Have you ever talked about starting a winery with a group of your friends? That is exactly how Columbia Winery got its start in the 1960s. A group of professors from the University of Washington created what was then Associated Vintners in 1962 which later turned into Columbia Winery and Vineyards. They began by making their Columbia Winery wines in the garage of Dr. Lloyd Woodburne, their first winemaker, in the Seattle neighborhood of Laurelhurst. In 1979, the winery hired Master of Wine David Lake as head winemaker. Under his guidance Columbia Winery was the first winery in the state of the Washington to produce varietal wines from Cabernet Franc, Pinot Gris and Syrah according to our Columbia Winery reviews. Today Columbia Winery produces notable reds from Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and also offers white wines produced from Chardonnay, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. While their Core Series of wines offers a solid quality value option, it is their Small Lot and Stone Cutter Series that tend to find their way to the top of our Columbia Winery ratings.
A gorgeous, sumptuous Syrah, with oaky, black-cherry, vanilla, and anise aromas. Rich and fruity, with deep, ripe, red stone-fruit flavors. The tannins are soft and luxurious, and the wine is complex and harmonious.
Lots of ripe boysenberry, cranberry and sour cherry fruit to start, with a strong foundation of tar, espresso and bitter chocolate. This could pass for a Super Tuscan in a blind tasting. It unfolds slowly, with an interesting herbal/olive edge to it, and will reward additional cellaring.
Otis includes the oldest cabernet vines in Washington state, dating back to the 1950s, and has been a Columbia vineyard-designate since 1981. Black pepper and dried sage are its imprints, and Otis always makes a tight, ageworthy wine, not in the currently fashionable ultraripe mode. Lean and herbal, but deep and ageworthy.
A lovely Otis, now rounding out and showing pretty dried herb character throughout. There is a pleasing sweetness to the core of cherry/plum fruit, elevated with baking spices and lingering softly into the finish. The wine actually gathers strength in the back, adding in layers of caramel sprinkled with black pepper and dried sage. Drinking well now, it will surely…
A tight, tart, clean and powerful wine, with solid Syrah fruit and peppery spices. Meat and smoke; some cherry too. Balanced and powerful throughout. This is a new, lower-priced Columbia Syrah made from younger vines with forward fruit.
This David Lake Signature Series wine blends two different clones, Sangiovese Piccolo and Sangiovese Grosso, and starts with a lovely, complex bouquet of rose petals, strawberry, watermelon, cherry and cocoa. It's supple, elegant and graceful, with pretty accents and subtle spicy highlights nicely spaced across the palate. A delicate, sensuous wine.
Despite being a bit closed aromatically, a thick, velvety mouthfeel and dense blackberry and vanilla flavors confirm this wine's quality. With airing, burnt caramel and fleshy berry scents emerge. The finish brings a hint of pepper and some drying tannins--enough to suggest cellaring two or three years.
This is a rarity—100% Sémillon, showing the woolly, woody side of the grape, with bone-dry styling and nice, creamy hints of bean and vanilla. Complex and suited to shellfish, this is a sleek, textural, very fine effort.