Today I would like to focus on a few local wineries and some of the more notable wines they've been producing as of late.
Located at 2001 Iowa St. in Bellingham, Bill and Jennifer Kimmerly at Masquerade Wine Company have several current releases worth checking out ... at prices to fit nearly every budget.
Their white wine selection has expanded over the past few years to include everything from sparkling to crisp and dry to full-bodied and now even semi-sweet.
Their 2012 Chenin Blanc and 2012 Pinot Gris (about $14 each) offer contrasting styles while displaying true-to-the-varietal features you'd expect from these delicious everyday choices. The chenin blanc includes touches of lush tropical fruits and an off-dry finish, while the pinot gris really shines with brisk citrus and lime flavors that make it a prime candidate to pair with oysters or shellfish.
The latest version of the winery's signature wine, the award-winning Effervescing Elephant II Brut Sparkling Wine (about $35) is better than ever. Bill has toned down the sweetness to a whisper at 0.8 percent residual sugar, allowing more of the baked bread and appley flavors to take command. Ultra-fine bubbles add a note of creaminess to complete the package.
My favorite of the current lineup is the 2012 Roussanne (about $20), a rich, viscous, full-bodied white with an ultra-long, slightly buttery finish. Despite a toasty/nutty quality one would expect from fermentation in oak barrels, this muscular yet elegant wine was fermented in stainless steel.
At Bellingham's Dynasty Cellars, Peter and Olga Osvaldik have turned out another excellent effort with their 2010 DCZ Zinfandel (about $28). Sourced from Walla Walla's Les Collines Vineyard, this is the type of big, bold wine Dynasty lovers have come to expect. Aromas of cherry and spice, dark cherry and understated licorice flavors on the palate, and artful accents of black pepper, highlight this intensely flavored, full-bodied red.
Now in release and certain to sell out quickly, you'll find the zinfandel and other red wines at the tasting room at 2169 East Bakerview Road.
Finally, special recognition is due to the winemaking staff at Mount Baker Vineyards. Their 2012 Madeleine Angevine (about $16) was awarded Best of Class honors at the San Francisco Chronicle 2013 Wine Competition. The grapes for this outstanding white wine were sourced from the winery's estate vineyards near Everson.
Winery sales rep Tim Fuller tells me there are about 80 to 90 cases of this wine still available. You'll find it at the winery tasting room at 4298 Mount Baker Highway as well as at all Whatcom County Haggen stores. Buy it now, drink it now, and enjoy one of the best of this region's 2012 vintage.
Dan Radil is a wine enthusiast who lives in Bellingham. Reach him at danthewineguy.com.