The Celebration Season has begun. What bottles will you open? Here are some enologically education events to get you in the swing of things in the next few weeks.
The JW Restaurant in Gig Harbor presents an evening with Dave Huse, owner of Walla Walla’s Five Star Cellars. Dave is a wonderful man with a twinkle in his eye and some great stories. The twinkle is probably because he has some of the best wines in Washington. A while back I won, hands down, the Blind Wine Group Tasting with his 2008 Cab.
It’s Wednesday, November 18th at 6pm, mosey on down to the JW Restaurant in Gig Harbor for a delightful 4 course dinner paired with his wines. Reservation only. For more info, www.jwgigharbor.com
Beaujolais Nouveau release day is always the third Thursday of November, the week before Thanksgiving. It may be coincidence that this wine from the Beaujolais region of France in southern Burgundy is a very good wine for that big family dinner a week later. The Gamay grape is harvested in September (concluding mid September this year) and in bottle just before Thanksgiving. The wine actually originated about a century ago as a cheap and cheerful drink produced by locals to celebrate the end of the harvest season with a new wine or Nouveau. It’s an excellent gauge of the 2015 vintage in Europe. This year’s harvest is reportedly small but intense.
Next up is the BIG FEAST – Thanksgiving. Spending Thanksgiving in wine country is a wonderful way to spend the holiday weekend researching the newer wineries. Yakima Valley, Washington’s oldest AVA, is one of my favorite places to go. Not a ton of people, more face time with the winemakers and plenty of holiday cheer.
Thanksgiving in Yakima Valley Wine Country, from Friday, November 27 to Sunday, the 29th, offers the perfect opportunity to taste wine from dozens of wineries that you’ve only heard about! For instance, have you tasted Antolin Winery, Gilbert Cellars, Kana, Lookout Point, Naches Heights, Owen Roe or Treveri Sparkling Cellars? If not, this could be a perfect opportunity.
Around Zillah try Cultura Winery, Dineen (Chef Chris Guerra of Guerra’s Gourmet will be making fresh tamales and pizza in the wood-fired oven), Knight Hill, Maison de Padgett, Masset Winery, Paradisos del Sol (Albarino), Reflection Vineyards, Severino Cellars, Tanjuli Winery, Two Mountain Winery (port) and Wineglass Cellars.
The Prosser neighborhood has Airfield Estates, Chinook, or Cowan Vineyards. And then the compact Red Mountain neighborhood wineries: Chandler Reach (a fav), Cooper, Hightower, Kiona (a must), Kitzke Cellars, Tapteil Vineyard (VG), Terra Blanca and Tucannon Cellars. Details and directions at https://wineyakimavalley.org/events-item/thanksgiving-in-wine-country-taste-to-fight-hunger/
Our own Kitsap Peninsula Wineries will have an open house that weekend too if you want to take visiting relatives and Mom out for a drive. All the wineries, Amelia Wynn Winery, Bainbridge Vineyards, Eagle Harbor Winery, Eleven Winery, Fletcher Bay Winery, Perennial Vintners and Rolling Bay Winery are open for tours and tasting from 12 to 5pm Thanksgiving weekend. Meet the winemakers, enjoy the lush surroundings and great wines. More info and directions at http://www.bainbridgewineries.com/winerytours/
Mom will absolutely love the newly released Eleven Late Harvest Viognier. One whiff of the heavenly nose and she’ll think she’s gone to heaven. It’s made from grapes dried on the vine for many weeks, resulting in highly concentrated flavors and aromas.
And finally, here are the results of the Beer vs. Wine Tasting. It was a great event for wine lovers and beer lovers too. It definitely opened up some eyes on the what and the why of pairing. We kept adding special beers and wines and dishes to pair with them. Of the nine courses, wine won three and beer won three with one tie, one both and one result tossed out.
The results were tossed out for the salad course because one of the beer bottles was off and the reinforcement was a heavier beer and it was served before the lighter in body wine. In retrospect, it should have been wine first and then the beer. And the record did not specify which beer was the best match.
Other complexities – we started out with 8 people and a few left before dessert. But not all courses add up to 8, anyway as some guests couldn’t do fish or just simply couldn’t make a definitive decision. And a category “both” was added for those open minded diners who thought both were great with the dish. This dinner was designed to be a tasting menu so we could add so many special beers and wines.
Geoduck Ceviche marinated in Lime Juice with Shallots, Jimaca, Cilantro and Avocado.
1 – Wine: Espiral 2014 Vinho Verde
- 4 – Beer: Godamsel Belgian Golden Wild
3 – both
illed Oysters Alki on the Half Shell
5 – Wine: Sauvignon Republic 2013 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
2 – Beer: Homebrewed Smoked Porter/Alaskan Smoked Porter
1 – both
Seared Scallops with Citrus Cream Sauce
3 – Wine: Chateau St Jean 2011 Sonoma Chardonnay
- 5 – Beer: Rodenbach Red
Muscat or Rodenbach Poached Pears with Napa Cabbage, Curried Walnuts and Vanilla Vinaigrette
Beer: North Coast Old Stock 2011/ Tripel Krullekop
Wine: Domaine Laurier Brut
Aged Gouda, English and Vermont Cheddar Cheeses
2 Wine: Chateau Ste Michelle 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon
- 6 – Beer: Pike Old Bawdy 1994
Multiple Mushrooms Risotto with Mushroom Stock, Fresh and Dried, Truffle Oil, Dust, and Truffle Salt
- 5 – Wine: Berberanna 2009 Rioja
1 – Beer: Cuvee Rene
2 – both
Butternut Cream Soup garnished with Crème Fraiche and Pine Nuts
- 5- Wine: Lustau Los Arcos Amontillado Sherry
3 – Beer: Rogue Hazelnut Brown
Ruhlman’s Pastrami Beef Short Ribs with Potato and Parsnip Mash and homemade Dill Pickle
3 – Wine: Maryhill 2009 Zinfandel
3 – Beer: Firestone Walker Anniversary 18
Homemade Smoked Lamb & Elk Sausage with Shredded Golden Beets garnished with Goat Cheese, Pickled Mushrooms, Beets, Onions, and Olive Oil Drizzle
Beer: Liefman’s Goudenband
Wine: O – S Winery 2003 Champoux Cabernet Franc 1.5L
- 4 – both
We were all stuffed so for another day:
Gingerbread Trifle With Stroopwafel Cookie
Wine: Hinzerling Rainy Days Tawny Port
Beer: Southern Tier Crème Brulee