Tag Archives: Barnard Griffin

Washington Sangiovese our choice for balsamic skewers, salmon and strawberries

Washington Wine Month technically ended when the clock struck twelve on March 31, but because there are so many great Washington wines out there we’re sticking with the local theme for this week’s wine pairing.

Normally we would recommend Chianti for this pairing; instead we’re going to recommend a Washington Sangiovese. But don’t let the names confuse you, Chianti is predominately made from the Sangiovese grape which is grown in the Chianti region of Italy. The region is formally recognized by the Denominazione di origine controllata — the second highest level of Italian wine appellations.

The main ingredient in Ann Vogel’s three recipes is balsamic vinegar — also a delectable Tuscan treat — and that is why we’re sticking with this Italian grape variety.

Sangiovese grapes have relatively thin skins, which means the wine features more of the fruit flavors than the tannins. As such Sangiovese is a fruity wine — notes of strawberry, blueberry and plum are noticeable — but its naturally high amounts of acidity lend a nice balance to produce a medium-bodied wine that can range from firm and elegant to somewhat of a powerhouse with a bitter finish, depending on how the wine is made.

The climate in Eastern Washington supports the Sangiovese grape, which means it’s a wine that should be easy to find in the store.

If you’re looking to support local wineries, Bainbridge Island’s Amelia Wynn Winery offers a Sangiovese, sourced from Eastern Washington vineyards. The winery’s 2008 Sangiovese was awarded a gold medal at the 2011 Seattle Wine Awards. Winemaker Paul Bianchi purchases his grapes from Kiona Vineyards in the Red Mountain AVA near Yakima.

Amelia Wynn’s wines can be purchased at the Island Vintners Tasting Room in Winslow, online or at Pane D’Amore in Lynwood Center on the island. Price is $25.

If you can’t make it to Bainbridge to purchase a Sangiovese for these dishes, we have some other suggestions. They include Arbor Crest Wine Cellars’ Sangiovese from Washington’s Wahluke Slope Vineyard ($22); Maryhill Winery’s award winning Sangiovese ($22); or San Juan Vineyards’ Sangiovese ($23).

If you’d like a wine to pair with the strawberry balsamic recipe, consider a rose of Sangiovese — which is exactly what it sounds like, a rose wine made from the Sangiovese grape.

Waterbrook Wines has a rose of Sangiovese with hints of strawberry and watermelon ($12-14) and so does Barnard Griffin ($12).

Rosé, a perfect match to summer grilling

Brynn and Mary write:

Last week’s brief bit of sunshine was a good reminder for all of us that, yes, it is technically spring. And with spring comes one of our favorite ways to prepare food: On the grill.

Not only do we like grilling because of the flavor it adds, but also because when you’re done enjoying your meal there’s minimal clean up required.

As Ann Vogel points out in her column, we in the Pacific Northwest have the luxury of choosing from land or sea what we want to throw on our grill. The variations of these dishes give the appearance of needing different wines, but we think we’ve got one varietal that can match them all.

When we hear shellfish, we gravitate to a lighter wine. However the Memorial Day Shellfish Boil, with its Old Bay seasoning, potatoes, kielbasa sausage, corn, crab and shrimp, calls for a wine that can stand up to the mélange of ingredients.

It is for this reason we recommend a Rosé. Don’t freak out, we’re not asking you to drink a White Zinfandel like your grandma. We’re talking about a real Rosé — one that embodies the subtle flavors of the red wine it could have been.

For those unfamiliar with Rosés (or should we say, unfamiliar with well-made Rosés?) it’s a pink wine that varies in color from light to ruby. The color depends on the grape and how long the juice is allowed to mingle with the skins — the longer they sit together in the fermentation vat, the darker the color.

The wine varies in style from bone dry to syrupy sweet, so look to the alcohol content for direction. (Remember: the higher the percentage, the dryer the wine.)

Rosés are fruitier upfront — think strawberry, cherry, raspberry and watermelon — with negligible tannins. They are food-friendly wines, which is why we suggest them as the perfect pairing for Vogel’s seafood medley. If you’re grilling for a large party and including a mix of seafood, chicken and beef, Rosé is the wine to chill and serve.

A few of our favorites include:

  • Barnard Griffin 2010 Reserve Rosé of Sangiovese: Dry, but with gorgeous watermelon fruit flavors and full-bodied.
  • Folie à Deux Ménage à Trois Rosé: Another dry full-bodied Rosé, fruit-laden with raspberries, strawberries and a silky finish.

These wines are around $12.

Rosé should be served chilled — as in very, very chilled — and makes a nice compromise for those trying to decide between white or red.

If you’re looking to stick strictly in the shellfish department and have visions of enjoying grilled oysters with Vogel’s Cilantro-Lime dipping sauce, we’d recommend a white Rioja or white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. These wines will bring an acidity and crispness to the dish that will go well with the dipping sauce.

We recommend the Marques de Caceres Rioja Blanco, which retails for about $10 or less.