Washington State (USA), the other wine state

Les vignobles de Walla Walla

A meal without wine is called breakfast (un repas sans vin, c'est un petit déjeuner)

A meal without wine is called breakfast

On the occasion of Vinexpo (one of the world’s largest wine fairs), the wine fairs) wine trade show) which opens next week in Bordeaux, I wanted to take you again to Seattle, Washington in what is called the Wine Country (wine country).

It’s true that if I ask you in which state wine is produced in the United States, I think you’ll all answer California, but the state of Washington, located on the northwestern coast, is also a place where wine production is booming. For that you have to go a little further inland, east of the Cascade mountain range.

There, in the 80’s, there were about twenty wineries. Today there are more than 750, which tells you how exponential it is. It should be noted that the United States has become the leading consumer of wine in the world and that they consume 80% of local wines (source). The demand therefore pulls the supply.

I had the pleasure during a trip there to meet some pioneers who contributed to develop the local viticulture, I think in particular

=> to Jean François Pellet at Pepper Bridge Winery, whose wines and philosophy I have greatly appreciated.

Pepper Bridge Winery

Pepper Bridge Winery

=> to Marie Ève Gilla from Blacksmith Cellars who brought me his expertise both on the vineyard and on local winemaking methods. Marie Ève, whose family is from the Jura, graduated from the University of Dijon with a degree in oenology.  She arrived in the US in 1991 and has never left.

Marie Eve Gilla - Forgeron cellars

Marie Eve Gilla – Blacksmith cellars

She explained to me that the grape varieties used were almost the same as in France:

  • For the red wines we find Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese
  • For white wines, we can mention Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, or Viognier
Vignes Château Ste Michelle

Chateau Ste Michelle Vineyards

The big difference with France is that it is not the same people who cultivate the vine and make the wine (a bit like in Champagne). Here, the winemaker buys the grapes directly and does his own internal cooking: blending, varietal wine, vinification, etc. He is not notin the vast majority of cases, owner of the land.

One understands better its importance in the final result especially that the viticulture is not at all led as in France and that much progress remains to be made says it.

We don’t see much of these wines in our wine shops or supermarkets yet, but if you do, don’t hesitate to taste them, you could make some very nice discoveries.

A place not to be missed if you go there: The Chateau Ste Michellean absolutely incredible place:

Château Ste Michelle

Chateau Ste Michelle

Not forgetting the splendid valley of Walla Walla.

Les vignobles de Walla Walla

Walla Walla Vineyards

For more information on the area, please visit: www.seattle-tourisme.fr

Enjoy !

They’re not the only ones.

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