Pasek Cellars, $10
The drizzly Seattle summer has driven me to drink.
Just after I abandoned all hope of picking any decent blackberries this year, I came across a bottle of blackberry wine at the Whole Foods just down the street. While buying a bottle of wine from down the block doesn't satisfy my hunter-gatherer impulses quite as handily as collecting free fruit from the alley out back, I was willing to compromise.
As soon as I pulled the cork, the room filled with the unmistakeable perfume of a blackberry thicket on a hot August afternoon, sweet and earthy with that faintly tart edge. I wouldn't have been surprised to see a bumblebee buzz by. The taste was even more intense, but sippable rather than syrupy.
Blackberry is only one of the many fruit wines made by Pasek Cellars, a winery based near Mount Vernon, north of Seattle. At their tasting room (an easy detour off I-5), you can try wines made from guava, passionfruit, pineapple, loganberry, raspberry, and cranberry (Pasek's best-seller), as well as a couple of grape wines and a dessert wine made from Arabica coffee. Many of their ingredients are grown nearby; the blackberry wines are made from Oregon fruit. For the sake of the 2011 vintage, I hope Oregon had better berry weather this year than we did!