When it comes to wineries in Washington, the excellent wineries in Walla Walla often get most of the attention. However, Yakima Valley in south central Washington also boasts a number of outstanding wineries that are producing award-winning wines.
As the first American Viticultural Area (AVA) not only in Washington but also in the Pacific Northwest, Yakima Valley is home to more than 60 wineries and nearly 19,000 acres of vineyards. Check out the following list of three of the best wineries in Yakima Valley.
1. Treveri Cellars
Located in Wapato, Treveri Cellars stands out as a producer of outstanding Washington sparkling wine. Its sparkling wines are so good that they have been chosen for White House State Department receptions.
Treveri Cellars mostly makes 100 percent varietal sparkling wines, such as its Sparkling Riesling and its Sparkling Gewürztraminer. Other sparkling white wines include the Brut Blanc de Blancs, which is a Chardonnay blend with flavors of brioche and green apple.
Red wine lovers should try the Brut Blanc de Noirs, which features aromas of strawberry and brioche and a low dosage that gives the wine a creamy finish. The winery also makes a Sparkling Rosé by blending Syrah and Chardonnay. The result is a versatile wine that has flavors of citrus and berries and that pairs well with most dishes.
Treveri Cellars offers tours and tastings from Monday through Sunday and hosts a number of special events, including Murder Mystery Luaus and special hands-on dinners in collaboration with Sizzleworks Cooking School. To learn more about Treveri Cellars, visit www.trevericellars.com.
2. Gilbert Cellars
Located west of Yakima on the Hackett Ranch, Gilbert Cellars offers an ideal wine-tasting and vineyard experience away from the crowds. The winery’s selection of red wines includes the 2016 Pinot Noir, which features aromas of cherry cordial and chocolate candies as well as flavors of cranberry and cassis.
Red wine lovers should also try the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, which was given 90 points by James Suckling. This medium-bodied wine offers aromas of mountain berry and jalapeño and flavors of vanilla, black currant, and black pepper.
Gilbert Cellars’ white wines include the 2018 Vin du Vallée, which has a unique bouquet of apple blossom, citrus, and green plum and flavors of white peach and orange zest. White wine lovers should also try the 2018 Riesling, a dry wine with aromas of honey and green apple and citrus on the palate.
Gilbert Cellars also makes a Rosé (2018) by blending Mourvèdre (52 percent) and Grenache (48 percent). This fruit-forward wine features flavors of strawberry and stone fruit as well as rhubarb on the finish. Gilbert Cellars even makes a Tempranillo dessert wine in the traditional Portuguese style. A blend of the winery’s best Tempranillo vintages, this wine goes well with cheesecake and dark chocolate.
In addition to offering daily tours, Gilbert Cellars hosts concerts as part of its Music in the Vines series in an amphitheater with lawn seating. The winery also has a second location in historic downtown Yakima for those who want to taste exceptional wines without leaving town. To learn more, visit www.gilbertcellars.com.
3. Owen Roe
With locations in both Oregon and Washington, Owen Roe contributes significantly to the unique wine culture of the Pacific Northwest. In solidarity with Washington farmers who had trouble selling their fruit during the recession of 2001, the winery brought back the practice of sharecropping, taking the fruit from local farmers and sharing with them the profit of its wine sales. This gave rise to the wine label Sharecropper’s, which includes a number of exceptional wines.
Red wine lovers should try the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, which features a variety of aromas, from blackberry and vanilla to candied fruit and brown sugar. The flavors of this wine are also unique and include pomegranate, oil-cured olives, and green pepper.
Owen Roe’s red wines also include the 2017 Pinot Noir, which was aged in French oak barrels for eight months. The wine features aromas of rose petals, cherry, and pomegranate and flavors of cherry, olive, and cinnamon.
White wine lovers should try the 2016 Chardonnay, which has aromas of vanilla bean and pineapple as well as flavors of apple, starfruit, and stone fruit. Outside of the Sharecropper’s label, Owen Roe produces a number of other wines, including the 2014 Riesling. Made from grapes grown at DuBrul Vineyard in Yakima Valley, this dry wine features flavors of lemon, green apple, and mandarin orange.
Owen Roe offers daily tastings and private barrel room tastings by reservation. The latter include a guided tour of the facilities and a variety of wines accompanied by a cheese and charcuterie plate. To learn more about Owen Roe, visit www.owenroe.com.
The above three wineries offer a great introduction to the fertile Yakima Valley. When visiting the area, be sure to check out some of the other boutique wineries nearby. You may find that this beautiful region of Washington becomes one of your favorite places to go winery hopping and sample outstanding wines from the Pacific Northwest.