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Production: 3k cases (1998)
Vineyards: 1.75 acres Cab. Franc; long standing contracts with Carter Vineyards, Boushay Vineyards, Upland Farms, Fairacre Farms, Dubrul (all Yakima Valley Appellation).
Kay Simon, a graduate in enology from the
University of California at Davis, has worked for large wine producers in California's San Joaqin Valley and in 1977 moved to Washington State and took an assistant winemaker position at Chateau Ste. Michelle (CSM). She was soon promoted to Red winemaker, and was with them until 1983.
Clay Mackey, who helped his father plant a Napa Valley vineyard in the early 1970s, and with his degree in Viticulture from UCDavis, began his career as a vineyard manager for a handful of highly regarded wineries in the Napa Valley. In 1979, he headed north to Washington state, attracted by the pioneering spirit of the budding Yakima Valley wine industry and got a viticulture position with CSM, where he met Kay.
Kay and Clay combined their extensive experience to begin Chinook
Wines in 1983. They were married and released their first wine in
August 1984, in original farm buildings which house the winery, barrel
storage, and tasting room. Bounded by a new vineyard, plum and cherry
orchards, with a shaded lawn serving as a picnic area the winery is a
favorite stop on the newly emergent Yakima Valley tasting trail.
The Wines: (Spring 2000)
Kay Simon 1985-present
Of special note:
Chinook makes wines intended to complement Northwest cuisine. Their Sauvignon Blanc is an ideal accompaniment to the native oysters and pink scallops of Puget Sound. Chinook's flavorful Chardonnay heightens the richness of Pacific salmon, and their Merlot is a perfect match for Eastern Washington spring lamb.
Since 1983, Chinook has become synonymous with a limited amount of highly acclaimed handmade dry wines. They've become staples of Seattle's finest wine retailers and on the wine lists of such celebrated restaurants as Cafe Juanita, Campagne, Dahlia Lounge and Ray's Boathouse.
"A visit to Chinook," wrote Chuck Hill in Tasting and Touring, "is a must for serious wine lovers. The two owners are not only charming and friendly but hold a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of wine, both art and science."
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