Woodinville Wine Cellars is one of Washington’s unsung wineries – one that consistently produces high quality wine yet remains largely below the radar.
The winery was founded by Stan Barrett. Barrett is President and CEO of Art Culinaire, sole US distributor for Lacanche professional cooking ranges. Several of these ranges are in use at the winery, which places a premium on the experience of wine, food, and the family table.
The facility, which was previously used for Silver Lake’s sparkling production, was initially a co-op for a group that is now a who’s who of Woodinville, including Mark Ryan, Gorman, and Stevens. Woodinville Wine Cellars was initially one of those wineries and had its first release in the 2002 vintage.
Winemaker Sean Boyd started out in the wine business working at a wine shop in California. From there he traveled the globe working at wineries in such far flung places as Spain, Portugal, and Australia before finally settling in Washington.
Boyd’s work in Australia included a stint at Penfolds under winemaker Daryl Groom. “I went there in 1991 and got the wine bug bad,” he says. Of working at Penfolds Boyd says, “It was harder than I’ve ever worked in my life.”
After moving to Washington Boyd worked for a number of years at Pete’s Wine Shop in Bellevue. He began working at Woodinville Wine Cellars part-time in 2002 as assistant winemaker. He was hired full-time in 2005.
All of Boyd’s wines at Woodinville Wine Cellars have a distinctive style with cedar and black tea notes and tart, intense, lingering fruit flavors. Each of the wines harkens to Bordeaux more so than many found in Washington. All boast excellent aging potential.
While the winery itself is located in an office park, the setting is considerably more scenic than most in the area. Little Bear Creek gurgles by outside the winery and a lawn with picnic tables is an ideal place to enjoy a glass or two on a summer day.
Woodinville Wine Cellars makes 3,500 cases annually.
Woodinville Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2009 $18
Rating: + (Good) Very pretty aromas of spice, pear, tropical fruit, and apple. Tart and clean with an acidic kick and a full mouthfeel. Artz (60%) and Stillwater Creek vineyards. Aged in stainless steel (75%) and French oak. Aged 1 month sur lee. 13.9% alcohol. 600 cases produced.
Woodinville Wine Cellars Little Bear Creek Red Wine Columbia Valley 2009 $20
Rating: + (Good) Appealing aromas of pepper, spice, and high toned black cherry on a wine that calls out to Bordeaux. The palate is full of chewy fruit, tea leaves, and spice. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. Stillwater Creek, Conner Lee, Meek, and Dineen vineyards. Aged 21 months in French oak (60% new). 14.5% alcohol. 549 cases produced. Recommended.
Woodinville Wine Cellars Syrah Columbia Valley 2008 $30
Rating: * (Excellent) Brilliantly colored with a glass staining purple tinge. Very pretty notes of vanilla, smoke, black tea, char, cherry, and a whiff of licorice. A tacky feeling wine with a tart crispness. A persistent finish. 100% Syrah. Stillwater Creek, Chandler Reach, and Dineen vineyards. Aged 21 months in French oak (100% new). 14.8% alcohol. 167 cases produced.
Woodinville Wine Cellars Indomitable Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007 $40
Rating: */** (Excellent/Exceptional) Alluring aromas of licorice, black tea, black cherry, vanilla, and spice on a wine to linger over. A beautifully understated wine that is restrained and elegant with pure, intense, chewy fruit flavors. Beautifully balanced with a thirty-plus second finish. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, and 11% Malbec. Conner Lee and Stillwater Creek vineyards. Aged 22 months in French oak (78% new). 14.3% alcohol. 220 cases produced.
Woodinville Wine Cellars Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007 $45
Rating: ** (Exceptional) Compelling aromas of black tea leaves, mocha, black cherry, and bright, penetrating aromas of licorice and cedar. Breathtakingly beautiful on the palate with winding cranberry flavors, puckering acidity, intense fruit flavors, and graceful tannins. An extended finish with lingering spice notes. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Stillwater Creek (50%), Conner Lee (25%), and Dineen (25%). Aged 26 months in French oak (100% new). 14.5% alcohol. 100 cases produced.
Woodinville Wine Cellars O.M.O Odd Man Out Red Will Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley 2008 $36
Rating: */** (Excellent/Exceptional) Stains the glass. Bright aromas of cedar, spice, light green notes, berries, and toasty spice. A big, rich, tannic wine with abundant cherry fruit flavors and a zing of acidity. A long finish with abundant spice notes. 67% Petite Verdot, 33% Malbec. Aged 22 months in French oak (100% new). 14.8% alcohol. 76 cases produced.
Definitely agree. I'm a wine club member and have been consistently impressed with each release.
Been drinking Sean's wine for several years. Among my favorites is the 2006 reserve Syrah. Great wine! But they are all really good. If you are not familiar with Woodinville Wine Cellars you definitely owe it to yourself to stop by for a tasting. They are only open on Saturdays.