bayleaf on beautiful Penn Cove Whidbey Island
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The tale of this winery mirrors that of this young and growing wine region and is equal parts love story, passion for wine, and defiance.
The wife and husband team of Heather and Dean Neff began their foray into the world of winemaking in 1998 by planting a one-acre test block on a piece of family land 20 miles north of Chelan. Planting a vineyard in the area was, at the time, an audacious thing to do. While the area had a hundred year history of growing tree fruit and people had intermittently grown wine grapes, no one was yet producing grapes commercially in the area at the time. In fact, many believed it was too cold.
Heather Neff says of their decision to plant a vineyard and start a winery, “It was the whole thought that winemaking was romantic, that sort of life that you imagine in your head.” It was this life that the Neffs set out to find.
The couple’s experimental vineyard confirmed two things. The first was that growing grapes in the area was possible; the second was that learning to make wine would require more training. “We decided if we were going to put our life savings on the line, we had to get a lot of hands-on experience,” Dean says.
So they packed up their belongings and traveled to Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley where they spent the next two and a half years learning the tools of the trade. By the time they were lured back to Chelan, eager to start their winery, a fledgling wine industry had already begun to take root in the area.
The Neffs planted two vineyards near their original test block north of Chelan in 2004. Rocky Mother (“It is!” Heather declares of the name) is planted to Syrah while nearby Stone’s Throw is planted to Riesling. They also purchased land on the outskirts of Chelan for another estate vineyard and as a home for their winery. They planted this site to Syrah, Malbec and Viognier, naming it Defiance Vineyard because, after all, it was still questionable how wine grapes, or a winery for that matter, would fare at Lake Chelan.
On a romantic overture, the couple opened their tasting room on Valentine’s Day in 2006.
At Nefarious, the Neffs take a unique approach to making their wines. Heather makes the white wines; Dean makes the reds.
“It seemed like a logical thing,” Heather explains. “We could either divide up the varieties or we could make it really simple.” While for some this division of labor might prove difficult, the Neffs have thrived.
~Washington Tasting Room
A rosé by any other name…is NOT sweet!
The collection of splendid rosé wines at bayleaf are anything but your Aunt Bea’s blush or Granny Winnie’s white zinfandel. All are crisp, dry, fresh, fruity, floral, and delicious – of course!
Fresher is better. Unlike deep, rich reds, rosé wines are best when they are new – less than a year or two old. And, because they are not as costly to produce, they are one of the more budget friendly members of the wine family. At bayleaf, we have an impressive assortment of loveliness – most priced from $10 to $15. Come see for yourself, and buy a bottle (or a few) or have a glass (or two) while you sit on the patio and watch the sailboats navigate the blue waters of Penn Cove.
Real men drink pink… and think pink – from the barest blush to the deepest fuchsia. The grapes used for rosés can range from Malbec and Pinot Noir to Sangiovese and Syrah. Indeed, nearly any dark-skinned grape from nearly anywhere in the world can be used to make a rosé. Each varietal imparts its own distinct aromas and flavors, but the tones and shades of these blushing beauties are a result of pigmentation from the grape skins. A mere hour or two of exposure will produce a light, refreshing wine. Increasing the time will deepen the hue and intensify the flavors and tannins.
Summer in a bottle. Inarguably, chilled rosés are best when paired with seasonal favorites like grilled meats, seafood, and farm fresh vegetables or simply sipped during the long days and balmy nights of summer. However, at bayleaf we believe rosés should be enjoyed all year long. Treat yourself to endless summer (and reap the myriad benefits of wine club membership) – for only $29 a month - by joining rose club today! Tell them Susan sent you!~ Susan Wenzel
In 1955 two shepherds, Alessandro and Remo, began making cheese in Acciaiolo, very close to where the current Formaggi Busti plant is now located. Today, Stefano Busti, heir to this family tradition, manages the dairy with his son and daughter. Located in the heart of Tuscany, the Busti family is bound by tradition and respect for the art of cheese making, and we are very excited to bring a well-rounded selection of Busti’s fine cheeses to Whidbey Island.
Join us as we welcome Paolo Campigli of Busti for an evening of Pecornio. We'll share stories, explain how we bring these cheeses to your table and of course TASTE! Please come early if you would like to purchase wine/beer with your cheese pairing.
From Caseificio Busti, Paolo Campigli
Paolo is the Export Manager for Caseificio Busti and assists with introducing the Busti collection outside of Italy. Paolo lives in Fuecchio, a small town near Florence and commutes to Pisa (Fauglia) when he needs to get “to the office”. His background includes study as a sommelier and has worked in Argentina within the wine industry. Paolo worked along side Gabriele to help select the introductory collection of cheeses being imported to the Pacific Northwest.
From Peterson, Gabrielle Antongiovanni
Gabriele Antongiovanni the Italian Product Specialist at Peterson and works closely with suppliers to source foods of exceptional quality that are imported directly from Italy or produced in the US with respect for traditional Italian techniques. With his lifelong love of great food, Gabriele is a wonderful resource of information and training about Italian food production methods, cultural significance and regional variations, preparation of classic dishes, and ideas for use in modern cuisine.
Join us as we welcome back Jesse Huffstater of Indie Wines
as we explore the topic that's been in the news as of late. We've been showing you wines that are delicious and nutritious for years - fret not.
Saturday May 27th 5pm
$15 wine club members // $20 non-club members
Have you ever thought about where your wine comes, how it's made and (most importantly) what goes into it? If you have, this event is great for you! If you haven't, this event is perfect for you!! We will explore organics, biodynamics, natural yeast, sulfur and additives in wine (what?? They put other stuff besides grapes in wine??) We will taste through some of Indie Wineries selections as well as a few mystery wines for contrast. Bring your questions, your concerns and an open mind.
Please register here .
Tasting includes 6 wines both reds and whites and a nosh of food. Please refrain from wearing anything scented. We love the opportunity to learn and share that knowledge with you! Hoping you'll have fun, learn a little and take home some new found wine loves.
Little about Lexi…
Lexi Ochoa has been watching her mother (Cindy Boyer) design flowers for 30 + years. Her earliest memories were at 5 picking neighbors sea breeze blooms and building her own bouquets’ that included weeds. FORAGE is inspired by a passion for pretty shiny things. While raising two small boys keeps her plenty busy it was providing flowers for a local friend’s wedding that inspired her to build the business. You’ll find her flowers to be funky, eclectic with a whimsy that is Whidbey inspired.
Join us as we taste 6 wines 'blind'. This is such a fun way to taste, remove your preconceived notions and see what you actually like! First come first served, pouring starts at 5pm. Nosh or our full menu available for purchase.
Get here and enjoy your club perks - FREE WINE!
*Not in the club yet? Guests are welcome! Come along and pay $10 for 6 tastes. If you join the club we won't charge you for the tasting!
Come taste with Spanish expert Eric Stone. These award-winning salamis and hams are legendary. This is an amazing chance to taste them at one sitting and with an expert guide. We’ll taste Iberico Paleta Bellota Iberico Chorizo Bellota, Salchichon, Serrano Lomo, Serrano Paleta. The tasting will start at 5pm. Please come early if you wish to purchase beer or wine to accompany the tasting. Discounted pricing on the meats will be available that evening. Only 25 seats available. Please refrain from wearing anything scented. Purchase tickets here .
Eric Stone has worked in the world of specialty food and wine for almost 25 years. One thing he truly loves is Spain, the culture, cuisine and lifestyle, and has helped to bring many of their finest gourmet foods and wines to the market here in the Pacific Northwest. Among these, Fermin Iberico products reflect generations of tradition, care and artisan craftsmanship. One of the crown jewels of world gastronomy, Iberico jamon de bellota is widely considered to be the finest dry cured ham available.
Fermin is located in the rural village of La Alberca, in the mountains southwest of Salamanca and was founded in 1956. Today it is still owned and managed by the descendants of Fermin Martin and his wife Victoria Gomez.
In 2005 they became the first Spanish producer approved for export to the US. Eric has worked with the Martin family since their first entry into the US market as their ambassador de jamon here in the Pacific Northwest.
The Iberico pig or “pata negra” is a unique animal, the last free ranging and free grazing pig in Europe. Raised on small farms in the “dehesa” oak forest land of the western Iberian peninsula, with sustainable, traceable and humane practices, it is highly prized for its meat and for the delectable dry cured jamon, chorizo, lomo, salchichon and other cuts produced from the traditional alchemy of clean mountain air, pure sea salt and time. We look forward to sharing a bit of the history, culture and tradition of the world of Iberico jamon.
On the evening of March 6th, 2017 a devastating fire destroyed the historic Smith Barn. The clean up from this horrendous fire will be extremely costly. David Day and bayleaf invite you to enjoy an evening of Paella in support of cleaning up the devastation. Proceeds will go to the Smith family to help with this enormous undertaking.
May 7th Sunday beginning at 4pm
Coupeville Recreation Hall
We offer Paella catering over a charcoal and wood fire, we’ll be serving our most popular paella ~ chicken, chorizo, mussels and vegtables.
Please consider bringing some extra cash or your checkbook to this event.
If you have any questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to Beth at the shop, 360-678-6603.
No bunny’s Easter would be complete without sweets. But when just any old candies won’t do, trust bayleaf to have the best quality treats.
The candies and chocolates at bayleaf are always exceptional but holidays are an opportunity for us to stock even better than our best. This year, in addition to our usual but never ordinary array of chocolates, we are proud to have a selection of the most decadent jelly beans, malted milk balls, and Robin’s eggs, along with exquisitely handmade chocolate bunnies, eggs, and inlaid bars, all from world renown French chocolatier, Michel Cluizel.
Award winning Michel Cluizel chocolates are skillfully handcrafted from bean to bar, and are made with pure cocoa butter and bourbon vanilla pod and never contain soy or any artificial ingredients, flavors, or fats. These fine chocolates also contain less sugar than many other chocolates because of the use of superlative quality beans and a high cocoa content in the finished product.
All of Michel Cluizel chocolate is sustainably sourced from renowned plantations in the most reputable cocoa-producing countries in Central America, Africa, and the Pacific. Michel Cluizel works directly with the growers to select only premium cocoa beans and then carefully ferments and roasts them to ensure the rich, sumptuous chocolate flavors and aromas from each region are emphasized.
Even the most discriminating chocoholic will be delighted to find an Easter basket filled with Michel Cluizel confections, so hop into bayleaf before these exceptional goodies are gone!
~ Susan Wenzel