6 Noteworthy Lake Chelan Wineries
Celebrated wine writer Tamara Belgard recently visited the Lake Chelan American Viticultural Area (AVA) located on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range, just three-plus hours from Seattle and six hours from Portland.
Here are 5 Lake Chelan Wineries that Tamara came across worthy of your time and attention. Please note – these wineries are listed in alphabetical order. For More info on the Lake Chelan AVA please see Tamara’s article: Lake Chelan Wine – Because it’s Naturally Intoxicating
Located on the North shore in Mason, Cairdeas has built a brand new tasting room in a rustic looking barn that blends right in with the surrounding hillsides to showcase their Rhône-style wines. On any visit, you might taste Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, Counoise, Carignon, Viognier, Roussanne, and others from their estate and premiere sites around Washington. The small artisan winery was established on principle of friendship and goodwill, so in that spirit, they’re family, dog, and picnic-friendly.
Follow Cairdeas Winery
Just five minutes from downtown Chelan, Mike and Karen Wade describe their location as a place to drink in the view. They say they pair their world-class view with world-class wines. Stellar 180-degree views first grab your attention, the handcrafted, small lot wines will hold it. The Wades have vineyards on the Wahluke Slope that produce Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Carmènére, and Tempranillo and whites including Chenin Blanc, Chardonanay, and Roussanne. The one-acre vineyard surrounding their stunning tasting room produces a tasty Malbec. In addition to a wide variety of reds, whites, and rosés, Fielding Hills also has their Concentric Wine Program where winemaker Tyler Armour makes limited of wines he calls serious experiments. Check them out if you can.
Follow Fielding Hills Winery
It took 14 years to build Karma into what it is today, but now, Karma features 14 acres of selected varietals including Gewürztraminer, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier and rests on the beautiful south shore of Lake Chelan where its north-facing slope creates a relatively late harvest season. Karma is well-known for their sparkling wine program and was the first in the area to cane Pinot Noir (a production technique known for decreasing mildew in this tight-clustered grape). Taste flights of their Methode Champenoise sparklers and other wines on their patio alongside lunch with the best ingredients sourced as locally as possible from their 18 Brix Restaurant (described as “Washington fresh, with a French twist”). One taste and you’ll see, they’re passion bubbles over.
Follow Karma Vineyards
Rob and Donna Mellison provide next level tours and tastings from their location on the South shore. The stunning views and scenery provide the perfect backdrop for tasting their high-quality, small-batched collections of wine. The Mellisons built their winery around the concept of agritourism, which they learned about on a trip to Italy, where they strive to create deeper connections with visitors about the food and wine from a specific place. When they first started their winery in 2006, there were just nine others in the Lake Chelan area. Named Washington Winery of the Year 2021 by WinePress NW, they currently produce 5,200 cases, which sells out every year. They have 10 acres planted to Pinot Noir, Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Barbera, Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, and Petit Verdot. Try their 2018 Reserve Merlot. It’s plush, velvety and downright sexy, with aromas of black currant, tobacco and leather; rich and deep, it will change the way you think of Merlot.
Follow Mellisoni Vineyards
On the North shore, in the town of Manson, you’ll find Succession Wines and a remarkable story of overcoming adversity. Winemaker Brock Lindsay and his wife Erica lost their home in the 2016 Carlton Complex Fires, but somehow turned that devastating event into an amazing opportunity. In pursuit of a more balanced life, where they could focus on their family, they took their passion for wine and somehow transformed a dream into a legacy. Succession Wines is now a retreat for visitors, where they can relax on the large tasting room patio overlooking the vineyards and the lake and sip on Brock’s extraordinary wines sourced from the estate and acclaimed vineyards throughout the state. With a variety of red, white, and rosé wines to tempt you, my favorites were the Black Label wines, particularly the Candy Mountain Merlot, dripping in chocolate covered cherry cordials, and the mouth-watering and perfectly balanced Bacchus Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon from the White Bluffs AVA near the Tri-Cities.
Follow Succession Wines
Owner and founder Dr. Bob Jankelson has created an Italian oasis for guests that embodies the expression La Dolce Vita (the sweet life. The estate incorporated dramatic architecture, expansive terrazzos, and an open-air ristorante called Sorentos that might make guests wonder whether they’ve been transported to Lake Como in Italy. Pronounced “Chelan” which means deep water in the indigenous language, Tsillan Cellars produces 100% estate-grown wines from their South shore location. The vineyard, which was planted in 2000 was one of the earliest vineyard sites in the area (the first planting was at Amos Rome). The 135-acre estate has 40 acres of grapes planted to 14 different varieties, including Syrah, Malbec (their superstars), Dolcetto, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Viognier, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Ironically, their Italian varieties (Barbera and Sangiovese) are the most temperamental, but their Sangiovese is silky and smooth.
Follow Tsillan Cellars
Lake Chelan Wine – Because it’s Naturally Intoxicating
For More info on the Lake Chelan AVA please see Tamara Belgard‘s article: Lake Chelan Wine – Because it’s Naturally Intoxicating
Follow Tamara Belgard
Website – http://www.satiatepdx.com/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tamarabelgard/
The Noteworthy Wine Journal Celebrating Wine, Wineries, Winemakers, & More
Follow The Noteworthy Wine Journal
Webpage – https://www.culinarytreasure.com/noteworthy-wine-journal/
Please Note: For now, Noteworthy Wine Journal articles are posted to the This is Culinary Treasure website.
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/noteworthywinejournal/
The Noteworthy Wine Journal is brought to you by the Culinary Treasure Network