I was brimming with excitement as my husband and I made the familiar drive from Seattle to Woodinville this past weekend. Not only was I finally getting out of the house, but we were heading to a place that holds my fondest memories. We had booked a tasting at Chateau Lill, a venue typically reserved only for special events but that had recently opened up for socially distant wine tastings. This meant we had the lucky experience of returning to the venue of our wedding, and I couldn’t wait to relive the joy of that day.
When we arrived, the space did not disappoint. There’s something utterly magical about Chateau Lill (though maybe I’m a tad biased). They had a fire going at the entrance, and the barrel room open for viewing.
As we got settled, I was surprised to learn we would be tasting a new line of wine: The Lill Family wines. I’ll admit, I was expecting to taste DeLille Cellar’s wines, as that was the wine served at the location for our wedding. Turns out, when DeLille built their new tasting room, they sold Chateau Lill to Greg Lill (who is a majority owner of DeLille but is not directly involved in operations).
After the sale, Chateau Lill needed new wines for its events. Greg decided to create the Lill Family label, but rather than start in the basement producing wine himself - he reached out to connections he’d made over years in the industry. The focus of the new label was on relationships, which really speaks to the love and support the Woodinville community has for each other. Thus, each wine is made by an incredibly talented winemaker from the community.
Let’s talk about the wines.
The Lill Family label currently contains a rose, two whites, and one red. A second red wine is coming, and word is it’s a Syrah! Check out my tasting notes below for each of the wines.
Wine #1: Lill Bèbè Rosè
Pale pink in color, this rosè shone in the glass. Aromas of fresh strawberry, mixed with herbal notes of rosemary and tarragon gave the wine a savory tone. Bone dry with medium to high acidity, this wine was not your typical rose. While most rosè is enjoyed when the weather is warm, this one is perfect for pairing with your dinner on these chilly winter nights. The rosè was made by Chris Gorman, winemaker at Gorman Cellars.
Wine #2: 2019 Lill Sister
My wine notes literally say, “Holy crap - that smells incredible!” Made by Chris Sparkman of Sparkman Cellars, this 100% Chardonnay from the Royal Slope vineyard in Columbia Valley was pale straw in color and boasted delectable aromas of coconut, vanilla, tropical fruit, yellow apple and sandalwood. The wine was medium to full bodied with a nice acidic kick to the finish. I’m typically not a fan of Washington Chardonnay but I definitely went home with a bottle of this!
Wine #3: Cashmere
This is the luxury wine of the label. Also 100% Chardonnay, but more reminiscent of a Napa Valley Chardonnay, aka: lush, bodacious, and rich - exactly what the name implies. Aromas of apple, pear, vanilla, nutmeg and vanilla rose from the glass. On the taste, the wine was full bodied with medium acidity and finished with a delectable taste of butterscotch.
Wine #4: Lill Brother
The perfect everyday dinner wine, Lill Brother is a Cabernet Sauvignon blend that is medium bodied with low to medium tannin and balancing acidity. On the nose I got candied cherry, savory herbs, eucalyptus, green pepper, blueberry, and mocha. If you’re a fan of budget friendly Bordeaux, you’ll love this wine made by Matthew Loso, previous winemaker at Matthews Winery and current winemaker at Woodinville Custom Crush.
And if having great wine wasn’t enough, Chateau Lill had impressive hospitality. Our tasting came with a packed charcuterie box and hand warmers. The seating area was well spaced out, with multiple covered areas and a couple fires going. Plus, they have the entire grounds open for you to explore before, after, or during your tasting. It’s absolutely gorgeous, so don’t miss out on that opportunity!
If you’re interested in visiting, Chateau Lill is open Friday, Saturday and Sundays and you can book reservations here. Reservations aren’t necessary but are recommended, though our server noted that they take walk-ins pretty often.