The word tour, derived from the Latin for “circle,” describes the shape tour groups create as they surround and attack their “guide,” which is French for “fact piñata.” Obtain candied information by any means necessary with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get a distillery tour and private barrel-tasting experience for two at Soft Tail Spirits in Woodinville (a $40 value). Groupon customers also receive two long-stemmed grappa glasses.
Golden streams of the bracing Italian-style brandy known as grappa flow from a vintage hammered copper still and into oak barrels for aging at Soft Tail Spirits, a craft distillery that gathers its grape pressings from local Washington wineries. Couples can discover the complexities of this esoteric elixir on a tour of the facilities with lead distiller Matthew, who has reconfigured the distillery’s Old World still to emit exuberant lute solos while the 58,000 BTU burners boil up fresh batches of grappa. After a stroll through the distillery, the tour concludes with a private barrel-tasting experience during which pairs sample grappa at various stages of the aging process. The subtleties of this 84–100 proof spirit come to life during the tasting session, as the Giallo casts a light blanket of soft pear and apple across taste buds and the Sangiovese keeps throats toasty with a pleasingly grainy mouthfeel and a cascade of cartoon hearts.
Before leaving, grappa converts can take home two complimentary long-stemmed glasses for future Bacchanalian feasts or Flat Earth Society meetings. Visitors would be remiss to not also indulge in a hearty sample of Soft Tail Spirit’s sipping vodka, the slightly rebellious offspring of Washington State apples that took home the bronze at the 2010 World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.
Soft Tail Spirits
The bracing Italian-style brandy known as grappa flows from a vintage hammered-copper still and into oak barrels for aging at Soft Tail Spirits, a craft distillery that gathers its grape pressings from local Washington wineries. An Old-World still's 58,000-BTU burners boil up fresh batches of grappa, with characters of pear and apple-tinged Giallo and the pleasingly grainy sangiovese. Meanwhile, a multistep distillation process whips up batches of Soft Tail Spirits' sipping vodka, the slightly rebellious offspring of Washington State apples that took home the bronze at the 2010 World Spirits Competition in San Francisco. Lead distiller Matthew welcomes visitors to the distillery for tours in which he shows off the facility, including the hammered-copper alembic he affectionately calls “Maggie,” before doling out samples and bestowing grappa converts with souvenir glassware for future bacchanalian feasts or Flat Earth Society meetings.