As last weekend was Memorial Day weekend and the weather here didn’t seem to be improving (and it still hasn’t), Aaron and I decided to make a quick trip over to Walla Walla, WA wine country last weekend in hopes that we could find some sunshine and drink some great wine. We left Sunday morning about 8:30 am and despite starting our drive off by experiencing the horror of seeing a deer get hit (and die?) not 20 feet in front of us on I-84, the trip turned out to be a great one.
We began our whirlwind Walla Walla wine tour about 12:30 pm on Sunday, when we arrived in the outskirts of town at L’Ecole No. 41. We are familiar with L’Ecole because Uncle David and Aunt Paula have several times served us their wines and we’ve very much enjoyed them.
After that we grabbed a quick lunch, checked into our hotel and headed south of town to hit up the vineyards on Pepper Bridge Road, ironically never making it to the Pepper Bridge Vineyard, itself.
Instead, we tasted at:
- Basel Cellars
- Amavi Cellars
- Saviah Cellars
- Beresan Winery
- Va Piano Vineyards
- Castillo de Feliciana Winery
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “SIX vineyards in like FOUR hours? Could you even taste anything by the last vineyard?” Okay, it was a lot, yes. But, we shared tastings at each place and [once] threw out second and third sips. It was TOTALLY FINE.
We got new bottles at all but Saviah. We sampled many syrahs and higher-end merlots; wines we don’t often drink. I think this fed the wine buying beast because we were sampling some really new stuff [to us] and it all tasted really, really great! Amavi Cellars definitely had the coolest tasting room with a wall of nearly floor to ceiling windows looking out over the vast rural expanse surrounding it.
On Monday, the Memorial Day holiday, we woke up, grabbed breakfast and hit up three tasting rooms in downtown Walla Walla before beginning the 4-hour trek home. Believe it or not, we had our best tasting experience not at one of the vineyards that we went to on Sunday, but at the Spring Valley Vineyard tasting room in town. This unassuming, quaint little tasting room set us back two delicious bottles of wine that we’ll be reluctant to drink for fear of never finding them again, no doubt: the Mule Skinner Merlot and the Derby Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the first instance in any wine tasting I’ve ever done where I found myself wanting to buy every wine I sampled. I found it really hard to walk away from the Uriah Merlot blend but was told we could buy it in Portland so that’s just what I’m going to do.
We also made our way into the Sleight of Hand Cellars tasting room where we ended up purchasing some of their low-end blends which will be great table wine for the future. We hit one more on our way out of town but didn’t buy anything and thus its name escapes me right now.
All in all (very traumatic deer death aside) it was a great trip, we were graced with sunshine on Sunday and we’re 11 bottles of wine richer today – okay 10 because we came home and drank one… but who’s counting?!