Wines, Brews, & Summer Do’s

Photo credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Living in the PNW sure has its charms, and access to lovely local wines and brews is one of them. With fall on the horizon, I find myself clinging on to the final weeks of summer with lots of outdoor excursions (with the zoo being a favorite!) and refreshing drinks. August is also Washington State wine month, so there are huge wine discounts and fun events that you can check out here.

Here are some of our recommendations for soaking up the rest of the summer. 

Photo credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Summer shindigs at Woodland Park Zoo

If you’re an animal lover, you’re in luck because come summertime and the Woodland Park Zoo hosts a series of fun events in the zoo’s luxuriant meadows. Think wine and microbrew tastings, wildlife conservation events, outdoor concerts and live performances. And the best part? It’s all after-hours and adults-only. Who says kids get to have all the fun? A friend and I went to the ‘Tasting flight at the zoo’ where we tried some really special wines from the Northwest. Oh, and we also got to pet an armadillo and held fed banana pieces to a rather hungry opossum. We loved the ones from Torii Mor Winery and Damsel Cellars.

Although the wine tasting is an annual event, you should definitely check out ‘Brew At The Zoo’, where you can have exclusive animal encounters and try out microbrews and ciders from 60+ breweries. Here are some more zoo summer events that you should not miss out on! While you’re at the zoo, you should check out the Woodland Park Rose Garden too, which is bursting with blooms this time of the year.

Local wines to try for Washington Wine Month….

Wine month is all about celebrating our state’s phenomenal wineries. There’s nothing quite like soaking up some sunshine with plates of cheese, chocolate, fruit and of course, glasses of vino. To make the most of the last of the gorgeous summer days, I’d highly recommend packing a picnic basket and heading out to a park near you. Here are six unique, local Washington wines that you must try…

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Eroica Riesling

Going strong since 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle spearheaded vinifera grape growing in Washington state. The Eroica Riesling from Columbia Valley is crisp with bright citrusy notes. We paired it with spicy Sichuan noodles and it made for a fabulous contrast. Fun fact: Columbia Valley produces more Riesling than any other American wine region.

Seven Falls Cellars 2013 Merlot

From the historic Wahluke slope, this deep red wine is rich and intense – with hints of cherry, blackberry, and even coffee. It pairs well simple dishes like pasta Aglio-olio and grilled salmon.

The wine is inspired by the seven falls that once flowed in the Wahluke Slope

2016 Borne of Fire Cabernet Sauvignon

Made by winemaker Juan Muñoz Oca, this is an elegant full-bodied floral wine with strong notes of blackberry, this wine pairs well with beef and garlic chicken wings. This is unbelievable value for the price.

14 Hands 2015 Chardonnay

With notes of vanilla, custard, and caramel – this wine almost has a buttery-dessert like a flavor. It begs to be paired with simple flavors like fresh seafood and Italian-style salads. Priced at an affordable $12 a bottle, it is an absolute steal for those long, summer evenings. Fun fact: 14 hands is the official wine sponsor of the Kentucky Derby.

Columbia Crest 2015 Grand Estates Syrah

This wine pairs beautifully with soft cheeses like brie and goat cheese. It has a slightly smoky flavor and peppery undertones and it comes from the Columbia Crest winery in eastern Washington, which is known for innovation in the wine industry. I didn’t like this for the first few sips, but it was a taste that really grew on me.

Intrinsic 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Intrinsic has stone-fruit aromas and mineral notes. This wine goes really well with meat dishes. Although it didn’t seem that it would work well in theory, this wine pairs spectacularly with Indian cuisine. This smooth, silky wine went really well with lentils and spicy curries.