Drink Review: Westport Winery

February 23, 2012

Some friends of ours took a trip out to Westport, WA a few years ago, and it sounded so delightful, we decided to take a trip out there last weekend. Except that a few businesses are closed in the winter, and there was 24 foot swells that caused them to close the beaches. As a result, we spent a fair amount of time at the Westport Winery.

Westport Winery offers up ten white wines, nine red wines, two blushes, and fourteen fruit and grape blend wines or fruit wines.  Each wine has a local charity that some portion of their proceeds go to, including Grays Harbor Breast Cancer Alliance, the Driftwood Theater, West Coast Search Dogs of Washington, and many more. Each person gets to try five wines for $5, with one tasting fee waived upon purchase of a bottle of wine. Together, we tried ten wines, and later came back and tried another five wines. Here are my tasting notes:

  • Skookumchuck – “A unique blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Syrah sweetened with Muscat. Benefits the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force.” My husband Burtle picked this one, and it ended up being our favorite. We like Cab wines, so it had that body with the sweetness of the Muscat. We ended up each buying a glass later with dessert in their restaurant. Burtle got a Frozen Peanut Butter Mud Pie, and the wine went wonderfully with the chocolate. I got a Frozen Cranberry Velvet Pie, which the wine did not fight and blended quite well with.
  • Bella – “A voluptuous blend of Tempranillo, Primitivo, Refosco, Barbera, Merlot and Syrah, barrel-aged to perfection. Benefits the Mt. Rainier Chapter of the American Red Cross.” In my opinion, this was a very good dinner wine. It was very balanced with good tannin and body. However, with so many other dinner wines on the market, we thought that the $33.60 a bottle was a bit pricy.
  • Smoky Nor’wester – “Intense berry collaborates with a slight cherry and apple-flavored ripeness in this unique, white Cabernet Franc. Benefits the Museum of the North Beach.” This was a nice Cab blush with some red bell pepper notes.
  • Message in a Bottle – “Try this sweet exploration of blackberries with a hint of vanilla resulting in a fruit-filled treasure we call pie in a bottle. Benefits the West Coast Search Dogs of Washington.” This was a sweet wine with a little bit of vanilla.
  • Rapture of the Deep – “A complete cranberry experience that is sweet, tart, sparkly, and perfect from a sunrise brunch to a midnight toast. Benefits the Driftwood Theater.” I would describe this wine as tart with a hit of raspberry even though there wasn’t any raspberry in it.
  • Pineapple Express – “An adventurous blend of Gewürz and Riesling with a pineapple breeze that transports you to the islands. Benefits the Grays Harbor YMCA.” I have had two other commercial pineapple wines, and this one was the best. Pineapple is so difficult to work with due to pH, and there is also sugar issues. This wine did blend with white grapes, and the finished it not so sweet, so it is a better wine.
  • Dawn Patrol – “A potent blend of Northwest raspberries and crisp, tart Riesling designed to make you swoon. Benefits General James G. Doolittle VFW Post 3057.” We noted that this was sweet, tasted like raspberries, but it seemed more pure and less syrup like, which is how some raspberry wines get.
  • Peaches on the Beaches – “Luscious, decadent, and sensual, like a hot day at the beach, this wine will tantalize all your senses. Benefits Grays Harbor Breast Cancer Alliance.” Peach wine does not really want to be clear, but they managed to get theirs clear. However, we were unimpressed with the flavor and even called it a bit watery and week. We will be sticking to Shallon Winery for our peach wine.
  • Going Coastal – “Our sparkling Gewürz is made in the traditional méthode Champenoise style offering you bubbly bliss in a bottle. Benefits the Ocean Shores Interpretive Center.” They claimed it was the #3 champagne in the state of Washington. It was very good, but nothing exceptional to my taste. The gal pouring added some Peaches on the Beaches to it, which was very nice as it added a little more flavor and sugar. Still, I’ve had other champagnes and even a few styles of sour beer in which you add a flavored syrup like raspberry to, so I figured if I really wanted to do this, I would probably just go buy a dry champagne somewhere else.
  • Night Watch – “This wine is an exquisite blend of sweet black cherry interlaced with our delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. Benefits special needs in our community.” This was my second favorite wine of the tasting. It was fruity, but the Cab gave the cherries some tannin, so it had a really good body on it.
  • Mermaid’s Merlot – “Begin with caramel on the nose and follow with spice and berries on the palate for a long, lush finish. Benefits the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Grays Harbor.”
  • Ancient Mariner’s – “Try this delicate blend of pear and Riesling that smacks with honey and sunshine. Benefits Coastal Animal Rescue and Adoption (CARA).” Pear is a very difficult fruit to work with, and like wine doesn’t taste like grapes, it doesn’t taste like pears when it is done. In this case, I could only taste Riesling. I would have to try this one next to a pure Riesling to tell the difference.
  • Duckleberry Grunt – “By combining blueberry and huckleberry with our wham-bang Gewürztraminer we created something worth hiding. Benefits Grays Harbor Ducks Unlimited.” This was my third favorite wine, which was nice and sweet, yet very balanced.
  • Shelter from the Storm – “We craft this unique blend of blackberry, blueberry, and cranberry in a bold port-style with health and comfort in mind. Benefits the Grays Harbor Hospital Foundation.” This port wine was my fourth favorite wine.
  • Red Sky at Night – “Raspberries blended with chocolate makes this wine not only amazingly decadent, but unique. Taste it last. Benefits the Westport Timberland Library.” This wine is made all from raspberries and no grapes. However, like so many other chocolate wines I have had, it comes across tasting like a toosie roll. Mind you, I like toosie roll, but I think this would be a big let down to people really wanting that chocolate flavor. Stick to Shallon Winery.
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