It had been a while since I had tried Kestrel wines. I was fortunate enough to stay at my friend Raye’s adorable little cabin beside Icicle Creek for a few days and we took a trip into Leavenworth for a late lunch. It was a lucky break for us that Dave was working that day pouring tastes at Kestrel’s Levenworth tasting room. He was friendly, knowledgeable and fun.
Dave gave us some fascinating history about Kestrel. The owners were originally harness racers and they had a long shot that paid off handsomely allowing them to purchase the winery. They were planning to call it “Windfall Vintners” but, as they were standing in the field which would become grapevines, a Kestrel Hawk flew over them. Kestrel Hawks natural prey is the blackbird, which vignerons know come along the morning before harvest and peck at every grape on the vine. The owners took that as a good sign and changed the name of the winery to Kestrel Vintners. They planted their grapes in 1995 and opened the Prosser tasting room in 1999.
Kestrel has three tasting rooms – the original one in Prosser, one in Woodinville and the one where we tasted in Levenworth. As I mentioned, the one in Levenworth is fun. It is warm and friendly. The design encourages customers to interact with each other. They also have a cute selection of goodies for sale such as a port sipper (more on that later) and glasses, aprons, etc.
Raye and I tried a couple of the whites including the 2010 Chardonnay. Kestrel has the oldest Chardonnay vineyard in the state of Washington, planted in 1972. But we were eager to dive right into the reds. We both really enjoyed the 2007 Sangiovese at $22 per bottle and the 2008 Syrah at the same price. What was really fun was when Dave broke out the chocolate covered roasted almonds to accompany the 2008 port and also the 2009 Semillon Ice wine. That was the first time I ever used a port sipper. The idea is that drinking from the bottom of the glass makes the port taste better due to the low oxidization achieved. I am not sure if it was the glass or the yummy port (I took a bottle home to Al) along with a Syrah for me.