So, here I am sitting in the tasting room, with an amazing view of the hills north of Spokane. Like a typical Spring day in the Northwest, the clouds are simultaneously flirting with rain and sunshine. I’m sipping on a 2002 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with the wine maker. The wine has JUST NOW been released. How many wineries that you know are releasing their 2002 wines in 2009/2010?
Townshend Cellars has grown from a small production boutique winery to a powerhouse of quality producing over 20,000 cases per year from a selection of 20+ wines. Located 20 miles North of Spokane in beautiful Green Bluff, Townshend Cellars is a destination for wine in the heart of apples, strawberries and pumpkins. I’m ashamed to admit this was my first visit to Townshend, and even worse, my first experience with ANY Townshend wine. Before you discredit my wine experience, hear me out.
I first met Don Townshend for my review for the grand re-opening of Caterina Winery (Don recently took over ownership). While I’ve seen the T3, Vortex, and Table Wines in stores, I had yet to experience any Townshend wine. Upon my arrival, Don and Jill Rider (tasting room manager), welcomed me and the wine began flowing. What surprised me was the variety of wine that Townshend produces. From bubbles to Tempranillo, you can experience just about everything in the tasting room. – Seriously people, there are over 20 wines, including port, Rose, Chardonnay, Lemberger, Merlot, Malbec, Chenin Blanc and even Pinot Noir.
Townshend Cellars began in 2001 with the release of their 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon. That wine won the Inland Northwest’s best Cab and the praise has never stopped. Don attributes the success of Townshend to the Cab and the T3. T3 is a blend of Cab, Merlot and Cab Franc that was originally only available in restaurants. Customers can count on the wine to be consistent and a good value. Townshend’s signature wine spends up to 30 months in oak and another 3-4 years in bottle before being released. Sourcing 500 tons of grapes from Preston, Willard, Alder Creek and more, Townshend is committed to quality wine that releases when it’s ready, not when the cost sheet says so.
This winery visit included so many highlights. Don and Jill opened their 07 Malbec, 02 Cabernet Sauvignon, T3, and the biggest surprise, Huckleberry Brut. To be honest, this bubbly stuck with me so much that I’m still thinking about it. Made in the brut style, the sweetness of the huckleberry is subdued. Not a single Townshend wine is over $30. Check out the Diamond T club for 20% off of club shipments and 10% off wine and merchandise purchases.
While the current location was voted one of the top 10 places to have a picnic by Tasting Room Magazine, Don was excited to announce the ground breaking of a new tasting room further north in Green Bluff. The larger tasting room should be complete toward the end of summer with future expansion for wedding and meetings on the 20 acres coming in the next few years (check out the video for the amazing views).
It may have taken me a few years to experience Townshend Cellar but from what I’ve tasted, I can now relate to everyone who raves about the wine.
Townshend on the web: www.townshendcellar.com
Townshend on Twitter: @townshendcellar
Townshend on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Townshend-Cellar/107962877089
Open Thursday – Sunday Noon – 6pm