Mount Baker Winery is a local Western Washington winery in Everson, one that's been slowly increasing the number of cases it produces, year by year. The Mount Baker Winery began in 1978 when a career military man, Al Stratton, began making fruit wines, and German style white wines. He secured a contract to produce and ship plum wine to Japan, and used the proceeds to improve his winery. In 1989, Stratton sold his winery and small vineyard to Randy Finley, a local businessman, who, after a year in France, was inspired to become a winemaker. Finley continued making fruit wines, but began to concentrate on varietals suited to the Northwest. He also improved the winery itself, significantly increasing the warehouse space and improving growing methods. Today, Mount Baker Winery grows Chasselas, Madeleine Angevine, Muller-Thurgau, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Siegerrebe grapes, and uses grapes sources from Eastern Washington and brought to his winery to produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It's been a successful decision; the wines are featured by local restaurants, Finley has been able to offer "custom label" wines, and his 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was a double gold medal winner at the 2005 San Francisco Wine Competition.
We picked up a bottle of the Mount Baker Washington Syrah 2005 the other day at a local Washington State Liquor store. It's from the winery's table wine line of Washington State wines. The bottle used a natural cork, and the wine was a lovely raspberry red in color. It was noticeably a Syrah on opening, in terms of the aroma, and the wine itself was just slightly herbacious, though still rich with fruity dried plums and and a lovely just slightly tannic edge. It's one we'll watch for again, though I suspect this was essentially the last of the lot.