Have you gone to Bite & Flight Yet?

Earlier this week, Bellevue Square — my favorite place to shop when I worked in Kirkland — started a week of wine and food activities called The Culinary & Wine Showcase, including Bite & Flight,  which continues through June 8. If you’ve attended, or if you plan to in the days ahead, please share your experience in the comments section of this blog — we’d love to hear details!

Bite & Flight is a passport to seven restaurants in Bellevue, ranging from my former hangout Z’ Tejas Southwestern Grill to Vino 100.  Passports may only be purchased at Bellevue Square Guest Services.

The Culinary & Wine Showcase features exactly what its name promises — a showcase of culinary excellence and tastes of some amazing Washington wine. You can find out details about cooking demonstrations, specials and more tastings on the Bellevue Collection’s Web site.


Vintage Walla Walla

We try to visit Walla Walla a couple of times a year, and unfortunately June isn’t one of our scheduled stops. If it were, we would be going to Vintage Walla Walla on June 6-7 at Whitman College.

Each year on the first full weekend in June, the best winemakers from Walla Walla pour their vintage wines. (Hence the event name!) Unlike previous years, this June will feature two separate tasting events: Friday will showcase 2001 wines–many are rare library wines–while Saturday will feature current and new releases.

Educational seminars and vineyard tours also highlight the weekend. Not only is this event fun and full of information, but also proceeds will benefit the Walla Walla Food Bank. How can you go wrong?

Information and tickets are available at www.wallawallawine.com. Wish we could see you there!


Favorite Wines at Washington Wine Highway

Here is a list of our favorite pours at Washington Wine Highway over Memorial Day weekend.

Come back for specific details on some of these wines in the next couple of weeks. And if you went to the Washington Wine Highway, let me know your favorites!


Wow-Washington Wine Highway

What a great time we had at Washington Wine Highway this weekend! The weather was gorgeous on Saturday, the people were friendly, the wines and food fabulous. A superlative time was had on every level.

Specifically we liked it better this year because there weren’t any tickets for pours or tastes like last year. All you had to do was walk up to a booth and request which wine you wanted poured. In many cases, the winemakers were there to talk to you directly about their wines. And believe me, they had a lot to be proud of. 

It was also a feather in the cap of Marcus White at MCW Events. It could not have been easy to keep track of statewide representatives from wineries, restaurants, volunteers, media, patrons and attendees. From what we could see, everything went off without a major hitch.

It was so great to connect up with so many friends in the wine industry from every part of the state: from Tim and Nancy at Fall Line Winery in Seattle; to Bijal at Woodhouse Family Cellars, Mike at Brian Carter Cellars, and Warren at Matthews Cellars in Woodinville; to Sean at Gilbert Cellars in Yakima; to Patty at Forgeron Cellars and Mike and Joanne at Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla. 

There were so many wineries represented and so many restaurants too this year, that you couldn’t possibly try everything in one day. Or at least, we couldn’t!

Over the next few weeks, I will blog in more detail about specific wineries and restaurants that we experienced at Washington Wine Highway. Next up — a list of our favorite wines there.


What’s Cookin’ at Washington Wine Highway?

I recently wrote about who is pouring at Washington Wine Highway this weekend. But we can’t forget about what’s cooking there too! Here are the restaurants that will be pairing some tasty treats with the wine.

0/8 Seafood Grill
The Barking Frog
The Capital Grille
Chukar Cherries
Coho Cafe/Arnies Restaurant
El Gaucho Seattle
Elliott’s Oyster House
Fond O Foods German cheese
Ford Farm English cheese
The Herbfarm

icon Grill
The Lodge at Suncadia
Lombardi’s Neighborhood Italian
Maggiano’s Little Italy
The Marc Restaurant
Meritage Restaurant Wine Bar
Matts’ Rotisserie & Oyster Lounge
Outrageous Offerings
Partners Crackers
Picazo 7Seventeen
Purple Cafe and Wine Bar
Racha Noodle & Thai Cuisine
River Valley Cheese
Salty’s on Alki Beach
The South 47 Farm
Steelhead Diner
Sweet Decadence
Tendrils at SageCliffe
Theo Chocolate
Tom Douglas Rub with Love
Troiani Ristorante Italiano
Tulalip Bay
Union Square Grill
Waterfront Seafood Grill
Z’Tejas Grill

Hope to see you there!


Port, R.I.P.

I just learned from my friend Catie’s blog, Through The Walla Walla Grapevine, that the beloved dog at Dunham Cellars, Port, passed away on May 5. I wrote about Port, and the wine named after him, “Three-Legged Red” last December: “The first time we saw the bottle of Three-Legged Red, we were drawn to the photo on the label of the cutest three-legged dog. Then we tasted it and liked the wine as much as we liked the photo.”

We met Port about a year ago, and he was as adorable in person as in the photo on the wine bottle. As Catie notes, the story of Port’s rescue by winemaker Eric Dunham won the hearts of so many of us. Unfortunately, we know firsthand how hard it is when a beloved pet goes to doggy heaven. Eric, our thoughts are with you and the rest of Port’s family.

The Dunham Cellars Web site pays a tribute to Port in photos and celebration of his life.

Port, rest in peace. And if you see our Sammy there, please give him a big hug and tell him we still miss him madly!


Who’s pouring at Washington Wine Highway?

Here are the wineries that are pouring tastes at Washington Wine Highway this weekend. There are so many good ones that I’m very glad we’re going on both days!

Airfield Estates
Apex Cellars
Alexandria Nicole Cellars
Arlington Road Cellars
Anton Ville Winery
Basel Cellars Estate Winery
Bergevin Lane
Brian Carter Cellars
Cave B Estate Winery
Cedergreen Cellars
Challenger Ridge
Chateau Faire Le Pont Winery
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chatter Creek
Columbia Crest
Columbia Winery
Cote Bonneville
Covington Cellars
DaMa Wines
DeLille Cellars and Doyenne
Des Voigne Cellars
DiStefano Winery
Dunham Cellars
Dusted Valley Vintners
Edmonds Winery LLC
Eleven Winery
Fall Line Winery
Five Star Cellars
Forgeron Cellars
Gamache Vintners
Gilbert Cellars
Gifford Hirlinger
Glen Fiona Winery
Goose Ridge Estate Winery
Gordon Brothers Cellars
Hightower Cellars
Hogue Cellars
Isenhower Cellars
J. Bookwalter
Kana Winery
Kestrel Vintners
Kiona Vineyards Winery
Magnificent Wine Company
Mannina Cellars
Matthews Estate
Milbrandt Vineyards
Naches Heights Vineyard & Winery
Nicholas Cole Cellars
Northwest Totem Cellars
Nota Bene Cellars
O Wines
Olsen Estates
Otis Kenyon
Page Cellars
Pepper Bridge/ Amavi Cellars
The Pike Brewing Company
Pondera Winery
Prosser Wine Company
Red Sky Winery
Reininger Winery
Ryan Patrick Vineyards
Saint Laurent Winery
Silver Lake Winery
Stephenson Cellars
Stina’s Cellars
Terra Blanca Winery
Tertulia Cellars
Tildio Winery
Tiger Mountain Winery

Vindulac Winery
White Heron Cellars
Whitman Cellars
Willis Hall
Wilridge Winery
Woodhouse Family Cellars

Hope to see you there!


Travel the Washington Wine Highway

If you haven’t bought tickets yet to the Washington Wine Highway in Woodinville this weekend, there still is time to visit their Web site and place your order. We had so much fun there last year, that we’re going for both days this year!

It’s being held on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $75 a day from noon until 5 p.m. Or if you really want to go in style, new this year are patron tickets that cost $125 a day and include on-site parking, private tastings of special selections of wine not available at the main event, and early entry at 11 a.m.

Also new this year is a “smokin’ barbeque pit.” So don’t delay — enjoy the tastes, sights and sounds of the wine regions of Puget Sound, Yakima Valley, Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley, without leaving Woodinville!

Hope to see you there!


Rose, eh!

As warm weather edges its way into the Northwest, we’re starting to experiment with a very small number of white wines and rosés — perfect to pair with prawns or parmesan and a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon on the deck with our three dogs.

As regular readers know, I am from Vancouver, B.C., so a wine that has “eh” in its name is bound to intrigue me. A wine with “eh” in its name, with Matt Loso as a winemaking consultant, is going to interest me even further. Then add into the mix Page Cellars, which is one of our top five favorite wineries in Woodinville, and you know I am going to check out this wine for summer drinking!

Syrah Rose, eh, from Wahluke Slope Vineyard, is described as “Thirty six hours on the skins to develop the rich Ruby Red Color. Refreshingly off dry, broadens through the mid-palate to finish with distinct Syrah aromas. Dominated by Raspberry, with layers of plum and blackberry. Not your grandmother’s Rose-eh! 75 cases released.”

In anticipation of the toasty weekend, we cooled Page Cellars’ Syrah Rose, eh for a few days and then paired it with Reggiano Parmesano, introduced to me by my nephew, Mathew. (I’ve written in previous posts about Mathew’s excellent palate. It turns out that he also has excellent taste in cheese. He also has an affinity for Matt Loso’s other wines at Matthew Cellars. I’m not sure that my nephew would approve of a rosé, but maybe he’ll comment on this post to let me know.)

Syrah Rose, eh is one of the few rosés that we like — another is Columbia Winery’s Rosé of Sangiovese, which is a bit drier. Would we drink a rosé on a regular basis? No. But on a hot summer day on the deck with a good book and some cheese, most definitely!

Last summer, when we tried a rosé for the first time in years, I wrote: “If you had told me a year ago that I would recommend one, I would have laughed. But here I am saying give it a try.” One year later, I feel the same way!


Wonderful Wine Event Almost Here

Only one week until Washington Wine Highway – one of our favorite wine events of the year! We enjoyed ourselves so much last year that we’ve been telling everyone we know to be sure to go this year.

Why did we like it so much? Because you can enjoy the best wines of Washington state in one location, and sample some great food from restaurants in different areas too. In addition, the atmosphere is relaxed, the weather is usually nice, and everyone is in a great mood.

It’s not often that you can chat with winemakers from Walla Walla, Prosser and Yakima, while seeing your favorites from Woodinville and Seattle at the same time and in the same place. You don’t have to drive from winery to winery — they’re all located on the grounds of Chateau Ste. Michelle, pouring in different pavillions that represent five winemaking regions: Walla Walla, Puget Sound, Yakima Valley, Red Mountain and Columbia Valley.

If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, head to the Web site for more information right now. Hope to see you there!