“Wine improves with age. The older I get, the better I like it.” ― Anonymous
Although we live no more than six minutes from Woodinville Wine Country, we have only joined a wine club recently. My friend Wes likes to say, “Don’t commit!” But we bit the bullet this past spring during a wine tasting trip for a friend’s birthday; we visited several tasting rooms, fell in love with JM Cellars, and signed up for their Enoteca club.
First, the wine. It is fantastic. I’m not going to go all oenophile-ish and talk about hints of blackberry and chocolate, the lingering oaken accents, or the wine’s jammy quality. Slap me if I ever start talking like that. I can tell you this, though: I truly love wine, I have been to many, many wineries up and down the West Coast, I can appreciate a $10 bottle as well as a $250 bottle, and I have imbibed enough of the magical elixir to discern the good from the bad and the “meh.” JM Cellars makes wine that is rich in taste, simple to enjoy and fun to share. In short, I love their shit.
Second, the tasting room. There are tasting rooms like Artesa, that are awe-inspiring and breathtaking in its architectural forms and endless vistas. There are ones like Del Dotto, that are massive and gorgeous and Italianate and…and…just wow. There are places like Domaine Drouhin, that are traditional and ranch-style, with an openness that is inviting. JM Cellars’ tasting room, to me, feels like going to a good friend’s house where I know there will be genuine smiles, warm greetings and the promise of a fine glass of wine. Located on a hillside called “Bramble Bump,” the place is lovely and somewhat rustic, with plenty of shady areas and a fire pit outside. Just going to pick up our September allocation felt like an impromptu afternoon party, with plenty of other Enoteca members already there, several wines out for tasting and the staff happily beckoning everyone in. The wine club also hosts a couple of annual parties for members; we went to one in September that featured plenty of wine and wood-fired pizzas. Super fun. There is a Fall Harvest Party in November that I’m really looking forward to.
Third, it’s the people. We have had the pleasure of meeting owner and winemaker John Bigelow a few times, which seems unusual to me because we have very rarely met any winemakers at other places. By happenstance, every time we’ve been at JM Cellars, so is he. You can tell right away that the guy loves what he does. He so enjoys talking about the grapes, the wine, the process. He loves to share his knowledge and his enthusiasm—both of which he has plenty—with those who have come to taste the fruits of his labor. It’s infectious, this gleefulness. When we were there last week John had just finished that day’s winemaking tasks (they do make some of the wine on the premises), and those lucky enough to be in the vicinity got a special peek at and a tasting of the cold-soaking grapes (“the most expensive grape juice you’ll ever have”). It was definitely a treat.
So check out JM Cellars and see for yourself what a lovely experience it is. Just don’t park in my spot.