In an earlier post, I wrote about my experience at Chateau Ste Michelle and Airfield Estates wineries. On that same trip, but different day, I visited 2 small wineries south of Seattle: E.B. Foote and Castle Bridge wineries. Both are owned by a couple.
E.B. Foote contracts with vineyard operators in Eastern Washington for their grapes. They produce mostly red wines and primarily single varietals. I was amazed to hear that 90-95% of their sales are right from their cellar door. The winery started in 1978 by a previous owner and was bought by the current couple in 1991. This couple is now ready for retirement, so the winery is up FOR SALE! If you have US$500,000 you can buy the winery. You get their equipment, their current inventory of wine, and the use of their brand. I figure from the $500,000, that selling the inventory should bring down that cost for you, but will take a bit of time.
What about their wines? The wines are all reasonably priced at $14 a bottle. My favorite was their Cabernet Franc 2008. Medium garnet in colour. Vanilla, cedar and dark cherry aromas. It was medium plus in body. Sweet black cherries, very juicy, with cinnamon / cloves and vanilla flavours. I also enjoyed their Zinfandel 2009. This wine had the characteristic jammy fruit nose, along with some vanilla. More vanilla on the palate, along with cinnamon and raspberry flavours. It had a dry cherry finish. Medium tannins so you can drink it now. They also have two nice blends. Their Mirage 2009 from Syrah and Merlot, and their Rainy Day VI blend from Syrah and Cabernet.
The other winery that day was Castle Bridge. They have only been open for 4 years. They contract with vineyards in WA and CA. The vineyards provide them with the juice for their wines. They produce an off-dry Chenin Blanc. Their Chenin Blanc 2009 is medium lemon in colour. Wax, lemon and vanilla on the nose. Medium body with pears and citrust and oak. A hint of some spice. Medium bodied. Something easy to drink. The other wine that was quite interesting was their Barbera 2007 from the Columbia Valley. Barbera is an Italian grape, and is the third most popular red grape planted in Italy. I don’t think I’ve come across any other Barbera in WA. Deep purple in colour. Lots of aromas. Vanilla and various purple fruits. Full body with soft tannins. Juicy purple fruit and vanilla. A bit of sweetness on the palate. If you’ve come across any other wineries in WA that produce a Barbera, please let me know, as I would like to try them too.