I love how Washington state wine producers embrace wine tasting. No exquisite tasting rooms with gobs of t-shirts, trivets and key chains. Instead, many of them have made an industrial complex in Woodinville their home. Here, their staffs -- most part-time wine enthusiasts or family members -- trot out sandwich boards every morning to help guide visitors to their location. Those who want a better neighborhood squeeze themselves between shops in strip centers. Walk into any of them and you get a feeling of casual, no-nonsense education.
Take for instance, Efeste. When we sat down to start a tasting, who shows up but owner Daniel Ferrelli. No introductions, no pretenses, let's just you and me taste the wine. Daniel grew up in a family of Italian winemakers who typical of Italians made the stuff for personal consumption. But he's no winemaker. With only a handful of harvests behind him, he has scored an average of 90 for all of his wines. A recent syrah was rated in the Top 50 of the year by Wine Spectator. Yet, here he is sharing his story with walk-ins and in an inglorious tasting room.
This is what we like about Washington winemakers. Not everyone has the grand tasting room of Chateau Ste. Michelle.
If you can find it, the 2013 Efeste Jolie Bouche syrah is ridiculously delicious with rich, hedonistic red fruit flavors, a dash of chocolate and pepper. It gets fruit from the Red Mountain in Yakima Valley.