24 Jul Roads Less Traveled
Take the back roads to four unique and appealing Yakima Valley wineries
Travelers know that sometimes the best roads are the back roads, where the pace is slower, the path less crowded and the experience more genuine. This idea holds true for the hidden wine trails of the Yakima Valley.
A visit to wineries off the beaten-path is a rewarding exploration. Following are four of the valley’s “back road” wineries. It’s a diverse group that spans the central portion of the Yakima Valley and features several varieties of wine and different reasons to visit. All of these wineries are outside the regular wine roads and all feature the rustic countryside and eccentric pleasures of Yakima Valley’s wine country.
Knight Hill Winery in Zillah features a spectacular view and some ambitious wines. Known for crisp, delicious whites and elegant red wines, Knight Hill will dazzle your taste buds with an elegant Sauvignon Blanc and an aromatic dry Riesling. This is one of the few places in Washington you will find Verdelho; a white grape from Portugal. The Verdelho grapes in this wine are from the first and only block in Washington State. Other red wines include Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Pack a picnic and enjoy the expansive view and a glass of wine from the patio.
Barrel Springs Winery features art and western themes along with primarily single varietal wines. Nestled in a park like setting just north of Prosser, Barrel Springs is a friendly place to savor premium wines while enjoying the grounds and surrounding estate vineyard. Wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cab Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Viognier and a Rosé of Cab Franc. The tasting room art gallery features nationally and internationally acclaimed artists.
Domanico Cellars is drenched in Washington’s wine history with a vineyard of historical roots. This brand-new 2,000-case winery and tasting room is located near Prosser. On site are 42-year-old grapevines. A visit to the winery offers a spectacular drive through vineyards and farmland, and if you are visiting during the summer you might enjoy the ever-popular wine slushy.
Pontin del Roza neighbors Barrel Springs Winery. A strong agricultural heritage brings the farming aspects of winemaking into the tasting room. The name translates roughly in Italian to mean “Pontin (Ponteen) family on the Roza”. A pioneering spirit brought some of the Pontin family to the Yakima Valley over 65 years ago. Today, Pontin del Roza is a thriving estate winery with over 100 acres of ten varietals including Riesling, Malbec, Syrah, Dolcetto, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Petit Verdot.
Wines to Try:
Knight Hill Winery 2014 Late Harvest Verdelho. Luscious palate featuring a mix of pineapple, mango, peach, pear and lemon zest. The sweetness is balanced by crisp acidity allowing the wine to pair with cheese, spicy foods and indulgent desserts.
Barrel Springs 2012 Cabernet Franc. This beautiful garnet colored Cabernet Franc has aromas of blueberries, dried raspberries, red current and cinnamon. Red fruit flavors on the palate and a long rich finish. This wine will pair well with sirloin steak or beef.
Domanico Cellars 2014 Lemberger. Aromas of blackberry and spice, this estate wine from old vines offers elegant, fresh flavors. With its blue fruit-laced finish, it brings a whole lot of appeal, especially for the price.
Pontin del Roza 2011 Sangiovese. Beautiful light garnet hue with strawberry and a little pepper on the nose. Great acidity with flavors of red fruit and spice. This is a great choice for a summer red wine.