Washington Wine Country Travel Guide
Where to Eat
"The Corson has the kind of list where you can close your eyes, pick a wine and know it will be great," says Betts & Scholl's winemaker Richard Betts. Sommelier Marc Papineau leans toward Old World wines, like the 2007 Domaine Oratoire Saint Martin. Matthew Dillon (an F&W Best New Chef 2007) does the cooking, and his fantastic prix fixe suppers might include olive oil-poached tuna. Recently, Dillon and Papineau also teamed up on the wine bar and shop Bar Ferdinand. Kate Krader
An open, airy bar with terrific cocktails and snacks. Joel Stein
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, who met at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York, work side by side in the open kitchen at their tiny Joule. The couple specializes in unlikely but delicious pairings, such as grilled beef tongue with Chinese celery pesto. Yang also creates inspired desserts, like warm chocolate cake with lychee, Thai basil and crème fraiche. Providence Cicero
Makes 10 varieties of farmstead goat's-and sheep's-milk cheeses. J.S.
Scott Staples first got attention for his earthy, elegant cooking at Restaurant Zoë. The food is more casual at Quinn's, his boisterous gastropub in a renovated 1910 warehouse with brick walls and mirrors. Staples tops roasted marrow bones with escargot and makes Sloppy Joes with spicy wild boar ragù"We're unapologetically meat-driven," he says. The drinks list leans toward beer (both big European names and small local producers) and whiskey. P.C.
Serves a terrific paella, plus other seasonal dishes. J.S.
Most chefs don't open more than one new place a year; Ethan Stowell of Union (an F&W Best New Chef 2008) launched two in 2007. Both serve straightforward, Italian-inspired dishes, but the similarities end there. Tavolàta, in trendy Belltown, is a two-level space with a 30-foot communal table and family-style dishes, such as two-pound T-bones and swiss chard ravioli with heirloom tomatoes and prosciutto. At the more intimate How to Cook a Wolf in sedate Queen Anne, the short menu focuses on appetizers and pastas, like gnochetti with guanciale (cured pork jowl) and hedgehog mushrooms. P.C.
At the Heathman Hotel (a branch of the Portland, Oregon, flagship), Brian Scheehser is close to his ten-acre garden in Woodinville, which provides him with ideas and ingredients for his refined American menu. He uses shaved zucchini in a vegetable carpaccio and serves pickled garden-fresh vegetables alongside a house-made paté. The hotel's bar is equally strong on cocktails like the lavender-spiked, Willows Cocktail and Northwest red wines. P.C.
Places to Visit
Swiss expat Jean-François Pellet is the talented winemaker for Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge. At the new tasting room for both labels, visitors can sample six of his bottlings for $10. Don't miss the dense, peppery 2007 Pepper Bridge Merlot, one of this year's F&W American Wine Awards winners. Guests can also buy wine by the bottle or glass to drink on the outdoor patio. Megan Krigbaum
Eric Dunham, MacLachlan's partner in Pursued by Bear, fashions some of the best Cabernets and Syrahs in Walla Walla. J.S.
Visitors can not only taste Dusted Valley's appropriately named Stained Tooth Syrah but peruse a gallery of works by Pacific Northwest artists, too. M.K.
Tiny Isenhower Cellars recently decided to stop distributing its wines through shops and restaurants and sell them only at its tasting room and online. M.K.
J. Bookwalter's modern, loft-like tasting studio is the place to try its concentrated 2007 Foreshadow Merlot and 2009 Anecdote Riesling. Live music is an added bonus. M.K.
This family-owned winery now pours its bold red wines, like the affordable 2007 Matchless Red, in a small, brightly painted spot in Apple Farm Village. M.K.
Michael Teer's Pike & Western Wine Shop has been a Seattle staple for over 30 years. Now Teer has opened another shop in a sprawling auto-parts store, specializing in wines from Piedmont and small producers. His friend star chef Tom Douglas also opened a new outlet of his Serious Pie pizza parlor in the industrial space. M.K.
Five Great Washington Bottles
- 2007 Woodward Canyon Merlot
- « 2008 Boom Boom! Syrah
- NV Domaine Ste. Michelle Blanc de Blancs Pinot Noir
- 2008 Vin du Lac Lehm Dry Riesling
- 2006 Kiona Lemberger