Smasne Cellars Review
Address: 19495 144th Ave NE – Suite B240 Woodinville,Washington 98072.
Phone Number: 425-485-9461
Tasting Hours: Fri 2:00-7:00, Sat-Sun 12:00-6:00 and by appt.
Region: Puget Sound AVA, Woodinville, Woodinville Warehouse District, Washington
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Review Date: 9/7/2013
Reviewer: Denise Gangnes
Woodinvilles Warehouse District may have more curb than the appeal of the Tourist District a few miles south, but it does boast a cadre of respected winemakers among the industrial rows of tasting rooms. Robert Smasne is one of those winemakers.
A WSU graduate who maintains a strong connection with the institution,
Robert Smasne has been affiliated with more than a half-dozen Washington wineries, mentored by the states most influential winemakers ranging from Columbias David Lake to Christophe Baron of Cayuse Vineyards. In 1996, Smasne debuted his first vintage, with Farm Boy/Girl Labels and Half (1/2) Ass labels soon following. Oh, about the 1/2 Ass label. The story goes that Smasnes father instructed him to never do something half assed. Smasne makes roughly 25,000 cases a year, primarily out of his Eastern Washington warehouse.
The Place:  Smasnes family farm in Eastern Washington dates back to the early 1900s, and the tasting room reflects his farm boy roots. A large red barn-painted wall dominates the south side of the room, with toy tractors and other farm memorabilia adding a touch of Yakima River Valley farm roots to the room and wines with names like Gravel Bar and County Line. I almost wondered why there were no bales of hay, but come harvest time, that could change! The space is larger than most warehouse district tasting rooms, providing plenty of room to mingle with a secondary tasting bar, tables and chairs to take a load off after a busy day of tasting. The facility is also available to rent for private events.
The Wines:  The large chalkboard that dominates the back wall of the tasting bar lists no fewer than 50 different wines available for purchase. To even the seasoned taster, this is a bit intimidating, especially when factoring in Smasnes five different labels that provide a cacophony of choices for purchase, although the tasting includes just a small portion of whats available to buy. This makes buying decisions a bit like scouting for truffles in a forest depending on your taste buds and pocketbook, finding the ultimate fungi agaricalus or in this case vitis vinifera could take a while. The day of our visit we tasted about seven wines. A unique and helpful bit of information included on each bottle is the number of cases bottled for that vintage i.e., a small color block on the cabernet label states 171 cases produced.
Our tasting included:
2010 Carmenere: a 100% varietal, earthy with black fruits and a hint of spiciness, a $38 award winner from the Phinny Hill Vineyard.
2010 Half Ass #4 – $18 (comes in both Red and White), a drinkable table
wine for the cost conscious.
2012 Rosella Rose – $18, made of 100% Gamay Noir grapes from Snipes Mountain in the Horse Heaven Hills. A perfect picnic wine, fruity but not too sweet.
2010 Block #3 Syrah $44 from the Lawrence Vineyard in the Columbia Valley (hints of black pepper and bright berry flavors, with plum and perhaps a bit of chocolate on the finish)
2009 Cab Sauvignon a 100% Cab thats worth every bit of its $35 price tag
Farmer Red Blend – a proprietary blend of Cab, Syrah and Malbec (isnt every blend considered proprietary I wondered?).