when my husband first suggested we try this little winery on the coast, i was skeptical. he had mentioned that as a nod to the wildly popular “twilight” series (set in coastal washington) the winery had named one of its red wines after the main character–bella–and further set that proceeded from each bottle of “bella” would benefit the american red cross society (an allusion to vampires). like i said–skeptical.
but, after tooling around the fishing village of westport for the morning–wandering in and out of its little shops, buying salt-water taffy, and eating freshly made (amazingly delicious) hot raspberry fritters at little richard’s house of doughnuts, the winery looked like exactly the kind of place i wanted to go to round out the afternoon.
it was certainly lovely. the first thing we noticed was the sculpture garden all the way around the grounds. for each variety of wine, a local artist was contracted to make a sculpture. a blue, abstract, blown-glass wave stands in for surfer’s last syrah, as a large fender guitar made of drift wood represents pinot noirvana. they also have a lot of outdoor seating for lovely days, as well as lawn games, including croquet. there is also a large, fluffy, friendly, ginger colored dog who visited us.
when we walked inside, we entered the tasting room–a bar with a long row of wines, and a refrigerated section where we could purchase and pair cheese, crackers, chocolate, and charcuterie with the bottles we purchased (if we were inclined to partake immediately). then, through the open doorway, one could wander into a large room with heavy tables and chairs, a popcorn machine, and two couch areas. one, in the front of the room, boasted a large flat-screen tv playing old surfing documentaries. the other is housed inside the lighthouse build out–with super comfortable, over stuffed chairs and fun magazines–coastal living, and bon appitite, incase you want a little restful time between wines.
tastings were $5 for 5. as it was, my husband and i were able to share, so we really got to taste 10 wines, and then our sommelier threw in 4 additional tastes, so we tried 14 wines in all. mostly delicious. and generous pours. of the 32 wines, we tried 4 whites, 4 reds, 4 fruit wines, and 2 dessert wines, with popcorn to cleanse our pallets. the winery donates a certain amount of the proceeds to local charities and organizations–and try to pair the donations to the name and theme of the wine.
- shorebird chardonnay: a very nice, dry chardonnay, much nicer than mass produced californian varieties. still a little oaky for my taste. benefits grays harbor audubon society.
- fleur de lis pinot gris: a lot of fruit, again, not super sweet. benefits 7th street theater.
- captain grays gewurztraminer: i usually like dry whites, but i also like very fruity whites with a lot of flavor/fragrance, but no sweet after-taste. this was a great example of the kind of “sweet” whites i like. benefits the grays harbor symphony.
- going costal sparkling gewurz: this was my number one wine out of this winery. they ferment the gewurztraminer champagne-style and it is delicious. fruity, easy to drink, and not sweet. with no cheap-sparkling-wine aftertaste or afterheadache. and no need to add juice! benefits ocean shores interpretive center.
- charterboat chick’s cabernet sauvignon: cabernet has long been one of my favorite reds. it’s big, i know, and full of tannins. this cabernet was milder, and the tannins were soft, with an almost woody flavor and currants. benefits the westport charterboat association.
- surfer’s last syrah: the winery’s young syrah, which is pretty jammy, actually. benefits the south beach ems.
- swimmer’s last syrah vinter’s reserve: this syrah was delicious and amazing. more oaky, and much less jammy, it had a more sophisticated flavor. i definitely prefer this of their syrahs. benefits the children’s advocacy center.
- boom runner reserve merlot: i am not typically a merlot drinker. it’s just–blahish. this merlot, though, was very spicy–and would be great mulled. benefits the polson museum.
- rapture of the deep: being as we were at the cranberry coast, i was eager to try this 100% cranberry wine. it was intense! like pure cranberry juice. it would be great mixed with sparkling water! benefits the driftwood theater.
- dawn patrol: another fruit wine with berry–this time raspberry. this wine was a base of riesling–and it was ever tart! also intense–also would be great mixed. benefits general james. g. dolittle vfw post 3057.
- duckleberry grunt: another berry wine, but in a base of gewurztraminer. it is a blueberry and huckleberry wine, and very sweet! very sweet–with no alcohol tint–like juice. another that would be great mixed. benefits grays harbor ducks unlimited.
- little wild blackberry riesling: a blackberry wine on a riesling base this wine had a really intense and strong blackberry flavor. i loved it, blackberries being my favorite berry–but again, probably better mixed. benefits grays harbor and pacific county master gardeners.
- shelter from the storm: this is an amazing port! it’s a blend of blackberry, blueberry, and cranberry. i like port–and this port isn’t super syrupy–and doesn’t have any inkling of cough syrup flavor. my second favorite wine. benefits the grays harbor hospital foundation.
- red sky at night: this is one of their signature wines–raspberry chocolate. and it really does taste like chocolate! it would be great over ice cream, though i wouldn’t recommend drinking more than about an ounce straight. benefits the westport timber library.
after we did all the tasting we picked out some snacks and bought a bottle of going coastal. we had taylor’s sausage–which has been in business since 1924. we had the jalapeno pepper cheddar sticks–which had a strong fennel flavor that went well with the wine and cheese. we also got a piece cranberry havarti from willamette valley cheese company, and the mount townsend creamery off kilter–a semi-soft cheese made with scotch ale. it was all delicious and went well together.
westport winery has been recognized as the “best northwest escape winery” for 2010 by evening magazine. they were also just written up in washington tasting room magazine . i highly recommend–and worth the drive even for a day trip! but better paired with a night at the bayside bed and breakfast!