From atop an Italian hillside down to the Adriatic Sea grows a grape called Pecorino. Can you visualize rows of vineyards dancing in the sun among a backdrop of craggy mountains? A little daydreaming is sure to do us good right now. So, let’s talk about Pecorino wine.
First, let’s be clear. Yes, I’m talking about Pecorino wine, not Pecorino cheese. Not that there’s anything wrong with the robust Italian cheese! It’s flavorful, salty, and part of my adulthood rather than childhood. Thus, Pecorino cheese does share some similarities to the Pecorino grape variety. The wine, however, is a little less prevalent here in the United States. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Pecorino Wine”
My secret sauce for pairing wine with food is, well, sauce! It’s a particularly handy approach to bring red wine together with dishes that are meatless. Plus, sauce has the ability to nurture us in times of trouble. Whether it’s the creamy comfort of a melty cheese base reassuringly enveloping tubes of macaroni, or a vibrant red concoction clinging to long strands of spaghetti, sauce gives us sustenance when we are hungry for better times. Let’s talk about one of the less common sauces – puttanesca – and pairing it with red wine.
Of Italian origin, puttanesca sauce is composed of capers, olives, anchovies, crushed red peppers, garlic, and tomatoes. All those briny, spicy, umami flavors are a wake-up call for the taste buds. While devouring the following preparation, the mouth fills with sensations of mild chili heat countered by the cool creaminess of the cheese.
Serving Puttanesca Sauce
Traditionally, puttanesca sauce is served over spaghetti. Recently, however, it was served to us at Seattle restaurant, Tilikum Place Cafe, as a starter course. The shallow bowl delivered to our table had a base layer of slightly warmed up puttanesca. Then, in the center of the bowl was a glistening white orb of burrata cheese. The captivating thing about burrata is how it looks like ordinary mozzarella yet exudes a creamy white filling when cut open. It’s a gratifying effect similar to tucking into a perfectly cooked poached egg and watching the yolk ooze out. The crusty grilled bread served alongside provided an excellent carrier for the sauce and burrata combination, each bite delivering a celebration of textures and flavors. Continue reading “Easy Pairing: Puttanesca Sauce and Red Wine”
This week I’ve been getting all kinds of messages related to the current COVID-19 situation. Some ask my thoughts on wine events being held in spite of the panic-inducing situation. Others request help in rallying support for our local wineries. Then the colossal bomb dropped yesterday. Taste Washington, Seattle’s biggest wine and food festival due to take place March 19-22, 2020 in Seattle, has been canceled. WHOA! Don’t panic, there are still ways to celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month.
Over the years, my personal preference has been to attend the Taste Washington seminars. While it is unfortunate that the event has been canceled for 2020, the consensus on social media leans toward the “better safe than sorry” anthem. The hedonistic wine and food festival is intended to be hosted again in 2021.
Support Washington Wine
Although Taste Washington is not taking place in 2020, there are still other opportunities to experience Washington wine and support the community. This is particularly critical at a time like this. Given that many Washington wineries are small, locally owned operations they can suffer greatly when there is a dip in customer activity. After all, they just barely got over dry January (don’t even get me started about that). So, please do whatever you can within your comfort zone to show these businesses some support during this challenging time. If you were going to Taste Washington, take that money you planned to spend anyway on some Washington wine or an alternative event. While I am not a health professional, I can say from experience that conscientious winemakers keep a very clean environment.
While doing some online checking it’s apparent that the status of some events on websites such as LocalWineEvents.com haven’t yet been updated. This is no fault of these sites; however, it serves as a reminder to check directly with organizers regarding the status of any event. Luckily, sources have confirmed some events going ahead as of this writing.
The quality level of wineries pouring at this showcase for Cabernet Sauvignon is staggering! Among the featured wineries are Den Hoed, Figgins Family Estate, Passing Time Winery, and Sheridan Vineyard. These purveyors of high quality juice don’t have tasting rooms regularly open to the public, so this is a rare chance to have such an upscale lineup of wine to taste!
Avennia Spring Release
While writing this, VinoSocial client Avennia cancelled their release party at the winery this Saturday, March 7. Nevertheless, the latest vintages of the highly acclaimed Sestina and Valery wines are still being released. Member allocations are available for pickup at the winery. Additionally, the tasting room in Woodinville’s “Gateway District” will be open regular hours this weekend. Their welcoming staff will be happy to assist, and pour, the latest wines for members and non-members alike. This is the place for those who appreciate world class wine.
Avennia Tasting Room 19255 Woodinville Snohomish Rd #1, Woodinville, WA 98072 Open daily 11:00am-5:00pm, Fridays until 7:00pm
Thursday March 19, 2020 7:00pm $150 per person + tax and gratuity Call 425-424-2999 for reservations Having worked with talented winemaker, Peter Devison, I am full of anticipation over the new releases he and his wife Kelsey are launching under their Devison Vintners brand! Taste them for yourself paired perfectly with a delectable five course dinner created by Chef Bobby Moore. This has got to be the most indulgent way to celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month!
Celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month at Home
If you don’t feel like braving the crowds, follow my suggestion on Instagram to help raise awareness of this great region and its award winning wines: simply uncork a bottle of wine from Washington State sometime this month, and post about it using the #WaWineMonth hashtag!! With over 1,000 wineries there are a lot of first-rate selections from which to choose.
Meanwhile, the majority of the population is raiding the supply of toilet paper and I’m at local wine shop Esquin thinking what we really need to buy is more wine (p.s. they’re offering 10% off Washington Syrah in-store on Saturday, March 7, 2020). Make good choices, my friends, and be careful out there!
This week the annual Walla Walla Wine in Seattle event took place on Monday. Following a record number of days in which Seattleites endured non-stop rain, the clouds parted enabling the sun to dance off the glass in the grand lobby of Seattle’s McCaw Hall. Organized by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, over 40 wineries showed up and poured their latest releases for Seattle. Once again they proved there are exciting Walla Walla wines and wineries for consumers to experience.
Taste Washington, the state’s premier wine and food festival, has grown leaps and bounds over the years. However, one thing remains the same – the Taste Washington Seminars are my favorite part of the 4 day Washington wine extravaganza. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the seated events where I can take my time tasting. Undoubtedly, it has something to do with the quality of both the speakers and the wine poured at each seminar. Not to mention, what I’ve learned at the Taste Washington Seminars has made me appreciate wine more. That in turn has made me a better wine drinker. The seminars can do the same for you!
At a past seminar, Wine Bible author Karen MacNeil waxed poetic about Washington wine, vividly describing each pour as only she can. As the audience sipped on Syrah from cult producer Cayuse she uttered,
“This wine is primal scream. Wonderfully corrupt.”