Monday, February 27, 2012

21 Cellars in Tacoma

This weekend, enjoying a Groupon my friend Caitlin shared with us, we went wine tasting down the street from our apartment. I don’t normally associate Tacoma with wine-tasting, and until a week ago was in the dark as to any wineries or tasting rooms in the immediate area. However, tucked into a little brick building, down a steep flight of stairs, and located in a tiny basement with exposed concrete and unfinished ceilings is the charming 21Cellars. Marked only by a sign that says “Open” and through a door explaining “Massage Therapy,” this winery fits the “hidden gem” bill. The ceilings were strung with white lights and the room full to bursting with gorgeous wine barrels, stained purple. The entire room smelled of oak and wine. Only open on Saturdays from 12-4 p.m. (or Thursdays by appointment), wine tasting is $5/person. 

The assistant winemaker, Katrina (another Puget Sound grad), led our tasting and we met the winemaker, Philip Coates. 21 Cellars has been around since 2003, but only recently took off after their 2006 Pont21 Cabernet Sauvignon was named one of the Top Ten New Washington Wines. Our tasting consisted of the 2007 Pont21 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19), the 2009 Pont21 Malbec, and the 2008 Promesse 21, a Cab Sauv/Cab Franc blend for $32. I was thoroughly impressed by the Pont21 Cabernet as it was rich, smooth, and very drinkable. It reminded me of some of the Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon - juicy without being jammy, and smooth with fruit without being too overbearing.   The Promesse 21 was also delicious, but a bit over-budget for me (and for this blog). The assistant winemaker suggested that the Pont21 Cab that this wine would only improve with age, up to seven years in the cellar. I found the wine to be perfect as we drank it, as it was smooth, and I found the tannins already smooth and well-developed. I bought a bottle to take home and am happy to hear that it’s sold in some grocery stores in the area as well. I think that this winery will only expand from this point and I highly recommend stopping by to taste some wine. 

We finished our wine tasting afternoon with our usual weekly dinner party. Wine-snob themed, we drank two excellent and inexpensive Bordeauxs with goat cheese, onion, and mushroom tarts, smoked salmon on tuiles, and cheese and wine spreads on crusty sourdough. We finished the evening off with Caitlin’s excellent arrabiata and penne, a  Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, and then had hot pears stuffed with blue cheese, nuts, and raisins for dessert. I’ll write more on the Bordeauxs for another post, so stay tuned.

Ben and I spent the rest of the weekend drying out a bit from the wine festivities by watching Intervention and Addicted on Netflix. If you’re looking for a way to be turned off of alcohol and other substances, watch these shows. There is little that is less appetizing than screaming alcoholics running nude through the streets and washed up basketball players selling their clothes for meth.

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