I’ve followed the evolution of Dakota Creek Winery in Blaine almost since day one and it’s been a most rewarding experience.
Husband and wife winemaker/owners Ken and Jill Peck have carved out a niche among Whatcom County wine enthusiasts by producing solid wines sourced from Eastern Washington’s Rattlesnake Hills Appellation.
Their fan base appears to be a most loyal group, demonstrated by a near-full tasting room and outdoor seating area during my most recent weekend visit.
Of course, having a sun-splashed afternoon and tastes of blissful chocolates from Bellingham’s Evolve Truffles on hand didn’t hurt, but it’s the wines that keep bringing people back. And after sampling a number of Dakota Creek’s upcoming new releases I think it’s safe to say that these could be some of the best wines the Pecks have produced.
Here’s a sneak peak of what to expect when these wines become available to the general public during the winery’s Spring Release event on Mother’s Day weekend:
A 2010 Viognier (about $20) is the winery’s sole white wine new release, displaying gentle peach aromatics and flavors along with a trace of licorice root and hazelnut on the finish.
The four new red wines slated for release include the 2010 Dolcetto (about $22), with a fragrant nose that I thought resembled Jolly Rancher Fire Stix. On the palate, there’s some nice, bright strawberry and cherry tomato flavors with a touch of herbaceousness.
A 2010 Malbec (about $24) is one of those wines that gets better with every sip. Understated brambly berries lead off, while a spritz of black pepper and underlying layer of toasted oak come through on the finish.
A bit unconventional in that it leans towards the fruity, rather than the meaty, tannic side, the 2010 Petit Verdot (about $24) still displays plenty of heft between the black cherry aromas and flavors that predominate. A pleasant whisper of orange zest rounds out the package.
Drinking beautifully now, the syrah-based, four varietal 2010 Jill’s Blend (about $25) begins on an almost buttery, velvety note with dark berry and cherry flavors. Brighter red currant and pomegranate follow, along with a dusting of chalky tannins.
A final note: Eight other Whatcom County wineries will join Dakota Creek by participating in Spring Release Weekend from May 10 to 12. They include Dynasty Cellars, GLM Wine Company, Inyo Winery, Masquerade Wine Company, Mount Baker Vineyards, Samson Estates, Vartanyan Estate Winery, and Willow Tree Vineyard. Check with each winery for its scheduled new wines and special events.