It’s spring here in the Pacific Northwest and, on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula, it’s time for discovering new wine and cider releases creatively paired with locally crafted artisan cheeses during the region’s annual Northwest Wine & Cheese Tour Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
This year, hard cider enthusiasts can enjoy the tour debut of Port Townsend’s Alpenfire Cider, the third cidery to participate on the tour. Alpenfire produces a variety of organic ciders and vinegars made from estate-grown French and English cider variety apples. Ten wineries and cideries will welcome tour guests in the Peninsula towns of Chimacum, Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles, and on Marrowstone Island both Saturday and Sunday.
Advance tickets for the self-guided tour are available online for $25.00 ($30.00 at the door of participating wineries). Tour tickets include wine and cheese tasting at all 10 wineries and cideries plus a commemorative wine glass. This cheese and wine tour is a true bargain because independently each venue charges a $5.00 tasting fee and, with your Northwest Wine & Cheese tour Pass, you get 10 wineries, cheese, the glass, and, at some venues, even live entertainment, for only $25. www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org.
• Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum, is celebrating the sweetness of Spring with the release of its Honey Meadow botanical cider and honey-fermented Cyser. Enjoy these sips of the season with beautiful bites of chèvre from local goat dairy, Mystery Bay Farm. Visitors will also enjoy Pane D’Amore cheese sticks hot out of the oven!
• Marrowstone Vineyards, located in the town of Nordland on Marrowstone Island, is teaming up with Mt. Townsend Creamery to offer pairings of three new wine releases with delicious, locally made cheeses. Wine releases include the 2014 Wedding Day Chardonnay, 2014 Riesling Come Home, 2014 Gewurztraminer and the 2013 Black Cat Pinot Noir.
• In Port Townsend, Lullaby Winery features a curated selection of cheeses from France and the Pacific Northwest for pairing with its wines. The patio will be open and visitors will be able to purchase wines by the glass.
• At FairWinds Winery, also in Port Townsend, sample current wine releases paired with a selection of cheeses by award-winning Mt. Townsend Creamery.
• Alpenfire Cider, Port Townsend, pairs three hard ciders with Chimacum Valley Dairy’s West Valley Wheel Cheese and nut-based pastries from Port Townsend’s Pastry Design by Anca. Ciders include Spark! Semi-Sweet, Calypso Blackberry Rum Cider, and Smoke Barrel Aged Cider.
• Another Port Townsend cidery, Eaglemount Wine & Cider, pairs its wines and ciders with cheeses from Whiskey Hill Goat Dairy and Crimson Cove Smoked Specialty, a smoke house located in Poulsbo specializing in smoked cheeses. New releases include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Rhubarb Cider and Raspberry Ginger Cider.
• In Sequim, Wind Rose Cellars pairs its award-winning wines with the award-winning cheeses of Chehalis’ Black Sheep Creamery. A new vintage of Bell Bottom White, a delicious off dry Muscato, will be released for the tour. On Saturday at 7 p.m., the winery will host jazz singer Jenny Davis and award-winning pianist Eric Verlinde.
• Olympic Cellars, Port Angeles, is celebrating with a Cinco de Mayo theme! Golden Glenn Creamery of Bow, Wash. is back this year with favorite cheeses for pairing with Madeleine Angevine 2014, Chardonnay 2014, Unoaked , and Dungeness Red – Lemberger 2013, an “Old World” grape with origins in Austria and Germany, this is Olympic Cellar’s heritage wine. Local jazz musician
Al Harris will perform from Noon – 2 p.m. on Saturday.
• Also in Port Angeles, Camaraderie Cellars hosts Willapa Hills Creamery ‘s delicious cheeses made from sheep’s and cow’s milk. New wine releases include the 2012 Malbec and 2012 Madrona. Visitors can also savor tasty bites of Northwest mac and cheese with smoked salmon from Michael’s Seafood and Steakhouse.
• Harbinger Winery, Port Angeles, pairs some of its award-winning wines and new releases with the raw, organic cheeses of Cascadia Creamery. Try cheese samples with alluring names such as Sleeping Beauty, Glacier Blue, and Cloud Cap. Harbinger will also pour its wine made from locally grown grapes, Sieg-MA.
Take it from realfoodtraveler.com and enjoy a spring drive to the scenic Olympic Peninsula for a tour that’s too good to miss!
More information at www.olympicpeninsulawineries.org.