Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wine Tour

I went on my first wine tour! The Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington is quickly becoming a very popular wine tour destination. There are lots of wineries all over the valley.

I have never been into wine but since I live close to this area and everybody seems to know something about wine, I thought I should do a little self-education.

The singles group I'm a part of was invited by another singles group do join them on a Spring Barrel Wine Tasting bus tour. So I talked a friend into joining me and off we went!

First note of amusement - there were three singles groups represented on the bus. My group is a general singles group - no age or activity focus but the membership does tend toward the older crowd. The other two groups were over 50 singles groups. So my friend and I, at a ripe old 35 each, were the youngest on the bus! =-) That was very funny.

Second amusement - 10 minutes from our first destination the bus broke down. To pass the time we had an improptu comedy show with several jokes and many grumbles that we didn't yet have any wine to pass around!

We stopped first at the Port of Prosser where we visited the storefront for Alexandria Nicole, Cowan Vineyards, Hogue Cellars, Kestrel Vineyards and Thurston Wolfe.

Third amusement - Spring Barrel wine does not taste good! As part of my education I learned that spring wine is still in the barrel and is a couple weeks to a couple months from being bottled. And then the bottles age for a period before going on sale. So spring barrel wine is much sharper than any finished product. I really admire the wine makers who can taste the spring wine and know how long to leave it in the barrel, and how long to leave in the bottle before sale.

From Prosser we moved to Sunnyside and visited two wineries there including Tucker Cellars.

Fourth amusement -I am, apparently, a complete lightweight when it comes to wines. After our second stop I was starting to get a headache the bloomed into a 5-alarm nightmare as the day wore on. I don't even remember the names of the wineries in between the first and the last stop. I was hurting so bad. I quit sampling wine - I had no idea that little sips would kill me like that!

Which was very sad because I was really getting a kick out of seeing new country and learning new things. I usually go for white wines and on this trip I discovered Viognier - which is very good. I even tasted a merlot that I really liked and I'm usually not a fan of red wines! So the middle of the tour is a bit of a blur. Which was sad for another reason...the best and most beautiful winery we visited was the last one on the tour - Terra Blanca.

Terra Blanca was by far the most beautiful place we visited. Many of the wineries are in a seperate location from the vineyards. But at Terra Blance you pass through the vineyards on the way to the winery. The drive remined me of several scenes from A Walk in the Clouds. I really wish I had been feeling better so I could have appreciated it more.

Anyway, with the exception of feeling completely ill at the end, I really enjoyed my first wine tour. I learned bunches and now I know what to send for Christmas presents! =-) Here's a few picts you might like....

1 comment:

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