Being within close reach of Woodinville has its advantages. For us, it means we can run a few errands (you know, the kind involving paper towels, cleaning supplies, and potting soil) throw in a wine tasting, and call it a productive afternoon with rewards.
We were in desperate need of a Target run, and I was running out of reasons to avoid a trip to Molbak’s (Ireland trip! No one to water our plants for two weeks! We don’t really need plants this year! Tomatoes never grow in Seattle anyhow! …But what will we do with all the empty pots and no garage/closet/any place big enough to hold them space to put them?)
We ate dessert first and saved our vegetables for last. Baer Winery! It was a quiet day in the warehouse district, and we had the place to ourselves with the founder’s sister, Lisa, pouring for us. Lovely flavors here, the kind I like in my wine; roasted coffee, astringent tea, warm spices, and dark chocolate.
I’m that person wineries probably are so annoyed by–that person who always wants to know the story behind the winery. I just–I can’t–I just can’t help myself. I need to know.
Through our conversation with Lisa, we learned that her brother, Lance, started the winery, but tragically died at a young age a few years ago. She has carried on the business as a labor of love in his memory.
I’ve forgotten the rest of the story behind the label (good thing I asked!) though in the course of vainly researching it, I found a pithy, witty interview of Lisa talking about Baer.
What I do remember: the wines are named after the Greek names for constellations. The last name “Baer” is bear, like the Great Bear. You know, the constellation that’s celebrated enough that every kid who’s ever been to a planetarium show can recall it? “Ursa,” (the Great Bear’s Greek name) is the signature blend here. I doubly loved the Greek connection, since the Greeks, clever devils that they are, were pretty much, among many other things, the forbearers of modern wine (shout out to my recent read, “Inventing Wine,” for that fun little factoid).
Once again, no surprise, I found myself swept away with the packaging. Bold, cobalt blue bottles, mostly unadorned save for a simple, hand-sketched, twinkling star. Straw-colored crates wood-burned by hand with crispy, dark brown stars singed into the surface.
We toddled off…him to Target, me to Molbak’s…and then I made the decidedly brilliant suggestion of taking a slight detour on the way home to stop at Ezell’s for some legit fried chicken and Southern cooking. Sadly, Ezell’s is tucked away in a strip mall about a mile or two from Woodinville wine central…sadly, because Ezell’s really deserves to be on every wine taster’s itinerary! Seriously delicious fried chicken, fried okra, creamy mustardy potato salad, tangy cole slaw, thick mac n cheese, sweet potato pie, and on and on. Given the relative dearth of dining options in Woodinville wine territory, I’d strongly encourage people to head to Ezell’s for satisfying, cheap, unfussy Southern goodness!