It’s hard to go wrong when you are greeted at an event with a glass of bubbles. Upon arriving at the El Gaucho Bellevue’s Pour on the Plaza on June 25th to benefit the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club, I was welcomed to the event and handed a glass of Domaine Ste Michelle Blanc de Blanc.
I admit to initial disappointment that Pour in the Plaza was moved partially indoors as the sun was making a valiant effort to appear. But as the afternoon progressed, the indoor-outdoor aspect made sense giving patrons more seating options in and out of the sun. Indoors tended to be a bit louder and provided a cocktail party atmosphere whereas the patio seating provided a quieter respite to relax and savor. That wasn’t the only contrast. El Gaucho brings elegance to mind and no doubt that the food was elegantly prepared and served. But for every pair of stilettos, someone else was wearing flip flops. For every tux there was a pair of jean cut offs. Elegance and casual blended together as well as the grape varietals in the wines.
Food and Wine
The food, prepared by El Gaucho, El Gaucho Bellevue and Waterfront Seafood Grill, was fantastic at Pour on the Plaza. The sweetness of the grilled polenta enhanced the sweet spiciness of the Elevation Cellars Imperium Riesling. I tweeted that day that the Delille Cellars 2009 Chaleur Estate Blanc reminded me of a limo: big, luxurious, elegant and smooth, with a bit of excitement. This Washington white Bordeaux blend captured my attention completely because
- it was a day made for Sauvignon Blanc/Semillion blends.
- it paired with so many of the foods from the grilled sardines to the potato leek tart to the fontina and prosciutto arancini. Pairing it with the potato leek tart took both food and wine to entirely new level.
- it was delicious – the stone fruit and grass, highlighted by the slate just created this vision of summer patio wine, that like your best little black dress can carry off a fancy evening in style.
The EFESTÉ Feral Sauvignon Blanc was drinking really pretty on the patio, especially paired with pesto chicken kebobs! Although not usually a fan of the buttery chardonnays, I wanted one to pair with the salmon served in herbed butter sauce but the Pinots worked well as did a couple of the Syrahs. Another EFESTE wine, the Final Final Cab blend was dark and broody and a brillant contrast to summer sunshine. It also just kicked the grilled sardines into another sphere.
Grand Rêve Vintners Collaboration IV, a Cab blend from Ciel de Cheval vineyards on Red Mountain was another big red that served as a great partner to the steak tartar and the grilled Angus beef that El Gauchos is so famous for. Recently released this wine will show more of its true flair as it matures. Tasty now, it will reward your patience. Another young wine with great potential is the Doyenne 2008 Syrah. Jay Soloff, one of the partners of Delille Cellars double decanted this Syrah for me towards the end of the event. The finish on that Syrah lasted until the valet delivered my car. A pretty young virgin of a Syrah when first opened, this Washington Syrah evolves into a lush lady with a backbone of steel as she opens up.
Best valet service
Canlis may have grabbed the national press for having the best valet service in the country, but personally I have never had better than at El Gaucho Bellevue. Most valets hate me. I drive an old stick Subaru wagon, with a service dog and walker that take up too much time in the valet line. Valet parking is usually so unpleasant that I will park elsewhere to avoid the hassle. But I was running late, so I pulled into the valet line. I was directed off side so I could unload the car with out feeling rushed. They had my walker out and very patiently waiting as I gathered Ebony and my belongings. My car appeared quickly and the correc doors were open for me, walker and Ebony. Beside the emergency brake was a bag of El Gaucho cookies and a dog treat for Ebony. HUGE kudos to El Gaucho valet who treated someone with special needs with dignity, patience and attention to detail.