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Snooth User: dvogler

Taste Washington event

Posted by dvogler, Mar 30, 2014.

Under Foxall's "a better man" thread, I mentioned on Friday that I was going to "Taste Washington" in Seattle.  I stated it was billed as the largest wine event in North America.  I failed to read the fine print.  It is "the nation's largest single-region wine and food event".

It was fantastic.  Unfortunately, because of travel limitations (high-speed catamaran that goes between Victoria and Seattle only goes once a day right now), I had to return Sunday morning.  I didn't end up connecting with Lucha (he texted me, but I didn't get it...phone was roaming and doing weird things), but I hope he will give a better review of the event than I can.  I was very surprised at how much of the wine I wanted to drink (as in finish the sample and have more).  There were some great wines for decent prices, like a Kiona cab sav for $20 that I would not think twice to pay $40 for.  A highlight for me was meeting the owner of Silverback (Charles Herrold) who remembered talking to me on the phone a year ago and remembered my name (my wine buddy who went with me almost fell over!) and he asked if we had tried their "big ones" to which I replied "they weren't offered".  He took us over to their table and found (underneath somewhere) their reserve Syrah ($110) and their Reference (blend) ($200).  Wow.  Nice perk!

The food was incredible also.  Great fresh seafood hor's d'oeuvres (salmon, scallops, ahi tuna...) it was heaven.  I had taken some photos, but the ones with me are too incriminating to post.  Went for food and wine after to four different great eateries.  My feet are killing me now.

I'll try and get Lucha to add his experience and hopefully some good photos.

Replies

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Reply by JenniferT, Mar 31, 2014.

Nice pics! Glad to see you enjoyed the event.

 

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Reply by EMark, Mar 31, 2014.

Thanks for the report, Darren.  It sounds like it was great.  You know I am jealous of your taste of the Reserve Syrah.

GregT, I'm telling you, if you want great seafood, give up on San Diego and move to the Northwest.

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Reply by dvogler, Mar 31, 2014.

Thanks EM, but it wasn't much in the way of real tasting report.  All I could say is Washington has a lot of great wine!  I screwed up about Silverback's price...the Reserve Syrah is $200.  I wish I could link to a review for it, but I can't seem to post links (yes, I'm computer-retarded).

Fresh fish?  I thought at Alioto's you can buy fresh fish...(I know that's San Francisco, not San Diego), but still...the further north you go, the better and fresher the fish.  Seattle has many at Pike Place Market.  Victoria has several as well as the docks where you can buy just caught halibut and salmon...beautiful stuff.

Anyone coming up here will get good treatment from me  :)

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 1, 2014.

 "but still...the further north you go, the better and fresher the fish"

DV, afraid Alioto's has been a pale shadow of its ancient self for a very long time. Longer even than since San Diego stopped being the home port for America's tuna fishing fleet.

I've fished (and dived) many places up the Pacific Coast from Panama to Alaska over the years, and generally what you say is true. I always felt that the oceans off SoCal were related to the regions inland from the coast--relative deserts. A lot of that may be from overfishing, ancient DDT seepage, starfish plagues and oil spills and whatever else, but Northern California and the NW (including BC) have always had richer sealife. 

Doesn't mean you can't get great seafood in San Diego, Newport Beach, L.A. and Santa Barbara. You just need to know where to find it. You trip over it further north. Love those buckets of mussels and clams with bottles of even local dry rieslings and chards and chenin blanc (who's making good ones these days?), or craft beers, at so many docks from CA's northcoast and further north. Even the tourist spots on Seattle's wharves or at Pike Place can be more than nice. Those fish are only the beginning of course, since there're local scallops, oysters, salmon, halibut, trout, seabass, bonito, sanddabs etc., etc. etc. soon behind depending on where you are and the time of year. Not even talking about abalone and uni, though those markets have changed greatly over the years.

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Reply by clippingpath, Apr 1, 2014.

Nice Pic

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 1, 2014.

DM-

It's 7am and I'm eating oatmeal...and your response was making my mouth water for mussels!

I guess when I was thinking "fresh fish" I was going along the lines of caught hours ago and now you're eating it.  Of course it can be flown to most the US in several hours.  It's nice though to go to a local restaurant and eat local mussels and halibut and know it wasn't on ice for long.

You're in Japan correct?  Obviously fish is a big part of the diet.  Good stuff there?

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 1, 2014.

Yeah, to me, too, good fish is (these days, relatively) local fish out of the water less than 24 hours. Ideally well less.

Plenty of good fish in Japan, for sure. Lot of it in Tokyo isn't local, though. Just too many mouths and not enough local fish. The uni which is supposedly 'from' Hokkaido into the Tsukiji fishmarket may have been pulled off the bottom near the Channel Islands off Ventura and Santa Barbara 18~24 hours before, trucked to LAX, cargo-jetted to Sapporo, then flown down to Haneda in Tokyo Bay and trucked to Tsukiji. One way Japanese trading companies make money. I'm sure B.C. fishermen know their contacts in Vancouver. From personal contacts I know how they've changed the tuna markets in NY or eel markets in the Carolinas. It's global, not just on the West Coast.

Funny thing is when I was growing up next to those same uni-waters my family rarely ate fish--at least compared to how often I eat it now. Mussels were just sharp-edged junk on the piers you avoided scraping when moving past on your boards. Sure we ate bonito, rock cod, bass and even grunions, perch and barracuda after fishing trips, with the occasional scallops and salmon from family up north, but it was a different era focused greatly on beef, pork and poultry. Except for maybe abalone, which was the one family non-meat special day feast (and is now so much harder to get). So after I came to Asia and brought my dad over for road trips to Thailand and elsewhere it was gratifying to see him get so excited at those restaurants where you choose your fish live out of the tanks up front. Got him to graduate from there to all sorts of sashimi and sushi in Japan. And subsequently when we met in the likes of Seattle we'd start the night with oyster feasts before moving onto the planked local wild salmon. Unfortunately at that time I still couldn't find good WA riesling so we usually drank Woodward Canyon chardonnay as the reliable fall-back.

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 1, 2014.

Geeze, I'm going to need some provocation to start enjoying white.  I can't make any promises.

I enjoy red wine with my seafood!  Feel free to rebuke me anyone!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 1, 2014.

DV, I'm all for reds with fish, if it's the right fish, right preparation and right red.  Pinot and salmon is the obvious, but every year at least once (and often twice) I drink a N. Rhone syrah with a white fish sauced with tomato water and olives.  Recommended by Steve Law of Maclaren wines, a Syrah maker who aims for (and hits) St. Joseph for style.  It's also hard to get me to drink white, but the funny thing is that, when I do, I'm usually really pleased.  There's so many white wines that aren't buttery oaky chardonnay and have their own subtle pleasures.  The obvious French whites--Loire SBs and Chenins, Rhone blends or viogniers, and Bords if you like those--but also Muscadet and Picpoule.  I've got a bottle of each in the refrigerator now, just in case.  Then the Italians, which are as numerous as the Italian reds, maybe more so, and really inexpensive for the quality.  Albarino from Rias Baixas, Alvarinho from Portugal, Furmint from the former Soviet bloc, Gruner Veltliner, and we haven't even touched Riesling.  (My own opinion is that it's good, but Chenin and Furmint mostly fulfill that high acid that can marry with a little RS role.) I'm just scratching the surface, so why don't I drink more of these?

So much for thread drift--thanks for the abbreviated report on the event.  Sounds like one worth getting to if it works with other plans. 

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 1, 2014.

Frankly, >80% of the time red wines tend to get in the way of the seafood for me. And I've spent plenty of time in Spain (the #1 part of the Mediterranean where I see reds with seafood, most commonly with a seafood paella). There is often a clash, and otherwise no complementarity (if that's a word). White wine, however (and unless we're talking over-sweet crappy states-side rieslings or over-oaked chardonnay atrocity bombs) does complement, please, and refresh my mouth while also allowing me to delve into the complexities of the seafood. Perhaps a particular way the white's acidity cuts through the fish oil without dragging along the wrong tannins, etc. I grew up first on French and German (and British) wines and cuisines, which may also be part of it.

Nonetheless, I do have my iconoclastic side in this as well as most everything else. An old thread but a good one, I think: check out Seafood & red wine.

 

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 1, 2014.

Thanks Fox and DM.  I appreciate the input and perspectives.  Honestly though...I guess I have to admit that for me, it's mostly about the wine.  The food is secondary.  My wife (an import from Seattle) doesn't really enjoy seafood, so I typically throw a nice big piece of salmon on the bbq for myself, but more often than not, she makes steak, a killer lasagna...stuff that screams red wine.  Once in a while she'll pan-fry some basa or tilapia and make fish tacos, but also some Mexican-style rice...and a medium red is fine with that.  I don't drink wine every night though.  I try to go several nights without, partly out of personal restraint and partly to show her that I'm capable of not spending so much on wine (sadly, she doesn't drink wine). 

Thread drift is great Fox...is keeps us interested in responding! 

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 2, 2014.

Chenin Blanc in the states?

I plan to try one soon from a new, well regarded SB based negociant called "Habit" 

Will make sure to post when I do...haven't heard of many others but I know they're out there.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 2, 2014.

Chenin in the States could also include Dancing Coyote.  (I actually think it might be okay in Western Washington because it could get botrytis in the humidity.) As a kid, we used to drink some Chenin in the house.  I think maybe Mirassou or someone like that.  I'm not sure that it's really been planted in the right places, and the incentive isn't all that great, since you would have to produce something either with better value than, say, MAN of S. Africa, which is about $8, or, at the upper end, competitive with Huet which, on the dry side, costs less than $30.  (How many grapes have their best expression in a bottle that's under $30?)  In between, there's lots of good Vouvray and Saumur in the $12-25 range.  With very little stateside recognition for the grape, there's not much incentive.  Pine Ridge sells a ton of Chenin-Viognier at $12 or less, and it's good for the dough, but not really Chenin.  In fact, to me it drinks like Albarino--acid and a little unctuousness plus a perfumey, slightly soapy florality. 

D, I agree that MOST times red and fish ain't making it.  But not ruling it out with meatier things.  And Paella really is a tough one--there's the meat (sausage, mostly)  to seafood ratio to consider and it never goes well with something oaky or too tannic.  In fact, it probably wants rose or joven tempranillo at most that sees no oak. Even that's a little tough. GregT would be the one to consult for all your paella matching, IMO.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 2, 2014.

Fox, read that old thread. It's not all that long...  ;-)

Any other good-drinking chenins out there? At all?

Way back at the very end of the '70s when I used to visit my mom who was working for Sonoma County and living in Santa Rosa, we'd do Sunday brunches at Souverain, which is now owned, I believe, by Coppola. As far as the requirements of a warm Sunday fore-noon-to-a-little-after-noon went, even their chenin blanc offerings were far more than merely quaffable. At that time seemingly a *lot* of wineries produced CB. Probably because it worked as an easy entry wine for a less-educated public, but some of them were not bad, even from the later perspective of considerable time in France spent with those lovelies from the Loire.

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 2, 2014.

True about the price point for Chenin Fox. However, I wonder how much the infatuation with Huet has become about the brand and its history...anyway its come with a little shock that the Huet brand has been cut down a bit since they have recently blacklisted Chris Kissack and another wine critic in response to their lukewarm Huet reviews for a recent vintage.

Anyhow...always interesting to try stateside equivalents. We often pay more for Stateside (CA) Rose than the similar quality juice from France.

That Habit Chenin I mentioned: http://www.winehouse.com/product.php?sku=102401

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Reply by EMark, Apr 2, 2014.

Mark's current (standby for updates) wine-pairing philosophy:  drink the wine that you like to drink with the food that you like to eat.

I kinda like Chianti (the red kind, thanks to Mr. Grant) with fish.  With shellfish, I definitely gravitate to white wine.  I really, really like Champagne (the only time I prefer Champagne) with raw oysters.

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Reply by clippingpath, Apr 3, 2014.

It is a Fastival ?

 

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Reply by dvogler, Apr 3, 2014.

CP-

It is a kind of festival, but without music and dancing and costumes....it's about wine!  The state of Washington in the US, has many good wineries and there were 200 wineries and 60 restaurants (providing examples of food in their restaurants, included in the admission fee).  Each winery had a little spot where they had several bottles of wine and the representative could tell you about the wine and their history etc.  You could taste all or some (depending on what you like).  You couldn't drink all of what they put in your glass so you smell it and then have a taste and dump the rest out, or you'd get pretty drunk.  My friend and I would ask for different samples and then trade glasses because it was a shame to waste so much wine!

I assumed because you asked, that you've not been to a large wine tasting.  I hope you do!

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Reply by Lucha Vino, Apr 9, 2014.

I think that I have finally recovered from Taste WA!  I went both days. 

On day one I focused on wines from the Ancient Lakes AVA.  This is the newest AVA in Washington, being recognized in October 2012.  It is one of the cooler regions in the state and is mainly home to white wine grapes.  Riesling is one of the most popular grapes.  There were only 7 wineries pouring wine made from grapes sourced from this AVA.  Two of them have estate vineyards, so that gives some perspective on how much wine is being made from grapes sourced from this AVA. 

I am pretty sure that Ch. Ste. Michelle sources Riesling from the Evergreen vineyard, which is one of the best known vineyards in the AVA.  Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling and Efeste Evergreen (duh!) Riesling both come from this vineyard.  Both of these Rieslings were dry, crisp, slightly sweet showing nice aromatics and a good streak of acidity.  I am not a Riesling "expert" but I would say these compare pretty favorably and the Charles Smith is about 8 dollars less than the Efeste.

Day two I focused on lesser known varieties grown in Washington, which meant primarily Italian style wines: Barbera, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto.  Sangiovese makes our top 20 grape varieties so I did not include it as "lesser known."  Mourvedre, Grenache and Carmenere were three others that I included on my Sunday game plan.

The highlight of my experience was sitting in on the "Allure of the Exotic" seminar on Saturday.  The one, and only, Jon Rimmerman was on the panel.  He was as entertaining in person as he is via his email offers. :-) 

He gave high praise to the 2001 Leonetti Sangiovese, calling it the best ever Sangiovese from Leonetti.  The winemaker from Leonetti, Chris Figgins, happened to be on the panel, but I doubt that influenced Rimmerman's commentary.  Two wines later he was absolutely roasting Woodward Canyon's Dolcetto.  JR called it "everything wrong with US wine."  The character of the grape was totally overshadowed ("obliterated" according to JR) by the oak treatment this wine received - which I totally agreed with.  The interesting point was that it only spent 6 months in French Oak barrels (all new) which I think shows how much affinity Dolcetto has for oak.  In 6 months it soaked up way too much of the barrel's character.

Taste WA is totally overwhelming and an awesome event.  I would highly recommend going for two days and purchasing the VIP ticket package which gets you in an hour early and access to some VIP food and wine areas.


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