Our Yakima Craft Beverage Tour continues today with another Wine Wednesday feature. After our media group left AntoLin Cellars, we headed over to Gilbert Cellars. I was highly impressed with AntoLin Cellars, and our time at Gilbert Cellars further cemented my respect and admiration for Yakima Valley wines.
About Gilbert Cellars
The Gilbert family has been part of the Yakima Valley legacy since 1897. As most families who moved to this area, the Gilberts were farmers who began with apple, pear, and peach orchards. They were an active family in the local community, and still are to this day. Curtis Richard Gilbert was an avid outdoorsman and hiker, and after he died, one of Washington State’s Goat Rocks Wildnerness was named Gilbert Peak in his honor.
Their foray into wine began in 2002, when the Gilbert Family purchased the Doc Stewart Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope AVA. Gilbert Cellars officially formed in 2004, and currently runs under a partnership of several Gilbert family members.
Like most wineries in Yakima Valley, Gilbert Cellars is a smaller, family-owned and operated company that produces smaller amounts of wines (usually around 300 cases per varietal) compared to larger wineries in neighboring Washington State wine regions. And, like most wineries in Yakima, you’ll find their wines to be of high quality and available for an amazing price: most wines are under $25.
Approximately 70% of the grapes used in Gilbert Cellars wines are from family-grown vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills, Wahluke Slope, and the Columbia Valley. Winemaker Justin Neufeld – who is, in my opinion, one of the winemakers to watch in Washington State – has a degree in molecular biology and a gift for coaxing out the true qualities of each varietal.
The Gilbert Cellars wine portfolio is diverse: you’ll find both oak-aged and stainless steel Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, a rich Malbec, Syrah, a complex and lovely Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Rhone-style blend known as Allobroges.
My personal Urban Bliss Life picks for Gilbert Cellars wines: the 2015 Wahluke Slope Rosé ($20) and the 2013 Left Bank red wine ($24).
The 2015 Wahluke Slope Rosé is 78% Mourvéde, which gives it a dry crispness with lovely floral and light fruit flavor. I love this rosé and included it recently in my Best Rosé Wines for National Drink Rosé Day to try list.
The 2013 Left Bank is a Bourdeaux-style blend on the opposite end of the wine spectrum from the rosé: it’s luscious, brooding, and romantic. Although it’s a medium-bodied wine, the finish is smooth and full. I’d drink a glass of the Left Bank on its own, slowly, savoring each sip; or, enjoy it with my Rack of Lamb with Blackberry Balsamic Sauce or ribs and a cherry cola barbecue sauce.
Gilbert Cellars Tasting Room
The downtown tasting room opened in 2008 and is a bright, airy space to enjoy wine tasting. I love the modern feel: the contrast of the wood with the metal finishes, the trendy bar stools, and the bold black and white artwork throughout, including the beautiful triptych of Gilbert’s Peak, showcased behind the bar (shown in the photo above).
You can enjoy five 1-ounce tastings as part of their $5 Featured Tasting; the $5 is refunded with bottle purchase. If you’re hungry, you can enjoy one of their gourmet cheese plates as well.
Visit Gilbert Cellars
5 N Front St.
Yakima, WA 98901
MON thru THU 1:00pm-7:00pm
FRI & SAT 1:00pm-9:00pm (open til 10pm on First Fridays)
MORE WASHINGTON WINE BLISS
Many thanks to the Yakima Craft Beverage Tour, Gilbert Cellars, and coordinator Jamie Peha for this complimentary wine tasting. As always, all opinions and photos are my own. I did buy a couple of bottles of wine from here to take home: the Rosé and Left Bank.