Barnard Griffin, Richland Washington

The logo for Barnard Griffin hangs on the tasting room fireplace.
The logo for Barnard Griffin hangs on the tasting room fireplace.

Creativity is in the blood of winery owners Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard; Rob is the winemaker and Deborah is a fused glass artist.  Together they have built the Barnard Griffin winery, with a glass fusing studio attached, since 1985.  To quote their website, “Glass Art meets Art in a Glass”, and a lovely combination it is.  I focused on the wine while we were visiting, but could have spent hours admiring each piece of glass she had for sale in the tasting room.  In fact, I still find myself thinking about a particular piece; if it is still there when I have a chance to go back, I just might have to bring it home.

Barnard Griffin has lots of wine (nineteen open on the bar); all remarkable.  Not all of them are distributed and some are older vintages.  Rob Barnard worked with Hogue and Preston wineries, after graduating from UC Davis, prior to opening his own winery.  He has worked with fruit from all of the top vineyards in the state. Elise, the oldest daughter, is the tasting room manager while Megan, the youngest daughter, has been interning as her father’s assistant, taking on more of the wine making responsibilities each year.  There seems to be longevity in this family owned winery.

Barnard Griffin, a Cellar Rat friendly neighborhood.
Barnard Griffin, a Cellar Rat friendly neighborhood.
Wouldn't you like to come across him unexpectedly?
Wouldn’t you like to come across him unexpectedly?

We met two WSU EV grads working the tasting room, Ryan poured our tastes and Robby guided a quick tour through the tank room.  There was a taste of a Chardonnay in tank as well – so total of twenty tastes!  Good thing we share and do lots of spitting and dumping or I don’t think I could have understood my notes.

As there are so many wines, highlights will have to do.  All of the noble grapes are represented and there are several lesser known varietals as well.  White/red, dry/sweet, oaked or not, there was something good about every wine and nothing wrong with any, so you will certainly find something here to your taste.

Barnard Griffin, Cotes du Rob, a Washington State blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah Durif and Mourvedre
Barnard Griffin, Cotes du Rob, a Washington State blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah Durif and Mourvedre

2010 Cotes du Rob (69.8% Grenache, 16.77% Cinsault, 8.93% Syrah, 2.66% Durif (Petite Sirah) and 1.84% Mourvedre) is a cuvee blend with bright, red fruits and spice with a deep, rich finish.

2005 Vintage Red (56.4% Merlot, 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7.1% Syrah) is has similarities to the previous wine with more earth and flint; a ten-year old wine drinking like it is a much newer vintage.

2008 Sagemoor Partners (56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25.6% Merlot, 13.7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot) is a single vineyard, winemaker choice of blocks each year as a celebration of the 35 years of partnering to make fabulously grown grapes into spectacular wine – and that it is.

Cheers!

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