Wine and Jazz in Leavenworth

By Kori ~ September 8th, 2008.

For those of you who have never been, Leavenworth, Washington, is a quaint and beautiful Bavarian Village nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the heart of the state. No matter the season, it is a great get-away tourist destination. And in recent years, it has also become a destination for wine lovers as a number of wineries now call the area home and others have opened tasting rooms in downtown Leavenworth. About a two and a half hour drive east of Seattle, Leavenworth was awarded the title of “Ultimate Holiday Town USA” by A&E Network in 2003.

Recently, we spent a weekend in Leavenworth to relax, taste some wines, and attend a jazz concert.

Our first stop was at Boudreaux Cellars. Only open by appointment, Boudreaux is well worth a visit. Owner/winemaker Rob Newsom, a Louisiana native, has lived on the property since 1981 and began making wine in his garage in 1998. In 2001, he started building the winery facilities. Boudreaux currently produces about 2,000 cases per year which is exactly the production level that Newsom plans to maintain. Newsom sources his grapes from many different vineyards around the state. His goal is to get the best grapes from the best vineyards. Boudreaux Cellars is best known for its Cabernet Sauvignon which is excellent. In addition to making great wines, Boudreaux boasts a spectacular setting along the Icicle River.

Then we ventured into downtown Leavenworth and visited several tasting rooms. D’Vinery, which opened in January 2008, is the newest tasting room for Eagle Creek Winery. Nat, the assistant winemaker, was our very friendly and informative host. Eagle Creek Winery is Leavenworth’s oldest winery. Owner/winemaker Ed Rutledge and his wife Pat also own the local Innsbrucker Inn and A Book for All Seasons. Eagle Creek produces about 1,000 cases per year.

Ryan Patrick Vineyards opened a new tasting room location in Leavenworth this June. Their production facilities are located 55 miles away in Quincy.  Terry and Vivian Flanagan founded Ryan Patrick Vineyards, named for their two sons, in 1996. Overall, we were disappointed with this visit. The wines were decent but not great and the service was lacking. We waited quite a while to be served. And then after paying a tasting fee, we were not able to taste a couple of the wines that were on the list as available for tasting because they finished the bottles that were open but would not open new bottles.

Our final tasting room visit took us to A Taste of Icicle Ridge, the downtown Leavenworth location for Icicle Ridge Winery. A Taste of Icicle Ridge is a beautiful tasting room and gift shop decorated to resemble the log home that is the hallmark of the winery in nearby Peshastin. Louie Wagoner, the Wagoner family patriarch, is a well-known and respected pear farmer who ventured into the winery business about seven years ago. Son-in-law Don Wood is the winemaker and the entire family is involved in the operation. They host special events at the winery throughout the year. Our favorite Icicle Ridge events are their summer Jazzamatazz Concerts.

In fact, the main reason for this trip was to attend the Darren Motamedy jazz concert at Icicle Ridge. There are few things better than sitting on the lawn, sipping wine, and listening to wonderful jazz music as the sun sets behind the mountains.

Here’s a breakdown of the wines that we tasted in Leavenworth. 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)
2005 Boudreaux Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State, $50, QPR: 5

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2005 Boudreaux Cellars Merlot, Washington State, $40, QPR: 4

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2002 Ryan Patrick Reserve Red, Columbia Valley, $29, QPR: 3

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2004 Ryan Patrick Sauvignon Blanc, Columbia Valley, $14.40, QPR: 3
2005 Eagle Creek Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $19, QPR: 3
2005 Eagle Creek Merlot, Columbia Valley, $21, QPR: 3
2005 Ryan Patrick Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, $35, QPR: 3
2006 Eagle Creek White Riesling, Columbia Valley, $17, QPR: 2
2006 Eagle Creek Gewurztraminer, Columbia Valley, $18, QPR: 2
2006 Ryan Patrick Barbera, Columbia Valley, $26, QPR: 2
2007 Icicle Ridge Stiletto Red, Washington State, $27.50, QPR: 2
2006 Icicle Ridge Merlot, Washington State, $28.50, QPR: 2
2007 Icicle Ridge Three Blondes Gewurztraminer, Washington State, $23, QPR: 1
2006 Boudreaux Cellars Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $35, QPR: 1

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2006 Ryan Patrick Naked Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, $11, QPR: NR
2005 Eagle Creek Syrah, Columbia Valley, $21, QPR: NR
2006 Icicle Ridge Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State, $45, QPR: NR
2007 Icicle Ridge White Merlot, Washington State, $48, QPR: NR

Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
2006 Eagle Creek Pinot Grigio, Columbia Valley, $18, QPR: NR
2006 Ryan Patrick Rock Island Red, Columbia Valley, $18, QPR: NR
2006 Ryan Patrick Syrah, Columbia Valley, $30, QPR: NR

Filed under: American Wine, Barbera, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Gewurztraminer, Merlot, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Red Wine, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wine Travel, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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