Taste of Washington Preview

El Gaucho- Seattle, was the amazing host  for the Washington Wine Commission’s Taste Washington media preview last night. Taste Washington is a premier Washington Wine event, providing opportunities to interact with wine makers, attend wine education seminars,and sample exquisite wines from all over the state during the grand tasting. In addition, you can savor delicious foods to pair with the wine at the Grand Tasting or attend the Wine Makers dinner. This year, Taste Washington is March 27-28, 2010 and tickets are available now!

March 27: Seminars at Bell Harbor and Wine Maker Dinner at Washington Athletic Club

El Gaucho Wicked Shrimp

El Gaucho Wicked Shrimp

March 28: Grand Tasting at Qwest Field Event Center with times for Trade, VIP and the general public. Trade time is closed to wine industry only but VIP passes allow you to begin your tasting two hours before the general public for a more relaxed tasting experience AND the opportunity to drink special wines like the Col Solare 2002, which will be available in a limited amount. VIP tickets are very limited in number so don’t delay in purchasing your VIP ticket.

The Taste of Washington preview wines

2008DeLille CellarsChaleur Estate Blanc
2008Woodward Canyon Winery Chardonnay
2008 àMaurice Cellars Viognier
2008 Long Shadows Vintners Poet’s Leap Riesling
2007 Barrage Cellars Cabernet Franc
2007 Betz Family Winery Père de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon
2007 Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Pepper Bridge Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Beresan Winery Malbec
2007 Cadence Winery Bel Canto
2007 Dusted Valley Vintners Stained Tooth Syrah
2007 Waters Winery Forgotten Hills Syrah

The  food

El Gaucho hosted this tweet up and provided the food to pair with the wines. At the Taste of Washington Grand Tasting, El Gaucho will be one of the restaurants serving food to enjoy along side with the wine.

Mini Crab CakesWicked ShrimpTenderloin Diablo
Tableside Caeser Salad
ChauteaubriandPeppercorn New YorkFrenched Rib Chop
Ostrich FiletSeared Sea Scallops
Roasted Sweet CornGaucho Mac and Coastal Cheddar CheeseSW Scallop Potatoes
Sauteed SpinachAsparagus
Tableside Bananas FosterBurnt Cream


There were so many highlights of this delightful evening spent with fellow Washington wine lovers!  If I listed them all this would become a novel instead of a blog post so here are but a few. I will cover others in subsequent posts in preparation of Taste Washington.

I enjoyed sitting next to  Washington Wine Commission Master Sommelier Shayn Bjornholm. Shayn led us through the wines, offering perspective and history to our sensory journey. It was wonderful discussing the differences in Washington terroir, oak nuances and wine maker skill with Shayn. You can interact with Shayn during the Taste Washington seminar titled
Which One’s Washington?!” Throughout the evening, Shayn encouraged us to visit the Washington vineyards and reminded us that the Washington Wine Commission is happy to assist people in planning their trips to Washington wine country.

The DeLille Cellars Estate Chaleur Estate Blanc was exquisitely elegant, the kind of wine that made me glad that I was wearing a dress. This Sauvignon Blanc – Semillion blend is a sophisticated, but not a snobby wine that was well suited to the El Gaucho private dining room. It is no surprise that this wine is currently available on the El Gaucho Seattle wine list!

If you purchase a VIP ticket to Grand Tasting, you might be able to taste the 2002 Col Solare Red like we had the good fortune to do! Although most wineries will be pouring new releases, Col Solare will pour their 2002, as well as their 2006 and 2007 vintages of their red Bordeaux blend. Intense black fruit with layers of subtle oak nuances. Vanilla, nut, spice, chocolate, wood and fruit are part of the kaleidoscope of flavors in this wine. Although kaleidoscopes can be gaudy, this wine is not. Its profile subtly shifts as it evolves. It is a wine I want to sit with so I can appreciate those shifts.


El Gaucho Ostrich Filet with Januik Cabernet Sauvignon

My favorite pairing of the night was the El Gaucho oyster filet, with wild mushroom in madeira sauce, paired with the 2007 Januik Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. This was my first ostrich experience and it was delicious: moist, tender and flavorful. The Januik Cabernet Sauvignon was smooth and luscious with a velvety mouth feel. The flavors melted and melded together beautifully. I loved how the mouth feel was mirrored in the wine and meat, and how they both offered subtle nuances of flavor. Delicious!


In recognition of the burgeoning importance of social media in the wine world, this media event was a tweetup for respected wine bloggers, who also have influence in Twitter. The tweet up format allowed us to immediately spread the news about the wines featured at the preview and by utilizing the #TasteWA hashtag, it is easy to search on the wines featured as well as to track the conversations and updates about Taste Washington, before, during and after the event!

NameTwitter handleNameTwitter handle
Marcus Pape@chatrboxNancy Croisier @nancyfeasts
Melinda Knapp@KSyrahKaren Johnson @Seattlemag
Barbara Evans @seattlewinegalSean Sullivan @wawinereport
Bean Fairbanks @winebeerWAKori Voorhees @winepeeps
Margot Savell @WriteforWine

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