Bottleology – Darby Winery with Darby English
September 18, 2009 by Dave Bender
Darby English, a Seattle native and former professional golfer, has just left the pharmaceutical and medical field to pursue another passion: wine. Darby stands behind his creation with pride and equal promise, which makes it only fitting that he chose to name his business Darby Winery—launched commercially in 2005.
Before it all started, Darby’s wine knowledge spanned not much further than the dinner table. While attending college in Oregon, he found enjoyment in the local Pinot Noir’s. His most memorable wine along the way was from California, Chateau Montelena 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon—now a sentimental representation in his 300 bottle collection (Bordeaux and Rhone heavy). These wines and his stately travels were the foundation to Darby English, the winemaker. He credits UC Davis courses for adding to his technical background and his love for competition, both of which have added to his quality level of winemaking. He notes, “If I find a technique that ultimately makes for a better product, I have to do it, even if it’s more labor intensive.”
Darby enjoys following his passions and finding new ones. In terms of grapes, his passion is Syrah. Big, balanced, inky-dark , Syrah. He claims he’ll put his $20 Syrah up against any other wine in the category from Washington state. He also works with both red and white Rhone varietals in addition to dabbling a bit with Tempranillo. Darby Winery has grown fast in its four short years of business, currently producing 2,200 cases. His wine is distributed only in Washington, and can be found on over 40 restaurant wine lists.
“I think we’re a top tier Washington winery right now and I want to be even better—it’s not competitive, but it kinda is,” says English.
The wine we wish we were able to try:
Aunt Lee 2006 Syrah $30 – Massively balanced fruit is evident during the chug-a-lug of this wine. Elevated acidity leaves this Syrah bright and utterly refreshing—encouraging another gulp. Polished leather and notes of smoke round out elements of class and sophistication. Put this bottle on your “to-do list.” Props go out to the three vineyards that made this wine possible, and a special shout-out to the favored, Stone Tree Vineyard.
Additional Note: I did try his 2007 Cabernet Franc last night, it was very good (and it was bottled Monday).
19501 144th Ave NE E-700
Woodinville, Wa 98072