Weekend in Washington Wine Country
Published in September, 2007
In the sleepy southeastern corner of Washington state, the town of Walla Walla and the wine-growing region that surrounds it feels a lot like an undiscovered Napa Valley–it’s friendly, familiar and perfectly real–and when it comes to food and wine, the area is it’s poised to become the next big thing…
…Just be sure to save some room, because this afternoon you’ll be tasting some of the best cheeses around at Monteillet Fromagerie. Farmstead cheesemakers in the truest sense, Pierre-Louis and Joan Monteillet rise at 4 a.m. to milk their flock of 35 goats and 35 sheep. The rest of the day is spent producing their hand-made cheeses. There’s a Larzac (goat) and Mejean (sheep), two soft-ripened cheeses; a remarkable rosy Mejean Syrah that’s marinated in Syrah from Dunham Cellars’ Lewis Vineyard; two hard, aged cheeses, a Sauveterre (sheep) and Causse Noir (goat and sheep); and, in the fall, the smoky-hued Le Roi, an aged pure goat cheese that’s dusted with grape leaf ash from Leon, France, and crowned with gold dust. On weekend afternoons, you can tour the fromagerie, visit the goats and, best of all, step up to the small, beautiful counter for a cheese- and- wine tasting. You’ll want to bring the delicious Fcheeses home, but if you didn’t pack a cooler, you can always ask the Monteillets to ship some to you.