Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tasting the Tri Cities

I recently had several people ask me what vineyards I would recommend in Washington's Tri Cities area. This area is as rich in vineyards as blue skies, making it a great destination for a wine filled few days. I will give you a summary of a few vineyards that are in the Richland area but let this be a spring board for the hundreds of other vineyards in Yakima, Walla Walla, Prosser, Benton City to name a few surrounding towns.

I don't recommend hitting more than three in a day and setting someone up in advance who will drive you around.

First I would say hit the three closest to my house, right after you pick me up... not just because they are close but because they are three fine and well established estates.

Tagaris has snuck into my schedule rather sleuth in nature. It has taken  me a while to warm up to the large open dining room that has a relatively small bar area but once I cracked a few of the bartenders I appreciated the space. The patio outside of the dining area is stunningly large and features live music starting mid Spring and lasting into the Summer months. The wine is very easy, pleasing a variety palates with the goal to “become the premiere authority for making wine using as little oak as possible so the vibrant fruit flavors of the wine are predominant”. The tasting experience is exceptional.


Established in 1983, Barnard Griffin has become the premier family-owned winery in Washington State. Barnard Griffin declared the best rosé in America. That is right,  Barnard Griffin Winery has won the award for best rosé at the largest and most influential wine competition in the United States. The judges at the San Francisco Wine Competition selected the Barnard Griffin 2010 Rosé of Sangiovese as the best in its category. This marks the sixth year in a row that this wine has won gold or better at the event.  Barnard Griffin owner and winemaker Rob Griffin said, “We’re very pleased by this recognition. It’s further proof of the world-class quality we achieve in the Washington State wine industry."

J Bookwalter Winery and Bistro

I was introduced to wine in this region by the fine employees and a few enthusiastic patrons of Bookwalter. I recommend hitting Bookwalter while the sun is out and shining, the patio and gardens are spectacular. What happens there after hours, well is the finest showing of the Tri Cities and well..... I am going to bite my lip.... and not go there. They offer extremely crafted wines that impress all interests.


Badger Mountain and Powers Vineyard

Venturing a bit further from the house, like 2 more miles, is the first organic vineyard in Washington and some of our favorite local wines. A must do if you are even passing through.

Terra Blanca

Amazing wines and even more spectacular atmosphere. Beautiful setting, wonderfully cheerful employees and a dog for good measure.

 If you go anywhere for a great experience - this is the place. Did I mention that it was beautiful!

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