I am a huge fan of Rusty Grape Vineyards. We stopped in for the first time about a month after they opened and, though we don’t go up as often as we’d like, every visit is a treat.
We’ve watched as Jeremy and Heather have slowly, steadily and thoughtfully grown a small winery-a passion really-into a place that turns out wood-fired pizzas leaning far more toward the way it’s made in Italy than in America. We’ve heard how the other fans of Rusty really appreciate the difference in the taste as compared to the heavy-crusted, topping-saturated, dripping with oil, ever-popular American version.
We’ve seen their seating expand. Originally the interior room where music is set up in the winter time was where wine was stored. I remember because when my folks came to visit Dec 2006, Jeremy took my mom’s husband, Ross, into that room to barrel-taste his Sangiovese. Ross loved Jeremy’s enthusiasm to share and his personal touch with the customers. To this day he remembers that and he lives in Bellingham.
We’ve enjoyed the expansion of the wines and how the quality has only improved with their wine knowledge. Honestly my favorite over the last year or more has been the Rosso Massimo and I think that’s because it’s blended with Sangiovese. The pepper on the nose, the full mouth feel, it’s just a wonderful wine. I also enjoy their Pinot Noir for its smokiness and the Wheelbarrow Red for the Cabernet Sauvignon it’s blended with. I love me a good Cab.
We recently snagged a bottle of their Recession Red, though. I say that because I’m not sure it’s actually available yet but it has leather on the nose with black cherry, some spice and a vanilla finish. I picked up a bottle when I was feeling sorry for myself because my husband worked a double shift on Valentine’s Day. It paired very well with the appetizer plate we had the next night but it’s a great wine for Italian food…pizza, spaghetti. The Recession Red is Rusty’s version of their value table wine so that makes sense. When it’s available to the general public (which might be now?), it’s certainly worth picking up a couple bottles. One of those versatile wines that can be sipped but doesn’t lose itself with food.