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Cheers To You

An exploration of all things wine with local wine expert Mary Earl.
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Posts Tagged ‘Maryhill Winery’

Tonight’s dinner: Grilled pizza and Washington Barbera

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

We love summer, not just because we love the sun but also because the dry weather and lingering daylight gives us an excuse to use the grill — not that we technically need an excuse.

Ann Vogel’s pizza on the barbecue is a great idea — you get to have a family favorite (or at least a favorite for our families) but your house, already hot from the day’s sun, doesn’t turn into a sauna because of the oven. And you have minimal clean up.

Plus, there’s just something about the flavor that the grill imparts on food that gives it a little something extra.

So what wine do you want to drink with your grilled pizza? Think about the toppings you plan to use. Are you thinking pepperoni, sausage, fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes? And then there’s the smoky flavor from the grill to consider.

If we made this pizza, we’d choose a Barbera to wash it down. There is not a huge selection to choose from of this Italian grape in our county, but we know you can find it because we recently participated in an informal blind tasting of seven Barbera wines.
Each attendee to the tasting was responsible for bringing a Barbera.

Brynn brought a 2008 Barbera Classic from Maryhill Winery and a Barbera d’Asti. We wanted to taste the Maryhill because we wanted to see how a Barbera made in Washington stood up to the Italian competition.

After pairing it with pepper-crusted dry salami and a fresh tomatoes and basil penne pasta, we knew this is the wine we’d choose for grilled pizza.

It was interesting to hear people’s opinions about this wine while tasting it without knowing where it was from. At least one person noted Asian spices and was relatively confident the wine was from Italy, but made in a “New World” style. Meaning the wine was fruit-forward and potentially had some winemaker manipulation at play to produce its fruity character.

It became one of Brynn’s favorites of the day because of its hints of vanilla on the finish and raspberry notes through the middle. It also had a slight smokiness, which would pair well with the grill flavors.

This might be hard to find in Kitsap, but if you’re interested the Port Orchard Fred Meyer has a few bottles. Wine steward Diana Walker said the wine was ordered by accident, so act quick and pick up a bottle. It is also available from the winery. It retails at just under $18.

Or you could pick up a few bottles with a visit to the winery  in Goldendale. With a natural amphitheater on its property and spectacular views of the Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood, a trip to the winery would make a fun weekend getaway. The winery has a summer concert series. Upcoming shows include Daryl Hall and John Oates Aug. 17 and Willie Nelson Aug. 24. Visit Maryhill’s website for more information.


Easter wine pairings

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Mary writes:

Whether it’s ham, lamb or spam, we’ve got you covered. (OK so it rhymed and was kinda catchy, but we’ll take a rain check on the spam.)

Many families start Easter Sunday with the traditional Easter egg hunt — complete with the kids  running around eating candy out of someone else’s basket. When it’s time to convert those hard boiled eggs into deviled eggs, it’s Mimosa time.

Mix Domaine St. Michelle Brut with a dollop of fresh orange juice for a wonderful adult treat.

At the Easter feast, the best ham and wine experience is usually a pairing with Riesling. Since brined, smoked ham is usually glazed with something sweet like honey or brown sugar to balance saltiness of meat, a wine with sweet fruitiness balances the salty, spicy and sweet flavors of the ham.

At the recent Taste Washington tasting event (held last weekend in Seattle), one of the best Washington Rieslings we tasted that would fit this profile was the Silver Lake Roza Reilsing, from the Roza Berge Vineyard located in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA.

Founded in 1987, Silver Lake Winery is one of Washington’s pioneer wineries. Their Riesling has earned many awards over the years. The pear and lime flavors of this medium-bodied sweetie with bright acidity and a long finish would pair very nicely.

However, if you’re pining for red, try the Maryhill Zinfandel. There are not many Zins in Washington but this winery along the Columbia River has one of the best. This wine pairs with anything off the grill. This wine has the sweet fruitiness to balance the sweet sauce and the salty ham.

If you’re preference is a nice rack of lamb, rubbed with olive oil, garlic and rosemary grilled to perfection, you need a red with a modicum of tannin,  good structure, solid fruit notes and, of course, a fine finish. The best, the only, pair would be Syrah.

After attending a couple of seminars at Taste Washington where we learned at little bit more Syrah in Washington, we can assure you that one from a warmer vineyard will have the fruit and the structure to create synergy with lamb.

Try Walla Walla winery, Syzygy. (Pronounced “szz-eh-jee”); it means the alignment of three celestial bodies which usually occur during a solar eclipse. Owner and Winemaker Zach Brettler’s current release is a 2008 Walla Walla Syrah. It’s a rich, sleek, smooth quaff with a ton of black fruit flavors and hints of green olive and smoke. Because it has some age, it’s drinking very nicely right now. It also has garnered quite a few medals.

Cheers and have a happy Easter!


What we’re drinking: Maryhill Red

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Mary writes:

Looking for an affordable red wine blend from Washington? There’s plenty out there to try, but as we know when you’re standing in the grocery store aisle looking at the vast selection it can be a little overwhelming — especially if you’re looking to try something new.

So let us offer a suggestion for the next time you’re in the store looking for a not too pricey red.

The Maryhill 2010 Columbia Valley Winemaker’s Red is a delicious blend of cab, merlot, syrah and cabernet franc. The ruby red color is saturated, which gives the wine a complexity of flavors.

Aromas of berries, cherries and minerals lead to flavors of dark cherries, blackberries, currants with cocoa powder and a finish that is harmonious and long lasting. This wine is widely available and ranges from $12 to $15.


Washington Sangiovese our choice for balsamic skewers, salmon and strawberries

Friday, April 6th, 2012

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).


Washington white wine blend best for pasta primavera

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

As Ann Vogel points out spring is here — we technically shepherded in the first day of spring Tuesday. While daffodils are starting to bloom, tulips are pushing through the frosty ground and trees are starting to blossom, if you ask us, winter still has its grips on Kitsap.

So it’s with wishful thinking that we write this wine pair, looking forward to what we hope will be a warmer, sunnier spring than what we experienced last year.

This week’s recipe for Pasta Primavera and our wine recommendation are a great combination for spring. The food highlights the best of the season — fresh vegetables prepared in a lighter style — and so we’ve chosen a wine that also fits the light and fresh criteria, while still having enough weight to stand up to the depth of varying flavor.

Similar to our recent recommendation for green beans with lemon zest, we’re recommending a sauvignon blanc-inspired wine for this dish. But instead of pushing a pure sauvignon blanc, this time we think a blend of white varietals best suits this vegetable heavy dish.

It’s because of its inclusion of chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, Semillon and viognier that we recommend Maryhill Winery’s Winemaker White Blend for both of Vogel’s primavera dishes.

This is a great white wine for the spring and summer months because of its versatility. It’s a perfect wine to sip chilled while taking in the sunshine and heat of summer, or in this case to accompany a pasta dish filled with veggies and natural flavors.

The viognier gives this wine a nose of melon and tropical fruit, but the citrus and green flavors of the sauvignon blanc help cut through the cream sauce and enhance the flavors of the asparagus. The weight of the chardonnay and Semillon hold up to the added veggies like yellow squash, which keeps this wine from getting lost with the medley of freshness.

This Washington winery is located in Goldendale, but it sources its grapes from some of the state’s top vineyards. The wines are affordable, making them even more appealing.

The Maryhill Winemakers White Blend can be found at most grocery stores and runs in the $8 to $12 range.


A versatile wine for the Thanksgiving table

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner is the most problematic meal for a sommelier because no two tables are the same and no two bites are the same.

The best you can hope for is a choice that will “please most of the people most of the time,” as well-known sommelier Joshua Wesson said.
We agree. Wesson, who is a leading authority on the pairing of wine and food, recommends a sparkling Shiraz for the hearty meal.

We on the other hand are more inclined to go with the grape that put California wine into many, many homes across this great nation: Zinfandel.

When looking to find the perfect pair for Thanksgiving dinner, it’s important to choose a Zin that has a lot of fruit. That means choosing a young wine is your best bet.

Usually the more expensive wines spend time in expensive oak barrels. During this aging process, the flavor characters of the oak seep into the wine, which lessons the fruit characteristic.

For this Thanksgiving we highly recommend Maryhill Winery’s Zinfandel. We had a chance to sample this wine at the Kitsap Wine Festival in August.

This Washington wine comes from the Columbia River, an area where a wide array of varietals are grown, including wines that require a lot of heat to do well — Zinfandel, Syrah and Sangiovese.

The Maryhill Zin is deep ruby red in color with big aromas of raspberries and black cherries.  It’s a jammy fruit-forward, medium-bodied wine.

The flavors of cherries, spice, pepper and a hint of mocha will pair well with Ann Vogel’s Brined and Roasted Turkey recipe.

It’s medium body and nice balance of acidity makes it the perfect pair for the traditional Thanksgiving sides of cranberries, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes with turkey gravy.

It can be found at the grocery store for around $22.

Happy Thanksgiving!

— Brynn and Mary


Kitsap Wine Festival in review

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

The weather could not have been better for last weekend’s third annual Kitsap Wine Festival.

Luckily we didn’t listen to our own advice of leaving the sunscreen at home and bringing our umbrellas. Instead we slathered on the 30 SPF and hit the Bremerton waterfront for the three and-a-half hour wine tasting event.

The crowd seemed about the same from the year before, and the food offerings were just as delicious.

And of course the wine was good too.

Like last year we arrived at the gate and quickly made our way to the back of the tasting area, avoiding lines and seeking the cool breezes off the water.

But this strategy to get away from the crowds put a bit of a whammy in our plans to hit the wineries on our “Must Taste List.”

Anam Cara Cellars was the first winery on our list, and the first winery when we walked in. As a result there was a long line and we never made our way back to the front until it was time to leave.

So we started at the Summer Sippers Bar where we tasted Kana Winery’s Katie Mae White — a Riesling — Masset Winery Le Petite Blanc 2010, Vortex Cellars Rattlesnake Hills Rose, Maryhill Winery’s Rose of Sangiovese and an Italian sparkling Riondo Pink NV from the Veneto region.

Although these wines were refreshing, it was difficult to really taste them as they were chilled to the bone. But they were well chosen for the hot afternoon.

Our favorites of the bunch were the Riondo Veneto Pink NV for Brynn and the Maryhill Rose of Sangiovese for Mary. Both are refreshing dry pink wines with body and flavor. Both are made from the Italian red grapes, the first Corvina and the other Sangiovese. The Riondo was especially refreshing for the hot day with its bubbles that provided a nice effervescence.

Other wines we tasted and would recommend are Maryhill’s Zinfandel, Robert Ramsay Cellars’ 2008 Mourvedre and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and Pondera Winery’s Sericus, a 2008 Bordeaux blend that picked up a double gold from the 2011 Seattle Wine Awards.

Oregon was represented by Lange Estate Winery and Vineyard’s Chardonnay and Reserve Pinot, which paired wonderfully with Anthony’s salmon on a bed of roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

Mary thought Dubindil Winery’s 2008 Syrah was really good. This boutique winery out of Snohomish, doesn’t filter their Syrah but it’s still smooth and silky with layers of flavors. Situated in the heart of the Puget Sound AVA, they focus on small batches of handcrafted wines made from grapes in regions around the state.

Kiona Winery and McCrea Cellars were Brynn’s favorite wineries of the day. That’s because she loved almost everything they poured.

Kiona offered a 2010 Chenin Blanc, 2010 Rose of Sangiovese, 2008 Estate Lemberger and 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon.

Her favorites of these were the Lemberger and Cab, although the chilled Chenin Blanc was nice for the hot day.

McCrea poured its 2009 Sirocco Blanc (a white Rhone blend), a 2009 Rousanne, 2008 Grenache and 2006 Syrah.

Once again these whites were Brynn’s favorite, especially the Sirocco Blanc, a blend of 43 percent Grenache Blanc, 41 percent Marsanne, 10 percent Picpoul and 7 percent Rousanne.

Robert Ramsay Cellars was another one of Brynn’s favorites, largely because of its Cab made from old vines and its Mason’s Red — a blend of Syrah and Mourvedre with a co-fermentation of Viongnier, which gave this wine a lovely nose.

All in all we had a wonderful time and are already looking forward to next year’s event.

Cheers!

Brynn and Mary


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