Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015
My family and I just got back from a trip to Woodinville, WA, to visit Chris and his wonderful family and “help” with harvest. My stepson, Benji, came away with red-stained hands from helping with punchdowns and was thrilled to watch the machinery at work. Chrissy and I enjoyed tasting freshly pressed, mostly fermented Petite Sirah and Merlot. Obviously, these wines will be better when they’re actually finished; but there was such a freshness and vibrancy, in both color and flavor, and the uniqueness of tasting wines in a partially finished state went a long way.
Then we sat down and tasted the wines for the dinner…
First, a bit of a back story. Chris and I have been dear friends for many, many years, even before he started making wine, so it’s been exciting to watch him grow in the industry. He’s a talented and driven person, so it’s been no surprise to watch the accolades roll in for his wines and winery. Great scores, top 100 lists for both single wines and the winery as a whole… you name it.
So, when we started pulling wines, Chris wanted to reach into the archives and pull out some special stuff. Frankly, I also think he wanted to show off to an old buddy just how far they’d come. After all, we could have written a 12-course meal with all the wine we tasted. I really wanted to feature the Ruby Leigh, as it was the first wine of his that knocked me out, so when he pulled an 09 I knew it would be pretty cool. Well, it wasn’t just cool, it was amazing. Exactly the wine I first fell in love with. Sturdy and regal, but entirely generous, this Merlot-driven wine really shows off how deep and glorious the grape gets in Washington.
But, honestly, I could just as easily go on about the stunning Enlightenment Chardonnay, the exotic Apparition Roussanne blend, or the ripe and immensely charming Wilderness Blend and Holler Cabernet Sauvignon.
Butternut squash, pecan, and goat cheese “truffles” with watercress salad and pear-ginger coulis -2014 Apparition Roussanne blend
Seared scallop and roasted wild mushroom with tangerine curry -2013 Enlightenment Chardonnay
Grilled quail with fruit mustard, lotus root frites, and garlic spinach -2013 Wilderness Red Blend
Sichuan-style smoked pork with fresh noodles -2012 Holler Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark soy and star anise poached beef tenderloin with Chinese broccoli -2009 Ruby Leigh Bordeaux Blend