New Walla Walla Winery: Devison Vinters

Some things never change. Spring eventually comes, a rebirth takes place in gardens and vineyards, and the latest rosés are released for consumption. Last year my beverage of choice for sipping on the deck in the days of sunshine and warmth was the beautiful Devison Vintners Rosé. My latest order of the wine from Walla Walla winery Devison Vintners recently arrived on our Seattle doorstep. Clearly, spring is here!

A new vintage of blushing wine is a reminder that there are still exciting things happening. For Peter and Kelsey Devison, it means the launch of their brand, Devison Vintners, along with highly anticipated newly released wines. Coincidentally, the couple also have a baby on the way! So, let’s hold onto a sense of optimism, talk about the winemaking, and dive into a couple of their fantastic new bottles with eager anticipation.

Photo courtesy of Devison Vintners

Winemaking Style

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Pairing Pasta Marinara with Washington Wine

Here we are stuck at home. Well, at least there’s pasta in the pantry. Truly, no pantry should be without dried pasta and jarred sauce at any time. In this case, we’re talking about pretty much any dried noodle with a tomato based sauce, such as marinara. This pantry meal is a weeknight miracle enabling dinner to get on the table in a minimal amount of time. Now, let’s take it to the next level and talk about pairing pasta marinara with wine.

Wine Pairing Guidelines

When you hear wine pros talk about selecting a pairing for tomato sauce they talk about acidity. The rule in wine pairing is that the wine acidity level should be equal to or slightly greater than the level of the food’s acidity level. Since tomatoes are an acidic food, it follows that the wine to complement tomato sauce needs to meet or slightly exceed the sauce’s acidity. Blah, blah, blah, right? Who typically knows what that heck that means? Honestly, it wasn’t until I started seriously studying wine that I even contemplated acid in wine. So, here’s one way to simplify it. Think about how a squeeze of citrus can wake up a dressing or fried fish. Ta daaaaa! It’s because that squeeze of lemon or lime adds acid.

How do you know if a wine has bright acid? Basically, if the wine makes your mouth water after you swallow a sip then bingo, you have a winner! Several go-to red wine varieties with this characteristic are Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Barbera.

Pairing Pasta Marinara with Washington Wines

Pro tip:  when heating up the sauce, add a splash of wine. A splash for the cook might be just the right thing, too!

Washington State wines offer a New World interpretation of Old World varieties. The following are a few Washington wines I’ve had the pleasure of tasting recently and recommend.

As I write this, Washington State is under a stay-home order due to the recent pandemic.  Local wineries have been hit hard as a result. Forced tasting room and restaurant closures combined with canceled release parties have resulted in decreased sales for many. Thankfully, a number of wineries have quickly pivoted and offer online and/or phone orders with options such as no-contact curbside pickup and even delivery. Some have shipping specials as well. If you are a wine lover and able to spend money to enjoy some wine at home, purchasing direct from wineries can help keep these businesses going. Just be sure to check each winery’s website or Facebook page for current updates. Don’t let these challenging times prevent you from getting your hands on some delectable juice and supporting the wine industry!

Foundry Vineyards 2016 Sangiovese

$32 / bottle
This wine is 100% Sangiovese from the acclaimed Seven Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley. Aged 24 months in 50% new French Oak barrels, I noted flavors of root beer candy, anise, Italian plum, and raspberry. It’s been dubbed the “yeah, sure” wine by tasting room staff because it’s what they say whenever asked if they want to open a bottle. In addition to being my recommended pour with pasta marinara, they suggest pairing it with everything from pho to tikka masala. The Foundry Vineyards Sangiovese is a delightfully juicy, lively wine.

Patterson Cellars 2017 Sangiovese

$38 / bottle
This wine is 91% Sangiovese and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet brings some chocolate to the party, making it a deeper, moodier style. In fact, if Cabernet Sauvignon is usually your go-to wine, this could be the gateway to other varieties. The Patterson Cellars Sangiovese is an ideal selection for those who appreciate a full bodied red wine.

Cascade Cliffs 2018 Nebbiolo

$55 / bottle
A lighter option, this Washington State example is crafted with fruit from the winery’s estate as well as McKinley Springs Vineyard. I picked up notes of leather and vibrant strawberry on the palate. This sassy Nebbiolo from Cascade Cliffs is delightfully approachable. I also couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle of their Dolcetto.

If you’re looking for an alternative to pasta marinara, check out my easy pairing for puttanesca sauce and red wine.

Are there other pantry pairings you’ve enjoyed lately? Head on over to Twitter or Instagram, share, and tag me!

Let’s Talk About Pecorino Wine

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”

Exciting Walla Walla Wines

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.

Exciting – and Fizzy – Walla Walla Wine

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Let’s Talk About Maysara Winery and Momtazi Vineyard

Take a drive out to the picturesque McMinnville Foothills in Oregon’s Willamette Valley and explore a winery built on the American dream and Biodynamic soil. Turn into Momtazi Estate, and the road ultimately leads to the impressive Maysara Winery. I had the pleasure of visiting this family owned and operated winery this summer as a guest while attending the 2019 Wine Writers Educational Tours. Our revelatory introduction to the 532 acre estate was led by owner Moe Momtazi.

Maysara Winery cellar door (L) and tasting room entrance (R)

Maysara Winery’s Momtazi Vinyeard

After touring Momtazi Vineyard with Moe, I will never gaze at a grapevine the same way. There is something very spiritual about how he perceives and cares for the vines. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Maysara Winery and Momtazi Vineyard”