Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vinos Pinol, Ludovicus 2005

Vinos Pinol, Ludovicus 2005

The 2005 Ludovicus is a great value wine from Spain It is a tank-fermented and oak-aged (for three months) wine made from 35% Grenache, 30% Tempranillo, 25% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Terra Alta region. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple color along with a lush nose of cherry liqueur, licorice, and pepper. On the tongue it is rich, velvety and quite opulent. This "new-world" blend is fruity, spicy, and pure. Drink now or consume it over the next several years. You can find this wine for about $10 in QFC in the Seattle area.

Planeta, La Segreta Rosso 2006

Planeta, La Segreta Rosso 2006

This is a everyday Sicilian red that is a blend of 50% Nero d'Avola, 25% Merlot, 20% Syrah, 5% Cabernet Franc. It has a ruby red color with purple highlights. The nose has fresh berries, cherries and plum. The taste is fruit forward with smooth tannins and enough acidity to pair well with any hardy meal. Food and Wine Magazine picks this as one of their top Italian wine for under $20. Make some lasagna and enjoy a bottle of La Segreta . It is sold for $10-$14 in the Seattle area.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gorman Winery 2007 Release Party

Gorman Winery
19501 144th Ave NE #C500
Woodinville, WA 98072

This afternoon we visited Gorman Winery for their 2007 Release Party. Owner and winemaker Chris Gorman has been making premium Northwest wines since 2002. His small winery produces about 1000 cases per year of wines from fruit predominantly grown in Red Mountain. Chris tells us that much of his fruit is grown at the Kiona Vineyards which has a reputation for great fruit. The winery is located in an unassuming warehouse building in a Woodinville commercial zone. The winery is only open to the public about 4 days per year and this event had the feel of a swank, "opening night" club party. Rock music was playing as we were greeted at the door with a warm welcome and an oversized Reidel wine glass. Chris is releasing three red wines from the fantastic 2005 vintage and a white wine from the 2006. All of the wines are fantastic. Here is a breakdown of what we tasted:

The Big Sissy Chardonnay 2006
Conner Lee Vinyard
This is an excellent Chardonnay with nice weight and character. It was made in new French oak adding a buttery finish and smoothness.

The Bully Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Red Mountain
This is a beautiful, full bodied Cabernet with a thick meaty mouth feel, oodles of dark berries and nice chewy tannins. This red is very youthful at this point but ready to drink now or later.

The Pixie Syrah 2005
Red Mountain
This red is 100% Syrah and we are told it is more "Old World" style. This wine is still slightly fruit forward with a luscious mouth feel and long finish. It had nice berry flavors with a hint of spice. This would be great with a rack of lamb with a mustard crust!

The Evil Twin 2005
Red Mountain
This is a lovely blend of 75% Syrah and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is big, bold and juicy with a nice structure and a good backbone. This full bodied wine delivers ample smooth tannins on a long finish. It is fruit forward without overstating its character. This will be great with any hardy food or well aged cheese.

Ps. They also served great Cubaña Pulled Pork Sandwiches, to enjoy with the wine, and these were fantastic too!

Serious Pie

Serious Pie
316 VirginiaSeattle, WA 98121
(206) 838-7388

Tom Douglas’ pizzeria, Serious Pie, is a warm friendly downtown restaurant serving a small menu of high quality appetizers, pizzas and desserts. The small cozy dinning room has high tables that seat up to eight people, communal style, with straight-back leather stools that are comfortable and fun to sit in. The pizzas are the main attraction here. The pizzas are fired in a wood burning oven fueled by Northwest apple wood. Pizzas are individual sized, measuring roughly 8 by 12 inches, and are served on slick black cutting boards. The emphasis is on high quality and perfected techniques. Unique ingredients include things like local manila clams, Italian truffle cheese, fresh shaved fennel, mozzarella di bufala and yukon gold potatoes. Pizzas have thin, flavorful crust with sufficient wood char to give the perfect crispy chew. Wines are available by the glass, carafe or bottle, with a good selection from Italy. Expect to pay a little more than your average stone oven pizza place for unique ingredients, a warm friendly atmosphere and that Seattle loved, "Tom Douglas" touch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Feudo Arancio, Nero D'Avola, 2004

Feudo Arancio, Nero D'Avola, 2004
This red wine from Sicilia is made from 100% Nero D'Avola, the main red grape of the region. On the nose is floral and tropical scents that remind us of pineapple and flowers. The wine is medium bodied with a dark (black) color and a smooth, fruity mouth feel. The cherry and current taste is joined by light acidity and well intigrated tannins. If you want to try a "easy-drinking" Sicilian red wine, this is your baby. Available in the Seattle area for around $8.

Grilled Flat Bread Stuffed with Cheese and Fruit

This grilled, stuffed flat bread is delicious with a great glass of wine. Here is how you do it. I took one ball of fresh pizza dough and cut it in half. Roll out dough balls into two thin, oblong sheets. I placed about 2-3 ounces of truffle cheese and a diced Italian plum in the center of one and Fontina cheese with sliced fresh figs (2), in the other. Fold over dough to form sealed packets that resemble burritos. Rub with olive oil and grill for 3-5 minutes , per side, until browned and crisp. Serve with additional sliced figs or plums and drizzle Balsamic vinegar and honey over the food and whole plate.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Prosciutto Wrapped Peppers with Goat Cheese

Prosciutto Wrapped Peppers with Goat Cheese

Take about 10 jalapeños and slice them in half, lengthwise, and remove the stem and seeds. Fill each half with a mixture of goat cheese and cream cheese ( half of each blended together). Wrap each stuffed pepper with a slice of Prosciutto and skewer. Grill for about 3-5 minutes, per side, on a medium-hot grill. Let cool a few minutes, then devour them!

Kiona Sangiovese, Reserve, 2003

Kiona Sangiovese, Reserve, 2003

This is estate grown Sangiovese from Red Mountain, Washington. This red, a Tuscan favorite variety, is beautifully crafted. This is a medium bodied wine with a nose of sweet raspberry, strawberry and cotton candy. The color is red with good clarity. In the mouth this velvety wine has pleasant berry fruit flavors, well integrated light tannins and just enough acidity to pair well with any Italian dinner. The finish is long and smooth. We enjoyed this wine with a grilled stuffed flatbread and some goat cheese stuffed peppers!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Ghost of 413, 2005

The Ghost of 413, 2005
This Columbia Valley Red from "The Giant Wine Company", is crafted by Chris Gorman and Mark Ryan McNeilly. It is a blend of cabernet, merlot and cab franc, aged 20 months in French oak. This is a delightful wine that showcases Washington State's excellent 2005 vintage. This wine needs a little time to "open-up" and reveal its full tilt black cherry and plum flavors enveloped in a caressing layer of fine grained tannins. The nose is sweet berries and brown sugar. The oak is subtle and does not overwhelm the great fruit qualities. Only about 2000 cases were made and it sells for about $15, in the Seattle area. A real beauty, don't be afraid of this ghost!

Vinos Sin-Ley M5, 2005

Vinos Sin-Ley M5, 2005
Last night we had a fun Labor Day party with our good neighbors. With our burgers we had a bottle of m5 from Vinos Sin-Ley ("wines without laws"). This is 100% Monastrell made in stainless steel (no oak), from the Yecla region of Spain. We all agreed that it was a lovely wine with a fruit forward style, velvet texture and a cherry scented nose. Tannins are light and the color is a deep purple/red. For anyone wanting to try a Monastrell from Spain, I highly recommend this wine. It can be found for about $12, in the Seattle area.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Walla Walla Travel

Walla Walla Travel

Walla Walla is a small, attractive city with a quaint downtown area, Whitman Collage, and streets lined with historic homes with a nice neighborhood feel.

Good website: Use this website to locate wineries and info for travel. Read or print this article.


Best Western Walla Walla Suites Inn (We stayed here once, and it was fine.)
7 East Oak Walla Walla, WA 99362 Phone: (509) 525-4700 Price: $79-$139 Web: Centrally located in Washington's quaint wine country and surrounded by more then 50 wineries. We are 100% non-smoking and dog friendly. Just 3 blocks from Main Street & within walking distance to shops, tasting rooms, historic homes and much more.

Walla Walla Inns - Historic Downtown 214 Main St Walla Walla, WA 99362 Phone: (877) 301-1181 Web: Enjoy the contemporary elegance of the historic Main Street location in a sophisticated setting enhanced by the convenient access to shopping, wineries, restaurants, and many art galleries. Enjoy them all while staying at the Walla Walla Inns Historic Downtown. Book Online

(We stayed here in July. We enjoyed staying right on Main Street. The Studio room #3 was very nice. You can walk around town for coffee (Starbucks!!) in the morning or lunch and dinner during the day or evening. The owner will correspond with you via email. We will stay here again)

Downtown Suite 3
Starting from $100/ night
Studio suite situated in Downtown Walla Walla. This suite has a queen size bed with pillow-top mattress, and feather bed. Lie in bed and watch the fireplace or flat screen television. The mini refrigerator and coffee maker are there to meet your traveling needs. The bathroom has a walk-in shower and a separate Jacuzzi tub. Tall arched windows facing Main Street bring in light and views of Main Street activity into this suite.


Here are some good places. Here is the scoop:

Saffrons : New, great tapas, wood-fired flatbreads, pastas and upscale entrees. Highly recommend.
T. Maccarone's: Small and warm, modern casual. Nice wines, very good pastas.
Luscious by Nature: Nice fresh food with good sandwiches and takeouts. Cute place.

All the places I listed here are good. Check out what they look like as you explore the area.

207 West Main
Walla Walla 99362
(509) 526-4075

CreekTown Cafe
1129 S. 2nd, Suite D
Walla Walla 99362
(509) 522-4777

Grapefields Wine Bar and Café
4 East Main St.
Walla Walla 99362
(509) 522-3993

Grapefields has a sophisticated bistro attitude, from the art deco bar to tasty tapas. The latter include toast manchego—bread grilled with manchego and served with a tomato-onion herb salsa—and Spanish sardines (not fishy at all) marinated in citrus, vinegar, garlic, and olive oil. The café menu offers a traditional charcuterie plate featuring a selection of cured and preserved meats; a perfectly dressed salad verte topped with toasted walnuts, Gorgonzola, and Anjou pear; and hand-tossed pizzas. The dazzling selection of premium wines is both local and international.

Luscious by Nature
33 S. Colville St
Walla Walla 99362
(509) 522-0424

Upscale urban market in a newly renovated 1930’s garage and gas station featuring many organic products, fresh and seasonal prepared food along with local produce, specialty goods, pantry food and kitchen products. The indoor and outdoor patio dining will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a small plate menu or packaged to-go meals.

Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen
125 West Alder
Walla Walla 99362
(509) 525-2112

Modern Mediterranian cuisine with tapas, wood-fired flatbreads, pastas and upscale entrees. The food and service is top-notch and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. The kind of place you might hope to find in Belltown, Seattle. Nice wine list

Whitehouse-Crawford Restaurant
55 W. Cherry St
Walla Walla 999362
(509) 525-2222

Upscale regional cuisine with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. Located in an historic downtown Walla Walla building.

T. Maccarone's
4 S. Colville St.
Walla Walla 99362
(509) 522-4776

Nice atmosphere that is warm, modern and casual. This is a small restaurant with delicious fresh pastas. The owner makes sure everything is done just right.

Favorite wineries

Woodward Canyon (west of town)
L'Ecole No. 41*
Three Rivers

Whitman Cellars (in or near town)
Seven Hills

Cougar Crest (airport area)
Russel Creek
Tamarack *
Five Star

K Vintners (east of town)
Walla Walla Vintners

Los Zorros Roble 2004

Los Zorros Roble 2004

This weekend we enjoyed a bottle of Los Zorros from the Bodegas Vinas Zamoranas. This Spanish red wine is from Tierra de Castilla y Leon in Northwest Spain near the border of Portugal. We bought this wine at QFC in Bellevue where the sign said 100% Tempranillo. I suspect that the grapes used in this wine are actually Tinta de Toro which is indigenous to that area and accounts for about 70 percent of the total harvest. The Tinta de Toro grapes produce wines that are highly extracted, very dark and loaded with tannins. This Los Zorros Roble was barrel aged for 8 months and has all the fore mentioned qualities. The nose is pleasant with prune and caramel. This is a firm, full-bodied wine that is inky with berry and cherry flavors. There is a mouth full of tannins that could mellow with a few years in the cellar. This is a big wine, not your average $12 Tempranillo. Enjoy this wine with some well-aged Manchego cheese and some great Serrano ham.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Cancelli Toscana 2004

Cancelli, 2004

Cancelli is a Tuscan red made by Coltibuono. It is an everyday red made from 70% Sangiovese and 30% Syrah. This is a fruit forward modern wine with pleasant berry and plum flavor with an edge of acidity and spice. This is a nice wine to drink with a pepperoni pizza or a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. It sells for about 10 bucks.