When I was 22 I worked at this Seattle SODO wine store called Esquin. Every weekend this tall, handsome (sorry Shea) wine distributor with curly blonde locks came in to restock his wines and give the staff samples. I for sure had a big fat crush on him and always sold his wines to my customers.
Can you guess what wine he sold?
So flash forward 6 years and I’m in downtown Walla Walla, WA looking for a new tasting room to visit. On a small, second-floor sign I see the Rotie Cellars gothic letters and propose a visit.
The Rotie Walla Walla tasting room encourages a sit-down experience. This just means that they seat you at a long family-style table that is pre-set with 3 glasses and tasting notes. It’s supposed to create a more interactive, personal, and educational tasting. They pour you two flights, 3 wines at a time. This is fun because you don’t have to finish the first wine to taste the next. It allows you to drink them side by side which is great for comparisons.
We were the only ones there at the time, so the tasting room manager (who was really friendly, knowledgeable, and fashionably quirky) sat down and told us about Rotie wine varietals, vineyards, and winemaker. Rotie specializes in Rhone varietals, meaning they make wine as people traditionally do in the Rhone Valley region of France. Ever had a Grenache (red), Mouvedre (red), or Viognier (white)? These grapes, along with many others, are classic Rhone varietals.
My favorite was actually the first one I tasted, the Rotie 2016 Southern White. It tasted like peaches and honey, but wasn’t overly sweet. I have friends who like to categorize this type of wine as breakfast wine**. Please see official definition below.
I could tell Shea also enjoyed the wines because on our second flight he looks at me and goes “Maybe we should buy a case of this…”. I was like, “Maybe YOU should buy a case of this.” Either way, it got me excited and we left with a case plus some. You know how some people go to Target to get one thing and leave with like 3 carts full of stuff? I do that, but with wine. It’s unfortunate for my wallet, but man it’s a good feeling having a full wine rack at home.
Also, Rotie apparently has a super cool tasting room in SODO that gives off a more party vibe with live-music and other nearby tasting rooms. Bet you $50 Shea becomes a wine club member in the next 30 days. I’ll keep you updated.
Always a great time in Walla Walla, but highly recommend checking this winery out next time you visit.
**Definition of breakfast wine: a wine that is easily drinkable at any time of day, but especially in the morning. There are requirements for wine to fall into this category. It must be white, slightly sweet, floral, and fruity. Common culprits include Riesling, Viognier, Roussaune, and white blends.