A cool label goes a long way in my book and these guys have some of the best labels in town. They range from edgy to mystical to beautiful with sort of a historic depth. (They also use the big, sturdy bottles that make the wine feel important in your hands. Nothing says big, worthy (gift) wine like this type of bottle.) But the label isn’t what’s important … it’s the wine, and these guys are producing some notably outstanding local wines.
O’Shea Scarborough Winery is a partnership between Travis Scarborough and Darryn O’Shea. Travis and Darryn both called on us at Portalis in their former lives as wine reps for local Seattle distributors. I remember when Travis stopped by with one of his first vintages – no label, no approvals, just a bottle of Washington Syrah for Jens and Gina to try. Jens said it was good, but I’m not sure at the time that I realized they were going to make a go of it.
Their winery started in a garage (for real), and for more on their garagiste roots, check out this interview from 2006. They have upped the ante since then, moving to a grown-up facility in Tukwila. As well, they are past just having a bottle of red, producing an impressive array of varietals, including reds, whites and a dessert wine. I can tell Jens likes these wines and so I asked what makes them different. He said that for their first vintage, they are “pretty darn impressive wines”. He said that most of the time when he tastes first vintage Washington wines they are fine, but they all sort of taste the same. These, though, “have good acidity, balance and are pretty complex, with well-integrated oak. It’s a promising beginning.” Here’s Jens’ take on their lineup:
O’Shea Scarborough 2007 Semillon
Red Mountain, WA; $22
We currently serve this wine by the glass at the wine bar & people love it. Wonderful pear and melon flavors with some citrus. Great acidity. A good sipper.
O’Shea Scarborough 2007 Proprietors Chardonnay
Horse Heaven Hills, WA; $34
Vibrant citrus fruit combined with toast and vanilla flavors. Excellent Chardonnay.
O’Shea 2007 Riesling “Cease & Desist”
Dineen Vineyard, Yakima Valley, WA
Bright & dry, German-style, good sipping acidity, good minerality. Good future. Store up to 2 years.
O’Shea Scarborough 2005 “The Immortal” Syrah
Columbia Valley, WA; Reg $38/Sale $34.50
Dark fruit, with espresso and coffee notes. Medium- to full-bodied, well-balanced and elegant.
O’Shea Scarborough 2006 Proprietors Cabernet Sauvignon
Yakima Valley, WA; $40
Black currant, cassis, dark fruit. Complex, elegant, with fine tannins on the finish.
O’Shea Scarborough 2007 Eiswein
Yakima Valley, WA; $34
One of the best WA “Eisweine” we have tasted. If you are interested in tasting this sweet dessert wine, grab it as we only have 1 bottle left.
Try these out if you get a chance. They are excellent examples of what can come out of Washington State.
Contributor: Julie Howe