I was lucky enough to be able to accompany Bean to the Washington Wine Commission’s 20something event at the Fremont studios last Saturday, and I have to say that I hope that I get the chance to go again. Before I get into the event itself, I’d like to give a few specific comments on a few of the wines and food I tasted early on.
I personally prefer red wines over most others, Syrah being the type I prize most. I started with a brave taste of Barnard Griffin Winery’s 2008 Syrah, (Columbia Valley). If you get a bottle of this Washington Syrah, I would let it age for at least 6 months before getting it out to sip. I could easily see this Syrah being an excellent evening wine by itself, given a bit of time to mature.
Afterwards we switched gears with a Rosé. If I’m not mistaken it was the 2007 Dry Rosé Provence Blend, but the friendly wine maker, Virginie Bourgue. It was Grenache based Rosé with slight amounts of Syrah and Viognier blended into this Washington Rosé from Lullaby Winery. I thought this Rosé was a great pairing wine and would go excellently with a nice fresh spinach and apple salad. I would definitely save these for a nice hot summer day for a refreshing, crisp, light drink.
Another Syrah that really stood out in my mind, both for its taste as well as for the name, was the 8Bit Player 1. I’d say it’s fair to label it a Syrah-blend with 50% being Syrah, 30% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Carmenere, and 5% Malbec. With Bean’s help, I could pick out some hints of cherry and cocoa, especially after this Syrah blend had a chance to breathe. The aroma was rich and good, and the taste did not disappoint. I’m no wine expert, but I have a good handle on what I like in a wine. Player 1 did not ‘hold the tongue hostage‘ with tannin overload, as Bean would say, but was smooth throughout. I can see myself picking up a few bottles of this particular wine to enjoy in the coming winter months. Besides, how could I not support a fellow gamer? I just need to find out where I can purchase this wine in Seattle.
In between a few wine tastings, I took some time to check out the sensory challenges that were setup in the Geek Lounge. The Geek Lounge was a series of stations that offered opportunities to learn more about wine. I started with the NW Wine Academy at South Seattle Community College called ‘Analyze This‘. At this station, Regina Daigneault, the program coordinator and one of her students, were offering the opportunity to identify common aromas in wine. At their station, a number of red and white wines were infused to make it simpler to identify some of the naturally occurring aromas commonly found in wines. I think that if this is just a taste of what can be learned by attending wine classes at the NW Wine Academy, then wine lovers should definitely sign up to learn more.
After sampling some more wine, I tried the second sensory presentation station, ‘Hip2TheSenses’ by Cedar River Cellars. In this challenge, they demonstrated how you could identify common every day groceries and their scents with wines, both finding the aromas in the wine themselves, and which foods would be a natural pairing.
Shortly after these few tastings where I behaved and took good notes, we took a few moments to sample some of the finer foods that were being served up. Muckleshoot Casino, of all places, had some excellent food including Burrata mozzarella cheese wrapped with hamachi or Big Eye tuna on a shoyu pipette. If what I just wrote is greek, think of a delicious bit of sushi wrapped around some delicious mozzarella. Then, skewer that with a small pipette filled with a tantalizing sauce that made you want to grab five more.
Early on I made the mistake of trying Uli’s Famous Sausage. Not because it was bad, not at all. Uli’s Sausage was quite delicious. The problem, however, is that once you’ve had Uli’s Sausage, that’s pretty much going to be an added flavor to just about everything else you taste for a while. My taste buds were pretty much shot for the next few wines that followed the garlicky, spicy and delicious sausage.
20 Something Event
The event itself was an excellent experience. Throughout much of the evening, it wasn’t entirely necessary to go seek out the wines you wanted to try. Often, a wine maker or one of their friendly minions would be scuttling about offering both wines to taste and answers for any questions you might have about them. The music was great, and by music, I mean the awesome live DJ Darek Mazzone kicking out good music including Calabria.
This is definitely one event that I will try to attend again next year!