August is Washington Wine Month!

August is Washington wine month and Ray’s has you covered! Our Wine Director Chip Croteau has hand-picked a gorgeous selection of reds, whites, and rosés from some of the most incredible winemakers in our state! Enjoy these wines by the glass or bottle all month long in our first-floor Boathouse. Reserve today!

Featured Washington Wines include:

Sparkman ‘Lumiére’ Chardonnay Columbia Valley, WA 2016 15 gls / 58 btl
Aromas of hazelnut, lemon curd, stone fruit and honeysuckle lead into lively flavors of green apple, lemon oil, minerals, and just a smooch of sweet toasty French oak. An elegant, well-balanced chardonnay.

Avennia ‘Oliane’ Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley, WA 2017 16 gls / 62 btl
Barrel fermented with native yeast, the aromas of lemon verbena, lemon oil and herbs emerge. The flavors are tart, racy and acid driven, with a long, drawn out finish. It’s elegant and subtle.

Tranche ‘Pink Pape’ Rosé Black Rock Estate Vineyard, WA 2018 12 gls / 45 btl
A blend of three traditional Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties, discover delicate aromas of mountain berry, white peach, citrus blossom and honey dew with lifted notes of pink grapefruit and lemon peel.  Bright and focused on the palate, with fresh citrus and underscored by a wet stone-like minerality.

Delille Cellars Rosé Columbia Valley, WA 2018 17 gls / 68 btl
Presenting a beautiful pink coral color, this Grenache-dominated rosé showcases a nose of kiwi, melon and light red raspberry.  Bright citrus flavors join dried strawberry, peach and hints of dried tarragon and dill in the mouth. Perfectly dry and brilliantly crisp, this wine has a substantial finish capped by a generous tropical guava flavor.

Devium Mourvèdre/Syrah Red French Creek Vineyard Yakima Valley, WA 2017 19 gls / 70 btl
Wild Oregon Marionberries and potting soil lead into a silky palette with balanced tannins, great acidity and hints of earth, red fruit and savory herbs.

Two Vintners Syrah ‘Some Days Are Stones’ 2016 Stoney Vine Vineyard Walla Walla, WA 18 gls / 68 btl
From Walla Walla’s famous Rock’s District, intense aromatics of blueberry and plum are followed by smoked meat, dried violet, olive, gravel and dried herbs.  It shows a whole lot of hang time on the potpourri filled finish. Incredible!

Cadence ‘Bel Canto’ Cabernet Franc & Merlot Cara Mia Vineyard Red Mountain, WA 2007 22 gls / 85 btl
Knockout nose combines sappy black cherry, red currant, black tea, mocha and rose petal. Wonderfully intense but light on its feet, with enticing floral lift and outstanding verve to the red berry and brown spice flavors.  One of the many testaments to the ageability of WA wines.

March is WA Wine Month! Cheers at Ray’s all month

Ray’s Boathouse & Cafe is excited to celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month with two different promotions throughout the entire month of March! Join us and lift a glass to the amazing growers, talented winemakers and superb viticultures right in our own backyard!

The Boathouse is offering a special curated list of glass pours for Washington wines that are rarely offered by the glass. Using our Coravin Wine System we can pour wines by the glass without oxidizing the wine. Wines will also available by the bottle.

The Café is offering a bottle promotion with sought after Washington wines, including L’Ecole No 41 Luminesce Walla Walla Valley, WA 2013, Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion and Côte de Ciel  Roussanne, Ciel de Cheval, Red Mountain, WA 2013.

View our wine lists below and please note that both will change as we rotate in different wineries throughout the month. Join us daily in the Cafe from 11:30am-9pm and in the Boathouse Sunday-Thursday 5-8pm and Friday-Saturday 5-9pm.

Boathouse Wine Menu

Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling Columbia Valley, WA 2013. 10 gls/38 btl

Super Substance Sauvignon Blanc Sunset Vineyards, Ancient Lakes, WA 2014. 15 gls/53 btl

Cougar Crest Viognier Walla Walla Valley, WA 2014. 10 gls/38 btl 

àMaurice Viognier Columbia Valley, WA 2014. 16 gls/ 54 btl

Ashen Chardonnay Conner Lee Vineyard, Columbia Valley, WA 2013. 22 gls/ 75 btl

Syncline Pinot Noir Celilo Vineyard, Columbia Valley, WA 2013. 16 gls/ 55 btl

Betz Family Winery Besoleil Grenache Columbia Valley, WA 2011. 21 gls/ 85 btl

WT Vintners Gorgeous Syrah Horse Heaven Hills, WA 2012. 18 gls/ 65 btl

EFESTE Final Final Cab/Syrah Columbia Valley, WA 2011. 14 gls/53 btl

Andrew Will Cabernet Franc Columbia Valley, WA 2013. 15 gls/60 btl

Spring Valley Frederick Bordeaux-Style Red Columbia Valley, WA 2012. 18 gls/ 75 btl

Quilceda Creek CVR Red Blend Columbia Valley, WA 2012. 28 gls/ 105 btl


Cafe Wine Menu

Côte de Ciel  Roussanne 42. Ciel de Cheval, Red Mountain, WA 2013
A grape traditionally from the Rhône region, this wine is bigger and more lush when grown in Washington.  If you like chardonnay or viognier try this wine, great with seafood!

Cougar Crest Viognier 39. Walla Walla Valley, WA 2014

Aromas of ripe cherry, pomegranate, plum, clove, and musk. The palate shows cherry, and marionberries

L’Ecole No 41 Luminesce 40. Walla Walla Valley, WA 2013. Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion
A traditional Bordeaux style white wine, the semillion and weight, aromatics and a floral honeyed fruit character, while the Sauvignon blanc balances it with citrus fruit, acid, and minerality

Va Piano Cab Sauv 38. Columbia Valley, WA 2011
Fantastic 2012 vintage from this newcomer, big red fruits of raspberry and cherry, refined tannins with a smooth long lasting finish

Sustain Malbec  39. Columbia Valley, WA 2013
From the Underground wine project, a collaberation between Trey Busch (Sleight of Hand) and Mark McNeally (Mark Ryan winery), this wine is Big, Rich and Lush

Hightower Merlot 40. Red Mountain, WA 2011
Bright aromas of red berry fruits and cassis mingled with herbal notes and wet stone

Rays Red by L’Ecole No41 14/gls 52/btl. Columbia Valley, WA 2013

The Evolution of Washington Wine

by Douglas Zellers, General Manager

Photo courtesy of Seattle Dining
Photo courtesy of Seattle Dining

Washington Wine month is upon us again, spring is in the air, and we find ourselves preparing for another great Taste Washington event! As we go about our planning, we focus on the multitude of wines that Washington offers us, and we frequently find ourselves looking for the next great winery, vintage, or bottling. To truly understand the level of where Washington wine has risen to, I feel it important to take a look at how we got here.

Ray’s Boathouse was host to the annual “Rays Retrospective” where we would host a dinner showcasing the greatest wines of last release. It was a retrospective on the year. But what about a retrospective on the entire Washington wine timeline?  What are the pivotal moments, people, and events that helped bring Washington wine forward to the place in history that we hold so dearly?

On February 24, I invited a few industry professionals, sommeliers, and private wine collectors to taste through 20 wines that represented the earlier years in the state’s history. During this tasting we discussed our thoughts on the pivotal moments and I wanted to share a few with you.

Tasters: Terry Adams (Chateau Ste. Michelle), Teresa (collector), Chris Horn (Purple Cafe), Joseph Linder (Fairmont), Bob Bertheau (Chateau Ste. Michelle), Doug Zellers (Ray's), Edan Schmitz (Ray's), Richard Adatto (collector)  Photo courtesy Seattle Dining
Tasters: Terry Adams (Chateau Ste. Michelle), Teresa (collector), Chris Horn (Purple Cafe), Joseph Linder (Fairmont), Bob Bertheau (Chateau Ste. Michelle), Doug Zellers (Ray’s), Edan Schmitz (Ray’s), Richard Adatto (collector) Photo courtesy Seattle Dining

1960’s Bob Bertheau, Head Winemaker for Chateau Ste. Michelle, asks us to remember founding pioneers such as Walter Clore and great ground work was laid down. Bob Betz, Master of Wine, reminded me of the visionary work done by André Tchelistcheff, a storied winemaker that would be our early guiding hand.  During this decade some of our first wineries (Associated Vintners and Chateau Ste. Michelle) produced our first vintage wines.

1970’s Washington wine is in the national limelight when the 1972 Johannisburg Riesling is tops in the Riesling blind tasting at the 1974 LA Times Annual Wine Competition, beating all national and international competitors.  Chris Figgins is proud to remind us of the importance that family wineries played in Washington State such as Leonetti Cellar and Quilceda Creek. These wineries come on line in the 70’s, closely followed by Woodward Canyon in 1980. The great work of the Figgins, Small, and Golitzen families continue to be leaders in the State as their wines garner great acclaim.

1980’s Doug Gore launches Columbia Crest Winery and Mike Sauer plants Syrah at Red Willow Vineyard under the initiative of David Lake. Yakima Valley becomes the first AVA in Washington State and both Columbia Valley and Walla Walla earning recognition in 1984. In 1987 we see the Washington Wine Commission established, further unifying the industry and reaching out to the public, generating interest and hosting events.

1990’s The beginning of the global connection ushered in by Allen Shoup and Chateau Ste. Michelle partnering with Italy’s Marchesi Antinori to produce Col Solare.  Kris Patten, Vice President of Wine  for Young’s Market Company reminded me how the partnership between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Germany’s Ernest Loosen bought Riesling from sweet to complex, forever changing the perception of the varietal here in the state.

2000’s Quilceda Creek earns the first 100 point wine (Robert Parker) in Washington with their 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. They will go on to earn this distinction three more times with the 2003, 2005 and 2007 vintages. In 2009, the 2005 Columbia Crest Grand Reserve Cab earns the #1 Wine of the Year and the cover spot on the Wine Spectator.  In 2003 Allen Shoup continues his legacy by furthering the global connection and establishing Long Shadows Wineries and Vineyards.

2010’s I leave up it to you. What do you think will be the defining moment of this decade? What dynamic moment will further propel Washington wine to the forefront of the global wine scene?  I welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.

While I can’t possibly list all of the things we discussed, I thought these are some of the ones that we should think about as we look forward. To truly understand your future, you must know your past.  I urge us each to seek out an older bottle of Washington wine and take a trip back in time. Re-explore some of the tried and true brands such as Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery. Raise a glass to the people and families that helped provide this opportunity for us.  Seek out the exciting new wineries and help drive Washington forward.

In vino veritas!

Note: This article first appeared in Seattle Dining

Doug Zellers is the General Manager of Rays Boathouse, Cafe & Catering. He received the Walter Clore Honorarium from the Washington Wine Commission for his dedication to the advancement of the Washington wine industry, and serves as Chef du Sommelier for the Auction of Washington Wines.



Did you know? Ray’s also offers event catering in Seattle, off-site and right next to our restaurant in Ballard, for special events, ceremonies, wedding receptions and more. Enjoy a spectacular front row view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains!