Woodinville Wineries: Pondera Winery

October 17, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Pondera EntwinedThis post is a continuation of the series about my winery experiences in Woodinville, Washington. Here are the links for the first two posts – introduction and Elevation Cellars.

“What other winery do you recommend I should visit here?” I asked Steve before leaving. “Pondera”, he said. Okay. Short, very short walk from the building A to the building B, and I entered the tasting room of Pondera Winery.

I was greeted by Mel, one of the three owners of the Pondera winery. Pondera is focused on Bordeaux varietals, and it achieved a substantial recognition as a Bordeaux blends producer. As we were woking through the tasting, Mel proudly showed me a collection of gold medal-winning wines – 7 of Pondera wines received double gold medals in the blind tasting competition. Pondera 2009 Prima Donna red wine was recognized as one of the Top 100 wines of Northwest – not a small achievement by all means.

The tasting started from the 2013 Pondera Chardonnay Sagecliff Vineyard Columbia Valley. The wine had a subtle nose of vanilla, and more of the same on the palate. The wine spent 7 month on the lees, and while it had a creamy mouthfeel, the mid-palate was a bit heavy for my taste. Drinkability: 7

The next wine was 2011 Pondera Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley (90% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot) – the nose was rather muted, but the palate had a classic cassis and bell peppers – nice, clean and round, with a good balance. Drinkability: 7+

2011 Pondera Entwined Columbia Valley (57% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec) showed as a classic Bordeaux blend – if I would sniff the glass without knowing what is inside, I would definitely think of classic Bordeaux, made in a bit more of a fruit-forward style, but still quite restrained. The wine showed equally well on the palate – cassis, blackberries, touch of chocolate, clean acidity – and asking for a bit of time with very noticeable tannins. The only non-classic Bordeaux component was a beautiful label. Drinkability: 8-

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2011 Pondera SVS Number One Columbia Valley (59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec) was yet another classic Bordeaux rendition. Yes, I’m guilty of abusing the word “classic” here, but this was my true impression. Soft, round, clean and perfectly classic. Drinkability: 8-

2011 Pondera Malbec Stillwater Creek Vineyard Columbia Valley (97% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon) was, in a word, outstanding. Round, soft, polished, with delicious blueberries and blackberries – this was one of the very few wines I didn’t use the spittoon for in the tasting. Just a pure pleasure. Drinkability: 8+

The last wine was a special treat – 2009 Pondera Prima Donna Columbia Valley (Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon) was made only once, in the exceptional year (2009) only from the 2 exceptional barrels. Delicious, classic Bordeaux style, big, powerful, with chewy tannins and long life perspectives in the cellar (if you can get a bottle, there is). Drinkability: 8

Here you go, my friends. A wonderful Bordeaux blend experience – if you are looking for the bright, delicious, cassis-loaded glass of joy, jot down the name Pondera Winery, and see if you can find a bottle or two. Meanwhile, I’m off to continue my Woodinville discovery journey, stepping literally 5 feet to the left into another door…

To be continued…


  1. October 17, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    I admit I am at times a label junkie. I love the horse label on that Malbec! Beautiful!

    • talkavino
      October 18, 2014 at 8:11 am

      I’m all the time label junkie, and I’m happy admitting it 🙂 Love a good label on the wine, and I keep getting amazed at the great names and great labels people use for their wines. Wait for more creative names and labels in this series 🙂

  2. October 18, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Those labels are really pretty and creative, I agree with wineandhistory 🙂

    I wish Woodinville wines would be available in Germany – never tried wine from Washington State.

    • talkavino
      October 18, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Well, you will have to visit Washington for that – those wines are made in the 50-100 cases per wine, so I can’t get them as well – you have to visit the winery for the most part. Or, at least, if you will ever visit New York, we can figure out something, assuming I will not drink those wines before hand 🙂

  3. October 18, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Sounds like good wines. Labels are sure inviting. Thanks.

    • talkavino
      October 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

      yep – definitely good wines with good labels. I think we can call them “passionate wines” 🙂

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