Head West to Find World-Class Wineries

September 16, 2008
Philip R. Alper, MD

Physician's Money Digest, June30 2003, Volume 10, Issue 12

You don't have to fly toFrance to find world-classwineries. You don't evenhave to leave the country. You onlyneed to find your way to the PacificNorthwest's Washington state.Contrary to popular belief, grungemusic and Starbucks coffee aren'tthe only byproducts of Seattle andits surrounding cities and towns. Infact, just a short distance outsidethe home of the Space Needle is thelush city of Woodinville, where thewine is as impressive as the trees.

SEATTLE'S FINE WINE

directrice du vin

Seattle is a good base for exploringthe wineries of Woodinville. Besure to visit the Grand HyattSeattle's 727 Pine Restaurant (206-774-6400; www.grandseattle.hyatt.com), which has its own privatewine cellar below the main diningarea. Another restaurant to includein your Seattle wine tour isCampagne (206-728-2800; www.campagnerestaurant.com), which islocated just down the street fromthe Grand Hyatt Seattle. Here,Shawn Meade, the (director of wine), confirmed thatSeattle is a serious wine city.

WOODINVILLE'S WINERIES

When you finally do arrive inWoodinville, head over to its 2famous wineries: the Chateau Ste.Michelle and the Columbia Winery(no relation to Columbia Crest).Conveniently located across thestreet from each other, there's noexcuse not to visit both.

Prepare in advance:

The Chateau Ste. Michelle(800-267-6793; www.ste-michelle.com) offers an outstanding 1997Northstar Merlot. Northstar managesto beautifully balance a bignose, full body, and great finish. Thedry 2001 Eroica Riesling, with itsmedley of fruit and floral aromas,would make a delightful dessertwine. Before you leave, make sureyou try the delicious 1997 ColSolare Red Blend, which is madewith the help of the Antinori familyof Italy. Make areservation to visit the VintageReserve Room to taste the limited productionpremium wines.

COLUMBIA WINERY

You'll be just as impressed withthe Columbia Winery (800-488-2347; www.columbiawinery.com).Their "Block 6" Otis VineyardChardonnay has a herbaceous nose,with peach aromas, intense flavors,and a very prolonged finish. The1999 Red Willow Sangiovese has adeceptively light nose, but layeredflavors that build to another long,powerful finish. The highly structured1997 Sagemoor CabernetSauvignon is delightful on thepalate, with a lovely berry nose andsoft tannins.

Philip R. Alper, an internist and

professor of medicine at the

University of California at San

Francisco, has been published

in the Wall Street Journal,

Diversion, Medical Economics,

and Internal Medicine World Report.