Will summer ever come?

On a rainy, dreary, March Seattle day, all I can think about is spring and summer. I live for Seattle summers. I can’t think of a more beautiful place then Seattle in August (ok, honestly there are some pretty amazing places other than Seattle). But to get to summer, we must have spring. Spring is always hit or miss around here. Often it is drizzly and overcast, with a few sun breaks intermittently. On some occasions, we can hit a beautiful and sunny spring day. It is amazing what a little sun and the thought of summer around the corner, will do for Seattleites. When the sun is out, we tend to have bounce in our step, a slight smile on our face and tolerance for other’s. We may even strike up a conversation at the bus stop – well maybe not, that is just wishful thinking. But when it is spring time and the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the sun is out and my husbands sinus’ are swelling up around his face (due to spring allergies) all I can do is think about is sitting outside with a nice glass of crisp white wine, chatting it up with my friends and watching our kiddo’s run through the sprinklers. My imagination runs ramped about how fabulous the summer is going to be.

As I sit here, listening to the rain pelt my house, heater on to 70 degree’s and about 5 layers of clothes on me…. I can’t help but smile at the thought of spring and summer around the corner. Which leads me thinking about some of the best summer wines. First, I want to add something though. It is a total myth that you can only drink white wines in summer and reds in the cooler months. You can enjoy any wine during any time of the year. However, a lot of the summer/BBQ foods pair well with white wines (some red’s too) – which is how that myth developed.

Here is my list of wines to look for (I am just doing varietals not producers). These wines tend to unite very well with salads, cold pasta’s, seafood and BBQ fare.  There will be some red added into this list – for a more diverse selection.

BBQ foods (BBQ meats with smoky and/or sweet sauce)

Beer (not wine, but beers pair very well with BBQ)

Beaujolais

Shiraz – Australian

Rose/Rosado – dry

Rose Champagne

California Zinfandel

German Riesling

Salads

Beaujolais

dry Riesling

Rose

Sauvignon Blanc

Vinho Verde

Chardonnay (pair best with Ceaser Salads)

Pinot Grigio

Champagne

Seafood

Riesling especially dry

Sauvignon Blanc

Champagne

Chardonnay (boiled or grilled)

Viognier (try with shellfish… yum!)

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

Fresh Fruit and Desserts

Champagne – rose’ and or sweet

Moscato d’ Asti

Gewurztraminer – dry

Riesling – off dry or sweet

Sparking wine

Late Harvest (with a fruit dessert)

Port (with berry, fruit or richer dessert)

Vin Santo (with almond, Hazelnut desserts)

Cabernet Sauvignon (with bittersweet chocolate)

This is a quick and easy list for summer food pairings. If you want a more in-depth resource, check out What to Drink with What you Eat by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.

Tonight’s Tasting:

Buty Winery , Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle  – Walla Walla, WA ($25.00 West Seattle Cellars)

Buty Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle 2009Talk about getting ready for summer. If you want something to put you in the mood for hot summer nights, this wine will take you there. With a floral scent – it hits you with a bright, clean, crisp taste. We paired this wine with Mahi Mahi burgers and it matched nicely. This wine can easily be found in most wine shops. Buty is a wine you can either drink now, to prepare you for summer. Or to wow your friends during a big July Seafood bash.

Well, the rain has stopped and I see a sliver of sun. Which is my sliver of hope that spring is around the corner. And with that, so is summer.

Cheers my friends! And remember friends don’t let friends put ice cubes in their wine.

Washington Wine Challenge

This blog was going to be about Merlot, but that will have to wait. If you know me, which many of you do, you know that I change my mind about a thousand times a day. I promise to get back to Merlot, since it is a very important topic. Today I want my fellow readers to take a challenge with me. For the month of March, when opening a bottle of wine or ordering one by glass at a restaurant, I want you to drink Washington wine only.

Let the screaming at me begin. I know you are stuck in your rut of drinking a California Cab or Italian Chianti, but I want you to explore all the joys Washington wine has to offer. Like I said before, we are giving California a run for their money. We are the state to watch. Plus, we have young, eager wine makers and a supportive state government (in terms of wine, but don’t get me started on the lack of support with educating our youth in WA!).

Right now, many Washington wine makers concentrate on making Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Riesling, Syrah and Cab Franc. Although, last week I was able to meet a wine maker, Gino Guneo, who has done an excellent job making a Sangiovese called Tre Nova (trenovawines.com). Gino states that he is making Italian style wines on American soil. Many Washington wine makers are taking risks and playing around with grapes and able to develop some killer wines. Which benefit us, the consumer!

Take a trip to the world of Washington wine. See if you are able to stick with WA wines for the month of March. Not to worry, your Chianti, Bordeaux and California Cab will be waiting for when you return in April. Just take in and enjoy what this state has to offer. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Tonights Tasting:

2006 K Vintners Motor City Kitty, Syrah. $31.00West Seattle Cellars

Luscious, dark, rich, smooth and provocative is how I would describe this wine. If I could bottle up love and turn it into wine, it would be K Vintners Motor City Kitty Syrah. It is literally a perfect Syrah. When I talked before about splurging on a bottle, this is well worth the money; if you can find it anymore. This wine had been sitting in my cellar since May 2009. I was pregnant at the time, so it just sat there tempting me. Plus, WS Cellars said I may want to give it a year or two before opening. So last night, after attending a Kindergarten open house for my older daughter, my husband and I decided this would be a perfect evening for a nice bottle of wine.

MCK had been eyeing me for years and since this was a night to celebrate making it to Kindergarten with Ava, I quickly brought it upstairs to try. Wow, it was worth the wait. We drank it slowly (and left half the bottle so we could enjoy it this evening) and we’re almost silent while tasting it. It nearly left me speechless; it was that delicious. Oh how I wish this wine could last forever. With winemaker, Charles Smith, only making 4 barrels of the 2006 MCK (100 cases, give or take), it will be difficult to find again. If you are lucky enough to stumble upon this wine, grab two bottles. I know, $62 is tough to drop on two bottles of wine. But trust me, once you finish the first bottle, you will be craving another.

If you are in Walla Walla, I have heard this is a winery you must stop at. I have not been, but is on my bucket list.

http://www.kvintners.com/wines.php

Drink on my friends…

locally grown

After my weekend in jaunt in Napa, I realized more of my energy should be focused on my community. And when I say community, I mean wine community. To quote Paul Gregutt, the author of Washington Wines and Wineries: the Essential Guide, Northwest Editor for Wine Enthusiast and Seattle Times columnist, “You have to come here and visit the wineries. The vast majority of the wines up here can only be had at the winery or a local wine shop.” You know what Paul, I agree and will take you up on that. I am going to spend my next couple of blogs talking about Washington Wines. I promise a return to French, Italian, Argentinian, etc. wines, for those who love an assortment from various regions.  But I feel the need to give a shout out to my State, which produces quality wines and need our community support. 

 Unfortunately, there is some sad news in the world of Washington wine;  the closure of some amazing wineries. This is why we need to support our local wine makers. Three quality wineries that have closed their doors: Olsen Estates of Prosser, Whitman cellars of Walla Walla and Yellow Hawk Cellars of Walla Walla. The closing of these wineries weren’t due to their lack of high quality, simply delectable wines. Consumers are not shelling out the cash for high quality wines. And smaller vineyards are not able to produce two-buck Chuck type of wines (and would we want them too?) Everyone wants a bargain; biggest bang for your buck. I am all for bargains, I shop at Nordstrom Rack and buy Target brand cereal. Some wines at $10 are good, but if once in a while you invest in a slightly more expensive wine, you could have a nice surprise (and a realization it is totally worth the money). There are times you need to throw caution to the wind and allow yourself to splurge $30 on a bottle of Washington wine, which could literally blow your mind. You, my friend, will never pick up a two- buck Chuck again.

Tonights Tasting:

2009 Naches Heights Vineyard “Two Dancers” Columbia Valley $18.00 West Seattle Cellars

75% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Franc

First of all, I love the label. And I think the label itself describes this wine beautifully. It has a dance between fruit and dryness. At first sip (and smell), fruit hit’s you right in the face – blackberry was the fruit that caught my attention first, then cherry –  but then it leaves you with a dry tingle in the back of your tongue. It took me a few swirls and sips to get into this wine. I couldn’t figure out if it was crisp or dry. It was a tango in my mouth – love/hate. Eventually, love one, slightly. It is complex and fun, so we talked about this wine a lot during our tasting. We came to the conclusion though that Two Dancer’s needs to be paired with food. Ian and I drank it alone, and I think it would have less tango and more salsa if paired with the right meal combination. Phil Cline, the maker of this wine, suggests pairing it with a protein such as spicy ribs or BBQ. I think my brother-in-law, BBQ king, needs to serve “Two Dancers” this summer when he throws a big BBQ bash (hint, hint)!

Oh, about the second bottle in this picture, it is a 2006 WineGlass Cellars Merlot. This is a sneak preview into the next blog: Just give Merlot a chance!!

Cheers!

(Quote from Paul Gregutt was from the book: What’s a Wine Lover to Do? by Wes Marshall, 2010)