This is part of a report on the South Seattle Artisan Wineries. Additional sections of the report will be posted to the blog. Download a complete .pdf copy of the report here.

Elsom Cellars goal is to provide “Exclusively bottled wines that offer distinctive flavors, borne of a singular desire – to create the quintessential gesture of hospitality – served at our table or yours.”

After years of home winemaking, Jody Elsom decided to start a commercial winery. Elsom, who studied enology and viticulture at Washington State University, says “I was looking for a career change that would provide a balance between art and science, hard work and celebration…The winery offers such a balance.”

Elsom made its first commercial release in 2006, a limited production of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Red Wine composed of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. The winery has continued to focus on these varietals using fruit from Lewis, Two Blondes, Artz, Doc (Wahluke Slope), and Alder Ridge vineyards. Elsom says “Our focus is on creating wines we enjoy – big bold Cabernet and earthy Malbec with a bit of peppery spice.”

Though currently located in South Seattle, the winery will be opening a Woodinville location near Januik/Novelty Hill in the first quarter of 2010. This facility will serve as Elsom’s production facility (fruit from the 2009 harvest was pressed here). The winery plans to keep the South Seattle tasting room, called ‘The Vineyard Table,’ open for winemaker dinners, artist events, and other occasions.

With the move to its new Woodinville facility, Elsom increased production to 1,200 cases for the 2009 vintage.

Note: All wines sampled at 62 degrees.

Elsom Cellars Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $28
Rating: + (Good)
Fairly quiet on the nose with dusty chocolate, blackberry, and spice. An engaging palate with loads of black fruit and a healthy bit of grip. A bit dry at times. Needs time to open up. Give 1-2 years. 50% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah.

Elsom Cellars Malbec Columbia Valley 2007 $32
Rating: + (Good)
Brilliant and purply in color. An attractive, peppery nose rich with blackberry and cedar aromas. Quite dry and puckering on the palate with bright acidity. Comes off a bit green at times but an impressive wine overall. 91.7% Malbec (Gilbert Vineyard), 8.3% Merlot (Wahluke Slope Vineyard).

Elsom Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Lewis Vyd 2007 $36
Rating: + (Good)
Lewis Vineyard aromas jump from the glass with cola, black licorice, black cherry, and ground spices. Again, fairly dry on the palate with lighter and more lithe fruit than the other wines sampled. A bit front loaded on the palate with drying tannins. Time may settle this wine a bit. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah. Lewis Vineyard.