Covington Cellars Review
Address: 18580 142nd Ave NE Woodinville,Washington 98072.
Phone Number: 425-806-8636
Tasting Hours: Fri, Sun 1:00-5:00, Sat 12:00-5:00 and by appt. Dining on Fridays 5:00pm-9:00pm
Region: Puget Sound AVA, Woodinville, Woodinville Warehouse District, Washington
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Review Date: 8/10/2013
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
One can only do so much wine tasting without nourishment, and you would probably agree that wineries that offer more than cheese and crackers really set themselves apart in the world of sipping and swishing. Covington Cellars has capitalized on this concept with a mouthwatering array of both tapas-like bites to elaborate dinners to sooth the savage sipper.
The Place:  Covington opened in 2005, making it one of the first Woodinville wineries, #19 actually, to settle in this nondescript but vintner-rich corner of suburbia. Its somewhat mystifying that they chose a location tucked in a far corner of what has been recently designated the South Warehouse District but their décor is comfortable and classic. In the summer, a lone canvas tent comprises the outside seating area of the winerys parking lot. The barrel room and tasting area feature a wide variety of cherry and mahogany tables flanked by leather high-backed chairs on a painted concrete floor. A television mounted on red walls projects scenes from a cooking channel, while two lovely chefs work busily in the kitchen.
The Food:  This was our third visit to the winery, and not surprisingly, we were famished each time. The biggest challenge on this quiet Friday afternoon was deciding between a slew of mouth-watering options on a fresh sheet – would we be more satisfied with crispy parmesan polenta squares with tomato basil dipping sauce or the Harissa prawn skewers with basmati rice pilaf? Unable to decide, we choose a standard grilled flatbread with garlic roasted chicken, artichoke hearts and mozzarella that we soon discover puts a much bigger winerys similar offering to shame. The plate of the day, however, was homemade ricotta gnudi with summer vegetables and brown butter. I have no idea where the gnudi comes from, but the combination with fresh veggies was a-ma-zing. For dessert, we polished off thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies garnished with rosemary and sea salt. Say No More!
The Wines:  Oh yes, they have wine (I almost forgot with all the gorging). Good wines, to complement the delicious repast. The advantage of a longstanding presence in Woodinville reflects relationships forged with several Eastern Washington growers. Two tastings are offered: the $10 sampler features bottles under $36 while the $15 tasting includes higher priced vintages. We chose one of each, sharing and comparing the varietals while waiting for appetizers. Our favorites included:
2011 Blanc ($28): The lone white on the tasting is a combination of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, with slight overtones of vanilla from French oak barrels, citrus and pineapple.
2008 Ode ($60): Aged 3 years in the barrel and 1 year in bottle. This lip-smacker won Gold at the 2012 Seattle Wine Awards, primarily made from Sangiovese from the Seven Hills vineyard in Walla Walla.
2009 Ma Belle ($45): A multi-award-winning Rhone style (Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault). Ripe raspberry and cherry with a hint of clove on the finish (only 65 cases produced).
2009 Carmenere ($42): 100% carmenere from Kiona vineyard at Red Mountain (overtones of white pepper match well with grilled meats).
2009 Artist series Cabernet ($60): From the respected Klipsun Vineyard on Red Mountain 92 points from Wine Spectator
2009 Cabernet Franc ($36): A 100% varietal, showing hints of berries and currants. More refined palates may detect cigar box and leather. At the time I was too busy devouring the chocolate chip cookies.
Insiders Note:  Check Covingtons Facebook page on Thursdays to peruse the weekend food lineup. Guests can dine on Fridays from 4:30-9 pm, Saturdays from 12-5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. in a variety of configurations that revolving around tasting, blending workshops, and upscale dining. Do the chefs a favor and make a reservation ahead of time.