On a beautiful sunny day in early June, Bean and I went to a white wine and food pairing event at the Vartanyan Estate Winery in Bellingham, run by Eugene and Margarita Vartanyan. The winery was a little difficult to locate as there were no visible signs indicating your are approaching it until you are actually there. Patience and Google map on the phone helped us navigate to the winery through the suburbs and rural roads.Once we arrived, there was ample parking and easy access to the wine tasting rooms. It is also nice to see that though was placed on providing both parking and a paved ramp for the disabled (which is something a lot of small wineries lack, Bean’s walker does NOT do gravel driveways well).
The wine tasking room is located in a very open and naturally lit space with a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains. The vista is something I personally enjoyed and made for a very pleasant and serene environment to relax and enjoy. The owners and their family were very friendly and welcoming. We also noticed that the other guests present looked like they were clearing enjoying the wines and the grounds from their beaming smiles and general demeanor.
Since we had arrived at the later stage of the pairing event, we were informed that some food was no longer available but that they still had some of the cold creations left for us to partake in. The original menu included:
- Seared Scallops on house made potato chips with fresh watercress and Riesling buerre blanc
- Seasonal crostini: prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and fava beans
- Egg salad with smoked salmon, arugula and tobiko
- Vegetarian spring rolls
- Duck spring rolls
- Fruit skewers
- Filo wrapped brie with dried cherry compote
- Locally made bread from Avenue Bread and Deli
We were offered a full glass of Riesling Leggiero 2007 to start. I must first confess to having a rather bad habit of eating my food in a somewhat high velocity manner. Since pairing, is the art of letting the flavours of the wine intermingle with the food, savouring both is paramount. I must admit to have rather failed abysmally on that score.
However, the Riesling Leggiero 2007 possessed a very nice bouquet with a hint of sweetness and fruitiness. The foretaste was a little tart and the wine felt somewhat acidic. I do realize that the wine, if paired correctly, will lose this acidic feel on the palate. Unfortunately for me, I had already consumed the food and missed this opportunity.
The second wine, Pinot Gris Vivace 2008 also has a wonderful fragrance but was was also rather on the acidic side the palate. However the finish was very clean and crisp.
Both wines were good and their bright to tart acidity, ideally suited for pairing. Instead of serving these wines at a cocktail party, serve them with food to elevate your meal into something special.
Since we came late and missed out on some of the food, we were offered a third glass of wine. The third wine was a Chardonnay aged for twenty four months in oak barrels. By so doing the taste of the Chardonnay was acquired a sort of buttery and delightful vanilla taste. This gave it a wonderful foretaste and aftertaste which was both full rich body and a smooth finish.