Locavores Should Enjoy These Close-To-Home Wineries

Despite what the nagging, winter-like weather may suggest, we’re officially into spring, when many local wineries traditionally begin to unveil their new releases.

I’m not entirely certain what constitutes a “local” winery, but my experience with foodies is that a locavore would support anything grown and produced within a 35 to a 100-mile radius from home.

Keeping in mind that it’s too cool to grow many wine grapes in Western Washington, any winery in Whatcom County, at the very least, should be considered a local producer. I think we can also include wines from neighboring Skagit and San Juan Counties as falling into the “locally produced” category.

Today I’ll give you my thoughts on a few new releases from wineries that I would categorize as local.

Friday Harbor’s San Juan Vineyards 2011 Riesling (about $15) is the first white wine that I’ve tried from Washington’s 2011 vintage and if it’s any indication, we should prepare ourselves for some superb white wines this year. This riesling is brimming with stone fruit flavors, a hint of minerality and a smack of candied lime. The wine’s crisp acidity and finish of residual sweetness are balanced to perfection.

For red wine enthusiasts, try the newly released San Juan Vineyards 2009 Sangiovese (about $23). Bright cranberry and huckleberry flavors come to the forefront, with dense, earthy notes on the mid-palate and a bit of chewy tannins to round things out.

I had a sneak preview of the limited production Masquerade Wine Company 2009 Barbera with Bellingham winemaker Bill Kimmerly a few weeks ago. The wine will only be available to members of the winery’s wine club at a cost of $39.99 a bottle, but the good news is that there’s no membership fee to join.

This tasty red wine opens with tangy flavors of red cherry and cherry tomato, then glides into a lengthy, slightly oaky finish with a trace of French vanilla.

Bellingham’s Peter Osvaldik has completely outdone himself yet again with his Dynasty Cellars 2007 Les Collines Cabernet Sauvignon (about $33) which was recently released after spending 42 months in the barrel.

White pepper aromatics combine with layered flavors of black cherry, ripe pomegranate, molasses, coffee, and black olive. When I tasted this wine a few weeks ago, less than half of the microscopic, 50-case production remained. My advice: buy this wine now before it’s gone.

As we progress further into spring, I’ll feature additional new releases from local wineries GLM Wine Co. and Dakota Creek Winery in Blaine as well as a new winery in Burlington.

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