Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Walla Walla Wine Country, Now With Cocktails!

Each spring the annual Cayuse Release Weekend happens in Walla Walla, an excuse for a brief little getaway, some great wine, and good times with friends. This year it was a girls only trip.

Friday afternoon we stopped for lunch in Ellensburg at the absolutely charming Yellow Church Cafe. We found the cafe in a quick on-line search and were super happy with our meals; grilled cheese with bacon!!

We had made arrangements to stop to taste Goedhart, which doesn't have a tasting room anymore but is being poured at Hedges, in Prosser. The problem was that I had Hogue in my head and went to the wrong winery. By the time we made it to Hedges they were closed. We felt terrible missing our appointment so we stopped in Fidelitas for a taste to help get over it. Nice malbecs here and a great view of the valley.

Arriving in town, we checked into our normal spot, the Holiday Inn, and had them call us a cab. Besides spending the days tasting wine I was employing my girlfriends to help me check out the emerging cocktail scene in downtown Walla Walla.  Freddy G showed up within minutes and was our evening driver for the weekend. He was a great sport as we went out early and came back late, sometimes requesting a bottle stop on the way home!

The first night we had wonderful drinks at Whitehouse Crawford before a good, but not exceptional, dinner at Saffron. Afterwards we had nightcaps at the Public House 124 where owner Matthew Price-Huntington was kind enough to give us tastes of unique spirits and mix us up a few rounds. 

The next day was all about the wine. We tasted mainly in the south and downtown area, repeat favorites included Cayuse, Rotie, and Mark Ryan (and an incredible taco bar they had set up). We also went to Isenhower and had a very nice semi private tour and tasting, and also had an appointment at Doubleback which is delicious juice but very spendy. Our weekend favorite was tasting at Maison Bleue's new room right downtown. This wine is absolutely amazing, if you are a fan of granache you want this on your 'do-not-miss' list.

That evening, after dropping the wine and the car off and calling our buddy Freddy G, we had more delicious cocktails at The Vineyard Lounge before having dinner at Brassiere 4, which is perhaps my favorite Walla Walla restaurant.

Heading home on Sunday, we stopped in Prosser to have lunch at Wine O'Clock. Horrible name, very good lunch. It is actually a winery, though we thought the wines a bit simple. And besides the good food the cafe had vintage Julia Child television shows playing on their tv. Very cool.

You can read the full write up that I did about the cocktail scene on World's Best Bars.


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