Washington State has, through the past few years, achieved a level of wine production that is tremendous. There are many high quality, small and large production wineries today whose wines are far less expensive than those found in Napa. Yes, there are huge differences in composition and flavor profile between a single vineyard Napa Valley and a Yakima Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, but those are for you to weigh. The whole point of wine, like music, is for you to check out as many different artists (Wine Makers) as possible and see whose style you like. I like the Ramones and Wilco, Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis, Segovia and Stile Antico.

From the Oregon and Washington State wine regions some of my favorites have  been Lemelson, Penner-Ash, Domaine Drouhin, K Vineyards, and Owen Roe. Owen Roe in particular has impressed me with the sheer variety of wines they make, all fantastic. A few years back, at Smith & Wollensky Boston, I had on the Wine List Owen Roe’s “Sharecropper’s” Cabernet Sauvignon, “Sinister Hand” Rhone-style blend, “Ex-Umbris” Syrah and “Abbot’s Table.”  There was a myth I heard about the “Abbot’s Table” … that is was made with left over grapes, the “table scraps” if you will. NOTHING could be further from the truth. “The Abbot’s Table” is an intentional style, made from a non-traditional selection of varietals.

I first tried “Abbot’s Table” in 2001 when I was on summer vacation up in Warren, Vermont. One week earlier, Eric Lemelson, owner of Lemelson Winery in Oregon had given me a magnum of the “Stermer Vineyard” and it was amazing! But it only lasted one day. The next day I went to the Pitcher Inn around noon to check out the menu for dinner. Across the road was a general store that sold wine. I saw the “Abbot’s Table” and bought two. The next day I came back and bought eight more. Just fantastic. Here is a write up from Northwest-Wine.com:


“Abbot’s Table 2007 re-defines “crowd-pleaser.” It’s an every-person wine. The aromas ooze with sweet red and black fruit, highlighted by berry blossoms – you can sense the contributions from the Cab Franc and Grenache. The Merlot delivers rich plums, the Zinfandel fat black cherries, the Sangiovese Bing cherries and structure. All the grapes work in harmony, melding into layers of delight.


Winemaker David O’Reilly will often forego making a single varietal wine (like Zinfandel or Sangiovese) in order to achieve the perfect blend for the Abbot’s Table. Some red table wines are made from barrels that didn’t quite fit into the premium wines. The Abbot’s Table is intentional, from vineyard to bottle.

Abbot’s Table has something for everybody. A blend of ten! different red grape varietals, including Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Syrah, Malbec, Petit Sirah, Cinsault, and Pinot Noir.

Abbot’s Table pairs with dozens of foods. The Zinfandel in Abbot’s pairs beautifully with duck and beef. The Sangiovese adds a Tuscan twist and complements zesty Italian fare. The Bordeaux varieties scream for hearty dishes. The Syrah and Grenache work masterfully with spicy cuisine. Then again, the Abbot’s Table just tastes great by itself.”

Grapes in 2007 Abbot’s Table
Petit Sirah
Cabernet Franc
Pinot noir

Matt at the winery was kind enough to send me some pictures. They are gorgeous and make me want to pack my bags.

Yeah, if you wind up in Washington State, check out Owen Roe Winery.
Here is a picture of Cabernet Franc grapes being sorted:
Cab Franc Sorting
Here is a picture of the Alder Ridge Vineyard:Alder Ridge

Here is a the DuBrul Vineyard:


And here is the Red Willow Vineyard:

Red Willow

This is the motto of Owen Roe:
At Owen Roe we do not compromise:
only the best is good enough.

Have a great Fourth of July weekend!