Taste Washington seminars

Don’t Miss Taste Washington March 29 and 30

Taste Washington 2014

Here in Vancouver, BC we typically think about wines from BC, but just a short drive south to Washington state, you can also find wonderful wines.  A great way to get an introduction to Washington State wines is to attend Taste Washington, a yearly event held in Seattle.  The 17th annual Taste Washington event is scheduled for Saturday, March 29 and Sunday, March 30, 2014, at CenturyLink Field Event Center.

Cairdeas Winery Nellie Mae Viognier Roussanne 2011

Cairdeas Winery Nellie Mae Viognier Roussanne 2011

I have been attending Taste Washington for a few years, and learn alot about the wines.  Instead of driving across Washington state to try different wines, or visiting clusters of tasting rooms in Woodinville, the wineries come to you at Taste Washington.  If you are a lover of Syrah for example, you could sample and compare the wide range at this event, and finding out which wineries match to your palate.  All in one day.  On your own, it may take a whole summer of driving around Washington state to taste the same number of Syrah.  Also you can also go back to a winery table and re-taste a wine to compare with another wine.  A real fun, learning experience.

Seared tuna salad at Taste Washington

Seared tuna salad at Taste Washington

There are two components to this event.  The first, and largest, component is the food & wine tasting room, where you can try wine from over 180 different wineries!  I really like the tasting room as there are food stations hosted by various Washington state restaurants where you can try food and wine together.  The other component are the seminars. There are 4 seminars each day covering different topics related to Washington wine.  The seminars are very interesting. A few topics are:

  • learning about blending wines (a hands-on experience),
  • food & wine pairing, wines from old vines,
  • Rhone grape varieties, and
  • Washington vs the world.

Here are a few posts and youtube videos that I have done from past Taste Washington events:

I encourage you to buy your tickets for this event before it sells out.  See you there!

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Mission Hill Winemaker’s Dinner at Bistro Pastis

Bistro Pastis

Bistro Pastis

Oculus, Quatrain, Perpetua; all top quality wines from Mission Hill winery in the Okanagan, and all being poured and paired with fantastic French cuisine at Bistro Pastis.   Read the note below by Bistro Pastis about the dinner, then phone before it sells out.  It should be a fantastic dinner. I think the bottles themselves if you were to buy them would be at least $250.  So a very good deal.

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Mission Hill Oculus

Mission Hill Oculus

The Okanagan Valley has gained an international reputation for the quality of its wines. Join us on Thursday March 28th for a very special dinner with Ingo Grady, Director of Wine Education for Mission Hill Winery, one of the region’s premier wineries. Executive Chef Tobias Grignon has designed an elegant menu to showcase these exceptional wines and will be demonstrating some of his techniques in making the dishes. Price for the evening is only $110 per person and includes: cocktail, five-course dinner, full wine pairing, taxes, gratuities along with presentations by Chef Tobias and Mr. Grady.

Book quickly at this event is sure to sell out, 604-731-5020.

Food and Wine Paired Menu

Cocktail: Sparkling Wine and Ice Wine

***** 1st Course *****

Salmon and Scallop Crudo
Apple, Chili, Thai Basil
Riesling Reserve Martins Lane 2011

***** 2nd Course *****

Prosciutto Wrapped Monkfish
Creamed Cabbage Grapefruit and Pistachio
Perpetua Chardonnay 2010

***** 3rd Course *****

Smoked Duck Breast, Crispy Duck Terrine
Red Beets, Sunchoke, Wild Mushrooms
Pinot Noir Reserve Martins Lane 2011

***** 4th Course *****

Slow Roasted Venison
Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts Smoked Barley Risotto, Mole Sauce
Quatrain 2009

***** Cheese Course *****

Idiazabal, Unpasteurized Sheep’s Milk Cheese, Two ways Custard and
Regular, Poached Dates, Brioche Tuile
Oculus 2009

$110.00, Cocktail, Food, Wine, Taxes and Service Included

Food Demonstration by Chef Tobias Grignon
Wine Presentation by the famous Ingo Grady Director of Wine Education

Enjoy Joseph Phelps Wines at Seasons in the Park

Have you tried Joseph Phelps’ Napa and Sonoma wines yet? Joseph Phelps purchased his first vineyard in the early 1970’s.    Goût de terroir or “taste of the soil” is what the wines of Joseph Phelps Vineyards are all about, from the elegant, multi-layered Insignia of Stags Leap and the Rutherford Bench, to the aromatic Viognier from St. Helena.

Have you been to Seasons in the Park (that’s Queen Elizabeth Park).  Seasons in the Park has such a beautiful view and in a beautiful location in Vancouver.  I have enjoyed many wine events at Seasons in the Park with the South World Wine Society in the past, plus Dine Out Vancouver.  Why not enjoy some Joseph Phelps’ wines.  The announcement about this wine and appetizer event is below. Enjoy!

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Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon

When: Tuesday, September 25th,
6:00 pm – 7:30pm

Mike McEvoy, the Director of Sales at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, will be presenting:
Handcrafted Wines from Napa & Sonoma
Tasting Lineup:
Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc
Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Chardonnay
Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Pinot Noir
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon
Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley, Joseph Phelps bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley in 1973, and began planting vineyards. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking. All that resulted in putting Joseph Phelps at the top of the map of Napa Valley wine producers.
Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa and Backus Vineyard in Oarkville.
Canapes will be specially prepared by the talented culinary team at  Seasons In The Park, to accompany and complement the select wines.
$25 per person
not including taxes & gratuity
For tickets and more information
please contact Seasons In The Park Restaurant.

Having Dinner with M Michael Chapoutier at Hawksworth Restaurant

M Michael Chapoutier

As I write this, I am less than 4 hours away from enjoying a dinner in the York Room at Hawksworth Restaurant in downtown Vancouver, with Mr. M. Michael Chapoutier!  I of course will be amongst others also enjoying listening to Mr. Chapoutier speaking about his wines that we will be drinking tonight and savouring with with wonderful food from Hawksworth Restaurant.  I am so looking forward to this evening as last summer I visited his winery in the Rhone Valley in France, and walked the Hermitage hill.

In case you are not attending, here is today’s menu!

Winemaker Dinner with M. Michel Chapoutier
Wednesday June 20th, 2012

MENU

Reception
Canapés
tuna ceviche avocado, amaranth
beef bourguignon pickled pearl onion, toast
truffled arancini mozzarella
Marius Blanc
Marius Rouge

1st Course
cured fluke
grapefruit, english pea, horseradish, nasturtium
2010 Schieferkopf Alsace Riesling

2nd Course
bacon wrapped squab bitter greens, saskatoon berry, licorice jus
2010 Mathilda Shiraz

3rd Course
heritage angus flatiron
tokyo turnip, baby leek, mie de pain, green peppercorn consommé
2009 Lady’s Lane Shiraz, 2008 Ergo Sum Shiraz

4th Course
pierre robert apricot in various textures, olive oil pound cake
2010 Schieferkopf Alsace Riesling Lieu dit Fels

5th Course
strawberry vanilla capsule summer red fruits, marcona almond soil
2010 Schieferkopf Alsace Riesling Lieu dit Buehl

A Traditional French Dinner in the Loire Valley

Upon arriving in Chenonceau in the Loire Valley, France, it was near dinner time. The hotel owner asked me if he can book a restaurant, as Chenonceau is very small, all the restaurants book fast. He gave me a few choices, one of which was “traditional” Loire Valley food. I love to taste the food of a region, so picked the “traditional” option.

Two hours later, I am seated in a restaurant, with mounted heads of animals on the wall. The best deal at any French restaurant is the Formula, which typically comes with an appetizer, main course, and dessert.  My choice was the scalloped potatoes with cream, egg, bacon, and cheese for appetizer; grilled pork chop with salad and French fries for main course; and lemon tart for dessert.  To the appetizer and main course, I paired with two Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.

With the very rich and creamy, bacon scalloped potatoes appetizer, I went with a sparkling Vouvray sec (dry).  No winery was listed on the menu, but the wine went perfectly.  The bubble and high acidity of this sparkling wine cut through the creaminess of the scalloped potatoes.  It was a work of art on the plate.

The pork chop was grilled perfectly. Just a tiny hint of pinkness in the meat.  Very tender.  To this I paired a Bel Air Chenin Blanc.  This wine is heavier in body than the sparkling Vouvray, but also had the high acidity which was a perfect foil for the pork chop.  It also went well with the salad that have a mustard dressing.

The lemon tart had no wine to pair with, but was sublime on it’s own.  Full of lemony flavour and enhanced with the raspberry sauce.  There was also some chopped nuts to accompany this dish.  A great way to end the meal.

A truly memorable dinner. Stay tuned for my lunch in Blere.  Cheers!

What wine to pair with a vegetarian meal?

For those of you that haven’t had a vegetarian meal, think again.  You typically have cereal or a muffin and coffee for breakfast.  For lunch it could be a salad or a vegetable sandwich or soup.  That leaves you with one meal with meat.  You are almost a vegan without knowing it, or doing much.

For most people, dinner is the main meal, and this is where the what wine to pair with a vegetarian meal will be addressed.  There is a wide variety of vegan dishes.  There are vegan dishes from all countries.  For example, Indian food has many curries made with vegetables.  Curries are usually spicy, so my recommendation is a fruity red or white wine.  The fruitiness can hold up to the spice in the wine.  You do not want to pick a dry, tannic cabernet.  A Merlot would be a better choice.  On the white wine side, a Kabinett style Riesling from Germany would work.  I have also been told that Pinotage (a red grape from South Africa) works quite well with curries.

The key point for meals, whether vegan or not, is to consider how the food is cooked (e.g. grilled or sauteed), and what sauce or spices are being used in the dish.  If you have a spicy sauce, then a wine that has lots of fruitiness works, not a dry, tannic wine.  A meal that is sauteed and has maybe a mild, citrus sauce, could pair well with a lighter bodied white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc or a chenin blanc, or a lighter bodied red, such as pinot noir or gamay.  A dish with a creamy or buttery sauce would pair well with a Burgundian wine (chardonnay or pinot noir).  The silkiness of these wines complementing the silkiness of the sauce.

Salads can be a challenge because of the sourness of the vinegar.  You may want to try a high acidity wine such as a New Zealand or BC sauvignon blanc, or a dry riesling from Australia.

Some vegetarians do eat fish.  Most fish are delicately flavoured so again pick a delicately flavoured wine, such as unoaked chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir or riesling.  If you get some smoked salmon, try pinot gris, Alsatian riesling, or a pinot noir.

There is much more than I can write about in this short blog.  Hopefully this will give you some pointers.  Enjoy!