Tag Archives: Bordeaux blend

Taste Washington Bites with Wine Review

tastewaThe 17th annual Taste Washington featured dozens of restaurants. Each of those restaurants came up with a Pacific Northwest inspired bite that had their own signature. It was an inspiring array of dishes that you could put together for your next wine tasting.  From savory desserts (olive oil ice cream) to oysters on the half shell, scallops and salmon, with pork bellies, steak, lamb and cauliflower, beets, sweet potatoes, arugula, Taste Washington left no culinary stone unturned.

This tastings tapas-styled food bite was absolutely necessary when you are walking around with a wine glass, small food tray with the wine glass holder, program, pen, and, in some cases, a spit cup. That’s a lot of stuff to juggle with just two hands.

Following is the short list of the bites that inspired me and a Washington wine that I did or would pair with the little dish.

Andaluca‘s Cauliflower soup with lardons and pickled beets is an inspired dish. For the match, go with a Sauvignon Blanc from Yakima’s Chinook Winery or Novelty Hill’s Stillwater Creek. http://www.andaluca.com/

Anthony’s Pier 66 served up pan seared scallops with bacon jam and bib lettuce on a toasted bruschetta. This is the one for Chinook’s 2012 Chardonnay or Challenger Ridge Winery’s 2011 Columbia Valley dry Riesling. http://www.anthonys.com/

AQUA by El Gaucho was shucking Taylor Shellfish oysters faster than a speeding bullet but still could not keep up with demand. I love oysters with Champagne but my second choice would be a Sauvignon Blanc. Try the White Bordeaux blend from L’Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla 2012 or Cave B 2012 Ancient Lakes White Bordeaux blend. http://www.elgaucho.com/Aqua-by-El-Gaucho.html

Barking Frog’s Sweet potato and lamb chorizo croquette red pepper rouille begs for  a Syrah or a Sirah! One of my favs, Gordon Winery Pixie Syrah or the Laurelhurst Cellars 2009 Horse Heaven Hills El Humidor Petite Sirah. http://www.willowslodge.com/barking_frog/

Boom Noodle restaurant is named after a popular Japanese term, meaning the thing one is currently obsessed with. These guys are obsessed with Japanese cuisine and their Seared Albacore rice noodle salad is delightful. Try this with Facelli’s Columbia Valley 2012 unoaked Chardonnay or the appropriately named COR Cellars 2013 AlbaCOR Columbia George 2013 White. http://www.boomnoodle.com/v2/

Cheeseland Inc. Now we’re talking! Wine and Cheese have a natural affinity to each other. I really loved the Honeybee goat cheese, and Ewephoria sheep milk cheese. Long Shadows Vintners Columbia Valley 2010 Chester Kidder Red Blend or Mark Ryan’s 2011 Red Mountain Dead Horse Cab, despite the name is delicious. http://cheeselandinc.com/

Evolve Chocolate Truffles  This was a lovely treat in two ways, it was a passed hors d’ouvres and it was delicious.  “The Colombian” is a rich chocolate coffee flavored truffle that paired nicely with the Three Rivers 2009 Walla Walla Cab. http://www.evolvetruffles.com/

Far-Eats  Love the Name! This is an Indian restaurant with a wine list with over 50 Washington wines on the list. The bite served was Chana Chaat – Chana is Indian for garbanzo beans. These beans were dressed with green chili, onion and tomatoes and sprinkled with cumin seeds, red chili powder, lime juice and coriander leaves. Easy, nutritious and delicious! The Kana Winery 2011 Horse Heaven Hills Old Vines Lemberger has the depth and fruit and Kyra Wines 2011 Wahluke Slope Dolcetto would be another great match for this dish. http://www.geogychacko.com/far-eats.html

Kalaloch Lodge  Smoked salmon artichoke dip and rosemary crisp, loved the way this was served, the dip was on one part of the cracker, and the empty side hung over the side of an elevated tray. Easy to grab and delicious to snack on. W.T. Vintners 2013 Columbia Gorge Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian grape with the right amount of acidity is just the ticket. Or try Whidbey Island Vineyard and Winery 2013 Yakima Valley Sangiovese Rosato.  http://www.thekalalochlodge.com/

La Panzanella  Founded in 1990, La Panzanella, known for its hearty peasant bread and homey cafe, quickly grew into one of the most popular bakeries in Seattle’s Capital Hill area. They offered their original and rosemary croccantini crackers with a truffle-infused cheese. Ginkgo Forest Winery 2010 Wahluke Slope Barbera, or staying with the Italian grapes, Leone Italian Cellars 2009 Walla Walla Dolcetto or 2009 Wahluke Slope Nebbiolo.  http://lapanzanella.com/

Margaux  This French themed restaurant is in the Warwick Seattle Hotel. Chef Chris Zarkades, attended South Seattle Community College’s nationally renowned and accredited culinary program to learn the craft. His red wine poached figs with Roquefort cheese crostinis demand a Bordeaux styled wine like for a big bodied red with some maturity, Brian Carter Cellars 2008 Le Coursier Columbia Valley Red Bordeaux Blend.  http://www.margauxseattle.com/

Paella Seattle Dished up the classic paella recipes of Valencia, Spain, which means chicken, pork and Bomba rice with green and red peppers, onions, garlic, green beans, sweet peas and artichoke hearts. Gotta go with the Tempranillo grape here. Michael Florentino Cellars, Naches Heights Vineyard, Camaraderie Cellars, Cave B Estate Winery, Fall Line Winery, Kana Winery or Stottle Winery all do a rendition of Rioja, the Spanish classic red with paella.

Palisade Waterfront Restaurant  Assorted cured and smoked tartares – cured salmon with Meyer lemon crème fraiche, caper, dill, and a ‘everything bagel crumble, apple wood smoked scallops with pineapple, Fresno chili and micro cilantro, Hamachi apple with ginger, jalapeño, Ahi tuna sesame with tamarind, soy and green onion, and mesquite grilled avocado smoked chili salt, minis sweet pepper, and cilantro. My favorite wine of the day: Kyra Wines 2013 Columbia Valley Chenin Blanc with any one of these wonderful tastes.   http://www.palisaderestaurant.com/

SkyCity at the Needle   Stinging nettle soup with crispy razor clams was delightful with JM Winery’s 2013 Red Mountain Sauvignon Blanc and another match would be Davenport’s 2012 Columbia Valley White Bordeaux blend. http://www.spaceneedle.com/home/

Tablas Woodstone Taverna is part of a family of Mediterranean restaurants, Is located in Mill Creek. Their gazpacho is best paired with the Cote de Ciel 2012 Red Mountain Viognier. http://www.tablaswt.com/

Trace Seattle Restaurant and Bar offers a dining experience led by Executive Chef Steven Ariel, who sports a menu filled with contemporary, inventive dishes with a 10-seat sushi bar.  Highlighting their inventiveness was the smoked baby octopus veggie was a bit on the spicy side and there for a perfect pair with Hogue’s Columbia Valley 2011 Gewürztraminer. http://www.traceseattle.com/

The Washington State Wine Commission launched Taste Washington in 1998 and is now produced by Visit Seattle. For more information, visit www.tastewashington.org.

What we’re drinking: Two Mountain Hidden Horse Red Blend VIII

Brynn writes:

At the first Taste Washington event we went to a couple years ago, Mary and I stopped at the Two Mountain Winery table.

Mary knew one of the brothers who founded the winery from her days at the wine shop, so we had a great time chatting with him about the winery and upcoming releases.

My editor had also brought the winery to my attention, telling me she really enjoyed the Riesling Two Mountain produces. So when I was at the grocery store the other day and saw a Two Mountain red blend, I decided it was time to give them a try.

hidden horse

The blend is the winery’s Hidden Horse Red Table Wine VIII, which is a Bordeaux blend. The bottle doesn’t give a breakdown of the grapes used, but the finish sang of Cabernet Sauvignon, leaving me to believe that was the dominate grape varietal.

The winery has its previous blend, the Hidden Horse VII, on its site. Here’s what they say about that wine:

A red blend for the ages. This is a great red for almost anytime. Thirty-nine percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 37 percent Merlot, 15 percent Cabernet Franc, 6 percent Syrah, and 3 percent Malbec has created a great combination of elegance, structure, approachability. With wafts of boysenberry, blackberry, and a hint of white pepper then working into a mouth containing dark rich plum, over ripe bramble berries, sweet spice, and rich tobacco leaves. What a gem!

I’m guessing the break down of grape percentages is relatively similar, although maybe no Syrah in the Hidden Horse VIII blend — I didn’t catch any of the jammy notes that could come with Syrah. This was a great every day red wine and paired well with the potato soup I made from a combination of russet and Yukon gold potatoes and roasted cauliflower florets.

The wine retails between $15 and $20. I think we bought it closer to the $15 mark.

A wonderful wine by way of a sound beer

Mary writes:

A friend bumped into a guy the other day who is well known in beer circles. The beer guy was in need of a Sound beer and headed to the brewery in Poulsbo. My friend was also there enjoying a Sound beer and the two beer geeks got to talking about wine.

And that’s how I found out about this lovely Bordeaux blend from Columbia Valley.

It turns out this beer guy is a fan of the Flying Dreams Sidekick 2009 Columbia Valley Red Blend.

Curious about what a fine beer drinker thinks about red wine, I tried one. And I’m real impressed with this blend of Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet. Sidekick is an easy drinking wine with lush fruit flavors and wonderful aromas.

After years of research, I know anything that is made, be it beer, wine or tonight’s dinner, requires quality ingredients to be the cream of the crop. Great wines start in great vineyards.

Flying Dreams Winery sources their grapes from some of the most prestigious vineyards in Washington: Stillwater Creek, Boushey Vineyard and Stone Tree Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, Red Willow, Upland Estates, Sagemoor, Spring Creek, and Red Mountain.

I’m not familiar with winemaker Leroy Radford, however the website says he’s “passionate about winemaking since his first vintage in 2005.” But what really grabbed my attention were the Spanish varietals in their stable — Monastrell and Garnacha — which are the same as saying Mourvedre and Grenache.

Another Spanish grape that Flying Dreams ferments is the classic Tempranillo which Rioja makes famous.

Spanish wines, especially the ones from Rioja, emulate Bordeaux with regard to oak aging and cellaring. There’s a whole book of regulations in Spain about how to do it and what to call it. But that’s a story for another day. Suffice it to say that some Spanish bodegas even use American oak when making wine. Pretty interesting considering how close Spain is to all that wonderful, highly prized and expensive French oak.

Keep your eyes on this one, it’s worth a glass or two.

The 2009 Sidekick Red Blend is 36 percent Cabernet Franc, 30 percent Merlot, 25 percent Malbec, and 9 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and retails for around $25.

Side note: Washington craft breweries, at about 240, are dwarfed by the 740-plus wineries in Washington.

What we’re drinking: Stevens Winery

Brynn writes:

This week’s wine is from a winemaker situated in Woodinville’s warehouse district.

Tim Stevens and his wife Paige run Stevens Winery, which the couple opened in 2002. They started small with 100 cases of cabernet franc and now produce multiple varieties of red and white wines.

On a recent tasting visit to the winery, which is a shared tasting room and production area, we tried five of the wines.

They included the 2010 StevensDivio Viognier, 2009 StevensMerlot, 2008 Stevens424 Red Wine, 2009 StevensTimely Malbec and 2008 StevensXY Reserve Cabernet. We were also lucky enough to barrel taste the sauvignon blanc, which had been harvested at the end of 2011 and was in its final stages in nearby steel tanks.

All of the wines we tasted presented well. My favorite was probably either the 424 Red or the XY Reserve Cab.

What I found interesting about the 424 blend, is that while it’s Tim Stevens’ Bordeaux blend, instead of being dominated by merlot or cabernet sauvignon, the dominant grape variety is cabernet franc.

Considering cab franc is one of my favorite varietals, there’s probably little surprise then that the 424 topped my “Would Drink Again” list.

The cab blends — there’s only 3 percent difference between the cab franc (39 percent) and cab sauvignon (36 percent) — give this wine its earthy notes. The other varietals, including merlot (17 percent), malbec (7 percent) and petit verdot (3 percent), round out the flavor giving the wine complexity and weight.

Stevens sources his grapes for this wine from four vineyards including Dineen, Dubrul, Meek and Sheridan. The wine is aged in 50 percent new French oak and 50 percent once used French oak for 20 months.

As the fan favorite, the winery produces more 424 than anything else, 525 cases worth to be exact.

The XY Reserve Cab is the winery’s “dense and intense” all cab blend, according to the winery.

“Dark fruit from Sheridan Vineyard and earthy finesse from Meek Vineyard were added to round out the body of the wine. The result created a wine that is big, bold, integrated and multi-layered,” according to tasting notes.

Only 290 cases of this wine were produced.

Stevens Winery is located at 18520 142nd Ave NE in Woodinville. It’s in the area’s warehouse district, where many other wineries also operate — which means you can go to multiple wineries in one stop without having to move your car. Genius!