According to the website gotastewine.com, there are now over 40 wineries in Seattle proper.
For me, that's an amazing statistic, because when I lived in Seattle in the late 1980s I don't recall that there were any wineries in the city. In fact, there were only a handful beginning to take root nearby, including Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery in Woodinville and Hedges Cellars in Issaquah.
One of the earlier wineries to establish itself in Seattle is OS Winery, formed in 1997 by winemaker Bill Owen and his business partner, Rob Sullivan. From its inception, the focus at OS has been on red wines, although several years ago the winery began producing a riesling to complement its portfolio of powerful, flavorful reds.
Here are my tasting notes on OS wines that I've tried as of late and think you'll enjoy:
2011 Riesling (about $15) - Brimming with flavors of McIntosh apple and pear, I didn't find the acidity level of this wine to be quite as pronounced as in most rieslings, resulting in a viscous and somewhat softer finish. A low alcohol content of only 9.8 percent, along with a kiss of residual sugar, should make it an instant crowd-pleaser.
2009 Red (about $15) - This Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot is filled with beautiful berry aromas and flavors. Darker notes of blueberry and boysenberry lead off, with brighter cranberry and red currant flavors on the finish. At this price, the wine represents an excellent value.
2008 BSH (about $30) - Comprised of about 75 percent cabernet sauvignon and 25 percent merlot, this big red wine opens with a splash of dark purple color and aromas and flavors of plump blackberry. As the finish lingers, there are hints of bittersweet chocolate, black current and coffee, framed with just the right amount of tannic structure.
2010 Two Blondes Cabernet Franc (about $30) - Named for the Yakima Valley vineyard from which the grapes are sourced, this incredible wine carries an intoxicating fragrance, initially suggesting dark plum, cherry and violets and closing with woodsy notes. Luscious red cherry and strawberry flavors explode on the palate, with a whisper of sweet cedar on the finish and just the slightest lift from gentle tannins lingering in the background. Outstanding!
OS Winery wines are well-distributed at grocers and wine shops in Whatcom County area. For additional wines and winery information, see oswinery.com.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.