Winemakers in Washington state are in a class all by themselves, from the old guard “godfathers” who’ve been in business since the beginning to up-and-coming rock stars. There’s another elite group of winemakers that continually grabs our attention vintage after vintage, and that’s the talented women of Washington wine.
Washington’s women winemakers (try saying that 10 times fast) span across the state crafting wine from Spokane to Walla Walla, Seattle to Prosser. The women in this winemaking sorority have decades of experience and the reputation of being some of the best winemakers in the state.
Below we’ve called out three of Washington top female winemakers who’ve made a name for themselves over the last couple of decades. Get your chance to meet these incredible women of wine at the fourth annual Seattle Food and Wine Experience, Sunday, February 26 at Seattle Center.
Wines We Recommend This Week:
Arbor Crest Wine Cellars 2010 Chardonnay – $14
Sourcing from some of the state’s top vineyards, Arbor Crest Wine Cellars is lead by winemaker and second generation owner Kristina Mielke-van Löben Sels. After studying and serving as assistant winemaker at California wineries, Mieke-van Löben Sels returned to the Spokane-based winery in 1999. This value priced Chardonnay is structured with flavors and aromas of honey, stone fruit followed by a toasted, creamy finish.
Chinook Cellars 2009 Cabernet Franc – $22
For almost 30 years, the Prosser winery has been helmed but winemaker Kay Simon with the help of her husband Clay Mackey (his background as a vineyard manager make the pair a dream team for the estate focused boutique winery). The winery’s Cabernet Franc (sourced from their own estate vineyard as well as area growers) is perfect example of the soft, drinkable red wines that come out of the Yakima Valley. Red berry flavors come forward on this wine and with a floral finishing in the end.
Forgeron Cellars 2010 Ambiance – $25
After completing a Master’s degree in enology and viticulture in France, Forgeron winemaker Marie-Eve Gilla came to the United States for expand her winemaking skills. Although she intended it to be a short stay the allure of Washington wines have kept her here for more than two decades. Forgeron’s Ambiance is an exotic blend of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Orange Muscat, with layers of citrus, melon and spice flavors. It would be perfect accompaniment for Pacific Northwest mussels creamy broth.