4 Very Cool Places to Drink Washington Wine

By Leslie Kelly  |  August 1, 2014

Let's raise a glass of well-made Cab or Chard, Viognier or Sangiovese from the nearly 800 producers in this state, an amazing land of contrasts. There's the lush, "wet" side and the sun-baked eastern half of the state where varietals flourish in the long days and cool nights. The following restaurants do a sensational job of showcasing the awesome wine made with great care in Washington's ever-growing wine regions. If we missed your favorite Washington wine haunt, we want to hear about it in the comments section. 

1) SkyCity at the Space Needle

This landmark venue makes a big deal about sourcing local ingredients and that extends to the wine list, which is almost exclusively Northwest selections. What's really cool is the ton of great glass pours, stuff not often seen on by-the-glass lineups, gems like Sparkman Cellars Luminere and Dunham Cellars' Trutina, a velvety red blend. Diners can go high-end with a $165 bottle of 2008 Leonetti Cabernet sauvignon but there are quite a few good deals, too. Take the Dusted Valley Pinot gris, for instance. That crisp white is a winner with chef Jeff Maxfield's gorgeous salmon preparations, and it's $31, which is actually less than the price of most main course choices at this way popular restaurant with killer views.


2) Canlis 

The legendary restaurant, pictured above, has received heaps of awards for its vast wine collection. Heck, the well-oiled culinary team and owners even make their own wine, the Peter Canlis Syrah, in partnership with Buty. A hefty, 90-page list makes for interesting reading if you're into history, as some Washington state selections date back a decade, or more. Best to arrive with some deep pockets, as many bottles run in the $100 and up range. If we were going for broke, we'd order the 2009 Woodward Canyon Cab. Yet, exceptional wine director Nelson Daquip and his staff of soms will also gently guide diners to more affordable options selected.

3) Taste at Seattle Art Museum

The list is fairly short, filling a double-sided sheet, but it's nearly all Northwest, with Oregon options sharing the stage with some wonderful stuff from around the state. We appreciate how each bottle's listing includes the region in which the grapes were grown, AVAs from Yakima Valley to the Puget Sound. Among the stellar picks to pair with chef Craig Herrington's inventive, local-focused cuisine include McCrea's Rhone-style white, the Sirocco blanc, and the McKinley Springs Malbec from Horse Heaven Hills.

Barking Frog lamb burger

4) Barking Frog

In the heart of Woodinville wine country, this destination dining fave at Willows Lodge celebrates the neighborhood by prominently featuring selections made in the 425. We love that the list gives a shout-out to the winemakers, displaying their names alongside the wine they've worked so hard to create. Chef Bobby Moore's full-throttle-flavored dishes meet their match in wine director Anthony Berkau's well-chosen list. Please pour us some Baer Winery Merlot with the thick, super-juicy lamb burger you see above.