The Pacific Northwest is having its moment, at least according to winemaker Tony Rynders of Panther Creek Cellars. “There’s a real energy and maturation in the space right now,” he says.
Earlier last week, we ventured west by way of chef Justin Smillie’s Upland for a single-vineyard Pinot Noir tasting. It gave the impression of a family affair, where strangers greeted each other as if they were long lost cousins, sipping and slurping different wines from Panther Creek’s 2013 and 2014 vintages. The familiar atmosphere was not contrived, but an organic result of the way Panther Creek works: the owners of Kalita and Schindler vineyards, both husband and wife teams, as well as Lazy River Vineyard, produce the three types of Pinot Noir grapes used in Rynders’s wines.