Crayelle Cellars: Inaugural Releases

By Kori ~ March 29th, 2010.

The Washington wine industry continues to grow at a rapid rate. According to the Washington Wine Commission, a new winery is bonded every ten days. As a Washington wine lover, it is always exciting to try new wines from new wineries.

Crayelle Cellars, located in Wenatchee, Washington, was founded by winemaker Craig Mitrakul and his wife Danielle in the fall. The inaugural release of their wines was in November 2009. Even though Crayelle Cellars is a new winery, Craig Mitrakul is not new to winemaking. He received his Masters Degree in Food Science with an emphasis in Enology at Cornell University where he studied under Thomas Henick-Kling, now the Director of Enology and Viticulture at Washington State University.

After graduation, Craig worked as a lab technician for Chateau Ste. Michelle where he had the opportunity to work with some of Washington’s top winemakers. He then worked in Australia, New York, and Oregon before returning to Washington State as an assistant winemaker at Three Rivers Winery in Walla Walla. Since 2004, he has been the winemaker for Ryan Patrick Vineyards and Saint Laurent Estate Winery in the Wenatchee Valley. With nearly 15 years of experience under his belt, Craig decided it was time to try his hand at his own label, focusing on the two varietals he is most passionate about, Riesling and Syrah. Since we believe that Riesling and Syrah are Washington’s signature varietals, we think that he has made a wise decision to showcase these two grapes that grow so well in Washington State.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste both of Crayelle’s inaugural releases in a blind samples tasting, the 2008 Dry Riesling and the 2007 Syrah. Based on tasting these wines, Crayelle Cellars and winemaker Craig Mitrakul show great promise. I look forward to trying both of these wines again once they’ve had some more time in the bottle, and I encourage you to give either of them a try if you have the chance.

2008 Crayelle Cellars Dry Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish yellow in color and very aromatic. Aromas of petrol and pear lead to flavors of pear and lime SweeTarts. Medium-bodied with tart acidity. Well-balanced with a long finish. Residual Sugar: 0.05%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $16; Available elsewhere, $16

2007 Crayelle Cellars Syrah (Columbia Valley, Washington): Deep, dark purple. Aromatic with black fruits, leather, and smoke coming through on both the nose and the palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity, medium to high sweet tannins, and a long, slightly bitter, finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to Buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $26; Available elsewhere, $26

Filed under: American Wine, Red Wine, Riesling, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Sherman | March 30th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    So is Craig still the winemaker for St. Laurent and Crayelle another project? If he’s moved on to Crayelle and not with St. Laurent, do you have any info as to who’s doing the wine making there?

  2. Kori | April 1st, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    It is my understanding that Craig is still the winemaker for St. Laurent while also now launching Crayelle as his own label. Cheers!

  3. Craig Mitrakul | April 3rd, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Kori, you are correct. I’m the winemaker for Saint Laurent and started Crayelle Cellars as my own small project with a different focus. Thanks for the great blog!

  4. Joanne | April 3rd, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Craig’s wines for Ryan Patrick are excellent, also. We are lucky to have the R.P. tasting room right here in Leavenworth, where on big holiday weekends it is always very busy. Next door is Cured, the sausage shop; the salamis, etc. are very good with R.P.’s Barbera. It’s Craig’s Riesling for Easter, however. We go to a sort of holiday pot luck, and Riesling covers the mix of foods quite well.

  5. Kori | April 3rd, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks for the verification. Keep up the good work!

    We love Leavenworth. Thanks for sharing the additional information for those who are not familiar with your wonderful town. And I appreciate your Easter pairing suggestion.


  6. alex | April 3rd, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Hmmmmm…Sorry Wine Peeps but I take issue with the 3.5 out of 5 on the Riesling. I’m not certain what or how you rate and what exactly you are looking for (cost/availability/quality, or some algorithm)but I read 3.5 out of five to indicate ‘just slightly above average.’

    That3.5 evaluation underates this wine!

    I don’t us that 5 point system; I prefer to use the 20pt American Wine Society’s judging evaluation sheet. On that system, I score this Crayelle 2008 Riesling a solid 18.5 out of that 20 pts.

  7. Kori | April 8th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Please visit our Wine Ratings,, page for an explanation of our rating system. As you will see, a 3.5 falls between “good” and “excellent” so we consider the Crayelle Riesling to be “very good” not “just slightly above average” as you suggest. Also, our quality ratings only evaluate quality and do not take other factors such as cost or availability into account. It is our QPR rating that takes price into account. And availability is only taken into account in selecting the wines that we feature in our “Wine for Tonight” series on Thursdays. Cheers!