Special Holiday Tastings at South Seattle Artisan Wineries



By Kori ~ December 31st, 2008.

20081231_ssawholidaySouth Seattle Artisan Wineries is a group of eight boutique wineries located just south of downtown Seattle, including Cadence, Elsom Cellars, Fall Line, Falling Rain, Nota Bene, O*S, Sodovino, and Stomani. Since these are small, boutique wineries, they are not open for regular tasting room hours. However, they host joint open houses on special Saturdays throughout the year and are also open for special holiday tastings during the month of December. Earlier this month, we attended one of their holiday tastings and visited seven of the eight wineries. We did not visit Cadence as we had recently tasted their wines at another event.

Our first stop was Nota Bene Cellars. Owned by winemaker Tim Narby and his wife Carol Bryant, Nota Bene produces exclusively red wines from Washington State fruit. Their first vintage was 2001, and current annual production is 1,200 cases.

20081231_osO*S Winery was our most exciting discovery of the day. Not only do they produce some excellent wines, but there was very positive, fun vibe to the tasting. Winemaker and co-owner Bill Owen was on hand helping pour wines as well as offering barrel samples. You’ll note from the breakdown below that we rated four O*S wines as 4-star quality. The 2006 O*S Cabernet Franc was my favorite, and historically, I haven’t been a huge fan of Cabernet Franc as a stand-alone varietal. O*S has been in business for eleven years and produces 3,000 cases per year.

20081231_falllineNext, we visited Fall Line Winery. Winemaker Tim Sorenson and his wife Nancy Rivenburgh founded Fall Line in 2003. They currently produce about 2,000 cases per year, specializing in blends of Bordeaux varietals. My favorite of their wines and the only wine in these tastings to receive a QPR rating of 5 was the 2005 Fall Line Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our final stop of the day took us to a building in the SODO District just one block west of Safeco Field which houses the remaining four wineries, Stomani Cellars, Falling Rain Cellars, Elsom Cellars, and Sodovino. The people were all very friendly but the overall quality of the wines did not stack up against our previous three stops.

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

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2005 Fall Line Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $30, QPR: 5
2007 O*S “S” (White Blend), Red Mountain, $20, QPR: 4
2005 Fall Line Red Mountain (Red Blend), Red Mountain, $30, QPR: 4
2005 O*S Syrah, Yakima Valley, $35, QPR: 4
2006 O*S Cabernet Franc, Horse Heaven Hills, $30, QPR: 3
2006 O*S Petit Verdot, Columbia Valley, $45, QPR: 2

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2006 Fall Line Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $30, QPR: 4
2006 Elsom Red Wine, Columbia Valley, $28, QPR: 3
2005 Nota Bene Syrah, Washington State, $30, QPR: 3
2006 Fall Line Artz Vineyard (Red Blend), Red Mountain, $30, QPR: 3
2005 Fall Line Horse Heaven Hills (Red Blend), Horse Heaven Hills, $30, QPR: 3
2005 Nota Bene Ciel du Cheval Vineyard (Red Blend), Red Mountain, $35, QPR: 2
2005 O*S “BSH” (Red Blend), Columbia Valley, $35, QPR: 2
2005 O*S “R3” (Red Blend), Columbia Valley, $35, QPR: 2
2004 O*S Ulysses (Red Blend), Yakima Valley, $40, QPR: 1

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2006 Falling Rain Mischief (Red Blend), Columbia Valley, $25, QPR: 3
2006 Falling Rain Cloudburst (Red Blend), Columbia Valley, $25, QPR: 3
2006 Stomani Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $26, QPR: 3
2006 Stomani Insieme (Red Blend), Columbia Valley, $26, QPR: 3
2007 O*S Riesling, Horse Heaven Hills, $20, QPR: 2
2004 Nota Bene Kestrel View Estates Vineyard (Red Blend), Yakima Valley, $28, QPR: 2
2006 Fall Line Aldercreek Vineyard (Red Blend), Horse Heaven Hills, $30, QPR: 2
2005 Nota Bene Conner Lee Vineyard (Red Blend), Columbia Valley, $32, QPR: 2

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2004 O*S “M” (Red Blend), Red Mountain, $15, QPR: NR
2007 Sodovino Sylvia James Rosebud Ranch Vineyard Viognier, Columbia Valley, $16, QPR: NR
2006 O*S Red, Columbia Valley, $17, QPR: NR
2006 Stomani Dolcetto, Yakima Valley, $18, QPR: NR
2007 Falling Rain Irise (White Blend), Columbia Valley, $22, QPR: NR
2006 Sodovino Sylvia James Lewis Vineyard Syrah, Rattlesnake Hills, $26, QPR: NR
2006 Stomani Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $26, QPR: NR
2004 Nota Bene Miscela (Red Blend), Washington State, $28, QPR: NR
2006 Nota Bene Una Notte (Red Blend), Columbia Valley, $32, QPR: NR

Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
2006 Sodovino Red, Columbia Valley, $24, QPR: NR
2006 Nota Bene Malbec Verhey Vineyard (Red Blend), Yakima Valley, $30, QPR: NR


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Lesser Known Varietals, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Red Wine, Riesling, Sangiovese, Shiraz/Syrah, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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