Mid September is an exciting time to visit wine country as crush has began. The grapes are freshly harvested and the wineries are all a bustle with the early stages of production. This past weekend I had my first opportunity to visit Washington’s wine country in Woodinville.
Woodinville is like an adult Disneyland. Multiple districts full of wineries and tasting rooms. You can freely and easily stumble from tasting to tasting, imbibing in the best juice Washington has to offer.
I was lucky enough to be able to hang out with Darby English at his winery as they brought some grapes in from the fields to begin the magic of wine making.
Before heading to the production facility we stopped by the tasting room and met Sue the tasting room manager and she happily helped us with directions as we were a bit lost. Once we finally got there Darby was an incredible host. Showing us around the winery, allowing us to try some Syrah grapes fresh off the vine, and even got up close and personal with a destemmer in action.
Even with the high concentration of wineries and winemakers in Woodinville it still felt like a tight knit community. With practically every winery brought up in conversation Darby had a personal connection. Even mentioning that he and Mark Ryan had daughters about the same age and the prospect of them going into the business when they get older.
While there, my compadres and I were able to try his 2012 mourvedre, and 2011 Cab. He even brought out a few bottles from his back catalog. A 2010 Petite Syrah and an 2008 Tempranillo that English produced when he still making wine in his basement. He has now moved on to bigger and better things but both were still drinking great.
This weekends trip inspired me to pick up another bottle from Darby. Their 2013 Dark Side Syrah.
-Appearance: Jet black truly taking you to the “Dark Side.” Notes of ruby at the top of the glass.
-Nose: Dark candied jammy fruits, slight amount of baking spices, clove, and a bit of menthol. Can even get a decent amount of alcohol on the nose.
-Palate: Decent amount of acidity on this guy. That along with the alcohol produces a nice mouthwatering that brings you back for the next sip. Nice notes of balsamic once quaffed.
The Dark Side is an excellent example of a Washington State Syrah. Big, juicy, and with high alcohol to remind you that you are drinking an adult beverage. Keeps you coming back for more.
Images by Kayla Johnson