Every month, one of my coworkers and I have a meeting about an hour away from our office, and it’s a tradition for us to go wine-tasting on the way home to unwind and experience a little bit of Columbia Basin culture.
Last week we drove through Zillah, Washington and stopped by Silver Lake Winery where we had a pleasant experience.
The tasting went by quickly, so we decided to visit a second tasting room. While we were driving back towards the highway, we passed a sign that said “Paradisos del Sol.” My coworker stopped her car and asked, “Do you just want to go to that one?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “It doesn’t matter. Looks like we already passed it.”
We approached the entrance and I have to admit I was a little dubious about having a tasting in what looked like someone’s home. Who knew what surprises I would encounter? The answer: Lots! Upon entering I noticed a scent reminiscent of the aromas in my aunt’s house back in the Philippines. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was until I noticed a variety of melons for sale. It turns out that the owners are also farmers. We were greeted by a friendly woman who was already catering to four other patrons.
A gentlemen who turned out to be the winemaker emerged and began to assemble plates. That was when I noticed the tasting notes with “The Sips…The Bite” printed across the top. That was when I noticed that the mantra “Sip Sip Bite Sip” was printed everywhere! The woman, who introduced herself as Barb explained the concept to us: The first sip was to cleanse our palate. The second was to get a taste for the wine. The bite was to see how wines taste when paired with the right food. The last sip was to get a second taste of the wine after taking the bite. I had to admit I was pretty impressed as they offered nine offerings, each paired with a small bite of food. The winemaker, Paul busily prepared plates for us with the small portions of various foods, some of which they had for sale.
Recently I have not been much of a white wine person, but when I tasted the first white (a riesling) with the mushroom pate, I was surprised that I kind of loved it. Barb nodded and said something about how wines can taste great when paired properly. And different wines are meant to be enjoyed with certain foods. Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard that wine and food go well together. This was just the first time we’ve seen a tasting room offer more than just crackers or dark chocolate to cleanse the palate! When we asked Barb what made them choose to do food pairings with their wine tasting, Barb said “Paul just couldn’t bear to give people wine without food. It didn’t seem right.” Her answer was enough for me as we continued to enjoy the tasting.
Not only was the wine great, but we really enjoyed the atmosphere and entertaining conversation (which Barb joked was “free.”) We both walked away with a bottle of wine and a passport to try other Zillah winery tastings. All in all, it was an awesome experience, and I continue to hold the opinion that Central Washington is the wine industry’s best kept secret.