On our way to Walla Walla from Vancouver Island, we stopped in Yakima. I must say that Board O’s comments about the esthetics of the city were bang on - not very appealing. We did happen on a great little place at the end of main street called the Barrel House . The bartender gave us some nice little tastes and some great advice about their offerings. We settled on the Buty Cab Franc/Merlot blend as it seemed a better pairing with our appies, but we also tasted the Dusted Cellars Stained Tooth Syrah. I loved the slightly funky nose (more Rhone than new world) but it’s luscious fruit and silky finish were quite appealing. I think this taste really portended the weekend as to my mind the Syrah’s were much better than any of the Bordeaux varietals.

We then went next door to Cascade Wines where some rep’s for Domaine Serene were pouring some of their Pinot’s. I thought their Evenstad was alright and really liked their Jerusalem Hill but I’m not sure it was a great QPR at $75.

Walla Walla
This is a beautiful little town with a lovely brick downtown area and some quaint old timer house surrounding the area. I can see why there are so many wineries choosing this area to open their tasting rooms and make their wines. Even thought Walla Walla is one of the AVAs, it seemed like most of the wines we tasted got their grapes from much of the Columbia valley. In addition to it’s lovely veneer, I was very impressed with the food we had in our short time there. We were planning to stay one night and then spend another in Woodinville, but since we were having such a good time we stayed another night. First night at Best Western and the next at La Quinta. Both were fine and within walking distance of downtown.

Creek Town Café
Fantastic experience - Tom really knows how to care for his guests. Because we had to wait a few minutes for our table, he offered us a free glass of wine with our appies - I had a very nice Rulo Viognier with crab cakes with a rhubarb compote. We let him know that we were looking forward to tasting some wines the next day so any information he could provide would be appreciated. After our appies, we asked if he could recommend some wines with the pheasant and braised lamb. He then brought out 3 taster glasses with wines he thought might go with our meal.

Syzygy Cab – light feminine style cab, but very nice flavours - 88
A Maurice Malbec – oak dominated the fruit - 86
Woodward Canyon Dolcetto – great nose (slightly funky), lovely cherry midpalate and long finish – buddy chose this one - 89

I then said if they could pick a syrah for me, I’d appreciate it. Our lovely waitress, Lindsay then brought out 3 more tasters:
Rulo syrah – very nice syrah, slightly shorter drier finish than the abeja – some might like this better with food - 91
Abeja syrah – funky nose, lovely fruit, long, silky finish – –my favourite wine of the weekend – 93 points
Va piano Bruno’s blend (Syrah, Cab, Merlot) - sorry can’t remember

After dinner we noticed a Italian Vin Santo and asked about it. Tom said he’d never had it before, so why don’t we all try it, again for free. He thought his waitstaff should try it as well, so we invited them to sit with us an try it. It turned out that it had a very savory aspect in addition to the sweetness. One of the waitresses said she was embarassed to say that she actually tasted some Worcestershire Sauce which we actually all agreed with. Fantastic night.

Day 2 dinner Whitehouse Crawford
Lunch at Luscious was forgettable and service was absent.
For a small town, this place has some excellent restaurants. WC was a very big restaurant that was quite full. Well finished and service was very professional. They had an open kitchen which ran like a Swiss watch. We started with a cheese plate and foie gras. Our lovely (pregnant?) sommelier recommended a glass of champagne and a sauternes. I then had the filet and my buddy had the lamb chops. To pair, the sommelier recommended the 2005 Otis Kenyon Syrah (it was good, not great, IMO).

Day 3
Lunch at Onion World – Home of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion Sausage – pretty good smokie from their walk up window

All in all, we had a great time and tasted some great wines ( winery tasting notes ). I would highly recommend the trip to Walla Walla.
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