No, I'm not talking about an older woman who frequents clubs in order to score with a much younger man.
Believe it or not, I'm not talking about the Washington State University Cougars either, despite the fact that 100% of the WestToast staff are alumni in some way, shape, or form.
I've always been mesmerized by the mammal of the family Felidae, native to the Americas. The large cat species known as Cougars. Slender, sleek, and agile, I find Cougars to be elegant and graceful. It's long been a goal of mine to see one in the wild. I also fully recognize that if I do in fact encounter a Cougar in the wild, I'll likely be on the wrong side of the dinner plate and no longer will I find the animal elegant and graceful. Nonetheless.
Cougar Crest Winery have struck me as elegant and graceful since I first enjoyed them in 2005. Established in Walla Walla in 2001, the talent behind Cougar Crest comes from Deborah and David Hansen, respectfully a Pharmacist and Veterinarian by trade. For all intents and purposes Cougar Crest is an estate-only winery, with a few minor deviations for their second label. A string of 93+ ratings for their Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from their Stellar, Cougar Hills, and Golden's Legacy vineyard has placed Cougar Crest as a go-to winery for me.
We've been drinking Cougar Crest for years, and have featured the wine on the blog a few times in the past...so why write about them now? Allow me to direct your attention to the title of this post...something about prowling, Cougars, and Woodinville.
That's right. I moved to Seattle so Cougar Crest opened a tasting room in Woodinville. Imagine my joy and elation. While I love trips to Walla Walla, the ability to hit up the tasting room on a random Saturday afternoon was significantly improved recently for all of the fans in the Puget Sound.
Walking into the Woodinville tasting room, you'll instantly be struck by the cozy, at-home feel as well as the prominent wrap-around tasting bar in the middle of the room. You'll likely be greeted by Samuel Worden, the tasting room manager, who gladly pours 5 - 7 of their finest selections ranging from a Viognier to the Syrah, and everything in between. I've taken two different groups of wine newbies to Cougar Crest so far, and both groups have walked away, bottles in hand, and a smile on their face. Located in the same building as Zerba and across the street from a litany of tasting rooms, you can get your Eastern Washington wine fix without getting in the car. I bought a magnum of the Cabernet Franc, which Rick and I gladly used to wash down the joy and festivities of New Years Eve 2012, enjoying every drop.
So the wine is simply fantastic, evidenced by both the smile on your palate and the wall of awards in the tasting room, and the staff and service is great. It's one of those wineries, the list for me which is very small, where I enjoy pretty much anything they produce.
There are a few other factors that make Cougar Crest particularly compelling. Beyond the obvious affinity to my alma mater, Cougar Crest also has a charitable side that has a really cool story behind it. One of the wines that I've been enjoying lately is the 2008 Dedication Five. A blend of four varietals -- Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc -- the Dedication series is dedicated to financially support the Doernbecher Pediatric Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University, where David and Deborah's daughter was saved years ago. It's a great wine at a great price point, and you can feel good in knowing that a portion of your $20 is supporting charity.
Next time you make your way to Woodinville, stop by Cougar Crest and try some great wine. They just opened a tasting room in Spokane as well, and the main facility in Walla Walla is gorgeous.
Cougar Crest Winery Woodinville Tasting Room
14545 148th Ave. NE #211
Woodenville, WA 98072