I hate this time of year. I can’t hit the road and explore the way I would like to as there are too many things going on here. (Birthdays, Superbowls, etc.) So, instead? I make plans and dream of hitting the road.
And with a trip to Washington State coming up at the end of the June that gives me some time to think about where I will be going. Washington is full of viticultural areas that are mostly part of the larger Columbia Valley AVA. I am working on exploring the smaller viticultural areas first.. and began with Walla Walla since that is where I will be visiting.
This time, I am exploring the Yakima Valley. Years ago, Kevin and I drove around parts of Washington State and got pretty close to Yakima. It was an amazing place. Highly irrigated, the area is a fruit belt. Orchards of apples, peaches and even a town called Apricot (which we passed). The rest of the area not being irrigated looks like a moonscape. It is dry and desolate and I was amazed by the difference between the lush valleys and bleak hills.
That being said, the area is home to nearly 50 wineries and has cultivated wine grapes since 1869. The main varietals planted are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, Sangiovese, Malbec, Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillion, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris and Viognier.
Hopefully, I will be able see some of these wineries on my trip west. Oh, and like my map of of the Central Delaware Valley AVA, I find a recognizable shape in this map. Instead of a dragon, today, I see a whale. In fact, given that I grew up on the East Coast, I see Fudgie The Whale, the beloved ice cream cake shape from Carvel. I won’t test this theory by inverting the shape to see if I can identify the equally beloved Cookie Puss. But you East Coasters will understand my drift….