Wine O’clock Wednesday: It’s Summer Sipper Time!

Photo: Flickr, QuinnDombrowski

Light whites and romantic rosés at The Woodhouse Wine Estates.

It’s been described as “off the beaten track” and “under the radar,” but I’ve been a fan of Woodhouse Wine Estates’ silky whites and robust reds for the last five years, since I first tasted their 2002 Maghee “Big Boy” Merlot. (Seriously, how can you not like a wine called “Big Boy?”)

At that time, I fell in love with their elegant flagship Darighe red blend and their big, bad Dussek Cabernet Sauvignon. But when June arrives, my taste buds start longing for crisp whites, refreshing rosés and other spectacular summer sippers.

Take, for example, The Woodhouse Wine Estates 2008 Hudson Shah Viognier – a silky, rich yet light Viognier, featuring tropical fruit flavors. Or 2008 Kennedy Shah Auntie Meredith’s Picnic Blend – a blend of Chardonnay and Muscat, which has unusual cream and citrus flavors.

Meanwhile, Woodhouse winemaker Jean Claude Beck worked his magic on a riveting Riesling (2007 Hudson Shah); Beck’s roots are in his family estate in Alsace, France, which has been producing wine since 1579.

And as a special treat this year, Woodhouse has introduced the 2010 Kennedy Shah Rosé – a charming, lively sip of summer freshness. The public release party is Sunday, June 26, 1-5 p.m. at the tasting room. The $20 admission covers the tasting, crepes and a Woodhouse logo glass. Or if you pre-order a bottle of rose ($20) from the website, admission is free.

(L-R): '08 Hudson Shah Viognier; '08 Kennedy Shah Auntie Meredith's Picnic Blend; '04 Kennedy Shah Orange Muscat

So plan a trip to visit Woodhouse’s spacious tasting room with its soaring ceilings, chandeliers and a showcase for local art. It’s not really off the beaten track, but it is off by itself on the Woodinville-Redmond Road. You’ll see big yellow signs when the tasting room is open, daily from noon to 5 p.m.

And don’t let the five different Woodhouse labels confuse you: Kennedy Shah, Hudson Shah, Darighe, Dussek and Maghee labels are all named after family members or friends of the entertaining and knowledgeable owners, Bijal and Sinead Shah.

The Woodhouse Wine Estates | 15500 Woodinville Redmond Rd NE, #C600, Woodinville | (425) 527-0608