Ray’s Boathouse Toasts 50 Years With Ste. Michelle Via Historic Tasting

Douglas Zellers, co-owner and general manager of Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle, orchestrated a tasting of Ste. Michelle red wines that would have been on the wine list in the early days of his restaurant that opened in 1973. (Photo courtesy of Ray’s Boathouse)

SEATTLE — This summer’s 50th anniversary of Ray’s Boathouse prompted co-owner Douglas Zellers to toast Ste. Michelle Wine Estates by carefully pulling corks on some rare bottles, starting with the first red wine it ever released  — a 1967 Pinot Noir.

“A few years ago, with the anniversary coming up, I knew I wanted to do something retro,” Zellers said. “I thought about tasting wine that was most likely on our menu in the 70s, and it has taken me a few years to gather these from the secondary market.”

Last week, Zellers carved out several hours to share these special bottles with Tyler Alden, the Master Sommelier who is the director of food and beverage at Willows Lodge in Woodinville; and three members from the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates team — Brian Mackey, head red winemaker for Chateau Ste. Michelle; certified sommelier Lauren King, senior manager of wine education for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Erik Harshfield, field sales manager for Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and a graduate of Central Washington University’s Global Wine Studies program. The panel also included Chris Nishiwaki, WineBusiness.com contributor, and Ray’s wine director Darrell Statema. Alex Tilden of Ray’s Boathouse facilitated the tasting.

The opportunity to experience a bit of history that involved the late André Tchelistcheff — the famed Napa Valley winemaker who consulted on Ste. Michelle’s first wines — enchanted Zellers.

“The first half of this tasting is Tchelistcheff,” Zellers said. “He had a hand in these because he was coming to Washington starting in 1967, so his thumbprint is on that Pinot Noir and some of these others.

“And to think they were sending these out the door for $4.75, according to one of the hand-written stickers on the bottle,” Zellers added with a chuckle. “Amazing.”

Ray’s Boathouse, Cold Creek Vineyard Began In ’73

Ray’s Boathouse was voted as Seattle’s Best Date Night Restaurant in 2019 by KING-TV viewers. (Photo courtesy of Ray’s Boathouse)

When Ray’s Boathouse began in 1973, Tchelistcheff was still very much involved with Ste. Michelle. In fact, Cold Creek Vineyard — first planted in 1973 — is dedicated to “The Maestro” with a sign at its entrance. Tchelistcheff, known by some as “the founding father of the Washington wine industry,” inspired his nephew Alex Golitzin to launch now-iconic Quilceda Creek north of Seattle.

“Back when Ray’s started, all of the menus were done with a Smith-Corona typewriter, but those menus and lists were thrown away,” Zeller says. “I don’t even have pictures of them. So what could have been on a wine menu when we started in ‘73? Lancers. Blue Nun, right? Some sort of sweet Riesling and probably these Ste. Michelle wines, I’ll bet you.”

This spring, Ray’s Boathouse, Café and Catering will begin offering throwback apparel in conjunction with the Friday, June 23 celebration and kickoff of what’s expected to be a hopping summer season.

“We’ve got a lot of unique, old photos that are pretty cool,” says Zellers, who began managing Ray’s in 2013 after spending seven years as food and beverage director at the Washington Athletic Club in between management roles at Northwest wine-minded Wild Ginger and Landry’s affiliate Palisade.

And while there’s plenty of history surrounding Ray’s, including a long and storied connection with the late Julia Child, the restaurant remains very much front of mind throughout Seattle. The year before the pandemic, viewers of KING-TV voted Ray’s as the Best of Date Night restaurant in Western Washington.

Last year, Zellers, executive chef Kevin Murray and their team showed haven’t lost a step as Ray’s Boathouse was voted by readers of Seattle Magazine as the Best Restaurant in 2022.

An Afternoon Of Comets Over ‘Shooting Stars’

Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle recently lined up a series of red wines from Ste. Michelle that began with the 1967 vintage and ended with the 1979 vintage. (Photo by Lauren Fior McCaffrey / Courtesy of Evado PR)

However, this day along the shore of Shilshole Bay was a Washington wine time machine project. Zellers expected some “shooting stars,” but a few came with a longer tail than expected.

“It starts when you pull the capsule off to see what the cork is like — whether it leaked or not will tell you something,” Zellers says. “Very rarely are these old Washington wines garbage. I’ve had some sour wines, but other than that, they either show really well and then fall apart or they take some time to get going — especially the old David Lake wines from Columbia (Winery). A lot of the time, if you come back to the wine in a half hour it’s absolutely amazing. They just need time to do their thing.”

And the opportunity to taste history prompted a quick look at the outline of the early days of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

In 1967, longtime winery executive Vic Allison of American Wine Growers launched Ste. Michelle Vineyards as a brand focused on vinifera. The first four releases featured varietal bottlings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Sémillon and a rosé from Grenache.

That same year, the company asked Tchelistcheff to serve as a consultant to Ste. Michelle’s first winemaker — Howard Somers. Sources for that inaugural vintage included Yakima Valley sites Hahn Hill north of Grandview and a nondescript planting near Benton City known as Vineyard 7.

The influence of Tchelistcheff included the Russian’s 1974 recruitment of winemaker Joel Klein to Ste. Michelle. Klein’s résumé included Simi Winery — where Tchelistcheff also was involved. Klein’s father-in-law, the late Harold Berg, an Oregon native and acclaimed professor of winemaking at UC-Davis, also encouraged him to take a job in Washington. Klein left in 1983 to join grower/vintner David Wyckoff in their launch of Snoqualmie Vineyards, a brand Ste. Michelle purchased in 1991.

Other figures behind some of these bottles included Kay Simon and homegrown winemaker Cheryl Barber Jones, a graduate of Richland High School and Washington State University’s food science program. Last month’s sold-out First Ladies of Washington Wine event included an image of Tchelistcheff sitting in a lab alongside Barber Jones. In 1983, Barber Jones replaced Klein as Ste. Michelle’s head winemaker.

The Lack Of Malolactic Fermentation

Ray’s Boathouse in Seattle recently lined up a series of red wines from Ste. Michelle that began with the 1967 vintage and ended with the 1979 vintage. (Photo by Lauren Fior McCaffrey / Courtesy of Evado PR)

In 2017, Great Northwest Wine co-founder Andy Perdue orchestrated a similar library tasting that included the 1967 Cabernet Sauvignon. Keys to that Cab’s enduring framework included the influence of Tchelistcheff as well as the absence of malolactic fermentation — a winemaking method to develop mouthfeel in red wine that was not yet used in the Washington wine industry. Klein has been credited as the guideline light in Washington for malolactic fermentation.

Albert Coke Roth, III, longtime legal counsel for Great Northwest Wine LLC, has been a member of the Pacific Northwest wine industry his entire adult life, beginning with his family’s multi-generation distribution business in the Columbia Basin. A decade ago, during his days as a columnist, Roth wrote about the influence of Klein.

“The first few Northwest Cabs that I consumed came from Associated Vintners, the daddy of Columbia Winery, and Château Ste. Michelle, and the wines they made in the late 1960s and early 1970s were acidic, tannic, and horribly vegetative,” Roth wrote. “It was not until 1974 when Cabernet Sauvignon actually became drinkable out of the Northwest after Château Ste. Michelle hired Joel Klein fresh out of the University of California-Davis, as their winemaker.

“Joel had a specialty; malolactic bacteria,” Roth continued. “Most people don’t brag about being best pals with bacteria. Joel did. One reason the wines had such blistering acidity before Joel came to town was because their chemistry did not allow for the softening effects of a secondary acid-reducing fermentation. Joel proudly told me the story about starting the malolactic culture in a bottle, gently pouring it into a warmed five-gallon carboy, then a week later lowering the fizzing carboy into a large tank of Cabernet where the miracle occurred, yielding the Château Ste. Michelle 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon. Thanks, Joel.”

That 1974 Cab wasn’t a part of this Ray’s retrospective. Surprisingly, the shining star of this special tasting proved to be the 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon — grapes harvested prior to the arrival of Klein.

A Look At Bottles From 1967 To 1979

The Ste. Michelle Vineyards 1967 French Oak Pinot Noir was among the first four vinifera wines produced by the young company. (Photo by Eric Degerman / Great Northwest Wine)

Ste. Michelle Vineyards 1967 French Oak Pinot Noir, Washington State: Understandably, it was no longer a “red wine” in terms of its wardrobe, looking more like an Arnold Palmer in the glass with its Earl Grey tea appearance. And the nose leaned toward sherry. Still, there were enough notes of sea air and dried brown fruit — think of cherry fruit leather and prune juice — joined by a surprising delivery of acidity to provide enough reward. (12% alc.)
Historical note: It is likely this was the first varietal red vinifera wine — ahead of Cabernet Sauvignon — released by Ste. Michelle Vineyards. And Corti Brothers, the acclaimed wine-savvy grocer in Sacramento, Calif., featured all four single-variety bottlings from the 1967 vintage, according to The Wine Project by Seattle author/winemaker Ron Irvine.

Ste. Michelle Vineyards 1970 Cabernet Sauvignon, American: The back label clearly stated that it was Cabernet Sauvignon grown in the Yakima Valley. Its appearance was reminiscent of Dr Pepper, and aromas of bottle bouquet included some complexity with slate, beef bouillon and red fruit leather. The panel quickly noted some depth of fruit on the palate with dried plum and red currant, a nibble of celery leaf and joined by a remarkable grip of tannin. (12% alc.)
Historical note: The label on the shoulder of the bottle included the following phrase — “U.S. REPRESENTATIVE VINTAGE 1970 VINTAGE” and it prompted a snicker as it conjured up thoughts that it was a Congressional wine. The bottle also included a reference to the Texas warehouse for Bon-Vin, Inc., the first national distributor for Ste. Michelle. (New York native Charles Finkel, who founded Bon-Vin, would sell the company four years later to U.S. Tobacco Co., and become Chateau Ste. Michelle’s first VP of sales.)

Fifty years later, the Ste. Michelle Vineyards 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon continues to benefit from the absence of malolactic fermentation. (Photo by Eric Degerman / Great Northwest Wine)

Ste. Michelle Vineyards 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State: As Tyler Alden, MS, quickly noted, “This wine has held onto its hue,” which proved to be a harbinger. There was a remarkable abundance of dark brambleberries in the nose and across the palate, joined by black cherry skins and cranberry acidity, a combination that created lots of texture. And it was no shooting star. About an hour after it had been opened and poured — yet not decanted — the nose still offered compelling notes of blueberry and pomegranate. Bottom line, those who have cared for this bottle can pull the cork on a helluva 50-year-old wine. The back label packed a surprising amount of the chemistry, including the Brix (23.2) and pH (3.2) at harvest (Oct. 17). “After fermenting for approximately 9 days, the free run wines at 12.7% alcohol and .76% total acid were used exclusively and then aged in American and French oak barrels.” (12% alc.)
Historical note: National interest in this wine would have received a boost because Ste. Michelle’s 1972 Riesling topped an October 1974 blind tasting staged by the Los Angeles Times. Also in 1974, Seattle businessman Wally Opdycke and his group — after just two years of purchasing the company and a year after establishing Cold Creek Vineyard — sold Ste. Michelle Vintners to U.S. Tobacco Co. It stands as the most important transaction in the history of the Pacific Northwest wine industry.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State: The Klein Era would be in full force with this wine, but time was not kind to this bottle. Its color mirrored the 1970 Cab, and the fluid held a scant amount of charm. The nose was short and reminiscent of Worcestershire sauce. While the structure was decent, the fruit was gone. This front label features the chateau that opened prior to the 1976 harvest. The back label referenced “our spectacular new Chateau near picturesque Woodinville,” an October harvest at an average 25.5 Brix, malolactic fermentation, pH of 3.45, TA of 0.65 and American oak barrels. Apparently, no French wood. (12% alc.)
Historical note from 1975: Considering that it was planted in 1973, it’s likely that third-leaf fruit from Cold Creek Vineyard factored into this bottling and the remainder of the lineup opened this day at Ray’s.

The still-delicious Chateau Ste. Michelle 1976 Merlot was the winery’s first standalone bottling of Merlot. (Photo by Eric Degerman / Great Northwest Wine)

Chateau Ste. Michelle 1976 Merlot, Washington State: Disappointment in the ’75 Cab was soon forgotten with this brief shift to Merlot — the first bottling of the variety by Ste. Michelle. In retrospect, this might have been the most expressive red wine of the afternoon. There was minerality, dried blueberry and chocolate-covered pomegranate in the nose. Inside, there was more delicious blue fruit, and the panel’s descriptors included raspberry yogurt, which hit on the buttercream found on the midpalate and signaled the involvement of malolactic fermentation. According to the label, harvest began Oct. 14 at an average of 23.2 Brix at a pH of 3.35 and TA of .67. Again, it was barreled in American rather than French oak. (12% alc.)
Historical note from 1976: Ste. Michelle opened the doors in September 1976 to the $6 million “chateau” that U.S. Tobacco built on the estate that once served as the home of timber baron Frederick Stimson.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 1976 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State: The first bottle suffered from cork taint. The second bottle brought notes of cherry cola, dried blueberry, forest floor and menthol. On the palate, creamy red fruit on the entry led directly to frontal tannins that penetrated the top of the gum line, making for a lively and rather tasty wine. (12% alc.)
Historical note from 1976: Wine merchant Bob Betz began his storied career with Ste. Michelle, and the early duties of the future Master of Wine included creating memorable experiences for visitors to the new tasting room.

Chateau Ste. Michelle 1977 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State: In the glass, this wine provided perhaps the biggest roller coaster ride of the afternoon. And it fell off the rails at the start. The color reminded one taster of Geritol, and the nose prompted comments such as “dog kibble,” “asparagus” and “steamed bok choy” — a blend of vegetal characteristics and sulfur. There was some dried red fruit that came out as it sat in the glass, joined by leather, and an Old World finish included herbal and dried red currant notes. “It tastes better than it smells,” remarked one judge. (12% alc.)
Historical note from 1977: Klein hired Kay Simon as assistant winemaker. She had been making wine in the San Joaquin Valley after graduating from University of California-Davis. (Simon’s nephew, Brian Mackey, is in his second decade of working for Ste. Michelle. His uncle, Clay Mackey, is co-founder of Chinook Wines and married to Simon.)

Chateau Ste. Michelle 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington State: The cellar at Ste. Michelle might have needed a few space heaters during the fermentation of this wine because of the historically chilly winter of 78-79. Beyond that, however, this wine was solid, offering some elegance. But it was not stellar. Unlike the previous vintages, the back label did not include any technical information. It did continue to display the maps that show the similarities in latitude between the Columbia Valley and the heart of France. (12% alc.)
Historical note from 1978: This vintage marked the arrival of Wade Wolfe to Washington as Ste. Michelle recruited the Ph.D. from UC-Davis for viticulture expertise. (In 2012, now-defunct Wine Press Northwest Magazine named Thurston Wolfe Winery as its Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year.) It also signaled the first vineyard-designated effort with Cab from Cold Creek.

Chateau Ste. Michelle created a special bottling of Cabernet Sauvignon from winter-damaged 1979 vintage, which was released in 1989. (Photo by Eric Degerman / Great Northwest Wine)

Chateau Ste. Michelle 1979 Limited Bottling Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley: This represents an unusual approach, and those of us who grew up in Eastern Washington during the late 1970s and experienced the ash from Mount St. Helens in 1980 won’t soon forget the aforementioned bitter winter of 1978-1979. It brought a long stretch of days when the temperature didn’t climb above minus-10 Fahrenheit, so this vintage and the diminished production level reflected the vine damage throughout the Columbia Valley. This nose is amazing with its Bing cherry, light toast, blackberry, sage and forest floor moss. Flavors of Chukar Cherry come with some crunchiness to the structure, which includes a surprising amount of oak and extraction. It’s still a bold Cab and has the bones for another 5-10 years. This was No. 12,141 out of the 20,000 bottles — approximately 1,700 cases — released in 1989. According to the label, that 1979 harvest began in September, and the grapes averaged 24.1 Brix, pH of 3.53 and TA of 0.73. (13.1% alc.)
Historical note from 1979: The use of “Columbia Valley” on the front label stands out. The first American Viticultural Area was established by the federal government in 1980, starting with the Augusta AVA in Missouri (Napa Valley was No. 2), and the Yakima Valley AVA was the first in the Northwest in 1983 — a year before the Columbia Valley AVA. … Clay Mackey was recruited from the Napa Valley by Ste. Michelle as a viticulturist during the 1979 harvest.

Insights By Ste. Michelle Winemaker, Master Somm

The panel at Ray’s Boathouse for this library tasting of Ste. Michelle red wines included, from left to right, Alex Tilden and Douglas Zellers of Ray’s Boathouse, journalist Eric Degerman, Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Brian Mackey, journalist Chris Nishiwaki, Master Sommelier Tyler Alden, Erik Harshfield and Lauren King of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and Ray’s wine director Darrell Statema. (Photo by Lauren Fior McCaffrey / Courtesy of Evado PR)

Brian Mackey said he came away from the afternoon wanting to dig more deeply into his company’s archives.

“The most surprising wine to me was the 1973 Cab,” the winemaker shared with the tasting group. “The tannin structure was still so robust and intense with fruit aromas and flavors that leapt out of the glass and lasted for over an hour without fading. It stood out from every other wine we tasted.”

Alden, who earned the title of Master Sommelier last year, marveled that such life still remains in these bottles.

“The fact that many still had enjoyable fruit notes in addition to the tertiary/age-related components was wonderful,” Alden noted. “The quality of wines were surprisingly robust for an industry in its youth, and the imprint of Washington terroir was clear.”

Alden ranked the ’73 Cab both as his favorite “for total presentation and arc in glass” and as his biggest surprise “because of how it had held itself together.“ He viewed the ’77 Cab as the “most unique expression,” pointing out that the “use of sulfur and its aging arc gave beautiful changing moments in the glass.”

As a winemaker, Mackey took special delight in the work by Klein and that team.

“My favorite series of wines were the 1976-1978 Cabs,” Mackey noted. “They represented to me an era of experimentation and change in style. There was a huge shift from 1973-1975, and there was even a gap to the 1979. I felt like I was witnessing in the glass a time I’ve heard so much about when the Washington wine industry was first starting to expand.”

And yet, the wine that held the most charm for Mackey was the ’79 Cab.

“We didn’t talk much about it because it seemed so modern and current compared to the others, but that is exactly what I liked about it,” Mackey said. “It was exciting for me to see fruit extraction, tannin structures and aromatics that I still see in the wines I’m making today — 44 years later.”

Taste Washington Wine Month is Here!

Let’s celebrate all things Washington Wine this March!

We’re so lucky to live in a place with a wine industry such as ours with passionate growers, talented winemakers and the best quality grapes.

Ray’s has been supporting the Washinton wine industry since its inception and has championed dozens of wineries along the way, watching them grow from small operations to successful large scale companies.

Be sure to check out our fresh sheets in the Boathouse and Cafe for excellent Washington Wine picks this month from a variety of wineries and regions and raise a glass to our local wine pros!

And click here to learn why Ray’s was named the “Best Restaurant to Experience Washington Wine” by Seattle Magazine!

Washington Wine Month Specials this August!

We’re celebrating Washington Wine Month with an exciting lineup of some of our Wine Director’s top local picks! Try them this month in the Boathouse & Café alongside fresh local seafood like summery versions of Wild Alaskan Halibut, King Salmon, Scallops and more!

Wine specials are subject to change as we sell out but here is a peek into what we’re kicking the month off with!


Eroica Riesling Columbia Valley, 2019

This beautiful slightly off dry Riesling shows ripe apricot and peach notes. Some beautiful minerality and zippy acids.

Avennia Oliane’ Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley 2019

Crisp and vibrant with lovely citrus and stone fruit notes. Beautifully balanced. A delightful and refreshing white.

L’Ecole No 41 Grenache Rose, Alder Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills 2021

Strawberry and raspberry notes with subtle hints of citrus and melon. Bright, refreshing and delicious.

DeLille Cellars D2′ Columbia Valley 2019

A merlot forward Bordeaux blend. Fantastic nose, with notes of black cherry, raspberry, flowers and chocolate. Elegant and refined. A Washington State classic.

Sequel by Longshadows Syrah, Columbia Valley 2019

Blackberry, black current, peppered game, licorice and subtle chocolate flavors shine in this powerful Syrah.


Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley 2019

This beautiful slightly off dry Riesling shows ripe apricot and peach notes. Some underlying minerality and lively acidity.

Avennia Oliane’ Sauvignon Blanc, Yakima Valley 2019

Crisp and vibrant with lovely citrus and stone fruit notes. Beautifully balanced. A delightful and refreshing white.

L’Ecole No 41 Grenache Rose, Alder Ridge Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills 2021

Strawberry and raspberry notes with subtle hints of citrus and melon. Bright, refreshing and delicious.

DeLille Cellars D2′ Bordeaux Blend, Columbia Valley 2019

A merlot forward Bordeaux blend. Fantastic nose, with notes of black cherry, raspberry, flowers and chocolate. Elegant and refined. A Washington State classic.

It’s Washington Wine Month! Check Out Ray’s Incredible Lineup

Join us this March to celebrate Washington wineries and the vineyards they source their grapes from, specifically those that have been certified Salmon Safe!

Ray’s Boathouse and Cafe are featuring wines by the glass and bottle from four fantastic Washington wineries in both our upstairs Cafe and first floor Boathouse from March 1-31. Come back throughout the month to taste them all and enjoy the best views in Seattle!

Cafe Featured Wines

  • Baer Winery Merlot ‘Star’ Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Royal Slope AVA WA 2017  (glass $16 / bottle $64)
  • Baer Winery ‘Royal Slope Rosé’ Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Royal Slope AVA WA 2020 (glass $16 / bottle $64)
  • L’Ecole No 41 ‘Luminesce’ 7 Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla, WA 2020 (bottle only $68)
  • Woodward Canyon Chardonnay Columbia Valley, WA 2019 (bottle only $80)

Boathouse Featured Wines

  • Baer Winery Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Artos’ Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Royal Slope AVA, WA 2019 (glass $25 / bottle $100)
  • Hedges Syrah ‘DLD’ Les Gosses Vineyard Red Mountain, WA 2017 (glass $18 / bottle $70)
  • L’Ecole No 41 ‘Luminesce’ 7 Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla, WA 2020 (bottle only $68)
  • Woodward Canyon Chardonnay Columbia Valley, WA 2019 (bottle only $80)

Among our star studded lineup of featured wine is Baer Winery.  One of the original wineries to make juice in Woodinville, this small family owned operation has utilized the brilliance of expert winemaker Erica Orr.  They source the majority of their grapes from Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Royal Slope AVA.

Also in our lineup is one of favorite wineries from Red Mountain, Hedges. Not only are their estate vineyards certified Salmon Safe, they are also 100% certified organic AND biodynamic.  The incredible care they take to preserve and maintain the integrity of their land is reflected in the consistent quality and uniqueness found in their wines.  Enjoy one of the Red Mountains most delicious, funky, earthy, fruit forward Syrahs.

Lastly, two of the wineries that put Walla Walla on the map: Woodward Canyon and L’Ecole No 41.  Little needs to be said for these two behemoth wineries and their influence on Washington wine and its growth.  Any focus on Washington wine wouldn’t be complete without a taste from their cellars.


New! Ray’s Family Meals To-go

Try our new Ray’s Family Meals to-go with four delicious family-style menus! Each ones comes fully cooked and is hot and ready to eat at pickup. Family Meals are available to order online daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. only on Ray’s Toast page.

Order a meal for one to two people or build a bigger family meal by adding two or three of the same meal or mixing and matching. We’ve also included recommended wine and cocktail pairings for each meal that can be added on for an additional cost. Cheers!

Ray’s Family Meal Menu:

True Cod Fish & Chips Meal (serves 1-2) $30
Cup of Ray’s New England Style Clam Chowder
2 piece True Cod fish and Chips
Cookie Bag (house baked cookies that change daily)

Pairing suggestions:
Torre Oria Brut Cava Sparkling Wine (bottle)
Underground Wine Projects ‘Mr Pink’ Washington Rosé 2019(bottle)
Black Cherry Margarita (serves 2)

Ray’s Famous Sablefish Dinner (serves 1-2) $62
Caesar Salad
1 large Crab Cake with orange-tarragon aïoli
Sablefish in Sake Kasu

Pairing suggestions:
Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir ‘Pierre Leon’ Willamette Valley, OR 2014 (bottle)
Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, OR 2018 (bottle)
Barrel-Aged Brooklyn Cocktail (serves 2)

An Evening of Seafood (serves 2) $80
Bowl of Ray’s New England Style Clam Chowder
Ray’s Seafood Salad featuring Oregon bay shrimp, house smoked Alaskan Coho salmon and house smoked scallops
Pan Seared Sea Scallops with squid ink spaghetti OR Alaskan King Salmon with sweet corn purée and sautéed asparagus
Mississippi Mud Pie

Pairing suggestions:
Treveri Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine from Washington (bottle)
Seven Hills Sauvignon Blanc Walla Walla, WA 2019 (bottle)
Ray’s Barrel-Aged Negroni Cocktail (serves 2)

Ray’s ShellFeast (serves 2-3) $105
Bowl of Ray’s New England Style Clam Chowder
Prawn Cocktail
Mediterranean Mussels with Thai style red curry, coconut milk broth
1lb King Crab with butter and lemon
Grilled Asparagus
Grilled Corn on the Cob
2 rolls with Butter

Pairing Suggestions:
Bollinger Champagne (bottle)
Treveri Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine from Washington (bottle)
Ray’s Private Select Woodford Reserve Perfect Manhattan (serves 2)

Wine Sampler Packs To-Go from Ray’s!

August is Washington State Wine Month! Celebrate our incredibly diverse and vast wine industry all August at Ray’s! You can enjoy local bottles and glass pours in the Cafe or order our brand new wine sampler packs online via Toast to sip at home!

Our Wine Director Chip Croteau has created six wine sampler packs for your sipping enjoyment, including our Washington Wine Summer Sampler Pack!

Here’s more fun details about each of the Washington wines we’re featuring in the pack! Read on below to learn about the rest of our Wine Sampler Packs and order yours on Toast today!

Washington Wine Summer Sampler Pack
Four bottles of Washington wine to enjoy in the sun! A Rosé, some bubbles and two crisp, non-oaked whites for just $70.

    • Underground Wine Project ‘Mr Pink’ Rosé 2018 

This 2018 cult rosé is back, and better than ever! Perfectly pink, with flavors full of fresh picked cherries, crisp watermelon, pomegranates, and lip-smacking acidity to balance out the mouthwatering fruit. This year’s “Mr. Pink” deserves to be stocked in your fridge! The Underground Wine Project is a collaboration between Washington wine makers Mark McNeilly (Mark Ryan Winery) and Trey Busch (Sleight of Hand Cellars). Mark and Trey are close friends of nearly 14 years and have both have launched successful wineries in their respective parts of Washington State.

    • Treveri Blanc de Blancs Brut Zero Columbia Valley NV 

Treveri’s Blanc de Blancs Dry, sparkling wine is fruit-forward and simply stunning! Hints of citrus and melon round out a creamy finish. Treveri is a family-owned sparkling wine house that has been producing some of the finest handcrafted sparkling wines in the United States since 2010.

    • Seven Hills Sauvignon Blanc Columbia Valley 2019 

Seven Hills 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is zesty, crisp and refreshing, with bright fruit and honeysuckle with an underlying richness, resulting in a wine of medium body and substance. With hints of pineapple, clementine, honeysuckle and white pepper, you’ll want a full bottle of this for summer! Casey and Vicky McClellan founded Seven Hills Winery in 1988 and were among the first handful of wineries to open in the Walla Walla Valley. Casey remains head winemaker, logging 31 vintages under his belt.

    • Idilico Albariño Yakima Valley 2018

When sipping Yakima Valley Albariño, look for notes of citrus and tropical fruit followed by luscious, crisp and refreshing flavors. Drink outside in the sunshine for best results! Idilico is the only winery in Washington focusing exclusively on Spanish varietals grown in Washington State. Washington vineyards are ideally suited to grow finicky Spanish grapes like Albariño. Contrary to popular belief, wine regions in Spain are not balmy and endlessly sunny. In fact, most top growing regions in Spain best resemble Washington State! Dry desert conditions, hot daytime temperatures with big temperature swings at night, all wrapped up in a short growing season.

Don’t miss our other sommelier-selected Wine Sampler Packs including:

100 Point Cellar Collection
All five of these wines have scored 100-points by at least one famed wine writer! Create a 500-point dinner for your friends or family! $1000 for all five bottles.

    • Cristal Brut Reims, FRA 2008 
    • Aubert Lauren Vineyard Sonoma Coast, CA 2016 
    • Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, WA 2014 
    • Vérité ‘Le Désir’ Sonoma County, CA 2005 
    • Alvear PX ‘De Anada’ (sweet sherry), ESP 2011

Pinot Pack Introductory
Three famous wine regions, four different Pinot Noirs! $165 for all four bottles.

    • Brittan Vineyards ‘Basalt Block’ Willamette Valley, OR 2015
    • WillaKenzie Estate ‘Pierre Leon’ Willamette Valley OR 2014
    • Emeritus Hallberg Ranch Russian River Valley, CA 2014
    • Albert Bichot Savigny-lès-Beaune, FRA 2015

Pinot Pack Advanced
Three of the top Pinot Noir producers and one bottle from each of the three best places in the world to grow Pinot! $350 for all three bottles.

    • The Beaux Frères Vineyard Willamette Valley, OR 2014
    • Sea Smoke ‘Southing’ Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, CA 2017
    • Dujac Fils & Père Morey-Saint-Denis, FRA 2016

Intro to Dessert Wine
You’ve probably tried port or sherry, but our Intro to Dessert Wines Sampler Pack features three that will make liquid dessert your next favorite thing! $125 for three bottles with the option to add a fourth for an additional $85.

    • Château Roûmieu-Lacoste Sauternes, FRA 2016 (375ml)
    • Kiona Chenin Blanc Ice Wine Red Moutain, WA 2018 (375ml)
    • Royal Tokaji ‘Aszú’ 5 puttonyos, HUN 2013 (500ml)
    • ADD-ON: Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Ice Wine, Niagra, CAN 2017 (+$85)

Impress Your Friends & Blow Up Your Cellar Pack
Six legendary and rare wines! Each could be the centerpiece of your collection; together, you’ve got a flight for the ages. $1350 for all six bottles.

    • Dom Perignon Brut FRA 2008
    • Kongsgaard Chardonnay Napa Valley, CA 2016
    • Dom Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet Clavoillon 1er Cru FRA 2015
    • Cayuse Syrah Cailloux Vineyard, WA 2017
    • Cht Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, CA 2003
    • Gaja Barbaresco Piedmonte, ITA 2013

Taste Washington Wine Month at Ray’s March 1-31!

To celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month this March, our Wine Director Chip Croteau has created a special Washington wine list that will be available March 1-31 in our first-floor Boathouse.

Chip and his team have hand-selected a variety of exceptional Washington wines from some of the most talented winemakers in our great state. Enjoy these wines by the glass or bottle all month long! Reserve online at rays.com.

Washington wines available by the glass or bottle include:

Avennia ‘Oliane’ Sauvignon Blanc Yakima Valley, WA 2017 16 gls / 62 btl

Sourced from top vineyard sites Boushey and Red Willow, discover aromas of white grapefruit, nectarine, lemon pith, straw, mineral, and herb. Sleek and puckering flavors with a steely spine of acidity that keeps the interest high.

àMaurice ‘Sparrow’ Estate Viognier Walla Walla, WA 2016 19 gls / 75 btl

Exclusively from their estate vineyard site, this stunning wine features aromatic notes of freshly cut flowers, peach, creamsicle, pear, and tangerine. It’s textured in feel with abundant stone fruit and vanilla flavors that lead to a tart, apricot filled finish that lingers.

Two Vintners Grenache Columbia Valley, WA 2016 15 gls / 55 btl

From Olsen and Boushey vineyards this lightly colored Grenache offers nuanced plum, fresh herb, orange peel, smoked meat, and white pepper.  Juicy, rich, and floral.

Two Vintners Syrah ”Some Days Are Stones’ 2015, Walla Walla, WA 18 gls / 68 btl

From Walla Walla’s famous Rocks 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!

Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, WA 2012 25 gls / 95 btl

A rare library release from the team at Abeja, the brilliant 2012 vintage features blackberry, black cherry, blueberry and pretty notes of vanilla bean. Hints of cinnamon stick, dark earth, and pine sap add depth and complexity to the silky texture and refined tannins.

Ray’s is the ‘Best Place to Enjoy WA Wine’!

Photo Credit: Seattle Magazine

Ray’s is thrilled to be awarded “The Best place to Enjoy Washington Wine”in Seattle Magazine’s 2018 Wine Awards! And we are honored that you, our lovely, loyal guests voted for us to win!

Check out our feature with Wine Director Chip Croteau (pictured right) and Co-owner/GM Douglas Zellers in the August issue of Seattle Magazine or online here.

Excerpt from Seattle Magazine:

Best Restaurant to Experience Washington Wine

A Puget Sound-area restaurant that hasn’t won in this category before and that offers exceptional opportunities to taste Washington state wine through Washington-wine-focused lists, unique tasting events and a professional, educated wine service staff. 

Ray’s Boathouse and Café 
Ray’s in Ballard, overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympics, boasts some of the best views available to Seattle diners. And yet a certain subset of wine-obsessed patrons is as likely to be staring at Ray’s remarkable wine list as it is at the sunset descending into the Olympic Mountains. Depending on your perspective, the views can be equally divine.

As you’d expect from a seafood-focused restaurant, the selection of Washington white wines is extensive. Perhaps more surprising is the breadth of red wine options, ranging from traditional (Washington Cabs, Merlots, Syrahs) to a section of the list called “Interesting Washington Reds” (Sangioveses, Cab-Syrah blends, etc.) The list at Ray’s (curated by wine director Chip Croteau) includes both treasures—library vintages from Quilceda Creek Vintners and Long Shadows Vintners’ Poet’s Leap—and under-the-radar gems like Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon. The restaurant also hosts numerous winemaker dinners and catered events for Washington winery clubs. A partnership with Walla Walla-based L’Ecole No. 41 produces “Ray’s Cuvees,” a lovely Chardonnay-based white and a red blend, both of which are poured by the glass and presumably guzzled on the Ray’s deck all summer long. Ballard, 6049 Seaview Ave. NW; 206.789.3770

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

Celebrate WA Wine Month at Ray’s!

Rays Wine + Steak

Ray’s Boathouse and Cafe is planning an array of special wine offerings in March to celebrate Washington Wine Month! Ray’s has a long history of supporting local wineries and was honored to be awarded a Grand Award at this year’s Washington State Wine Awards.

Celebrate with us all of March!

Ray’s Café – 100% Washington Wine Menu
Rays Café will be featuring a 100% Washington wine list for both wines by the glass and wines by the bottle. Each week we will feature a different varietal on our Café Fresh Sheet at a 10% discount.

Ray’s Boathouse – 30 Washington Wines by the Glass
Rays Boathouse will be offering 30 Washington wines by the glass using Ray’s Coravin wine dispensing system. Each week we will be highlighting an iconic Washington winery by offering sections both by the glass and by the bottle complete with tasting notes and food paring suggestions.

March 1-7 – Woodward Canyon Winery
March 8-14 – Seven Hills Winery
March 15-21 – Betz Family Winery
March 22-31 – L’Ecole No 41 Winery