As I drive East on Highway 12 it hits me that I am definitely back in the country. As far as the eye can see there are rolling hills spotted by wheat fields and vineyards. The air just feels cleaner already, and although I love my new home in San Francisco it does feel great to be back in Washington Wine Country.
I meet up with my brother and we head out to the airport to do some wine tasting. We head over to see an old friend, Zach at Syzygy. He has sold out of his current wines, so his tasting room is closed, he is taking a little breather before Spring Release, scheduled for the first weekend in May. He invites back into his barrel room to taste the wines he has recently blended. With an evil grin on his face he asks us to guess what the blend isâ€¦ I am stumped until finally he admits it is a Malbec/Tempranillo/Cab blend, can’t wait for this one to be on shelves!
We stop by Walla Walla Roastery to grab an espresso. We talk with Jesse who tells us all about the different kinds of coffee they roast, and then takes us in the back to see the air roaster they use. It is nudged in between huge garbage pails of raw coffee beans from all over the world. Much like wine these are supplied through a broker. He tells us that smaller coffee companies such as theirs actually have more of an advantage because they can import the smaller crops of coffee beans, and pick really cool and fun new beans without having to worry about future availability or consistency. We are then invited to come with the coffee guys to skate the vert ramp they have in an old airplane hangar across the street, but alas, we are late to meet friends for lunch and have to head downtown.
The sun is out and we sit on the deck at Luscious by Nature, the newest café in town with friends Dawn and Mary of Dama Wines. I have an amazing grilled cheese sandwich and we all order “Dunham” sized glasses of hard cider made in Milton Freewater by the Blue Mountain Cider Company. I suggest trying their semi-dry if you get a chance, delicious and crisp, this makes the perfect afternoon drink for summer.
Next we are off for a tour at Northstar Winery where I am able to try an array of wines and view the facility. Crush is long gone, and the tourist season is not yet in full force, so the winery is quiet on a Sunday. My brother leads a tour with Myles Anderson’s class from the Walla Walla Community College department of Enology and Viticulture.
After a short rest, we are off to Creektown Café for dinner. We run into old friends, and have a stunning meal. The duck is amazing, and pairs well with the Northstar Walla Walla Valley Syrah we have brought with us. Amazing as usual, this small restaurant has been a local favorite for years. So nice to be home, a perfect day of wine, food, and friends in Walla Walla.