A few nice spots where tourists can be tasters
By Jackie Smith
Special to The Seattle Times
Published October 8, 2009
WALLA WALLA — We were told that the cutout metal goat above the mailbox, just beyond the winery, was the key to finding our destination. Sometimes directions are like that in Eastern Washington.
Sure enough, traveling Highway 12 between Waitsburg and Dayton, we passed Dumas Winery and soon spotted the goat. From there a short, winding gravel road led us to Monteillet Fromagerie.
On an informal “taste of Washington” tour that we began last spring, our Saturday afternoon stop on this 32-acre farm along the Touchet River was not only tasty — we sampled an aged Sauveterre and a fresh herbed Chevre — but interesting. We lingered and visited for more than an hour with the assistant cheese maker from Seattle, an apprentice from Napa Valley and Joan Monteillet, who along with her husband, Pierre-Louis, runs the cheese business.
In 2002, after 20 years of wheat farming, the couple made a midlife career switch; now raising some 40 goats and 40 sheep, producing milk that is turned into some 10 varieties of cheese sold at the farm and at several farmers markets in Oregon and Washington. A patio outside the production facility/tasting room is the perfect spot to watch the flocks while sampling cheese and wine ($10/cheese plate or $15/cheese plate with wine).