Four Up-and-Coming Washington State Wineries



By Kori ~ December 1st, 2008.

On a recent Saturday, the Wine Peeps attended tastings at two local wine shops. Mom (LaGayle) and Dad (John) attended the Ross Andrew tasting at McCarthy & Schiering in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood and then I joined them for the Stephenson Cellars, Otis Kenyon, and Five Star Cellars tasting at Pete’s Wine Shop in Bellevue.

Ross Andrew Winery, located in Woodinville, Washington, was founded by owner/winemaker Ross Andrew Mickel in 1999. Prior to starting his own winery, Ross gained experience in the wine industry working for DeLille Cellars, Rosemount Estate, and Betz Family Winery. Ross Andrew currently produces 2,500 cases per year.

Stephenson Cellars, founded in 2001 by owner/winemaker Dave Stephenson, is a small winery located in the Walla Walla airport complex in Walla Walla, Washington. Stephenson’s current production level is 1,200 cases per year. The 2005 Stephenson Cellars Syrah has done remarkably well in two of our previous blind tastings (see my August 8th post and August 20th post).

Otis Kenyon is a small family-owned winery in Walla Walla, Washington. Founded in 2004 by Steve Kenyon and Deborah Dunbar, Otis Kenyon currently produces 1,000 cases per year. Dave Stephenson of Stephenson Cellars is the winemaker for Otis Kenyon. All of their wines are made exclusively from Walla Walla Valley fruit.

Five Star Cellars, located in the Walla Walla airport complex in Walla Walla, Washington, was founded in 2000 by David Huse. In 2002, his son Matt joined the family business as winemaker. Exclusively a red wine producer, Five Star currently produces 6,000 cases per year.

All four of these wineries are small, relatively new family-run operations. As you’ll see from the ratings below, all four are up-and-coming producers that are making some good wines. In addition to good quality ratings, they all have good QPR ratings as well. If you haven’t tried their wines, I encourage you to give them a look.

Here’s a breakdown of the wines that we tasted. Under each Quality heading, the wine name and region will be listed along with their price and QPR rating. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
2005 Stephenson Cellars Syrah, Washington State, $24.50, QPR: 5

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2005 Stephenson Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State, $24.50, QPR: 5
2006 Five Star Cellars Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $24.50, QPR: 5
2006 Five Star Cellars Stellar Red Wine, Walla Walla Valley, $46, QPR: 3

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2005 Stephenson Cellars Red Wine, Washington State, $16, QPR: 4
2005 Otis Kenyon Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $24.50, QPR: 4
2005 Ross Andrew Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $32, QPR: 4
2007 Ross Andrew Meadow White Wine, Oregon, $16, QPR: 3
2006 Ross Andrew Boushey Vineyard Syrah, Yakima Valley, $28, QPR: 3

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2006 Five Star Cellars Sangiovese, Walla Walla Valley, $23, QPR: 4
2005 Otis Kenyon Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $26, QPR: 4
2006 Five Star Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $28, QPR: 4

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2006 Five Star Cellars Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $26, QPR: NR


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Merlot, Oregon Wine, Red Wine, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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