curiosity about some Woodinville wines I've been hearing about sucked me like a magnet up to the Woodinville area, which lies in the northern reaches of the Sammamish River Valley on the far northeast side of Lake Washington.  The vast majority of the wineries in the area are found either in the Warehouse District or the Hollywood Hill District.  The number of wineries in the Warehouse District is almost overwhelming, but I was on a mission to find Matthews Winery.  It was easy because it was just a few doors down from William Church Winery, where I needed to stop to pick up another bottle of their Viognier and some other favorites.  I could barely get in the door because they were about to start a winery tour and there were many revelers milling around waiting for the tour.  But it thinned out quickly and I moved into position to prepare for a tasting of the Viognier and their delicious reds.
My Stash From Woodinville     ©Jill J. Smith 2013
Being fully satisfied, I slithered a few doors to the west to land at Matthews.  I had long been curious about this winery, and to my knowledge, have never tasted any of their wines.  I'll just say right out of the chute that my favorite of the wines available for tasting that day was the 2010 Reserve, a red blend of Columbia Valley cabernet, merlot, and just a bit of cabernet franc.  They do a spectacular job of blending because this is one of the most balanced blends I have tasted in a long time.  This is a 15.2% ABV wine, but I wasn't overwhelmed by the higher alcohol content.  The merlot gave it a smoothness from start to finish.  I was also stunned by their 2010 claret, and learned that they are able to use the word "Claret" on the label because they were using the term before the law changed in March 2006, when the US and EU signed an agreement prohibiting the use of the term on the label unless a winery's use of the term was grandfathered in under the agreement.

I always go in person to Woodinville to pick up my wine club releases instead of having them shipped to me.  I typically learn bushels of information from the tasting room staff wherever I go.  Matthews' tasting room is tiny, but the wines available for tasting are anything but that.  They also have another tasting room on the road up to Hollywood Hill which I have yet to visit.  Having just tapped the tip of the iceberg about Matthews Winery wines, both red and white, there is much more to know, as they have a premium line known as Tenor, which I didn't taste, but I'll be back!

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