Located just a 20 minute drive north of Seattle, Woodinville is a small suburb that is home to more than 140 wineries and tasting rooms featuring wines predominantly made in the Walla Walla, Columbia and Yakima Valleys in the southeastern part of the state. With that many tasting rooms to choose from it can be daunting to know which ones to make a priority especially when faced with a short amount of time. We recently visited the Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery tasting room and found it to be well worth a stop for anyone looking for a delicious glass of wine in a comfortable atmosphere.
Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery was founded by the Monson family in 1999. They are a family that is more than familiar with the area having farmed in the Columbia Valley for close to 50 years. When searching for a vineyard, they were guided by their firm belief that quality wine comes from quality fruit. They consulted with none other than Dr. Walter Clore, a man known as the “Father of Washington Wine” (and who is officially recognized as such by the state), to ensure they found a truly excellent vineyard site. The vineyard they chose is planted on a south-facing slope in Washington’s Columbia Valley close to Red Mountain, considered the tenderloin district of the AVA. The site location combined with the fact the vineyard sees only 6-8 inches of rainfall a year and has very diverse soil, means ideal conditions for growing grapes to make premium wine.
The Woodinville tasting room is one of four tasting rooms that Goose Ridge has in Washington. They also have one in Richland (near Red Mountain in the heart of their 2200-acre vineyard), Walla Walla, and one in Leavenworth. The tasting room in Woodinville sits across from the Historic Hollywood Schoolhouse and is nestled between two of our favourite Washington wineries, Darby and Long Shadows.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Goose Ridge is the relaxed atmosphere. We were greeted warmly by Monique and Michelle and immediately gravitated toward the large leatherback chairs situated beside the fireplace—a welcome respite on a chilly February day! On the right side of the room is a long tasting bar and toward the back there are a few barrel tables with several chairs easily able to entertain many people at a time.
The biggest challenge you’ll face is choosing among the more than 20 wines produced by the winery through their four different labels (Goose Ridge, g3, StoneCap and Tall Sage), all of which are made from estate grown fruit. We’ve provided tasting notes below to just a small sampling of wines they had in their tasting lineup when we visited.
And should you hit palate fatigue or have a companion with you that is not a fan of wine, they also produce a number of Ciders depending on the season. In the same vein as their wine, the quality of their Cider rests with the fruit. For example, their Dry Apple Cider is made from the apples the family has been growing at their orchard in the Yakima Valley since the 1950’s.
The next time you find yourself in Woodinville and you’re searching for a great place to sit and enjoy a glass of quality Washington wine in a truly inviting atmosphere, head straight to the Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery tasting room, pull up a chair, and settle in for a fun and relaxed tasting.
Vivid pink, the colour shows this rosé was made using the method Saignée, where the wine is bled off the bottom of the tank after just a few hours contact with the skins. Grenache with bits of Syrah and Mouvedre make up this blend. It shows lifted notes of strawberry and cranberry with hints of spice. Medium acidity and medium+ body, this is a rosé that wants to be noticed.
Very Good+ (US$24 at their tasting room)
This white is a blend of the classic Rhone varieties of Viognier, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc. Offering up melon, peach and a minerally finish this wine has medium body and medium acidity and a nice, full mouthfeel.
Very Good (US $25 at their tasting room)
Melon and pear lead the flavours of this medium to full Chardonnay. There is good acidity that gives cut and definition and keeps a nice balance. We pick up a nice mineral streak toward the finish giving a bit of complexity.
Very Good+ (US$28 at their tasting room)
The deep, dark red colour lets you know this will be a wine with impact before you even taste it. Lots of plum, black cherry and other dark fruits are joined by subtle notes of mocha and baking spices. At 5 years after the vintage the structural components have settled into a nice place providing a smooth mouthfeel and a long finish.
Excellent (US$34 at their tasting room)
Named after the songbirds that can be found in the estate vineyards that provide the fruit for this blend of 39% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Syrah. Black cherry, blackberry and plum flavours meld together beautifully creating a polished wine with lush, smooth mouthfeel. Earth and cedar notes provide a nice counterbalance to the fruit. Despite the upfront appeal, there are goods here that would suggest even more development to come over the next 5 to 10 years. Delicious!
Excellent (US$40 at their tasting room)
Goose Ridge Vineyards Woodinville Tasting Room:
14450 Woodinville Redmond Rd NE Suite 108
Tel: (425) 488-0200
Hours: Mon-Wed 11am-6pm/Thurs 11am-8pm/Fri-Sun 11am-7pm
(Also open by appointment for groups & private events)