Greg Martinez and his wife, Theresa, own Holmes Harbor Cellars on Whidbey Island. Hes a Navy pilot in the reserves and has flown big commercial planes.
Theresa, a scientist in Seattle, took care of the winemaking while he was overseas. He returned the first week of September, just in time for harvest.
The Martinezes make about 1,500 cases of wine, growing from the 550 cases they produced in 2006 when they launched Holmes Harbor. They named the winery for the harbor they have a view of from their winery in the town of Greenbank.
Here are four Holmes Harbor Cellars wines weve tasted in recent weeks. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the winery directly at (360) 331-3544 and HolmesHarborCellars.com.
Holmes Harbor Cellars 2009 Teragre Red Etude, Washington, $37: This is Greg Martinezs signature wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah that is rich and delicious. This opens with aromas of raspberry jam, fresh mint, black licorice and oak, followed by plump flavors of raspberry juice, ripe strawberry, boysenberry and plum, all backed with ripe flavors and round, sweet tannins. Enjoy this big red with grilled flank steak or a rich Italian dish.
Holmes Harbor Cellars 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley, $31: This is one of the best and most intriguing Cabernet Sauvignons weve tasted this year. The grapes come from top Walla Walla Valley vineyards, and Greg Martinezs winemaking prowess shines. It starts with aromas that remind us of a blueberry Pop-Tart, masala chai, mint, plum and pomegranate. On the palate, it offers flavors of black cherry, dark chocolate and boysenberry. Its a muscular, big-shouldered wine with rich flavors and a lengthy finish. Pair this with venison, lamb chops, ribeye or lasagna.
Holmes Harbor Cellars 2009 Merlot, Walla Walla Valley, $28: For this alluring Merlot, Greg Martinez uses grapes from Les Collines Vineyard, just north of the Oregon border, and Spofford Station, just south of the border. It tempts with aromas of black peppercorn, boysenberry, smoked bacon, mint and cherry, then delivers flavors of dark chocolate, cherry syrup and raspberry. Its all backed with fine-grained tannins and has a line of minerality running through the aromas and flavors.
Holmes Harbor Cellars 2009 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley, $30: The grapes for this superb Syrah are from Les Collines, a vineyard near the Oregon border that is owned by Norm McKibben of Pepper Bridge fame. This wine opens with aromas of dusty cranberry, raspberry, plum and some alluring sizzling bacon notes. A rich entry leads to flavors of wild plum, blackberry, ham and a hint of oregano. Enjoy this with lamb chops, sweetbreads or a steak topped with sauteed mushrooms.