Cascade Valley Wine Country: Mountains, Lakes, Sunshine, and Wine



By Kori ~ September 29th, 2010.

Located in central Washington State halfway between Seattle and Spokane, Cascade Valley Wine Country is home to around 50 wineries and tasting rooms in Wenatchee, Chelan, and Leavenworth. Cascade Valley Wine Country is a marketing alliance formed in 2009 by area wineries and funded by the Port of Chelan County and the Port of Douglas County to promote trade and tourism. Boasting majestic mountain and lake views and 300 days of sunshine per year, the region has been a tourist destination for years, long before wineries started opening in the area. The oldest wineries in the Cascade Valley Wine Country have only been in existence about a decade. However, in that short time, they have capitalized on the tourist-appeal of the area and have established a thriving wine community. The region also includes the Lake Chelan AVA, Washington State’s newest American Viticultural Area.

Recently, Colby and I had the opportunity to spend three days in the Cascade Valley Wine Country on a media tour hosted by the Cascade Valley Wine Country alliance. We had the pleasure to meet winemakers, visit wineries and vineyards, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Day One was spent in the Wenatchee Valley, the self-proclaimed “Apple Capital of the World.” Day Two took us to the shores of gorgeous Lake Chelan, the longest lake in Washington State and the third deepest lake in the United States. And we concluded our trip by spending Day Three in the quaint Bavarian Village of Leavenworth.

We tasted a total of 94 wines on this trip, a representative sampling of what is being produced in the Cascade Valley Wine Country. As you’ll see from my ratings below, the area is home to a few top-notch producers, a number of average producers, and some underperformers. The wine itself aside, the best part of the trip was the wonderful people we met along the way who truly love where they live and what they are doing.

In the coming weeks, I will be writing more about each of the three destination areas within the Cascade Valley Wine Country, the Wenatchee Valley, Lake Chelan, and Leavenworth. While the wine quality really runs the gamut, there are more than enough good wines and wine country experiences to be had. Given the gorgeous scenery and recreational opportunities, the area is a great get-away destination for everyone in the family, for wine lovers and teetotalers alike.

Here’s a breakdown of the wines that we tasted while visiting Cascade Valley Wine Country. 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: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Nefarious Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $30, QPR: 5
2008 Fielding Hills Merlot, Wahluke Slope, $36, QPR: 5
2007 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $38, QPR: 5
2007 Fielding Hills Syrah, Wahluke Slope, $40, QPR: 5

2008 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope, $30, QPR: 4

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2006 Saint Laurent Syrah, Wahluke Slope, $22, QPR: 5
2006 Saint Laurent Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $28, QPR: 5
2008 Fielding Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $42, QPR: 5

2009 Nefarious Consequence (Sauv Blanc/Aligote/Viog), Washington State, $18, QPR: 4
2008 Tsillan Cellars Estate Malbec, Lake Chelan, $25, QPR: 4
2008 Nefarious Rx-4 (Mourv/Syrah/Coun/Cins), Columbia Valley, $27, QPR: 4
2007 Hard Row to Hoe Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope, $28, QPR: 4
2008 Fielding Hills Tribute Red Blend, Wahluke Slope, $32, QPR: 4
2007 Fielding Hills Merlot, Wahluke Slope, $36, QPR: 4
2008 Fielding Hills Syrah, Wahluke Slope, $38, QPR: 4
2007 Fielding Hills Cabernet Franc, Wahluke Slope, $30, QPR: 3

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2009 Saint Laurent Riesling, Columbia Valley, $12, QPR: 5
2008 Baroness Cellars Nebbiolo, Horse Heaven Hills, $22, QPR: 5

2008 Crayelle Cellars Dry Riesling, Washington State, $16, QPR: 4
2009 Nefarious Stone’s Throw Riesling, Columbia Valley, $18, QPR: 4
2008 Tsillan Cellars Estate Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, $18, QPR: 4
2007 Tsillan Cellars Estate Sinistra (Sangio/Nebb/Barb), Lake Chelan, $23, QPR: 4
NV Bergdorf Cellars Glühwein Lemberger, Red Mountain, $24, QPR: 4
2008 Martin-Scott Petite Sirah, Columbia Valley, $24.50, QPR: 4
2006 Benson Vineyards Syrah, Lake Chelan, $26.50, QPR: 4
2008 Nefarious Syrah, Defiance Vineyard, Lake Chelan, $27, QPR: 4
2007 Silvara Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State, $29.50, QPR:  4
2006 Vin du Lac Barrel Select Merlot, Columbia Valley, $35, QPR: 4
2008 Tsillan Cellars Estate Gewurztraminer, Columbia Valley, $16, QPR: 3
2008 Martin-Scott Malbec, Columbia Valley, $24.50, QPR: 3
2007 Benson Vineyards Rhythm (Syrah/Mer/CF/Sangio/Cab), Lake Chelan, $26, QPR: 3
2007 Tsillan Cellars Piccolo Rosso (Mer/CF/Nebb/Barb/Sangio), Columbia Valley, $28, QPR: 3
2007 Tsillan Cellars Bellissima Rossa (Cab/Mer/CF), Columbia Valley, $28, QPR: 3
2006 Chateau Faire Le Pont Milbrandt Syrah, Wahluke Slope, $30, QPR: 3
2007 Fielding Hills Tribute Red Blend, Wahluke Slope, $32, QPR: 3
2007 Karma Brut de Brut Sparkling Wine, Columbia Valley, $45, QPR: 3
2008 Icicle Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Wahluke Slope, $50, QPR: 3
2009 Nefarious Viognier, Defiance Vineyard, Lake Chelan, $19, QPR: 2
2009 Silvara Pinot Grigio, Wahluke Slope, $22, QPR: 2
2007 Napeequa Malbec, Columbia Valley, $32, QPR: 1
2005 Saint Laurent La Boheme (Cab/Mer/Syrah), Wahluke Slope, $42, QPR: 1
2006 Wedge Mountain Charlie’s Stash Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain, $80, QPR: 1

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2008 Martin-Scott Riesling, Columbia Valley, $12, QPR: 4
2007 Saint Laurent Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $14, QPR: 4
2006 Stemilt Creek Merlot, Columbia Valley, $15, QPR: 4
NV Vin du Lac Red Café Pinot Noir, Columbia Valley, $20, QPR: 4
2008 Silvara Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State, $22, QPR: 4
2007 Cascadia Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $28, QPR: 4
2008 Eagle Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $29, QPR: 4
2009 Stemilt Creek Sweet Adelaide (Ries/Gewurz/Chard), Columbia Valley, $12, QPR: 3
2008 Silvara Chardonnay, Washington State, $19, QPR: 3
2006 Wapato Point Red Delicious (Syrah/Sangio), Columbia Valley, $24, QPR: 3
2007 Tsillan Cellars Syrah-Grenache, Columbia Valley, $25, QPR: 3
2008 Tsillan Cellars Reserve Syrah, Lake Chelan, $25, QPR: 3
2006 Karma Estate Pinot Noir, Lake Chelan, $25, QPR: 3
2008 Wapato Point Reserve Pinot Noir, Lake Chelan, $32, QPR: 3
2007 Karma Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $35, QPR: 3
2008 Tsillan Cellars Estate Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20, QPR: 2
2006 Cascadia Merlot, Wahluke Slope, $24, QPR: 2
2007 Tsillan Cellars Estate Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $25, QPR: 2
2007 Napeequa Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $25, QPR: 2
2008 Benson Vineyards Sangiovese, Lake Chelan, $27, QPR: 2
2007 Tsillan Cellars Estate Barrel Select Syrah, Lake Chelan, $28, QPR: 2
2007 Napeequa Trailhead Merritt Lake Edition (Cab/Malb/Mer), Columbia Valley, $28, QPR: 2
2005 Stemilt Creek Cabernet Franc, Washington State, $28, QPR: 2
2006 Wapato Point Syrah, Columbia Valley, $28, QPR: 2
2008 Kamari Black Label Reserve Red Blend, Walla Walla Valley, $34, QPR: 2
2009 Benson Vineyards Viognier, Lake Chelan, $19, QPR: 1
2009 Wapato Point Harmony (Pinot Grigio/Gewurz), Lake Chelan, $19, QPR: 1
2009 Icicle Ridge White Riesling, Washington State, $23.50, QPR: 1
2007 Wapato Point Reserve Merlot, Lake Chelan, $36, QPR: 1
2007 Vin du Lac Barrel Select Cabernet Franc, Columbia Valley, $40, QPR: 1
2009 Icicle Ridge Müller-Thurgau Sparkling Wine, Washington State, $55, QPR: 1

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2009 Martin-Scott Pinot Grigio, Columbia Valley, $14, QPR: NR
2006 Stemilt Creek Stemilt Hill Red, Columbia Valley, $15, QPR: NR
2009 Vin du Lac Les Amis Riesling (and friends), Columbia Valley, $15, QPR: NR
2009 Vin du Lac Red Café Rosé Cabernet Franc/Sangiovese, Columbia Valley, $15, QPR: NR
2007 Waterville Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $15, QPR: NR
2009 Cascadia Riesling, Columbia Valley, $16, QPR: NR
2008 Silvara Riesling, Washington State, $18, QPR: NR
2009 Benson Vineyards Curiosity (Viog/Chard), Lake Chelan, $18.50, QPR: NR
2009 Tsillan Cellars Estate Bocciolo di Rosa (Rosé of Syrah), Lake Chelan, $19, QPR: NR
2009 Napeequa Randonee Viognier, Columbia Valley, $19, QPR: NR
2007 Vin du Lac LEHM Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, $20, QPR: NR
2009 Wapato Point Pinot Grigio, Lake Chelan, $22, QPR: NR
2009 Tsillan Cellars Estate Pinot Grigio, Lake Chelan, $23, QPR: NR
2008 Eagle Creek Montage (CF/Mer), Columbia Valley, $23, QPR: NR
2006 Stemilt Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $24, QPR: NR
2007 Karma Try (Cab/Malb/Mer), Columbia Valley, $30, QPR: NR
2007 Karma Zen (Syrah/Gren/Mourv), Wahluke Slope, $40, QPR: NR

Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
2007 Cascadia Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $12, QPR: NR
2007 Wapato Point Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $18, QPR: NR
2008 Karma Estate Gewurztraminer, Lake Chelan, $22, QPR: NR

Quality: 1.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Eagle Creek Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $19, QPR: NR


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Gewurztraminer, Lesser Known Varietals, Malbec, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Petite Sirah, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Red Wine, Riesling, Rose Wine, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz/Syrah, Sparkling Wine, Viognier, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Travel, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. rob newsom | September 29th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Hey! Nice story. Sorry I missed yall over here! Come back.
    Rob Newsom

  2. Kori | September 29th, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Thanks, Rob. Missed seeing you too. Of course, we’ll be back. Hope to see you soon. Cheers!

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