Golden Ridge Cellars
The final winery that I visited during my brief time in Walla Walla was Golden Ridge Cellars. This estate winery owned by Michael and Cindy Rasch, is located right outside of town on eight acres of grapes. There is a magnificent view in every direction from the property, and is a just moment away from downtown Walla Walla. The Rasch’s relocated to Walla Walla from Seattle a few years back, and Michael decided to retire from his law practice and focus on his other favorite pastime, a passion for wine. The two varietals grown on their property are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but they are considering planting some Cabernet Franc in the near future. Michael is the head winemaker and viticulturist, and spends most of his day caring for his vines and working in the winery, or skiing at one of the nearby ski resorts. I was very lucky to spend the day with both of them tasting wines downtown, and was given a tour of their winery as well. Currently Golden Ridge sells most of their grapes, but they do produce a wine of their own, an estate red blend, and just recently bottled their second vintage.
I tasted both the 2008 and 2009 while I was there, and thought they were both very well made wines. Both vintages are a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and spent 26 months in French and American oak. Production is limited, as both vintages yielded just over 100 cases. Mike gave me a bottle of the 2008 to take home, so I decided to give it a try the other night. This wine was a deep garnet red in color, with toasty oak on the nose along with dark black fruit. The first sip gave way to spicy black cherry with some nice earthy, leathery tones and a hint of smokiness. It had a nice lingering finish, with more of the black cherry and oak. The alcohol at 14.7% sounds a bit hot, but seemed to balance out just fine. And although a touch on the oaky side, I thought this wine was quite good, and it seemed to go well with the flank steak that was paired with it. If you ever get a chance to Meet Michael and Cindy, they are very hospitable and are great to spend time with and enjoy a few glasses of wine. And if you are lucky enough, Mike may even give you a tour of his magnificant wine cellar. Not only is it full of great wines, it also contains a disaster survival kit, which of course most importantly includes wine glasses and a bottle opener:)