As Christmas approaches and as our trip to Walla Walla ends, I'm reminded of Pogo's famous song: "Deck us all with Boston Charlie, Walla Walla Wash and a Kalamazoo!"
We have family living in Walla Walla, Wa. and we just returned from a week's visit. Some of you may have seen my sister Sharon and brother-in-law Charlie when they've been back for harvest. They were unable to come this year so we went to see them and visit the Washington wineries.
Twenty years ago there were two wineries in Walla Walla County. Today, the winery population of this county nears 100. The Walla Walla Valley AVA is a subset of the Columbia Valley which crosses into Oregon. The AVA is bordered on the east with Blue Mountains and then the valley broadens and spreads west into Oregon. The area grows Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovesse and Cabernet Franc. It was the Cabernet Franc that I especially wanted to taste and compare with Baltimore Bend's version. As always, I am reminded that you can't taste wine in the grocery store so I found tasting and buying at the winery helpful and enjoyable.
Our days were busy and passed quickly -- We walked up Mill Creek for a beautiful view of "The Blues" and the Walla Walla Valley. We played and threw to Sadie, the family's golden retriever.
We visited and tasted L'Ecole No. 41, Three Rivers Winery, Walla Walla Vintners and Dunham Cellars.We ate dinner and had a Sunday brunch with Mike and Joann Dunham, owners of Dunham Cellars. They are gracious and fun people to know - and offer as Syrah to die for!
We leisurely walked the vibrant downtown area and drove the countryside to see how quickly the area is developing. We visited Harris Park in Oregon, a favorite camping area of Sharon and Charlie's. We saw Walla Walla Community College where they have an Enology and Viticulture program. Each day as we returned to home base we sat in front of a crackling fire. We talked, read, watched the flames lick at the locust wood and shared a bottle of Walla Walla wine and Baltimore Bend wine that was carried with us.
These happy memories will help us survive the absence of our family this inter. We will also remember the explosive growth of the Walla Walla region and see a glimmer of possibility for Lafayette County's future!