We considered moving to Plain when we were in the process of looking for a place to move to in WA. That was twenty-five years ago, long before down-town Plain blossomed. To be safe, and closer to the grocery stores and the highway out of town, we settled on Leavenworth instead.
Today though, we were not looking for a home; we were in search of the new winery, Plain Cellars. Unlike some other of the roads to the local wineries, the road to Plain and the short trip from Plain center to the winery is both level and easy to traverse, better still, the owners have strategically placed unmistakable pointers to help lead one to the wines.
Bob and Roxanne Sage are the keepers of the keys to the facilities. Bob is the winemaker and Roxanne the ‘do everything else’ person. Roxanne was keeper of the tasting room when we arrived to sample the wines. Unfortunately for us, and perhaps fortunately for him, Bob was off fishing in Alaska so we missed being able to shake his hand and congratulate him on a job well done.
The tasting room for Plain Cellars wines is open only Saturday’s now, 11:00a.m. till 5:00p.m. Current plans are to remain open Saturdays throughout the year, but the Sages are also keeping options for the tasting room open.
For certain, the facility has the potential for a great deal more than a Saturday wine tasting venue.
But that brings us to the critical topic, the wines. We didn’t go to the tasting room to examine woodwork or the building (but before I forget to come back to that point, both are remarkably well done.) Currently, for a $5.00 refundable with a bottle purchase tasting fee there are 8 wines on the roster, two whites, a Riesling and a Chardonnay, and six reds including the Summer Solstice Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah which may very well be the reason there is a Plain Cellars Winery.
As Roxanne tells the story, a daughter opted to be wed on the day of Summer Solstice back in 2005; Bob, an amateur winemaker at the time made the wedding wine, the Summer Solstice Red. The wedding was a success, but so too was Bob’s wine and friends and family urged the creation of a winery. Plain Cellars was born a few years later.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here, back to the whites. Both white wines are bright, clean and crisp showing fruits and acids and I’m confident they’re crowd pleasers. It certainly appeared that way on this visit. The well-appointed tasting room was filled with young women all of whom seemed thoroughly content with the wines and the attention they were receiving from the staff.
I’ve not room in this short article to list and comment on all the reds, so I’ll leap to the end of the list first and tell you there’s a Petite Sirah made from fruits from the Lonesome Springs Ranch in the Yakima Valley AVA. Alas, however, so little of the wine exists, only 25 cases made in total, that it is not available for tasting. You may purchase a bottle if you choose.
We did taste during our brief visit all the other reds on the tasting sheet, which begins with a the Just Plain Red, a Southern Rhone styled blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah, and moves to a well made Tempranillo created from Wahluke Slope AVA fruit.
There’s a Malbec, a Cabernet Sauvignon, the Summer Solstice Red, and the Eclipse, a Bordeaux styled blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. All are well made and free of flaws and faults, but my favorite was the Cabernet Sauvignon.
This is a 2011 Red Mountain cab beautifully made from Dick Shaw’s Vineyard fruit. The wine, in my estimation is award winning and makes the drive from where ever you are worth your while. I’ve sampled a lot of Washington’s Red Mountain wines over the past twenty-five years; I’m comfortable telling you this wine is as good as most of the others I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying.
One closing note of interest though is that when you’re finished sampling Bob Sage’s wines at the Plain Cellars, you can hop around the corner and say hello to David Morris and the staff at Napiqua Vintners, Plain’s first winery. If you hurry, you’ll be treated to the two new releases, this year’s SLR (Sexy Lady Red) and the newest Malbec. But the Napiqua story will have to wait till next time, or perhaps after I enjoy more of David’s well made French onion soup later this year.