Barnard Griffin Winery Visit Wows

Wine Wednesday, a Perfect Afternoon for Wine Tasting

Barnard Griffin Winery off of Tulip Lane.
Winter has returned to the Columbia Valley, today was sunny, but a very cold day. Since today is Wine Wednesday, #WW, I thought it was time to stop in and visit my friends at Barnard Griffin winery. It's been more than a year since I last visited the Barnard Griffin winery, far too long.

Rob Griffin and his wife Deborah were in the tasting room when I arrived and warmly greeted me. I then visited with tasting room manager Kim Gravenslund, who showed me the current lineup. You may already be familiar with the Barnard Griffin “tulip” label wines. These delicious wines are widely available around the country - I purchase them on a regular basis myself. So those wines I did not taste today. Today I sampled the Reserve Barnard Griffin wines – all 10 of them!

Elise checks the wine before pouring.
I was happy to have Rob and Deborah’s daughter, Elise, pour for me. Elise now works at the winery and was an especially gracious host and guide. I have to note that we did not sample all 10 Reserve wines. The one Reserve wine I did not taste was the 2009 Rosé of Sangiovese - I last mentioned the Rosé of Sangiovese November 2010, so I did not need to taste it again (I already know how good it is).

*While I was at the winery, I was told that the remaining 2009 Rosé of Sangiovese, is on sale for only $100 a case, while supply lasts. Also of note, the 2010 Rosé of Sangiovese will be released soon – check with the winery.

Tasting Notes: These tasting notes are for the wines which stand out in my sensory memory. All the wines were delicious, but these are the wines that wowed me.

2009 Viognier – Wow, this is an elegant white wine, soft, fruity, essence of orange blossoms, Viognier as it should be. This would be a great date night wine, a supple wine to share with someone special.

2009 Roussanne – I think I actually said “wow” out loud when I tasted this wine. It’s crisp and dry, an unanticipated contrast of citrus and flower blossom with a satisfying dry finish. Roll me over and take me to brunch Roussanne, you would be fantastic with a crab salad. Anyone game?

Detail of the Barnard Griffin 2008 Grenache.
2008 Grenache – I don’t think Grenache is supposed to be this complex a wine. Wow, again, I was fascinated with all aspects of this Grenache. The captivating nose had me transfixed, swirl, sniff, and talk to Elise, swirl, and sniff. There are layers to this wine, aromas and flavors and the finish, it’s a light body red and well balanced; it’s fruity, spicy, with pomegranate, pepper, strawberry, and currant. Elise said that just a kiss of oak was used. Seek this one out, call the winery and order now. I really enjoyed this Grenache.

2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – Just pure Cabernet Sauvignon in this bottle. Classic, big cherry Cabernet, dry and succulent the way a Cab should be. It’s not intimidating, very approachable and easy to enjoy. A Rob Griffin classic.

2008 Ciel Du Cheval Merlot – I’m a long time fan of the Ciel du Cheval Merlot. The grapes come from one of the most famous Red Mountain vineyards in Washington (most famous in Washington?). Words cannot do this wine justice. It puts many other wines to shame. This wine should be on your 2011 must taste, must buy and must drink list. This wine is truly decadent, rich, huge, gorgeousness - they should call it "Decadence".

2009 Orange Muscat – This is another signature Barnard Griffin wine, and my Mothers favorite wine too. Everything you could love in a gently sweet, white wine. Don’t think desert wine, this is more of an aperitif wine. It has flavors of orange and peach, yes a bit sweet, but not heavy, it is very satisfying. I think this has to be the best Orange Muscat I’ve enjoyed in the last six years. Recommended.

2009 Reserve Syrah Port – Another classic Rob Griffin wine, with a little Tempranillo and Touriga added this time. Now this is a sweet desert wine, but in a manly way. I like it. There’s a bit of chocolate on the nose, followed by rich dark fruit flavors. This little bottle won’t last long – it’s very easy to enjoy. If you have never sampled a Washington Syrah port, this is one for the shopping list.

Art Glass by Deborah Barnard.
 A visit to Barnard Griffin winery is quite unlike a visit to any other Washington winery. I’m not just talking about Rob Griffin’s award winning wines. Nor am I only talking about the staggering array of wines available to sample. The winery is also an art gallery filled with dazzling art glass crafted by Deborah Barnard. This is one winery to stimulate the senses.

To sum up, I left the Barnard Griffin winery in a good mood – I enjoyed the friendly reception, the wine conversation and of course, all of the wines. There's a lot going on with this winery. And there's more to share, but this post is already long enough. I should visit them more often, you should too. Go find their wines, if you can’t find them locally, ask your grocer to bring some in. You may also be able to order direct from their website. Visit Barnard Griffin winery the next time you are in Eastern Washington - you are sure to be wowed.

* note: Barnard Griffin winery will be pouring their wines at Taste Washington Seattle on the 27th of March. There's still time to buy tickets.

Barnard Griffin Winery
878 Tulip Lane, Richland, Washington 99352
Phone: (509) 627-0266
Tasting Room is open 10AM - 6PM daily


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