Oh, to be in Cashmere
Now that April’s there,
enjoying warmth of Springtime
with fragrances of blossoms
heavy in the air…
Oh, to be in Cashmere
Now that April’s here
And taste the new releases
Of wineries that are near.
Apologies, of course, to Mr. Browning and all his ardent readers, but I am correct: April is a terrific time to be in Cashmere for many reasons, including trying the new wines from the local wineries and viewing some changes that have been happening in the Mission District wine tasting rooms.
In early February, Leony’s Cellars (formerly Voila Winery, but now with new owners and winemakers Salvador Moreno and his wife Sandi Grimnes Moreno) opened a second tasting room, in Cashmere’s Mission District.
Stop by this start-up and welcome them. Have a friendly chat with pourer Sumer Melody and taste the wines.
Some of you may remember, as I do, the Cabernet Franc from last year at Leony’s Cellar — a delightful, Loire Valley Chinon style that took a silver medal at the NCW Food and Wine Festival.
That wine has sold out, as one might expect, but the new Cabernet Franc, which wasn’t on the menu in February or March, is in the ageing process at the winery, so don’t expect it until Fall.
Other changes have taken place in the Mission District facility besides the welcoming of Leony’s Cellars. Cashmere Cellars moved into the space formerly occupied by Dutch John’s Winery.
I miss seeing George Valison when I visit, but I’m delighted that Claire East and Cashmere Cellar Wines is now in that space. Claire is friendly and welcoming, as is the tasting room, and visiting her is a treat.
Our favorite of the Cashmere Cellars wines is the red Ardy’s Blend, but the Pinot Noir and Syrah are also very enjoyable.
Crayelle Cellars, too, has changed. Craig and Danielle Mitrakul expanded their space, doubling the size of the tasting room.
Guests now have a choice of standing at the tasting bar and sipping the wines or sitting around a table with friends while enjoying a glass.
Their delicious Malbec is still on the menu, plus a totally new, very limited supply of the 2014 Crayelle Cellars Syrah. It’s an excellent wine to sample, and will work beautifully as a complement to your steaks or lamb. As only 30 cases were produced, it’s not going to last long.
By now you probably know that Horan Estates expanded its space shortly after a small arts and crafts shop vacated in 2015. Visitors have the opportunity to taste, or as in all these winery spaces, sit and enjoy a glass of wine.
Dennis Hobbs has a new, 2015 Bottoms Up Horan Estates Chardonnay, on the tasting menu for you to sample.
This well-made Chardonnay in the Chablis style is often these days referred to as “naked” for the wine is unoaked and did not undergo secondary fermentation. It is crisp, nicely acidic and fruity and it should pair well with your favorite seafood, just save foods with creamy sauces for a different style Chardonnay.
The Mission District is more than the home of Horan Estates Winery’s tasting room — it houses the production facility where Dennis and Beth Hobbs ply their skills.
When your out-of-state relatives or friends come to visit and you’re at a loss for what to do, call the winery and ask for a tour of the production facilities as well as the tasting room; your guests will be delighted and will thank you.
But, where the heck is the Mission District in Cashmere and how do you get there?
For those of you who have been in the area a long time, you probably know where the Liberty Orchards Aplets and Cotlets facility is — there on Mission Avenue in Cashmere; if you can get there, you’re almost to the tasting room. Keep driving east about another long block and you’ll see the large WINE TASTING signs.
If you aren’t familiar with Cashmere, then follow the signs on Hwy. 2 to It’s 5, the artisan distillery. Colin Levi’s distillery tasting and sales room is in the same building.
If you ask in their tasting room, it is sometimes possible to go downstairs to the place where the distilled beverages are created in Colin’s laboratory of highly polished steel, brass and copper.
And if you’re lucky, Colin will be there, working.
Alex Saliby is a wine lover who spends far too much time reading about the grapes, the process of making wine and the wines themselves. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.