Friday, June 12, 2009

Bella Terrazza Vineyards Mixes Wine with Gardening

Last weekend my wife and I got away to Leavenworth, Washington for our anniversary. Each year we take turns planning a weekend away, filled with fun and adventure. It was my year to make the plans, and I had a great time organizing the trip.

One thing you have to know about my wife is that she loves flowers and gardening. She loves plant stores as much as I love wine. So, nurseries became the center of my focus for about two weeks as I mapped out a drive that would take us eventually to Leavenworth for the evening via about twenty nurseries in Eastern Washington.

Little did I know that a visit to Sleepy Hollow Nursery, just outside Wenatchee, would offer me a great opportunity to visit a winery also. Attached at the hip to Sleepy Hollow is Bella Terrazza Vineyards. As a matter of fact, driving into the nursery there is some confusion as to whether you are entering a winery or a plant farm. For every row of flowers there is a row of vineyards. And, the tasting room actually is a greenhouse!

Bella Terrazza’s General Manager Jordan Hartmann greeted us warmly. There were several couples and friends enjoying wine and picnic lunches at bistro tables in the garden’s picnic area. The place was so relaxing that I couldn’t help but take a deep breath and slow down.

We tasted five different wines, all complimentary because of our flower purchase next door. (If you don’t buy a plant the cost is something like three dollars.) All of the white wines are from grapes grown on the estate and are dry, with very little residual sugar.

The first wine we tasted was the 2007 Pinot Grigio. This brightly straw colored wine opens with honeydew and citrus and has a nicely balanced finish of melons and peach. This wine is great for hot summer evenings that we are soon to be having here in the region.

The 2007 Riesling has wonderful aromas of apple and pear. It’s dryness allows the fruit to come through with enough acidity to cleanse the palate.

Third, we tasted the 2007 Gewurztraminer. I was impressed with the spiciness and fruit in this dry Gewurztraminer. I would pair this with a nice Pad Thai.

Bella Terrazza is just starting to produce red wines. Their goal is to eventually source all of their juice from their own estate. Currently they have some grapes coming from the estate, however it will take a few years to get up to full production.

The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon uses grapes grown in the Columbia Valley. Flavors and aromas of black cherry and blackberries. The finish is filled with cocoa and touch of cinnamon and cardamom.

Bella Rosso is the winery’s red blend. The 2006 vintage is sourced from the Wahluke Slope. It has a wonderful vanilla and bright cherry nose. The flavors of white and black pepper mix with the vanilla and cherry. I would buy several bottles of this and put a few back for about this time next year.

You can visit Bella Terrazza Tuesdays through Sundays at their garden tasting room. The website and directions are online at .


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