A true estate winery, established in 2001, Cougar Crest Estate Winery is located in the Walla Walla Valley eastern Washington. The agency that regulates Washington wineries considers estate vineyards so important they have a legal definition that must be strictly adhered to, in order to use the term “Estate”. Cougar Crest’s goal is to make sure that they are stewards of the land and of the winery.
Cougar Crest’s winemaker is Deborah Hansen, and her first career began in the 1970′s as a pharmacist, with a degree from Washington State University. The scientific preparation just happens to be a perfect match for the preparation of becoming a winemaker. In 1996, the dream became a reality, and the family moved home. The love of wine led to the decision to remove orchards and plant vineyards. The Hansen’s became a part of the wine community, first by raising grapes, which led to dabbling in winemaking. Deborah and husband David, became consumed with plans to have their own winery, and it was apparent that Deborah had the skills for becoming the winemaker. She went back to school at UC Davis, to take specialized enology classes. She found new passion for learning and the desire to excel at this ancient art of winemaking. It is the discovery of new wines and the challenges of new vintages that excite Deborah in her new career as winemaker at Cougar Crest Estate Winery.
Cougar Crest boasts two tasting rooms, one in Walla Walla and one in Woodinville. When visiting, be sure to try their 2011 Cougar Crest Dedication Red, Columbia Valley A.V.A., a Syrah-based blend, with Tempranillo and Merlot.
Nose: Dusty cocoa, dark red fruits, and spices like cinnamon, and vanilla, with a hint of game.
Palate: It’s old world, with earthier elements dominating. Leather, spice, and game are followed by plum, and cocoa. Medium tannins and acid make it easy to drink and pair with food.
Pairing: Lamb, bold, smoky meats, grilled chicken, salmon, or pizza.
Accolades: • 2014 Gold, San Diego International Wine Competition • 2014 Gold, Seattle Wine Awards • 2014 Gold, Critics Challenge International Wine Competition • Affordably priced at $20
Tasting room information:
Walla Walla: 50 Frenchtown (Originally Ireland Road), Walla Walla, WA 99362
Hours: Daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Phone: (509) 529-5980
Woodinville: 14366 Woodinville-Redmond Road NE, Redmond, WA 98052
Hours: Sundays 11:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday – Thursday 12 – 6 p.m., Fridays 12 – 7 p.m., Saturdays 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Phone: (425) 398-9999