My husband and I have been members of the Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club for over eleven years. By wine club standards, that’s an extremely long time (18-36 months is typical). Also, Ken Wright Cellars is at least a 4 hour drive from our Seattle home. However, we don’t mind making that drive to Carlton, Oregon. Ken Wright and his team have made it worth our while by rewarding our membership in ways that no other winery has matched. Of course, let’s not forget the superb wine that drew us in from the start; membership keeps our home well supplied with our favorite Oregon Pinot Noir! So, let’s talk about the phenomenal Ken Wright Cellars Wine Club.
May I interest you in Mousseaux Monday? The last few weeks the hubby has selected a bottle of bubbles to accompany our Monday meal. We discovered it helps set a positive tone for the week. So, why not keep popping these sparkling wines for weeknights? Mousseaux (pronounced moo-SUR) means sparkling or frothy. Vins mousseaux is a reference to sparkling wines made in France outside of Champagne. Sure, I’m using the term in a broader context, but it’s meant in good fun.
Birthdays, anniversaries, milestone events and the like are always best commemorated with Champagne, non? Perhaps the marketers have done too much to persuade us that is the case. After all, it seems that the drinking public is convinced that bubbly is ONLY for milestone events.
Or maybe the notion of reserving Champagne consumption for special occasions is because it’s perceived to be expensive. You don’t have to be among the rich and famous to enjoy sparkling wine on a Monday, however. There are a number of fizzy wines priced for weeknight quaffing. In fact, some are even made in the same traditional method as Champagne. Plus, sparkling wine pairs with pretty much anything. Read on for some fun suggestions. Continue reading “Sparkling Wines Essential for Weeknights”
Although winery tasting rooms have started to open again, the coronavirus has not backed down. As a result, closures are imminent at the end of July for those that do not have outdoor seating. So, for us, that means replenishing our wine supplies to enjoy with a pantry dinner on the patio. Our latest guilty pleasure is pairing nachos with sparkling wine for dinner.
How do you feel about nachos for dinner? I say nachos are the new pasta – the covid comfort food of the season if you will. Although to make myself feel less guilty about serving them I said, “Honey, I made sheet pan tacos for dinner!” Then I opened some bubbles. Because it was Monday.
Sure, beer aka cerveza is a classic pairing with Mexican inspired food. Why? It has bubbles. In other words, it’s a refreshing counterpoint to the spice in the food. Just like sparkling wine!
Wine Pairing for Nachos
It wouldn’t be summer without a dinner featuring heirloom tomato salad on a bed of creamy yogurt. Of course, it is best served while dining outside along with a bottle of wine! Read more for this quick and easy recipe and wine pairing.
The cookbook, Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi as well as his many books that followed have provided much inspiration in my kitchen. Often, yogurt plays a role in the recipes. Here that ingredient shows up as a creamy, flavorful bed upon which the season’s tomatoes rest.
Tomato Salad on a Bed of Creamy Yogurt
Start with the yogurt mixture and combine:
- 1 cup plain yogurt – I favor whole milk cream top style
- 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1-2 tomatoes, sliced or quartered
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- A pinch of salt
Spread the yogurt mixture on a plate or shallow bowl. Top with the tomatoes and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Served with bread alongside, it feeds two of us as a light meal. Or, it can make a satisfying lunch for one.
If, like me, you’re still trying to minimize trips to the grocery store and rely on what’s in the pantry, feel free to make substitutions. Use whatever yogurt you stock in the fridge. No mint or dill? That’s okay, parsley works fine, too. Or add some ground cumin. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, use lemon juice. Want a more substantial salad? Add chickpeas and diced cucumber. You get the idea!
There are a number of wine options that pair well with such patio fare. Generally, I turn to juicy white wines that have a savory characteristic to complement this dish. For that reason, Grenache Blanc and Grüner Veltliner are at the top of my list. Additionally, Picpoul is a lip smacking favorite. Or, if you want to stick with something a little more classic, seek out Sauvignon Blanc.
Below are some of my favorite Washington State producers of these exciting varieties. All of them are small, boutique operations where family plays a role. Plus, they’re making fantastic, lively, food friendly wines. Shipping specials are also regularly offered these days (ground shipping was included with my recent order from Cairdeas AND the wine arrived the next day), so check out what’s available!
Are you hungry for more salad and wine pairings? Try my Lentil Salad Recipe.
Although it is my regular practice to spread the word about notable wines and wineries, I don’t normally write about clients. However, these are far from normal times. Not to mention, I have been a fan of Avennia since the release of their inaugural vintage in 2012. Working with them for nearly two years in order to help wine lovers connect with the brand has just been icing on the cake. I consider myself extremely fortunate to assist such a celebrated winery and a team of generous and talented people. Through our partnership it’s become clear that there’s a lot to admire about the winery in addition to first-rate winemaking. Here’s an insider’s update on what’s happening at leading Washington winery Avennia lately, along with an exploration of some of their wines I’ve recently opened and the foods paired with them.
Founded by Marty Taucher and Chris Peterson, Avennia is based in Woodinville, Washington about 20 miles outside of Seattle. The two met while working harvest at DeLille Cellars in 2009. When Chris reviewed Marty’s business plan for a winery, an innocent inquiry as to who was going to make the wine led to a partnership. By the 2010 harvest, the two were working Avennia’s first crush. Since then, Avennia has amassed top accolades and earned some of the highest scores in Washington State for their world class wines. Marty manages the business side of the winery while Chris oversees the cellar.
At the first signs of the pandemic, my company was impacted significantly. As business plummeted, so did my spirit. I remember speaking with Marty on the phone right when everything started going in a tailspin. Thankfully, the first thing he did was offer reassurance, “Don’t worry, Nancy, we’ll get through this.”
It turns out that Marty had read an article of mine that highlights five lessons on marketing during these challenging times. Like so many other businesses, Avennia was planning a quick pivot. In order to stay engaged with customers, social media would play a key role much to my relief! Additionally, employees would be kept busy with curbside pickup and wine delivery to customers’ homes. Remarkably, the winery also stepped up to help out the distressed hospitality industry. Continue reading “What Makes Avennia a Leading Winery in Washington”