Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Detour For Wine

The sun was shining, summer was in full swing and I absolutely made a U-turn on US 97 between Wenatachee and Okanogan to head over to Tsillan Cellars to pick up a couple of bottles.

The winery (pronounced Chelan) opened its doors in 2004 with one of the most breathtaking views you've probably ever seen from a winery, anywhere.   We're used to looking off decks and seeing rows of perfect vineyards but here you see the vines and the blue waters of Lake Chelan (though on the day I was there things were a little hazy because of recent wildfires).

It was HOT that day in Chelan and despite it being a weekday, I was surprised when I walked into the climate controlled tasting room that there were only a few groups at the bar.  Sarah quickly welcomed me and offered me a look at the tasting list.  Rather than have a set list, Tsillan lets you pick what you want from a variety of wines listed in a leather bound book that rests on the marble slab bar.  I asked Sarah to take me through her recommendations, though looking back, I wish I has just done a white tasting that day (I blame the heat for my lack of interest in the reds).  Her first pour ended up being my favorite.

It was a 2011 Pinot Grigo that I liked enough to take home two bottles.  It's an estate varietal - Tsillan is actually working toward solely producing estate wine (according to tasting room staff).  The description of this wine was pretty much exactly what I noted, both on the nose and palate:  

"Bright and shimmering gold and green straw in color this wine has an abundance of aromatic complexities. The bouquet has traditional South Shore Pinot Grigio qualities of peach, pear, lemons and granny smith apples as well as some floral notes. On the palate you will taste some tart lemon-lime character as well as dried apricots, blood oranges and white peaches."

I have yet to pop the corks on the bottles I brought home, and since it isn't nearly as warm on the west side of the state, I hope I enjoy them as much as I did that day.  From prior experience tasting Tsillan wines though I'm sure I won't be disappointed.

I'm sure this won't be my only detour for wine and I strongly encourage you to make one this summer too!  Your taste buds and your wine rack will appreciate it.


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