Woodinville’s , , and were chosen among the top 100 wineries in the world by Wine & Spirits Magazine, joining storied wineries such as Dom Perignon, Bollinger, Domaine Leflaive, Le Macchiole and Ridge as winners this year.
Andrew Will Winery from Vashon Island, Buty Winery, Pepper Bridge, Gramercy Cellars, L’Ecole No. 41 and Leonetti Cellars from Walla Walla and Columbia Crest from Paterson were other Washington wineries recognized.
“It’s better than nice to be recognized,” said Nick James, Mark Ryan Winery sales manager. “It’s great to be recognized. It’s great to be named in that group of peers.
“It’s good to see this state is recognized. We are recognized for making wine with a sense of place and character and we deliver value compared to other regions around the world.”
For Mark Ryan Winery, and its founder and winemaker Mark McNeilly, it’s been a steady progression to this latest recognition since its first commercial release with the 2000 vintage when the winery bottled eight barrels of wine at McNeilly’s parents' garage in Bellevue. Current production is up to 7,000 cases, chiefly from their 2009 vintage.
“I think it’s another stage for the winery’s development. It’s another sign we are doing well,” James said. “Being independent makes it a little bit sweet. We are still a family owned company.”
Mark Ryan Winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon blends Dead Horse and Water Witch; Merlot blends Long Haul and The Dissident; Wild Eyed Syrah; and a Viognier, among other wines. In addition, its second label, The Vincent, accounts for about 1,500 cases of its entire production.
“To get up to this level of production has been a serious challenge,” James said. “To be making this quality of wine and be recognized is meaningful. We are comfortable with the production we are at now. We can produce outstanding wines and sell them at a reasonable price.”
Januik Winery focuses on single varietal production of Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Mike Januik, formerly of Chateau Ste. Michelle, also makes wines for Novelty Hill in Woodinville.
Sparkman Cellars produces single varietal wines and blends with fruit from some of the best vineyard sites in the state, including Hedges, Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, Kiona, Milbrandt, Dubrul, Stillwater Creek, Boushey and Sheridan.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is the largest producer of wine in Washington state, crafting single varietal wines as well as wines in collaboration with international producers such as German winemaker Dr. Ernest Loosen and Italian winemaker Piero Antinori.
Pollard retires as Wine Commission director
Washington Wine Commission Executive Director Robin Pollard said she will leave her post at the end of the year after more than six years on the job. Chris Stone, deputy director, will take over on an interim basis next year.
Pollard was hired to lead the state agency in charge of promoting the Washington wine industry in June 2005 when there were about 350 wineries in the state. There are now more than 740 bonded wineries in Washington.
“This has been the pinnacle of my professional experience. After a wonderful six years with the commission, I am excited to pursue some business opportunities of my own,” Pollard said in a statement.
Pollard was previously the state tourism director. She worked in state government for more than 24 years.
Wine Pick of the Week: '09 Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley
Winemaker Mike Januik was the winemaker at Chateau Ste. Michelle for 10 years before striking out on his own in 1999 to start Januik Winery. His focus has been single varietal wines, chiefly Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
While at Ste. Michelle he developed relationships with some of the best wine grape growers in the state, some of whom provide the fruit that is blended into the '09 Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. The vineyards include Champoux in the Horse Heaven Hills, and Klipsun and Ciel du Cheval on Red Mountain.
Experienced winemaking and experienced grape growing result in a classic Januik Cabernet Sauvignon loaded with blackberry, black cherry and cassis. Chocolate, espresso and vanilla are courtesy of the nicely integrated heavily toasted new French oak barrels. The round mid-palate and nicely integrated tannins are a pleasant accent to this classic expression of Washington Cabernet Sauvignon.
A forward wine calls for a dish with big flavors, and the grilled beef tenderloin at Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond delivers in spades. The dish is served with creamy risotto and a chanterelle mushroom ragout and is seasoned with an Argentinean-style chimichurri sauce. The Januik Cabernet Sauvignon has plenty of weight to hold up to a hearty tenderloin. The fruit in the wine brightens the earthy mushroom ragout.
The wine is available for $30 at the Januik Winery tasting room in Woodinville, open daily from 11 am to 5 pm. It is also available at the .