When Brian Carter decided to make his way back to the Northwest, Mount St. Helens had just erupted and there wasn’t much of a wine industry north of the Columbia River.
But the Oregon native was determined to make his mark when he came to the Seattle area in 1980, and he has accomplished greatness in the decades since.
Carter was the head winemaker for Paul Thomas Wines and Washington Hills/Apex Cellars before launching his own brand in the late 1990s and establishing his winery in Woodinville in 2002 with business partner Michael Stevens. When Carter opened his tasting room not far from Ste. Michelle, he was one of the only wineries there. Today, Woodinville has more than 100 tasting rooms.
Carter’s focus is on blends, and today he crafts no fewer than 10 wines. All are blends that focus on established Old World regions, including Bordeaux, Tuscany, the Douro Valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
And he does them all extremely well. In 2014, his wines have won best of show in three regional competitions, including the Seattle Wine & Food Experience, the Northwest Wine Summit and the Washington State Wine Competition.
Here are several Carter wines we’ve tasted recently. Ask for them at your favorite wine merchant or contact the winery directly.
Brian Carter’s entry-level red wine truly is a magical and eclectic blend of 12 varieties, leading with Cabernet Sauvignon (28 percent), Merlot (19 percent) and Syrah (12 percent). It takes on a theme of dark purple fruit, starting with aromas of blueberry taffy and black currant that are joined by lilac, lavender and roasted coffee. There’s a ton of fruit sitting in the mouth, featuring sweet blueberry and elderberry, followed by Bing cherry skin tannins and pepper. Potential pairings include pasta, grilled pizza or Rabbit Cacciatore. (14 percent alcohol)