Urban wine spotlight: Ballard's Domanico Cellars

Many people are familiar with the abundance of wineries in Woodinville, but - surprise, surprise - there exist a few urban wineries right under our very noses.
Ballard's Domanico Cellars, located at 825 N.W. 49th St., is one such place. Following the release of their first commercial vintage in 2006, winemaker Jason Domanico and his wife Jill, have continued to produce hand-crafted, Northwest wines from fruit grown in Eastern Washington.
The Domanicos do everything from crushing the grapes to cellaring the wines in a 2,000-square-foot warehouse in Ballard's industrial center, just southeast of Market Street. To ensure quality wine, Domanico makes it a point to visit the vineyards from which he sources his fruit on a regular basis.
"Last year, I put at least 10,000 miles on my truck," said Domanico at a recent Saturday tasting. During the growing season, Domanico visits the vineyards every weekend. He has contracts with multiple vineyards in Washington, including Lewis Family Vineyards in Yakima Valley, the Alder Ridge Vineyard and the Snipes Canyon Ranch Vineyard in Columbia Valley, and the Two Blondes Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills.
Currently, Domanico offers three red blends - Le Monstre, Le Flirt and the Mesa Roja - and a Riesling. His 2006 'Le Monstre' is a robust Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with Cabernet Franc and a touch of Malbec. It's "a racy, savory wine with a lively palate-feel, complex flavors, and a lengthy finish," according to Jay Miller of Wine Advocate.
The 2007 'Le Flirt', is a Merlot blend showing ripe, red fruits and balanced tannins while the 'Mesa Roja' is an approachable Bordeaux blend, featuring sweet dark fruits and big, round tannins. According to Domanico's tasting notes, the Mesa Roja is a "serious wine that will stand on its own for many years to come."
Domanico also makes a lively and acidic Riesling, though it is currently unavailable due to a late freeze that destroyed last season's crop.
"The fruit we harvest this fall will make our next vintage," said Domanico. "We'll age it and it should be ready by next summer."
Domanico Cellars offers free tastings on Fridays from 5 - 9 p.m., Saturdays from 12 - 6 p.m. and Sundays by appointment only.[[In-content Ad]]