Last night I took my cousins Carney and Casey out to celebrate their engagements. Carney is getting married 1/1/11 (New Year’s Day and my grandparent’s anniversary) and Casey is getting married in the summer of 2011. It is going to be a busy stretch of showers, bachelorettes, and weddings starting toward the end of the summer so I really wanted to take them out to celebrate before all the craziness!
The restaurant itself is pretty small but has two bars and a very relaxed atmosphere. I loved the dim lighting and giant white Christmas bulbs that adorned the pillars in the hallway of the restaurant.
There was also a jazz pianist playing live music by one of the bars.
They sat us in a small room set up with three tables that sat 8 people each (about 12 people attended last night’s tasting). We were the coolest and most fun ones there if you were wondering!
Three of the walls were painted a mustard yellowish-brown color with vintage wine posters hung.
There were empty wine bottles that lined glass shelves on the adjacent wall.
Each place setting had a bread plate, water-glass, and four wine glasses.
There was also bread and butter.
The wine theme for the night was: Washington State Wines. Washington was actually the first state to begin prohibition in 1880. Unlike many other wine regions, Washington is not known for any one type of wine. The state produces 80 different varieties of grapes, which is part of the reason why it doesn’t have a wine identity to consumers. Washington is pretty new to the wine industry but is now the nation’s second largest producer of wines!
When tasting wine you need to do four things:
- Visualize the wine: take note of the colors and swirl around glass to check its legs
- Smell the Bouquet: stick your nose right in the glass, don’t dip it in the wine though 🙂 Young wines often have a fruity smell to them!
- Taste the wine (slurping is highly suggested)
- Evaluate the after taste: the longer the finish the better the wine
With these steps in mind we started guzzling elegantly sipping our wine.
1. 2008 Charles Smith Wines “Kung Fu Girl” Riesling, Evergreen Vineyard, Ancient Lakes
- I like my Riesling to be sweet and this was a drier variety. The reason was that it had 12.5% alcohol, which means it is low in sugar content, making it drier.
- Comes from a cool climate in Washington with lots of sunshine. The temps are higher at day and lower at night allowing the wine to have more flavors.
- This wine is produced to be sold and consumed within 1 to 3 years and tastes good right out of the bottle.
- This wine was named after “Kill Bill 2” and the tattoo artist that created the label drew Uma Thurman’s character on the front of the bottle.
2. 2007 Ridge Crest Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
- I don’t typically like chardonnay. This particular brand was a fuller-bodied white but it was very crisp and smooth.
- It had a slight oaky taste and was very acidic
3. 2005 Hyatt Vineyards “Estate” Syrah, Rattlesnake Hills (I LOVE ME SOME RED WINE!)
- This syrah was delicate and perfume-y with a mellow and subtle flavor. It was not peppery like the Syrah’s from Austrailia
- A great wine to pair with a lean piece of meat such as fliet mignon
4. 2006 Hyatt Vineyards “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, Rattlesnake Hills
- Made of 92% cabernet, 5% Merlot, and 2% Syrah
- Made in a lush but cool climate
- Very smooth and easily drinkable. To be paired with a bigger piece of meat such as prime rib.
I enjoyed all the wines but I am very partial to the reds, especially Cab! To me reds are a good winter wine and whites are a good summer wine so I was happy to try two of each.
Casey is not a fan of red (yet 😉 !) and while we sat and chatted after the other tasters left, Nick (the sommelier) brought in two addition wines for use to taste.
Bonus 1: a sparkling shiraz which is served chilled and was kind of like a wine cooler with a refreshing fruit flavor and lots of bubbles
Bonus 2: a Rose (yum!) which looks like an “old lady” white zinfandel but it is actually a blended wine (also served chilled)
By the end of the night we did a lot of damage to our portions of wine!
We had a pretty adventurous night trying new wines and NEW FOODS! I have never really pay attention to the wine suggestions given at restaurants to go with certain foods but part of this tasting was a food pairing and demonstration. The details of the food will most definitely come in another post!
Now I am off to take a nap (with a whole day off from the gym it is weird to have all this time to myself).
Question of the Day
What motivates you to try a new food? I think to try a new food I need to be pretty sure in my head that I will like it….