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'14 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

Lake Chelan's WineGirl Wines

Monday, March 28, 2011

Reminder: The March Virtual Tasting takes place this Wednesday at 7pm Pacific. Read about how to participate here.

WineGirl Wines winemaker (say that three times fast!) Angela Jacobs first became interested in wine while working at an Italian restaurant in Bellevue. She tried a 1996 Archery Summit Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir - “When it was affordable, of course,” she notes. She fell in love with the wine and with the grape. “Way before Sideways,” she is quick to add.

Jacobs made her first wine in 2001 (“Before I was 21,” she says gleefully), making a mere two cases of Pinot Noir. Though she was already interested in wine when she was in college, the University of Washington did not offer winemaking courses, so Jacobs instead focused on the sciences. Upon graduating, she subsequently spent time in California, New Zealand, and Oregon learning the trade.

Jacobs crushed her first fruit under the WineGirl Wines label in 2007, naming the winery after a nickname that a friend had given her. After making 100 cases the first year, she doubled production to 200 cases in 2008.

Jacobs subsequently wrote a business plan and secured financing to start a winery. When contemplating where to start the venture, the Chelan area seemed a logical choice. Jacobs’ family has a long history in the area. “I witnessed the downfall of the Washington apple farmers to the Japanese varietals in the 90's - my family included - and the subsequent birth of viticulture about ten years ago,” she says. In the spring of 2010, Jacobs opened a tasting room in Manson by Lake Chelan.

The WineGirl Wines branding is a bit complex, reflective of Jacobs' creative side. The Manson tasting room is called The Blending Room as Jacobs wanted to have something a bit more, how shall we say, gender neutral for her partner Jonathan. The winery has one label called Firá (after a Greek word for fire) and another Kamari, named after a black sand beach on Santorini, Greece. Finally, there is a My Derby Wife label in a callout to her years spent with the Rat City Rollergirls. Jacobs believes that labels are important, saying, “It's OK to choose your bottle of wine because you like the label! I do!”

While Jacobs has currently been sourcing her fruit from Les Collines, Kiona, Meek, Weinbau, Cave B Vineyards and others, she plans to plant a vineyard this spring on the north side of Lake Chelan. The vineyard will be planted to Pinot Noir, Syrah, Viognier, and Chardonnay.

Wine Girl Wines made 350 cases in 2010 with plans to expand to 600 in 2011. Read the winery’s blog here.

Kamari Black Label Reserve Malbec Walla Walla Valley 2008 $32

Rating: +/* (Good/Excellent) Dark in color. Abundant green notes along with plum, tea, and pepper. The palate is full of tart fruit with rush of chocolate and oak flavors coming through on the finish. Les Collines Vineyard. Aged in 20 months in French and American oak. 14.3% alcohol. 50 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Kamari Black Label Reserve Red Wine Walla Walla Valley 2008 $34

Rating: + (Good) An appealing, earthy aroma profile that shows abundant dark berry notes along with chocolate. The palate has a full feel with chalky tannins and tingling acidity toward the finish. Oak plays a big part in this show but, overall, an impressive effort. 62% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec. 14.3% alcohol. Aged 20 months in French and American oak. 50 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

Kamari Black Label Reserve Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley 2008 $30

Rating: . (Decent) Aromatics dominated by chocolate and sweet berries. The palate is tart with herbal notes and somewhat gripping tannins. Comes off as a bit astringent at times. Williard Vineyard, Yakima Valley. Aged 20 months in French and American oak. 50 cases produced. Sample provided by winery.

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