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Six Ways to Celebrate Taste Washington Wine Month

Washington State Wine is flying the #WAwine flag this March for Taste Washington Wine Month. What better excuse to proudly taste Washington Wine? More than 500 wineries, restaurants, hotels and retailers are jumping on board with special events and promotions all month long. Here is my short list of curated events to help lay the groundwork for a month of revelry.

Women + Wine Event at the Riveter Capitol Hill

Thursday, March 14
6-8:30 pm
Some of the state’s top women in wine are showcasing their wines and businesses at this event. With stellar wineries such as Callan Cellars and Brook & Bull being represented, I for one am looking forward to this inspiring networking event produced by Belle & Bottle!

Damsel Cellars Mystery Case Offer

You likely know I’m a big supporter of Winemaker, Mari Womack if you follow my Instagram feed. I am also a fan of her marketing savvy, offering a mystery case of wine as a Washington Wine Month promotion. For $250 (minimum 25% savings guaranteed), each box features at least 2 special Library wines, plus a mix of current wines and wine club offerings. How fun is that?

Taste Washington New Vintage

Friday, March 29
7-10pm
According to the web site, “The New Vintage is an unforgettable experience that delivers stories in the form of food and wine.” Formerly targeting the next generation of wine drinkers, this event appears to have grown up a bit. Seattle star chefs Edouardo Jordan (JuneBaby), Ethan Stowell (Ethan Stowell Restaurants) and Rachel Yang (Joule) will be offering up bites to eat. Not only that, they have invited chef friends from around the country to join them. One of those chefs is Vivian Howard of the PBS show, A Chef’s Life. The series was a lesson in Southern ingredients and elevated cooking that had me glued to each episode. Apologies in advance if I have a fan girl moment over her!

Taste Washington Seminars

Saturday, March 30 & Sunday, March 31
10:30am – 12:00pm

Wine Glasses

One of my favorite wine geek events of Taste Washington has always been the seminars. This year’s topics include “Through the Grapevine: Lessons Learned from A Lifetime in Washington Wine” moderated by beloved Washington Wine Guru and Master of Wine, Bob Betz. Panelists include Ted Baseler formerly of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Gary Figgins of Leonetti Cellar, Rick Small of Woodward Canyon, and Betsey Wittick, Bainbridge Vineyards.

Taste Washington Grand Tasting

Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31
1:30pm-6pm VIP | 2:30pm-6pm General Admission

Over 235 Wineries Pour at the Taste Washington Grand Tasting

Of course, if you love Washington Wine and want to experience as much as you can the Grand Tasting is not to be missed! Pro tip: sip and spit.

Avennia Wine Dinner at Cortina

Sunday, March 24
6-9pm

Dinner Menu Wine Glass

We kicked off Washington Wine Month at a fantastic winemaker dinner at mkt., an Ethan Stowell Restaurant. Chef Jessica Rudell elevated both the wine and the food with dishes such as Eggplant Ravioli paired perfectly with the Avennia Gravura Bordeaux Style Blend. If you missed out be sure to make reservations for the wine dinner at Cortina, one of newest additions to Ethan Stowell Restaurants.

Alternatively, if you want to celebrate Washington Wine at home, pick up some selections from your local winery or wine shop. Try my picks for some Walla Walla wines to get to know!

If you’re in Seattle and want to do more exploring, head to my six stops for wine lovers.

Whatever you do, be sure to share your favorite experiences on social media using the hashtag guide to Washington Wine Month. Let’s talk about #WAwine!

Six Stops for Wine Lovers in Seattle

When wine and food loving friends come to Seattle for a visit, I want to send them to my favorite places. For that reason, I’ve compiled a short list of recommendations for wining, dining, and a bit of exploring around town.

Get Fired Up Before Wine Tasting

Tilikum Place Café

Open Daily

breakfast pancake
Delectable Dutch Baby at Tilikum Place Cafe

This cozy restaurant is known far and wide for its brunch specialty, the Dutch Baby. Made to order in either a savory or sweet version, it is presented in a darling single serve portion cast iron pan. Or come here for a delectable dinner prepared with seasonal ingredients. In either case, make reservations at this popular destination in advance or risk being turned away at the door.

Glass sculpture at Chihuly Garden and Glass

If it’s still too early for an adult beverage after fueling up, head to nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Center. Awaken your senses walking among towering sculptures crafted by famed glass blower, Dale Chihuly. The vividly colored floral garden is in bloom year round.

Wine Tasting in Seattle

The greater Seattle area offers more than 170 nearby tasting rooms. That includes Woodinville Wine Country,  about 40 minutes from Seattle. In the city itself, there is a burgeoning urban wine scene that is not to be missed!

SODO Urban Works

3901 First Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98134
Hours for businesses in this enclave vary by day and season.
Just a few miles south of downtown Seattle, go to experience top wines from some of Washington State’s acclaimed producers in an industrial setting.

Check hours in advance. As of this writing nine businesses offer wine tasting. There is also a brewery and a pizzeria.

Popular Walla Walla based wineries such as Rôtie Cellars have set up shop in this cluster of tasting rooms. In fact, Kerloo Cellars now calls this location home. Even Woodinville based Patterson Cellars has an outpost here with chocolate and wine pairings on offer.

wine bottles
Nine Hats Tasting Room

Start at Nine Hats for satisfying value wines in a playful setting (seriously, the place is decorated with vintage toys!). This brand is the entry level offshoot of ultra- premium Long Shadows Vintners. Afterwards, head to their neighboring pizza joint, Nine Pies for a bite to eat.

Estates Wine Room

307 Occidental Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104
Open Daily, 12pm – 6pm
Go to experience your choice of tasting menu highlighting three different Pacific Northwest wineries.

Wine lovers seeking a moment of luxury in Seattle must visit The Estates Wine Room in historic Pioneer Square. With three wineries represented in one tasting room, there is something for everyone. Walla Walla based Seven Hills Winery, Horse Heaven Hills based Double Canyon, and Willamette Valley based Archery Summit offer a range from bold and classic Bordeaux varieties, to polished Pinot Noir. Gourmet nibbles are typically available as an add-on. They use appropriate glassware, too!

Wine Tasting Bar

Wine with Dinner

Le Caviste

4pm-midnight M-S
Go to truly feel like you’re on vacation and enjoy wine by the glass or bottle, and have a bite to eat.

Bordeaux Wine
Case boxes create nooks of privacy at Le Caviste

This intimate space with its cane bistro chairs and chalk board menus conveys the ambience of a neighborhood French bistro. With the majority of wines available by the glass, I usually begin with Crémant, and then move onto Chablis or Cru Beaujolais. For dinner order the always perfectly cooked Poisson en Papillote (fish baked in parchment on a bed of thinly sliced potatoes), and a selection of French cheese. Alternatively, indulge in one of their signature charcuterie plates.

Washington Wine Month

March is the perfect month for wine lovers to visit Seattle! After all, it’s Taste Washington Wine Month with a variety of promotions, including winemaker dinners, discounts at local wineries and restaurants, special tasting events and more. It all leads up to Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single-region wine and food festival, March 28-31 in Seattle. The 22nd annual Taste Washington features more than 235 wineries, 65 restaurants, and some of the nation’s most-talented chefs at a series of events throughout the weekend.

Over 235 Wineries Pour at the Taste Washington Grand Tasting

Be sure to check my Hashtag Guide to Washington Wine Month to join the conversation, and share your favorite experiences and wine!

Walla Walla Wines to Get to Know

Every year, the Walla Walla Wine event comes to Seattle. Think of it as a wine road show, where 50 wineries from the acclaimed region show up and pour their latest vintages. In fact, it’s kind of a big deal considering it’s about a 5 hour drive from Walla Walla to Seattle. Not to mention, there are a lot of exciting wines coming out of the region. Here are just a few highlights of this year’s tasting at McCaw Hall, as time is limited at these events.

Wine Tasting

Participating wineries include esteemed pioneers Woodward Canyon and L’Ecole Winery. Wines from these producers are consistently top quality. For this reason, I always want to taste their current releases. Then, there’s my obsession with ALL the wines from The Walls. However, with so many options on hand, I make it a point at this event to explore uncharted territory.

Red Wine Bottle

Consequently, wines such as the Figgins Estate Red are a priority. With limited production, this Washington wine is available first and foremost to those on their mailing list. So, do you blame me for wanting a taste? The 2015 bottling is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot built to go the distance. Plus, the 2015 vintage was a warm year. Take all that into account, and it’s no surprise that this wine currently has some grip. Beyond the tannic structure, cherry flavors linger on a velvety, long finish. Think of this as the Dwayne Johnson of wine with a range starting as big and muscular going to polished and smooth. Just give it some time to see how it evolves. Like Dwayne, it’s likely to make you weak in the knees!

New(ish) and Exciting

New-to-me Elephant Seven has been creating some buzz on social media, compelling me to have a sip. I sample the 2017 Cosmic Reflection, a dynamic blend of 61% XL Vineyard Mourvèdre, 39% Yellow Bird Vineyard Syrah aged in neutral oak. I pick up some spicy pepper notes and lively acidity. A visit to their newly opened tasting room in downtown Walla Walla is now on my list for our next visit to the region.

Chardonnay Wine Bottles

Of course, no Walla Walla tasting is complete without a sip (or two) of Lagana Cellars. I can always count on them to offer a refreshing palate cleanser such as their Breezy Slope Pinot Noir Rosé. The Eritage Vineyard Chardonnay, is not to be missed either. Modeled after Chablis, this sleek wine only sees stainless steel. I also have to give a shout out for the fact that these guys are rocking it on social media, so give them a follow!

Carménère

Curious about Washington Carménère, I taste all I can find. My discovery of the day is that the Walla Walla grown Carménère crafted by Balboa Winery and Watermill Winery expresses spicy white pepper notes of rotundone. These wines conjure up images of warm, exotic destinations with bold, flavorful cuisines. By contrast, the bottling by Tertulia Cellars crafted with Carménère sourced from Phinny Hill in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA expresses the classic bell pepper pyrazine notes that the grape is known for. What a difference the source makes. So, pick your bottle based on your personal preference to spice things up or veg out!

The wines of Walla Walla are not to be missed. If you didn’t taste them in Seattle, there are plenty of other opportunities coming up. Make a point to get to know them!

Walla Walla Wine Events

March 11, 2019: Walla Walla Wines @ Portland
April 14-15, 2019: Reveal Walla Walla Valley
May 3-5, 2019: Spring Release Weekend
May 7, 2019: Annual Membership Meeting
June 13-15, 2019: Celebrate Walla Walla Valley Wine – The World of Cabernet Sauvignon
Nov. 1-3, 2019: Fall Release Weekend
Dec. 6-8, 2019: Holiday Barrel Tasting Weekend

Pairing Tempranillo with Vegetarian Food

What do you do when you want to uncork a red wine with dinner, but red meat isn’t on the menu? The trick is to find a dish with the right bridge ingredients – those that connect the wine with the food. To do this, I recently turned to a recipe from the cookbook, Plenty, by Ottolenghi.

The response to my Instagram post of the pairing surprised me. People near and far chimed in about their appreciation for the cookbook, revealing how extensive a chef’s reach can be. Additionally, wine lovers revealed a thirst for Tempranillo. It served as a wonderful reminder that wine and food bring us closer together.

Instagram Post Food and Wine

A Dish for Tempranillo

I began with the wine, because a friend was joining us for dinner. We had all visited The Walls tasting room together when we traveled to the Celebrate Walla Walla event. The wines we tasted, crafted by talented winemaker Ali Mayfield, were stunning. It was time to uncork one of the wines purchased that day to relive that OMG memory.

Tempranillo has a depth and intensity that pairs well with meat. However, I did not plan to serve meat on this occasion. The vegetarian dish I usually turn to for Tempranillo is Tabbouleh Salad. This time, I wanted something a little more robust. Paging through Plenty, Ottolenghi’s recipe for Farro and Roasted Red Pepper Salad caught my eye. It combines the earthiness of farro, the savoriness of black olives, and the smokiness of paprika to pair like a dream with Tempranillo.

If you like Tempranillo, I urge you to give this pairing a try!

Resources

Learn more about Tempranillo and food pairing.

If you are in Seattle and want to explore wines from The Walls, Walla Walla Wines visit Seattle once a year.

Cabernet Classic Grand Tasting Returns

If you love Cabernet, be sure to get tickets to this year’s Cabernet Classic! After all, tasting through some of the best Cabernets Washington has to offer makes for an exciting evening. Over 30 of the state’s premier wineries will be pouring. Truly, this is one of the events I had the most fun at last year.

Start the evening off at this swanky event by pulling up to Bellevue’s Porsche dealership and being greeted by Butler Valet Service. Walk the red carpet full of anticipation as over 50 impressive Cabernets – Sauvignon, Franc, and blends – await among the racy cars in the show room. Then in between sips, savor bites from The Central and Pearl Bellevue.

Washington State red wine

The Côte Bonneville Bordeaux style blends crafted by star winemaker Kerry Shiels are a regular highlight of this upscale tasting. The estate wines from this boutique family winery showcase how well Washington wine can age.

Cabernet Sauvignon Wine

J. Bookwalter also returns to the Cabernet Classic this year. This Richland based winery landed on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2018, so don’t miss a chance to give their wines a try!

9th Annual Cabernet Classic Event Information

Saturday, March 2nd
6:00-9:00pm
Porsche Bellevue
Advance tickets: $75 / $100 VIP

Pro Tip: VIP Reception is 1 hour early entry to avoid the lines along with a private magnum tasting and premier swag bags.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Get your tickets to the king of wine events today.