All Articles

A Chef Creates Culinary Alchemy in His Exotic Garden

A Cook's Eden

A Place to Root for: The Herbfarm

A Weekend in Woodinville

Best Meals Testify to an Odd Year

Eat, Drink and Get Back to Those Roots

Nancy In Wonderland

Nine Courses, Four Hours

The Best Wine Lists in America

The Best Wine Lists in America

The Northwest-focused wine list at the Herbfarm is a truly amazing thing. And not just because it's a great wine list, but because it is a great wine book! We never would have believed it, but we found ourselves unable to put it down because it was so fascinating and informative to read. Almost every page is filled with tasteful photographs and illuminating mini-bios of featured winemakers and wineries. And not just press kit material of famous big wineries that you could get from your wine distributor, but well-researched and seemingly original written expositions of winemakers at wineries big, small and even extinct.

The feeling you get looking at this list is that there is a lot about Northwest wines that you don't know, but it's okay because this restaurant really knows these wines and the winemakers. You get a sense from the Herbfarm's wine list that it cares tremendously about the wines from its region, not just because the restaurant is located there, but because its philosophy of food and wine is simply that local wines are the best compliment to cuisine prepared with fresh local ingredients.

It's refreshing to see such a philosophy executed without compromise in such a stylish, intelligent, and comprehensive way through a wine list. Even if you go into the Herbfarm questioning or disagreeing with the local-food-with-local-wine thesis at the core of this restaurant, it's likely that you will come out, at a bare minimum, with a great meal and lot of respect for the conviction with which they pursue this tenet. More likely you will become an instant convert. And if you don't, it also offers a fantastic selection of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Italian, Australian, Spanish and California Cabernet-based wines. You are bound to find something you like.

The Herbfarm offers an incredible wine list, one of the best we've ever seen. Even the most seasoned wine expert would find new information and obscure wines that they have never tried. And for the neophyte, it's like the map of a wine amusement park--everything looks incredibly fun and inviting. The lesson here is that doing you homework, following your culinary convictions, and being creative, detailed, and informative with your list will captivate and inspire you customer to have some great and unique (maybe even local) bottles of wine with their meal. We wondered, however, if the wine list was so captivating that people would spend the whole evening just reading it! But, a quick look at the Herbfarm's wine sales figures of 30% of the bottom line assured us that a lot of wine was being discovered and sold.

In Their Own Words:
Ron Zimmerman, The Herbfarm

We believe that no dish can be better than its ingredients, and that the best ingredients are usually local. Freshness is ephemeral and geography expresses itself in the taste of the food sometimes subtly and sometimes profoundly.

The foods and wines of our region share a similar motherhood of soil and weather, making for happier culinary marriages than those from dissimilar climates.

The Herbfarm believes that chefs who cook with local ingredients, season by season, year after year, develop a more complete understanding of their foods than chefs who do not. This understanding can give rise to greater expressions of the food, its preparation, and enjoyment. The Herbfarm believes that supporting local farmers, foragers, cheesemakers, wineries, and fishermen helps preserve and promote the foundation of regional cuisines.

Because The Herbfarm showcases the foods of the Northwest, we believe that the wines of this region are typically the best accompaniments to the flavors of the foods on our menus. Therefore, we do our best to secure the finest and most interesting wines from the 700 wineries within a day's drive. We define our region as from the Russian River in California to British Columbia to the north, and from Puget Sound and the Willamette Valley in the west to the high vineyards of Idaho to the east. Our cellar of more than 19,000 bottles encompasses what is most likely America's largest selection of Northwest wines, as well as many rare and hard-to-find bottles from throughout the world."