A few weeks ago my cousin and I took a drive and headed east from Seattle to Swiftwater Cellars, a destination winery near Cle Elem. We discovered a treat just far enough from the city to help us feel like we were getting away, but close enough to make for a day trip.
Swiftwater Cellars has everything one needs for a relaxing respite from the city. Wine tasting, delicious food, entertainment (check their concert lineup here), golf and year-round outdoor activities all within one venue. And, had we decided on an overnight trip, Swiftwater Cellars is conveniently located right next door to the elegant and luxurious Suncadia resort.
I gave a nod to Swiftwater Cellars on the blog earlier this spring when I visited Seattle’s premier food and wine event, Taste Washington. I was so excited when I got an invitation to come and learn more about the facility.
But Linda Trotta, Swiftwater’s resident winemaker who has been making wine for 25 years, put us right at ease. Linda’s philosophy when it comes to wine is that is should be approachable and accessible. “You can enjoy wine at whatever level you are at”, she told us.
After giving us a tour of the wine-making facilities, we sat down with Linda to do some wine tasting 101 – a lesson that was way more fun than any school I have ever attended! Bringing out flights of wine (which she pointed out are less intimidating than ordering a glass) and encouraging us to trust our taste buds, she held our hand all along the way and gave us tips on how to explore the essence of the wine by swirling, sniffing, tasting and note taking (so we know what we like for the future!)
There are subtle nuances of the grapes – where they are grown, the sunlight, the soil, when they were picked – and all of this can effect the flavor profile and how wine behaves.
This winery is unique with a restaurant, The Hoist House, attached – so that all the food can be perfectly matched with the wine through collaborative efforts of the winemaker and chef.
I have always been fascinated by the notion of pairings. It is interesting to me how food can change the flavor of the wine and wine can help enhance the taste of the food.
Owner Don Watts has achieved his vision of creating an at-home environment where the food and wine is plentiful so that guests never have to wonder where the wine is in the glass, or where the food is on the plate.