Woodinville Wine country just keeps growing! There are over 100 wineries in Woodinville -- just when you thought there couldn’t be another wine to taste, a new tasting room opens up. Recently I had the opportunity to attend Milbrandt Vineyards’ grand opening festivities for their new tasting room in Woodinville’s Hollywood District. Milbrandt Vineyards began in 1997 in eastern Washington, but this is their first west side tasting room.
Butch Milbrandt and his brother Jerry planted the vineyards in 1997, but they weren’t new to farming. Butch and Jerry are fourth generation farmers; the family land was primarily potatoes and apples before they turned to grapes. I had a chance to talk with Butch at the grand opening and was impressed by his knowledge and love of Washington wines and the land itself. Butch loves the Washington wine region so much that he was instrumental in forming two of Washington’s 14 AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas). Those two regions are the Ancient Lakes and Wahluke Slope. Butch is also a great cook and shares his creative recipe videos on the winery’s website. Check it out for imaginative recipes to pair with their wines.
At the grand opening I also had time to chat with Kendall Mix, head winemaker at Milbrandt Vineyards. Kendall is newer to Milbrandt but he’s no stranger to Washington’s wine scene. Kendall has worked at a few of Washington’s greatest wineries including a little place you may have heard of, Chateau Ste. Michelle. Kendall is from Canada but has called Washington home since the early 90’s; he has become a top figure in Washington’s winemaking world. Since he is new to Milbrandt, few of his wines are on display as they are still aging. ***Post coming soon***
The morning hours highlighted the 2017 Rosé paired with brunch style bites. The rosé was a hit; it’s the perfect summer (if summer ever arrives) wine for sitting on the patio or cruising on Lake Washington. The Milbrandt 2017 Rosé is the first wine release of 2017 as well as the first for Kendall Mix as winemaker. This rosé is 75% Syrah and 25% Tempranillo from Columbia Valley. The nose opens with ripe cranberry and ruby red grapefruit tinged with savory herbal notes. This rosé is lively and bright with a nice balance of acid and fruit and crispness to cool you down on a sunny day.
The grand opening festivities continued into the afternoon featuring a paella party. The freshly prepared paella was a lovely accompaniment to the rest of Milbrandt Vineyards’ wines. Their lineup ranges from an off dry Riesling, Grenache and Merlot into red blends and more. Everyone can find a Milbrandt wine to suit them. I enjoyed every wine I tasted and was pleasantly surprised at the price point. Most wines are in the $40 or under range with only one at $55. The 2017 Rosé is a steal - at only $12.99 a bottle get your case now!
The brand new Woodinville tasting room is a comfortable and classy place to visit. The warm grey color palate and rustic wood accents give it a modern industrial feel while staying inviting and hip. On the south wall they have a hand painted map of the Wahluke Slope AVA, which is helpful to see where the grapes come from. Two large black and white photographs provide backdrop for the tasting bar, one photo of the vineyards and one of Butch Milbrandt himself. The décor welcomes you to sit by the warm tiled fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine on a rainy northwest day. The friendly and extremely knowledgeable staff guides you thru one of two tasting flights where you will taste a variety of Milbrandt wines and learn even more about the land where they come from.