For its annual 100-Mile Dinner, the Woodinville restaurant pairs with neighboring vineyards to create three one-of-a-kind wines.
PERHAPS NO OTHER restaurant in the Pacific Northwest embraces Northwest cuisine like The Herbfarm in Woodinville. Legendary nine-course meals perfectly paired with regional wines make this a culinary experience everyone should enjoy at least once.
The hallmark of The Herbfarm is its dedication to fresh, local ingredients that come with a story. Proprietors Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck were farm-to-fork before it was trendy.
Zimmerman’s wine cellar has long been one of the deepest anywhere. The wine list reads like a history of Northwest wine. But a particular theme dinner calls for unique wines.
Three to try
These three unique wines are available only at The Herbfarm restaurant in Woodinville.
Orca Isles 2014 sparkling siegerrebe, Puget Sound, $45: This stunning bubbly opens with delicate aromas and flavors of lemon-lime, nutmeg, pear, apple butter and marigolds. An achievement that is likely the only sparkling siegerrebe in North America.
Goat Rocks 2016 sparkling grüner veltliner, Naches Heights, $45: This bubbly is bursting with aromas of green apples, pear and flinty minerality. There are also hints of red licorice, Red Delicious apple and even blackberry.
Ephemere 2014 Hollywood Hill Vineyards pinot noir, Puget Sound, $65: A dark, dense, ethereal wine with aromas of potting soil, mushrooms and freshly picked raspberries, followed by flavors of ripe strawberry and Bing cherry backed by remarkable acidity and firm tannins.
In August, The Herbfarm puts on its 100-Mile Dinner, in which every last ingredient — down to the salt and the baking powder — comes from within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant. That includes the wines. While that isn’t difficult — Woodinville has 140 wineries, after all — the grapes generally come from the Columbia Valley, across the state, well outside the 100-mile limit.
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In the past, Zimmerman had worked with Oregon winemaker Patty Green to produce a special pinot noir for the restaurant. But he wanted something closer to home. About a mile from the dining room is Hollywood Hill Vineyards, which is planted to pinot noir. Zimmerman put together a one-year project in which he and his team put in more than 1,000 hours tending the vineyard, harvesting the grapes and making the wine.
Then he worked with Lopez Island Vineyards to buy siegerrebe juice from estate grapes, collaborating with Treveri Cellars in Wapato to turn it into a unique sparkling wine. He added a sparkling grüner veltliner from Naches Heights Vineyard near Yakima to create a trio of unique wines that increase the experience of the 100-mile feast.
These wines, particularly the two bubblies, are remarkable. They should cause us to pause and think about the realm of possibilities of pursuing sparkling wines like this. In fact, Zimmerman says, if he didn’t have a restaurant to run, he might just pursue this kind of winemaking.